Student visa and residence permit
Depending on your nationality you may need a visa and/or a residence permit to enter and stay in Germany. Contact the German embassy or consulate in your home country for the most up-to-date information. In the meantime, here's a summary of the most important facts.
Before travelling to Germany
Some nationalities require an entry visa, for which you need to apply before travelling to Germany. To check whether you need an entry visa, please refer to the website of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.
In order to find out how to apply for the entry visa, please contact the German mission in your home country. Please note that, during the peak travel season, the process for obtaining an entry visa may take up to several months. You must, therefore, make sure to submit your application on time.
While you are here
EU and EEA citizens (including German nationals) are merely required to register with the municipal office of Hamburg upon their arrival. The registration fee is about EUR 10.
Most non-EU citizens, however, require a residence permit if they wish to stay in Germany for longer than three months, regardless of whether they need an entry visa. The fee for this permit is about EUR 100.
How to obtain a residence permit
Our Student Support Office will help you apply for the residence permit during the Orientation Program. They will assist you in filling out the forms, compiling the necessary documents and in making appointments with the authorities at the Hamburg Welcome Center. You will receive all the forms you need from Bucerius Law School in order to apply for the residence permit a couple of weeks before the start of the program. In addition, you need to make sure to bring a couple of documents with you to Germany:
- a passport which is valid for the full duration of your stay
- proof of sufficient financial resources (see details below),
- proof of health insurance (see details below)
- if you are being accompanied by your children: a birth certificate
- if you are being accompanied by your spouse: a marriage certificate
Proof of financial resources
The German diplomatic mission in your home country as well as the respective Immigration Office in Hamburg require proof (original documents) that you have sufficient funds to meet your cost of living throughout the duration of your stay in Germany. Pursuant to the regulations of the Immigration Office, the following sources of funds (or a combination thereof) are acceptable:
- Proof of personal savings
An official original bank statement signed by a bank official certifying that you have sufficient funds for your living expenses in Germany. The amount certified needs to be approx. €8,000. For the exact and most recent amount required, please contact your local German mission. Note that the German mission may ask you to open a blocked bank account to give proof of your financial resources.
- Formal Obligation
A formal statement from someone who is willing to support you during your stay in Germany (e.g. a parents or spouse). This Formal Obligation form is available at your local German missionand must be written and signed in front of a mission official. The person who is willing to support you will need to prove that s/he possesses sufficient funds by providing e.g. a salary statement or a tax declaration. The support amount needs to be approx. €8,000. For the exact and most recent amount required, please contact your local German mission.
- Proof of financial aid/scholarship
An official and original letter specifying the amount and availability of funds. You may attach more than one document.
Proof of health insurance
In order to receive a Student Residence Permit, you must also provide proof that you have health insurance which covers you in Germany. You can find more information about health insurance in our section on Insurance.
If you are planning to find work in Germany after graduation, you can apply for the so-called job-seeker's visa. The job-seeker's visa for graduates of German universities allows you to stay in Germany for up to 18 months for the purpose of finding a job. Please note that you must apply for this visa at the local foreigner office immediately after graduation. If you do not, you will have to apply at the German mission in your home country and will only be granted 6 months. More on post-graduation work and residence permits.
If you already have a signed work contract, you can also apply for a work permit right away.
For more information on working and living in Germany, please refer to the "Make it in Germany" website, a collaboration of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Employment Office.