Applying for studies
The most important prerequisite for studying at one of the German universities is a valid university entrance qualification (usually the Abitur). Provisions that apply to German citizens and educational residents (foreign citizens who have obtained a university entrance qualification either in the Federal Republic of Germany or at a German school abroad) are different from those that apply to EU citizens or interested students from non-EU countries. There are regulations for professionals that allow studying even without a vocational university entrance qualification.
German citizens having a university entrance qualification from a foreign country must take a language test or demonstrate sufficient German language skills. However, they can study without the Abitur as well. Saxony, like other federal states, has also made regulations that enable qualified professionals to study at a German university.
University admission for EU citizens: basically you must have a school-leaving qualification that entitles you to study at a university in your home country. EU citizens do not need a residence permit or visa to study in Germany. However, since the reporting obligation applies in Germany and you will need to stay in Germany for more than three months, you will need to register with the registration office in your city after your arrival. You have to credibly demonstrate that you can finance your studies yourself and show proof of health insurance. In addition, as an EU citizen, you can study in Germany only if you have sufficient German language skills. Citizens of the EEA countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are treated as being at par with EU citizens.
University admission for non-EU citizens: you need a visa to enter Germany and study here. You will have to apply for the visa at the German embassy or consulate in your home country and have it with you before you enter the country. The student applicant visa is valid for three months and is issued if you have not yet received admission from a university or a preparatory college. After admission to a course of study, this visa can be converted into a study visa. Note: a tourist visa cannot be converted into a study visa! You can find information on the current visa regulations on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.
You can study in Germany for a year with a study visa. The visa has to be renewed every year and is issued only if you have an admission to a university or a preparatory college. For this visa, you must have health insurance, sufficient German language skills and you must prove that you can finance your livelihood yourself during the course.
As a rule, you can study in Germany only if you have a certain level of proficiency in German. The following examinations can demonstrate the required language skills:
- German language examination for universities entrance to foreign applicants (DSH)
- Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (Test of German as a foreign language) (TestDaF)
- Sprachdiplom der Kultusministerkonferenz Stufe II (German Language Certificate of the Education Ministers Conference - Level II)
- German part of the assessment test at preparatory colleges.
You can be exempted from furnishing proof of ability to study in German if you have passed an examination or hold qualifications in accordance with the Framework on German Language Examinations for studying at German universities.