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Please contact the German embassy or consulate in your country to find out as early as possible whether you need to secure a student visa before coming to Germany or if you can apply for a residence permit here after you have arrived. Also find out what documents you need and prepare your paperwork carefully.
If you do need a student visa before arriving, you must apply for it at the German embassy or consulate in your home country well before your scheduled departure. It is not possible to first enter Germany on a tourist visa and then convert it into a student visa after your arrival.
If you are required to obtain a visa prior to entering Germany, you will need, among other things, proof that you have sufficient means of subsistence. Essentially you must prove that you have enough money to pay for your living expenses while you are a student in Germany. Your financial means must be presented every year your student visa is extended. The minimum required to prove financial self-sufficiency is €836 per month, which comes out to €10,032 for the whole year. This money must actually be at your disposal and typically must be held in a blocked German bank account.
You can learn more about blocked bank accounts from the International Office.
Please read our detailed Travel Directions carefully. You will receive the "Travel Directions" with your letter of admission and you can also find them under "Downloads" at the bottom of this page.
Every student must register as a student at RWU upon arrival. Matriculation will take place during the Welcome and Orientation Program and the International Office will assist you. You will receive an e-mail before you arrive letting you know what documents you need to bring with you and what things you need to do before arriving.
Foreign students must report to the Residence Registration Office ("Einwohnermeldeamt" in German) of the city or municipality in which they live within 14 days after arriving in Germany. We will do this together with you during the Welcome and Orientation Program.
You will have to present your passport or ID card and answer questions about your address (if you live in a dormitory, please also state your room number!), your religion, and your marital status.
Since November 1st, 2015, you also have to show your rental contract or what in German is called a "Wohnungsgeberbestätigung" (Confirmation from the Landlord) when registering. This is a form that must be filled out by your landlord before you can register at the Einwohnermeldeamt.
Every foreigner must register with their local Foreigner's Registration Office ("Ausländerbehörde" in German) within seven days after entering Germany. This happens automatically when you register with the Residence Registration Office.
Citizens of all non-EU countries must apply for a residence permit as soon as they have all the necessary documents. The application and documents must be submitted at least 4 weeks before the visa expires. You will receive the relevant application form from the Foreigner's Registration Office as well as a list of the documents you will need and the fee you will have to pay.
The residence permit is usually issued for one year, typically until the end of the semester after the one during which the residence permit is applied for. The residence permit must be extended annually thereafter, including proving again that you have sufficient financial means of subsistence. Please note that this money must actually be at your disposal. If you entered the country with a blocked German bank account, you must again block the annual minimum amount (€10,032) prior to the renewal of your residence permit.
Please note: The residence permit is issued for the purpose of studying in Germany and is also contingent on the degree program at the university for which you applied for your visa. You will therefore lose the residence permit when you deregister from the university and will have to apply for a new residence permit if you want to continue to live in Germany.
You may change your degree program within the same university or transfer to another German university without restrictions within the first 18 months after beginning your studies (semesters 1-3). However, you must register the change with your local Foreigner’s Registration Office before the deadline. From the fourth semester onward, a change of degree program is only permitted on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Foreigner's Registration Office.
According to German law, every student at a state college or university is obliged to have sufficient health insurance. You must present a certificate attesting that you are insured to complete your enrollment at the university. Your German residence permit is also contingent on a valid health insurance policy.
Please note that a health insurance policy taken out in a non-EU country will not be recognized at RWU. We highly recommend that you take out a statutory German health insurance policy. The International Office will be happy to assist you during the Welcome and Orientation Program and even before you arrive. You will receive further information on health insurance with your admission letter.
If you enter the country on a visa, you will also need travel health insurance to cover your journey and your initial days in Germany before signing up for a health insurance policy.
If you come from an EU country, please bring your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) with you to Germany. You can obtain this card from your national health insurance provider at home. If your home country has a social security agreement with Germany, please bring the appropriate form with you.