1. Non-EU citizens taking a course in preparation for studying in Germany generally need a visa!

Exceptions: A visa is not necessary for citizens of EU and EFTA countries, USA, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Israel or New Zealand. Students from these countries need to apply at the Authority for Foreigners (in German: Ausländerbehörde) in their place of residence in Germany for a Residence Permit for the Purpose of Studying (in German: Aufenthaltsgenehmigung zu Studienzwecken) within 3 months of entering Germany.

A Residence Permit for the Purpose of Studying is issued for a period of two years and must always be extended before the two years run out. The extension depends on how you conduct your studies, e.g. whether you take examinations and obtain certificates. In this way the chances of completing your studies within an appropriate timeframe are assessed.

  1. All others need to apply for a Student Applicant Visa (in German: Studienbewerbervisum) from a German embassy or consulate in their home country.
  2. A tourist visa cannot later be converted into a student visa!

Germany-Student-Visa5. A visa for learning German (in German: Visum zum Zweck des Deutschlernens), which can be granted for a stay of up to 12 months to take a language course, also cannot generally be changed to extend the duration of stay in order to study.

  1. Your application for the Student Applicant Visa (in German: “Studienbewerbervisum”) must describe the intentions of your stay in detail: for example, “language course followed by study at xxxx University”, or “preparatory study at Braun Pathway College followed by study at xxxx university”.

Visa Applicants will receive written confirmation of their intention to study from the International Office of the Braun Foundation Pathway College after they have applied for a pathway programme. This they can show to the embassy or consulate in their own country as evidence of the reason for residence.

  1. Depending on the country where you apply for your visa the German embassy/consulate may take 3 months or more to process a visa for long-term stays in Germany. Please enquire directly at the embassy/consulate.


Finances: In order to get a visa you must be able to prove that you can finance your studies. At least the first year of your studies must be completely financed. This means that you will have to show evidence that you have enough funds to cover both: a) your tuition costs and b) your cost of living in Germany.

Regarding tuition, the International Office of The Braun Foundation Pathway College will issue the appropriate confirmation paper as soon as you have either paid your tuition in full or have shown one or more of the other ways of proof of financing listed below.

Regarding cost of living, German authorities assume a certain minimum amount which you must have at your disposal each month. At the moment (2015) the amount is estimated at 670 euros per month – which comes to a total of 8,040 euros for a full year (12 months) of studies. As of fall 2016 this amount is set to rise to 735 euros per month, i.e. it will rise to a total of 8.820 euros for a year of studies.

However, it is possible that proof of a higher amount might be asked for by the embassy or consulate, especially when your preferred place of study in Germany is known to have a high cost of living.

  1. Proof of Financing can be shown in different ways. It is imperative that you enquire at the German Embassy in your country in what form the proof should be shown!

In principle the following options are possible:

Your parents submit appropriate statements of income and assets.

Someone living in Germany guarantees (and shows evidence that they can do so) to the Authority for Foreigners that they will bear the costs for you.

An amount is deposited as security into a blocked account in a German bank

You provide a bank guarantee.

You receive a scholarship from a recognised grantor.

You receive financial support according to the German student’s financial aid programme (BAföG)

Do not underestimate the proof of financing. It is more than just a bureaucratic hurdle; you should make sure that even after the first year of your studies you have a certain amount of financial support to fall back on.

In case you are considering financing part of your study and your cost of living through working in Germany, be aware that with a study load of up to 32 teaching hours per week plus appropriate intensive preparation and follow-up you will only have time to work during a few weeks of vacation. Non-EU citizens studying in a language programme or pathway college are legally only permitted to work during their vacation. Even in a best-case scenario this will only earn you only a minimal percentage of what you need.

Health Insurance

Health insurance: If you wish to study, whether in a language course, a foundation programme at a pathway college or as a full-time university student in Germany, you need obligatory health insurance. Without it, you cannot be enrolled.

With some countries, such as members of the European Union and the European Economic Area, Germany has a social security agreement. As long as you have public health insurance at home you can get this insurance coverage approved by a public health insurance company in Germany. But make sure you clarify at home which documents you will need to take with you! For students this is usually a European health insurance card (EHIC).

Your insurance company will usually issue the EHIC free of charge. It is possible that your insurance will not cover all costs in Germany. Before you enter the country make sure you know exactly what services you are entitled to in Germany. If you do not have health insurance at home, you still have to insure yourself in Germany – just like all German students.

Sometimes private health insurance from other countries may also be recognised in Germany. You should clarify the exact details with your insurance. If your private health insurance is not recognised the International Office of the Braun Pathway College can offer you as an alternative a reasonably priced private health insurance at 56 Euro per month.

If you need help with the complex details of visa application, permit to stay, financial confirmation or health insurance, contact the International Office of the Braun Foundation Pathway College. They are there to help you!

Applicants living abroad can also get in touch with the International office of the Braun Foundation Pathway Colleges if they need help during the visa application process.

The Braun Foundation, the responsbile body of the German Pathway Colleges (Studienkollegs) has been working with the education travel service STA Travel since 2010.

This collaboration is characterised by exceptionally low prices and simultaneously excellent service. STA Travel and GPC (Studienkollegs) have been developed a tailor-made insurance product for GPC (Studienkolleg)students. Followthe link below and find out everything about it:

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