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Students

Students

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Saxony is a great place to study. Four universities, five universities of Applied Science and five universities of fine arts make up the core of Saxony's higher education system. And in Saxony you can study without having to pay tuition fees.

Thanks the concentration of so many research institutions and the close links that exist between academia and business it offers Graduates good chances to find suitable employment in their field. Companies in Saxony are reliant on qualified workers.

What belongs to a study programme?

The purpose of staying in Germany for a study programme includes all stages of training related to your studies, such as:

  • preparatory measures for a study programme,
  • studies until the first vocational qualification at a German university or college (basic and main courses of study including work placements during the studies, intermediate and final examinations), also after previous studies in a foreign country,
  • a master‘s programme (study programme consisting of a bachelor‘s and a based upon master‘s programme) in case of consecutive study programmes,
  • graduate, postgraduate or complementary studies,
  • practical activities following the study programme provided that they belong to a compulsory training course or serve to comprehensively achieve the objectives of the training course.

PLEASE NOTE: For study in a PhD Program or in a Cooperative Education Program see:

If the obtaining of the doctorate is part of a research project see:

Who is an applicant for a study programme?

You are an applicant for a study programme if you are interested in studying in Germany but have not yet registered at a state or state-recognised university or college. It is irrelevant whether you have applied at a university, college or equivalent institution. An application for a study programme can relate to a preparatory measure.

What are preparatory measures?

Preparatory measures for a study programme include:

  • preparatory college (Studienkolleg) (one-year preparatory studies at the university location in order to obtain entitlement to study in higher education in Germany),
  • a language course to prepare for the German language university entrance exam (DSH) or the language examination for German as a foreign language (TestDaF),
  • work placements that are required or recommended by the university or college.

Who is a student?

You are a student if you are registered in a study programme at a state or state-recognised university or college or a state-recognised preparatory college.

PLEASE NOTE: Please contact the International Office of the university or college for information on acceptance requirements and the course of study.

Which universities and colleges are included?

The study programme has to take place at a state or state-recognised institute of higher education (university, technical college, teacher training college, college of arts or university of applied sciences) or an equivalent training and education institution. Equivalent training institutions are for example state-recognised private universities or colleges and institutions offering single accredited study programmes (vocational academies, universities of cooperative education and academies for economics and administration).

PLEASE NOTE: All state or state-recognised universities or colleges can be found on

Which residence permit is granted?

The residence permit is a temporary right of residence.

  • The residence permit for applicants for a study programme will be granted to a maximum of nine months. Preparatory measures for the study programme are not included in this period.
  • The residence permit for preparation of studies (preparatory college/language course) is limited to the duration of the preparatory measure as far as there has not been a registration for a follow-up measure or a study programme. However, generally it must not be granted for more than two years. After successful completion, the residence permit for preparatory measures can be renewed as a residence permit to study.
  • The residence permit to study is granted for at least one year and at the most for two years. The field of studies is specified on the residence permit stating the name of the field of specialisation (study course and subjects of study). The residence permit may be extended as long as the degree objective of the studies has not been achieved. An extension is possible if students show diligence in their studies. This applies if the average duration of studies in the respective study course at the university or college concerned is not extended by more than three semesters. If the maximum duration of study is exceeded, the residence permit may only be extended if the educational institute certifies a proper course of study of the foreign student considering their individual situation and states the expected further duration of study and the chances of success. Maximum duration of study in this relation shall be a total residence period of 10 years which shall not be exceeded. In case of unsuccessful studies, the residence permit can be revoked.

What are the conditions?

If you want to start studying at a university or college, you need entitlement to study in higher education (Hochschulzugangsberechtigung). If the secondary school certificate of your home country is equivalent to the German Abitur, you can apply at a university or college immediately.

Furthermore, you have to meet the acceptance and registration requirements.

PLEASE NOTE: Inform yourself about the exact conditions of the study at the university or college.

Additionally, you have to prove the required language skills. If you attend a language course to prepare for one of the recognised German language certificates for higher education, a residence permit will be granted for attending an intensive language course only.

The main purpose of stay must be the course of studies. Evening, weekend or distance learning courses do not meet these requirements.

Granting a residence permit requires that the means of subsistence are ensured in Germany and that the stay does not infringe or endanger the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany for any other reason.

    Who has to agree?

    During the studies the applicant is allowed to work for a maximum of 120 days or 240 half days per year without the agreement of the labour administration. In this timeframe, a self-employed activity may be permitted if it is organised similarly to an employment relationship (e. g. contract work).

    Assistant work is permitted without restrictions but the responsible municipal or district immigration office has to agree on this beforehand.

    Other occupations need the approval of the labour administration. This is obtained by the responsible municipal or district immigration office in an internal process at the International Placement Services (ZAV). Academic success must not be affected by employment.

    Work placements being a required part of the study programme or required to achieve the degree objective do not require approval. They are not considered in the employment period of 120 days or 240 half days per year either. Voluntary work placements not being part of the study programme are considered employment requiring approval, also if they are not gainful.

    In the first year of preparatory measures, employment is only permitted in the holiday period.

    University or college applicants are generally not permitted to work.

    For information on the labour market licensing procedure please call 0228 / 713 2000.

    Work placements being a required part of the study programme or required to achieve the degree objective do not require approval. They are not considered in the employment period of 120 days or 240 half days per year either. Voluntary work placements not being part of the study programme are considered employment requiring approval, also if they are not gainful.

    In the first year of preparatory measures, employment is only permitted in the holiday period.

    University or college applicants are generally not permitted to work.

    What to do if you want to change your course?

    The residence permit for study is normally granted for a particular subject of study.

    You can change the study course or subject of study within in the same study course in the first 18 months after starting the study programme. Later on, changing the study course or subject of study may be approved if graduation within an adequate period of time is possible.

    This also applies to changing the type of university or college. A shift of specialisation within the study programme does not mean a change of studies. Examples for this are:

    • that the according study courses were identical before the change or
    • that the semesters studied in the first study course can be accredited completely for the second study course or
    • that the university or college certifies that the majority of the semesters studied in the first study course may be accredited or
    • that due to study-related reasons a bridging semester was included (e. g. end of preparatory college at the start of the summer term and start of the study programme in the winter term).

    PLEASE NOTE: If you want to change the subject of your course of study or the university, you have to contact the municipal or district immigration office previously.

    Which effects do semesters of leave have?

    During your studies you may take temporary leave due to private, health, financial or other reasons according to the regulations of the law on higher education. This leave has to be approved by the educational institution. Please note the matriculation regulations of your educational Institution.

    In case of leave, a temporary continuation of residence for reasons of study may be approved by the responsible immigration office.

    PLEASE NOTE: Please refer to the responsible immigration office before approval of leave by your educational institution.

      What happens in case of a semester at a foreign university?

      Under certain conditions you have the possibility to do some parts of your studies in another EU member state. You may stay at a host institution in an EU member state for up to three months within a period of six months. You only need your passport, residence permit and sufficient means of subsistence.

      In case of a longer stay you may benefit from the mobility schemes of the EU student directive for a semester in another country at an institution of higher education in another EU member state (except Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom). To do so, you have to have a residence permit to attend a study program and:

      • do a compulsory part of your study program or
      • participate in an exchange program between EU member states or
      • participate in an EU exchange program (e. g. ERASMUS)

      in another EU member state.

      To do so, you have to present the required certificates of your study and/or exchange program by the participating institutions. Please refer to the respective authorities of your country of destination here in Germany regarding entry and residence conditions.

      PLEASE NOTE: In case of staying more than six months, please refer to the responsible immigration office before leaving Germany and agree an extended period for re-entry and continuation of your study program. If you do not do so, your residence permit to attend a study program will expire after six months.

      What happens in case of de-registration before successful completion of the course of study?

      In case of de-registration upon student request or ex officio because the student has ultimately failed a required examination or has not reregistered in due form and time, »study programme« as a purpose to stay seizes to exist and the residence permit can be revoked.

      Which additional documents are required?

      Apart from the usual documents several further documents are necessary:

      • registration/matriculation certificate or a letter of acceptance of university or college or a study reservation certificate of a training and education institution or application confirmation [original and one copy] or
      • a confirmation of a university or college stating that the presence of the applicant at the location of the university or college is required for deciding about the application. It has to be confirmed that the application has been checked and that there is a reasonable chance for acceptance [original and one copy],
      • under age students: permission of the person(s) entitled to custody,
      • university or college applicants: proof of entitlement to study in higher education (Hochschulzugangsberechtigung) which allows studying at a German university or college (or a preparatory college),
      • proof of German language skills unless language skills have been considered in the acceptance decision process or are to be acquired by preparatory measures [original and a copy],
      • proof of previous study achievements from the second semester on [original and a copy]
      • proof of sufficient means of subsistence e. g. by promise of scholarship or declaration of commitment by parents or a third party or a security deposit on a blocked account in Germany [original and a copy],

      What after successful completion of the course of study?

      The moment of graduation depends on the respective study and examination regulation. Normally, this will be a written notification of the successful completion of the examination and the examination result. From this point on, Study programme as a purpose of residence seizes to exist. In this case, the date of de-registration is irrelevant.

      After completing your study programme you may start a postgraduate study programme in Germany, i. e. a master programme or doctoral studies. However, you must not do two consecutive bachelor programmes.

        Having graduated from a German college or university, you may stay in Germany for seeking employment corresponding to your qualification.

          Which forms are required?

          Application Form for a Residence Permit