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Study in Germany

Germany is a country that offers many opportunities to its resident and foreign students, offering a free education in the different academic programs: undergraduate, postgraduate, master's degrees, research projects, among others. In addition, it has a scholarship and financial aid program so that you can pay for accommodation, food and health expenses. Its universities are among the 100 best in the world, so it is undoubtedly the perfect destination for you.

How to study in Germany as a foreigner? What do you need?

Germany is a country recognized for its beautiful countries and its indisputable German beer, but it is also a country with a very high level of education and quality of life , which is why it has currently become one of the most requested destinations for foreign students. in the last decades. Surely you are wondering how can I study in Germany if I don’t have a lot of money? Don’t worry! In Germany, a large number of universities are financed by the government, so the tuition fees are usually a little lower compared to other countries and even free.

However, to study in Germany you must take into account that, if you do not belong to a country of the European Union, you will have to apply for a Student Visa at the embassy closest to your home, where you will have to submit a series of documents and demonstrate that you meet the necessary requirements to enter the country as a student. In the same way, you should know that speaking German is not a demanding requirement to enter a German university , since there are programs that are taught in English. Similarly, throughout your stay in Germany you can attend German courses to learn to speak the language fluently. In recent decades, the foreign student population in Germany has grown exponentially, leaving some 350,000 student applications by 2020.

Types of visas to study in Germany

Among the visas that you can obtain to study in Germany are the following:

  • Schengen visa. This visa is granted to those students belonging to the allied countries of the European Union who wish to carry out short studies (for a maximum period of 3 months) so you will not be able to carry out studies at the university, postgraduate or master’s level.
  • Student Visa or National Visa. It is a type of visa that is granted to those foreign students who wish to study in German territory for a period of more than 90 days. You must bear in mind that the validity period of this visa is temporary, so you would have to process a Resident Visa to finish your studies.

In addition, as a general fact, you should know that if you are an outstanding student you will be able to access a scholarship program that includes monthly financial aid to cover your tuition, accommodation and food expenses within the country. But do not worry if you are not an outstanding student, since studies in Germany are low cost compared to countries like the United Kingdom and the United States and are even usually free. If you are concerned about the quality of the studies, we tell you that Germany has an excellent educational quality where its universities manage to occupy high positions in the European rankings. For this 2020, the webometrics ranking placed 3 German universities and institutes within the 100 best universities in the country, among which are:

  1. Technische Universität München in the number 1 position nationally and 87 worldwide;
  2. Ludwig Maximilians Universität München occupies position 96 worldwide and;
  3. Ruprecht Karls Universität Heidelberg in position 98.

How much does it cost to live in Germany?

Shared room
in the capital


Shared room
in another city


2 bedroom apartment
in the capital


2 bedroom apartment
in another city


Bus or Metro ticket


Movie Ticket


A beer in a bar


A beer in the supermarket


Typical Street Food


Meal in a Restaurant


Medical consultation


Phone plans


Average Cost of Living per Month

USD $1,000

Living in a foreign country represents a great challenge for the student population, since it requires economic stability to pay tuition, room and board for the duration of the academic program. In general, Germany is a European country that has a stable economy , so its cost of living can be affordable for those who are starting their student life to later start the working stage, although currently, there are many students who combine studies with work practices to be able to pay their expenses throughout the degree. On average, the cost of living for a student in Germany is €700 to €800 per month (USD $860 to $980). Of course, everything will depend on the city where you decide to reside and the type of university where you want to study, whether public or private. In tuition fees you can pay from €200 to €300 per month for contributions , which in dollars is approximately USD $250 to $365 depending on the university campus.

Cost of living

Now, if you decide to reside in the city of Munich you must take into account the following costs:

  • Mandatory Medical Insurance. From €76 to €78 per month (USD $93 to $95)
  • Student residence. The costs range from €280 to €350 (USD $340 to $430). In the case of private rooms in the city, prices can vary from €250 to €600 (USD $307 to $737).
  • Food €300 (USD $370)
  • TV €17.98 (USD 22.11)
  • Tuition contributions. They are paid 1 time per semester, the cost depends on the university, for the Technical University of Munich it is €37 (USD $45.00)

In the case of studying in a colony, the expenses are usually the following:

  • Health insurance. €70 (USD $86)
  • Student residence. €330 (USD $405)
  • Feeding. €147 (USD $180)
  • Clothes. €50 (USD 61)
  • Study material. €35 (USD $43)
  • Telephone and internet . €43 (USD $56)
  • Recreation, sport and culture. €82 (USD 100)
  • Tuition contributions. In the same way they are paid once a month depending on the university. In this case we take the University of Köln as an example with a contribution of €34 (USD $41) per month.

As you can see, to live and study in Germany you must have a monthly budget of €700 to €850 (USD $860 to $1,000) to cover all your needs. Of course, if you manage to access a scholarship program for foreigners, the expenses may decrease considerably.

Can you study in Germany for free?

You can study for free in Germany if you have a scholarship. Although there are universities that do not charge tuition if they have stipulated rates called “academic contributions”, these contributions are around €230 (USD $282) and are paid monthly, so studying for free in Germany is only possible if you have a scholarship .

The good thing is that the German government allocates an annual budget of USD $400 million in tuition fees, health subsidies and transportation for foreign students. If you want to know the scholarship programs that the German government grants to foreign students, continue reading, since later we will mention the scholarship and financial aid programs that exist in Germany, as well as the requirements to apply for them.

Study at the University in Germany

Studying in Germany is a great opportunity to open up to new horizons and receive a multicultural education that will allow you to get to know new cultures through its academic bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs that are designed with an international projection. For this reason, the programs are taught in English or German so that the language is not a limitation.

Places to study at German universities are limited and there is a lot of competition to get them. That is why, before applying to a university, you must know all the requirements and the process to gain admission to a German university. You should bear in mind that German universities are very strict and rigorous with the level of studies required. Therefore, before applying, you must make sure that you comply with all the requirements and procedures corresponding to the academic program.

Requirements to Study at a German University as a foreigner

For programs taught in German you must meet the following requirements:

  • Take a German language test and get a level 2 at 67%
  • Pass the TestDaf test at a level 4
  • Obtain the “Zertifikat Deutsch” or certificate of knowledge of German issued by a recognized institution

For programs taught in English you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a TOEFL test score of:
    • Internet test from 70 to 100 points
    • Test on paper from 550 to 600 points
  • IELTS test score of 6.5

After having the language certificates, you must meet the general requirements:

  • Have a high school diploma translated into German equivalent to the “Abitur”. In Germany, secondary school lasts from 12 to 13 years, so if you do not meet this requirement you will have to validate your studies by presenting the Feststellungprüfung
  • Have the certificate of a pre-university course
  • Result of the Festellungsprüfung exam
  • Proof of Language (TestDAF, IELTS, TOEFL.)
  • Motivation letter in German
  • Resume
  • Recommendation letters
  • Student visa
  • Demonstrate financial ability to undertake the program of study

It is important that all documents are apostilled and legalized before the corresponding authorities and are translated into the official language, German.

How to Apply for a German University as a foreign student

  • Search for the university and academic program you want to study in Germany
  • Request advice at the German university about the process of how the admission process is carried out and which Studienkolleg you should visit
  • Contact the Studienkolleg indicated by the university and follow the admission steps established by the program
  • Attend the Studienkolleg for one year and prepare specifically for your chosen undergraduate program
  • At the end of the Studienkolleg you must take the Feststellungsprüfung (suitability test)
  • With the Feststellungsprüfung you can start your undergraduate studies
  • Submit the required documentation (mentioned above)

If you do not know what type of visa to apply for, below you will obtain information about each one of them.

In which universities can I study in Germany?

Germany is a European country that not only stands out for its low-cost universities, but also has great aid programs for foreign students and has great international recognition for its academic programs that place it among the 100 most important universities in the world. world. The best German universities to study foreigners are the following:

  • University of Cologne
  • University of Frankfurt am Main
  • Denkmal Alexander von Humboldts/ Humboldt University of Berlin
  • University of Duisburg/Essen
  • University of Heidelberg
  • Aachen Higher Technical School
  • Technical University of Berlin
  • Technical University of Munich
  • GISMA Business School
  • Ludwig-Maximilian University
  • Free University of Berlin
  • Art school in Berlin-Weißensee

It is important to note that as of 2016 the German government declared that university studies for residents and foreigners in Germany would be totally free ; that is, you will not pay tuition but, in the same way, you must pay a small contribution in both public and private universities.

The Most Popular Public Universities in Germany

The most Popular Private Universities in Germany

Visas to Study in Germany

Do you want to study in a country with high academic demands? Keep reading to find out about the types of visas, their requirements and the process that you must carry out in order to do so.

National/ Student Visa

If you plan to have a stay of more than 90 days in Germany, you must process the National Visa that will allow you to study for a long time within the country. With this visa you can enter a German university; however, you must take into account that in order to remain in the country throughout the degree you need to process the Residence Permit at the competent immigration office.

Requirements to Apply for Student Visa

  • Passport, with a minimum validity of 9 months, in original with two copies of the page containing the person’s data
  • Complete the form “ Antrag auf Erteilung eines nationalen Visums
  • Three current child-size photos (4×5 cm with a light background)
  • Complete reference address (eg person inviting, contact at the language school or residence)
  • Written certification of enrollment in an intensive German course at a language school in Germany, on the letterhead of the school, indicating the duration and intensity of the language course
  • Proof of financial support
  • Personal letter written in German, in which you explain the reason why you will absolve the language course in Germany
  • In case you plan to start basic studies at a German university:
    • School diploma and ICFES certificate (with apostille and translation respectively)
    • Copies of correspondence with the university in Germany.
  • In case you want to complete a postgraduate degree at a German university or present a doctorate:
    • University diploma (with apostille and German translation)
    • Copies of correspondence with the university or with the pre-university college (Studienkolleg) in Germany.

Steps to Apply for a Student Visa

  • Choose the study program and the university where you want to study. You must have the acceptance letter from a German institution to be able to process the visa
  • Complete the national visa form. Fill in the Antrag auf Erteilung eines nationalen Visums form with all your personal and travel information. You must support the form with all the previously requested documents and, most importantly, you must demonstrate that you have the necessary financial capacity to pay for your stay in the country
  • Pay the amount corresponding to €60.00 for the visa process (USD$74)
  • Wait for the Consulate’s decision. The process can be immediate but sometimes it also takes 10 to 15 days
  • Receive your passport with the approved visa. When you receive visa approval you will be ready to enter Germany as a student. As the validity period of the visa is short, we recommend that once you are on German soil you go to the immigration office to process the residence permit that grants a stay of at least 4 years.

Can you study and work with a Student Visa?

With this visa you have complete freedom to study and work within Germany ; however, it is recommended that once you obtain the national visa and you are within German territory, you go to the immigration office to process the Residence Permit, since it gives you a longer stay in the country than the national visa.

Schengen visa

Are you thinking of traveling to Germany for a period of no more than 90 days? If so, you must have a “Schengen visa”. This type of visa is granted to those foreign citizens of countries belonging to the Agreement of Application of the Schengen Agreement to carry out short courses of less than 90 days, tourist trips, visits to relatives or friends. It is important to note that this visa is personal and is addressed only to the country of destination; that is, if you want to travel to Germany, the visa will only be valid for that country. You will NOT be able to enter another country with the same visa. To find out if your country is part of the Schengen agreement , enter here .

Requirements to Apply for a Tourist or Schengen Visa

  • Fully completed and signed Schengen visa application form
  • Form referring to article 54 of the Permanence Law (AufenthG) signed
  • Valid passport 
  • Color photograph (3cm x 4cm), of the highest quality on a white background
  • Present the round trip ticket and travel itinerary. In case of arriving at a relative’s house, you must have an invitation letter
  • Demonstrate financial capacity to remain in the country such as tax returns, bank certifications, among others
  • Take out travel medical insurance with a minimum coverage of USD $40,000 (€32,500)
  • Pay the Schengen Visa fee for Germany . The current rate is €80.00 (USD $98)

Process to Apply for a Tourist Visa

  1. Choose a short course. To do this you must select the academy where you want to take a course whose duration does not exceed 90 days or what is the same, 3 months.
  2. Complete the Schengen visa form. You must fill out the form in an orderly manner, placing all your data and personal information. You can request this form at the German embassy or consulate located in your country and you can complete the process 3 months before the date of the trip. To start the process you must make an appointment through the web
  3. Wait for the Consulate’s decision. If you meet all the required requirements, you can obtain the visa in two business days, if additional documents are requested, the process may take a little longer than expected.
  4. Receive your passport with the approved visa. Once you have the Schengen Visa to study in Germany, you will have to start planning the trip

Can you study and work with a Tourist Visa?

No, in Germany the Schengen visa is only valid for short-term courses, tourism and family visits for a period of no more than 90 days (3 months). If you want to work in German territory, you will have to process a national visa that will allow you to work, do business, study and even later you can process the residence permit.

Where can I study German in Germany?

Every year there are thousands of foreign students who apply to German universities, so the number of courses to study German are innumerable and of course highly prestigious, since universities request certified language courses. The main schools or academies to study German are the following:

  • ALPADIA – Language Schools Berlin
  • inlingua Berlin
  • BWS Germanlingua Berlin
  • Carl Duisberg Centrum Berlin
  • GLS German Language School
  • Humboldt-Institut Berlin-Mitte
  • Goethe-Institut Berlin
  • die deutSCHule
  • Native Academy
  • speakeasy
  • International Sommerakademie
  • Akademikerkurse in Berlin for Studio & Beruf

You can also find private and public universities for German courses. The cost of these courses is around €440 to €800, about USD$537 to $977, so you should estimate that budget before applying for a study visa.

What will the institutes or language academies ask of you- Requirements

The requirements to enroll in an academy or school to study German are the following:

  • Obtain a Student Visa or Schengen Visa
  • Registration form for the program and level of study pertaining to the language (German)
  • Have basic knowledge (B1) of the language according to the Common European Framework or, failing that, master the English language
  • Submit a letter of reasons indicating the reasons why you want to take the course
  • High school studies translated into German
  • CV in German
  • Child size photo
  • If the course is carried out for reasons of university academic programs, present the letter of admission to the German university
  • Proof of tuition payment and first monthly payment

What is the process to be accepted?

  • Choose the academy where you want to study. It is important that you choose several academies that fit your budget and the study plan you need to carry out
  • Apply at the chosen school or academy. Indicate in a letter the reason why you want to study at said academy. Once you are accepted, you must present the acceptance letter to the consular authorities so that the Schengen or Student Visa is granted to you.
  • Gather all the requested documents. This is an important requirement that you must meet, since the academy creates a study record so that once you obtain the certificate, your documents are supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung / The Federal Ministry of Education and Research
  • Formalize the registration by paying the tuition corresponding to the beginning of the academic program

Once you have completed all these admission requirements, you will be ready to start learning German.

There is no Specific Visa to Study German

If you want to travel to Germany to study their language “German” you must have a Schengen visa issued for the countries of the European Union but you can only be within the territory for a period of no more than 90 days, so if you have With this visa you can only take short-term courses. However, if you want to study a longer academic program, you can choose to apply for a Student Visa that will allow you to spend more than 90 days in Germany, even making it easier for you to opt for a Permanent Resident Visa. Regarding the process to follow and the requirements, you must submit those mentioned above depending on the type of visa you want to apply for: Schengen Visa or Student Visa. But in general you must have academic supports, letters of invitation, valid passport, child-size photos and pay the fee corresponding to each procedure. As you can see, it is a very simple process, since Germany is a somewhat flexible country when it comes to granting visas to foreign citizens who meet all the requested requirements.

Scholarships and Grants to Study in Germany

What makes Germany a country in great demand for foreign students is its high academic level, its free study system and its great scholarship and financial aid programs for foreigners. The most important scholarship and financial support program in Germany is the DAAD, Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, which functions as the largest international exchange program for students and scientists in the world. Over the years the DAAD has supported more than 1.7 million students in Germany and around the world. The DAAD has more than 200 programs, where every year it allocates financial support to more than 120,000 students from Germany and the world. Among their offers include:

  • undergraduate studies
  • exchange programs
  • doctorates
  • labor practices, among others.

In Germany, you will find a large number of scholarships offered by universities, government institutions, foundations, and companies for various study programs. Germany is a country that promotes scientific research, so doctorates are greatly supported to encourage the execution of scientific activities within the country. Therefore, if you are going to do a doctorate or a master’s degree in Germany, you will be able to access great scholarship programs and financial support. The DAAD offers the following scholarship programs:

  • undergraduate
  • Postgraduate
  • Research and teaching stays
  • Institutional cooperation programs
  • Scholarships for University Administrators
  • Scholarships for Alumni
  • masteries
  • German courses

What do these scholarships generally include?

  • Airline tickets
  • Previous German course in Germany for up to six months fully financed (including accommodation, maintenance, etc.).
  • 750 euros (USD $917) per month for living expenses, for scholarship holders with an Undergraduate degree
  • 1,000 euros (USD $1,222) per month for scholarship holders with a Master’s degree
  • Health insurance
  • 460 euros (USD $560) per year for study and research purposes

Otto Bayer Scholarships

They are granted to those students who are carrying out advanced studies, projects, internships, summer courses and doctoral theses. The fields of studies that you must complete to obtain this scholarship are the following:

  • biology
  • Molecular biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Biological process engineering
  • bioinformatics
  • Chemistry
  • Chemical engineering
  • Material science
  • environmental sciences
  • Pharmaceutical and drug discovery
  • Physical
  • Medical Sciences

The calls are normally made in the months of July and August of each year.

Carl Duisberg Scholarships

It is a scholarship program aimed at students in the areas of medicine and veterinary medicine to carry out clinical training and contribute to the execution of scientific projects. Academic areas must have a focus on public health and projects related to:

  • Cardiology
  • Oncology
  • Inflammation
  • Gynecology
  • Imaging diagnosis

The scholarship and financial aid program will depend on the next branch of study you want to do. In general, studies in Germany are free but, in the same way, the student will have to make contributions to the institutions, which is why the German government and private institutions dedicate a large part of their resources to the student support of German and foreign residents. .

Study and Work in Germany

Studying and working in Germany can be very easy if you have all the documentation required to start an academic program or job offers. In general, most foreigners who enter Germany start a career first and then get job offers in their fields or areas of study. If you want to work for short periods with the Student Visa, you can do so, but if, on the other hand, you need to stay in the country for a longer period of time, you will have to apply for a Residence Permit or Work Visa. In general, a foreign student in Germany can work 120 full working days or 240 half working days per year . While the student is in the class period, they may work a maximum of 20 hours per week.

Have you finished your studies and want to stay and work in Germany?

If the current scenario for you is that you have finished your studies and you are thinking of staying in the country developing research and working, then you will have to process a Residence Permit or the German Work Visa. Like the other procedures, it is very easy to obtain a Residence Permit or Work Visa in Germany if you have previously studied or are part of projects that contribute to the development of the country.

Requirements to obtain a residence permit or work visa

  • Have the approval of the Federal Employment Agency. The German authorities grant a residence permit for employment purposes to those citizens and/or applications approved by the Federal Employment Agency.
  • Have a work practice permit. If you are an engineer or a doctor you must have a license to practice a profession.
  • Main residence in Berlin. Present a certificate of accommodation.
  • You must carry out a personal interview to be able to indicate whether or not you are a candidate for a work visa.
  • Valid passport
  • Current biometric photo
  • original employment contract
  • academic documents
  • Fill in the following forms:
  • Health insurance. You need to present insurance that covers the entire time of your work visa. The minimum insurance amount must be €30,000 (USD 36,694) with coverage for repatriation of remains in the event of death.

Without a doubt, Germany is a country that offers many opportunities to foreign students so that they can carry out studies and projects in the country. In addition, to establish a free education for both residents and foreign citizens. If you want to know more about the programs taught both in Germany and in different countries of the world , in Go-Study-in you will find information backed by experts in the area.

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