International

Visa and res­i­dence per­mit

Are you going to travel to Berlin and are wondering whether you need a visa and how to apply for one? Are you in Berlin and wondering what a residence permit is and what the conditions are? Then this page is the right place for you.

Before you travel to Germany, it is important to check whether you need a visa to enter the country. There are different regulations in place depending on your country of origin and the purpose of your stay. Find out about the applicable entry and residence regulations and the corresponding forms from a German diplomatic or consular mission abroad in your home country. See Visas for Germany at the Foreign Office.

Students and doctoral candidates

Citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland do not require a visa to enter the country. You do not need a residence permit in Germany either, because you enjoy freedom of movement.

Citizens from the Section 41 states (Andorra, Australia, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, UK, USA) can enter Germany without a visa, but must apply for a residence permit for (doctoral) studies at the Berlin State Office for Immigration (LEA) within 90 days after entry.

Nationals from third countries (countries not mentioned in the other two sections above) must enter with a D visa for study purposes (university/doctoral studies). The D visa must be applied for at the German embassies in your home country or at the visa offices. It is important to obtain a visa to enter Germany for your studies or doctorate at Humboldt-Universität as soon as possible.

If you have submitted your application for a bachelor's or master's degree to uni-assist in full and on time and meet the application requirements, you will receive a confirmation from uni-assist that your application has been forwarded to HU. This letter serves as an application confirmation which you can use to apply for your visa (an applicant visa) at the German embassy or consulate. The applicant visa can be easily converted into a residence permit for study purposes in Berlin.

Students and doctoral candidates who come to Berlin for one to two semesters (max. 12 months) as part of short-term programmes or exchange programmes (Erasmus, university partnerships, DAAD, Fulbright, etc.) should immediately obtain a D visa for the entire intended period of stay according to Article 18, Paragraph 2, Schengen Convention for all Schengen states1. In this case, there is no need to apply for a residence permit in Berlin.


  1. The Schengen states are all EU states with the exception of Ireland. 

In order to be able to stay in Germany for a longer period of time, you must apply for a residence permit to study at the State Immigration Office (LEA). In general, university students and doctoral candidates receive a residence permit in accordance with Section 16b of the Residence Act. For Section 16b, proof of appropriate study progress, secure funding and sufficient health insurance are necessary.

After successfully completing your studies in Germany as part of a stay in accordance with Section 16b of the Residence Act, a residence permit to look for a job for 18 months will be issued upon application. This is pursuant to Section 20 Paragraph 3 of the Residence Act. A source of earning must be secured during this time. During this time, self-employed and employed activities as well as internships, further training, etc., are permitted. You can apply for this residence permit at the State Immigration Office (LEA).

Researchers

Citizens of EU countries do not need a visa to enter the country or a residence permit to carry out research.

Citizens from the Section 41 states (Andorra, Australia, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America) are allowed to enter the country without a visa. However, you must apply for a residence permit at the State Immigration Office (LEA) in Berlin within 90 days. Citizens of Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino are allowed to enter the country without a visa if they do not plan to work. In order to take up employment, you must apply for a visa in your home country.    

Please note:

If you want to start working as an employee at Humboldt-Universität, you are not permitted to work until your residence permit has been issued. Due to long waiting times at the State Immigration Office (LEA), we strongly recommend you apply for a D visa to work as a researcher (Section 18d) before you arrive. This means you can start working immediately after entering the country.

Nationals from third countries (countries not mentioned in the other two sections above) require a D research visa to enter the country. Please apply for this at a German diplomatic mission (embassy/consulate) in your home country. Various documents are required, which you can find on the relevant website. Processing times at foreign missions vary from country to country, so please make arrangements as early as possible. There are special regulations for certain countries. Please contact the diplomatic mission abroad and inquire about the entry requirements for your individual circumstances.

Please note:

As a researcher from a third country, do not enter Germany with a C visa (Schengen visa). This visa cannot be extended or converted into a residence permit.

In order to be able to stay in Germany for a longer period of time or if you entered the country without a visa as a citizen of a Section 41 state, you must apply for a residence permit at the State Immigration Office (LEA). We are happy to help you with this. Please contact us well in advance before your visa expires.

If your (short) stay is completely covered by the D visa, you do not need to apply for a residence permit.

Depending on the purpose of your stay, various residence permits may be considered for you (for example Section 18d, Section 7, Blue Card or family reunification). We would be happy to advise you on this.

You can apply for a residence permit either independently via the LEA website or via the LEA university service. If you use the university service, we will submit the application for you and coordinate the process.

Contact

For students (BA, MA, exchange students)

We do not currently offer personal counselling on visas/residence permits for students. However, you can arrange individual Zoom appointments by e-mail visaservice@hu-berlin.de.

For researchers and doctoral candidates