It’s important that you apply for a student visa before you come to Germany. It has to be valid for the whole time period of your stay in Germany. If you come here without a student visa, you will only have a tourist status. Without a student visa, it is not possible to attend lectures or to be awarded with credits! 

As the issuing of a visa can take up to 3 months, it is important that you apply for your student visa as soon as you have been accepted as an exchange stdent by DHBW Karlsruhe.

You find official information regarding visa regulations in Germany here.

Steps to obtain visa

To apply for a visa, contact the German embassy or consulate in your home country. You can find their details on the Federal Foreign Office's website, along with a list of required documents.

Types of visas:

  • Student visa: If you've been accepted to a university.
  • Prospective student visa: If you're waiting for acceptance. It's valid for three months and can be extended for six months.

Commonly required documents:

  • Valid passport
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of sufficient funds
  • Academic records and language skills proof
  • Letter of acceptance from the university (if applicable)
  • Higher education entrance qualification (for prospective student visa)
  • Possibly a health certificate

Tip: Visa processing can take a few months, so apply early even without university acceptance. You can convert a prospective student visa to a study permit in Germany.

Note: A tourist visa cannot be changed to a student visa later on.

Extending your stay

If you decide to extend your stay for a further semester while you are here, you have to immediately make an appointment with the Ausländerbehörde (Immigration Office) in Karlsruhe to extend your residence permit. Please select “Persönliche Beantragung Aufenthaltserlaubnis/Niederlassungserlaubnis (Verlängerung/Änderung/ Neubeantragung)“.  The “Ausländerbehörde” (Immigration Office) is located in the same building as the “Bürgerbüro”.
Address: Stadt Karlsruhe, “Bürgerservice und Sicherheit”, Kaiserallee 8