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Study Visa and Residence Permit

All foreign students (except nationals from EU/EFTA countries as well as from Australia, Canada, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Korea, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, Switzerland, and USA) have to apply for a study visa (Visum zu Studienzwecken) at the German Embassy in their home country prior to studies in the Federal Republic of Germany.

You should inquire about residence regulations and formally apply for a study visa at the German Embassy or Diplomatic Mission in your home country as early as possible, since it generally takes several weeks for a visa to be issued. It is not possible to apply for a visa in Berlin!

You can find a list of all German Embassies and General Consulates around the world here:

Please note that only a study visa (Einreisevisum zu Studienzwecken) will entitle you to register at Freie Universität Berlin and that your visa cannot be changed once you are in Germany. If you have a different kind of visa, you will have to return to your home country and have it changed.

After receipt of your visa and your arrival in Berlin, you are required to apply for an Aufenthaltserlaubnis (residence permit) at the Ausländerbehörde.

Residence Permit

Students from EU Countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway need not apply for a residence permit at the Ausländerbehörde. Within one month they are asked to get a so-called "Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung" at the local public office Bürgeramt.

All other foreign students are required to apply for a residence permit within one month or before your study visa expires.

For the application you need the following:

  • application form

  • your passport (or identity card)

  • proof of your grant from your home university

  • proof of registration (Meldebestätigung)

  • proof of health insurance for the duration of your stay (Krankenversicherungsnachweis)

  • proof of registration at Freie Universitaet Berlin (Immatrikulationsbescheinigung)

  • two passport-sized biometric photos

Please bring your completed forms and all copies of the documents to the Ausländerbehörde (LABO). Please note that the Ausländerbehörde may charge up to 80 Euro for a residence permit.