5.1.3 Student residence permit

Residence of foreigners in Germany is regulated by the Act on the Residence, Economic Activity and Integration of Foreigners in the Federal Territory (Aufenthaltsgesetz – AufenthG), which came into force on 1 January 2005, and was last changed as of 1 August, 2017.

EU citizens, students from Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein do not have to apply for a residence permit, as they enjoy the right of free movement.

Swiss citizens enjoy a similar right of free movement, but need to apply for a residence permit – Switzerland (Aufenthaltserlaubnis-Schweiz) from the Foreigners’ Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde). This can also be done through the Visa Service of the HU (see below).

All other international students, also the ones who are allowed to enter Germany without a visa (► 4.1), have to apply for a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) at the Berlin Foreigners' Registration Office shortly after entering Germany. These students can also make use of the Visa Service of the HU (see below).

The Foreigners' Registration Office will issue the student residence permit on the basis of evidence submitted either for the pre-university course (Studienkolleg) or for admission to a university course. The student residence permit is no longer restricted to the course or the university the applicant has chosen.

Since 1 September 2011, the electronic residence permit (eAT) has been issued in card-sized format, including biometric information (passport photograph and two finger prints), auxiliary conditions and personal data. All EU Member States are required to introduce the eAT. At this time in Berlin, the eAT will only be printed upon request. The residence permit will normally be printed in the form of an adhesive label in the student's passport.

Students should apply for their residence permit as soon as possible after their matriculation as due to the changed procedures, as long processing times at the Berlin Foreigners' Registration Office are to be expected. We strongly suggest that you submit your residence permit application through the Visa Service of the HU (see below).

The residence permit is generally valid for about two years (up to a maximum of four years), or for exchange students until the scholarship or the proposed period of studies expires. Applications for extensions will be thoroughly scrutinised with regard to the reasons why the permit was granted and if they still apply, and whether a proper course of study exists.

Please also note the specific regulations concerning a change of university, when going abroad (, the completion of the course ( or taking up doctoral studies ( 3.8). For more information please refer to the Foreigners' Registration Office or to the student Visa Service of the International Office (see below).

Landesamt für Bürger- und Ordnungsangelegenheiten (LABO)
Foreigners' Registration Office | Ausländerbehörde
- Dept. IV B Students and Researchers  -
Keplerstr. 2
10589 Berlin

Office hours:    
Mo, Tu   7.00 – 14.00
Th 10.00 – 18.00

Public transport:
U-Bahn U7 (Mierendorffplatz)
Bus M27 (Keplerstraße station)

More information:

The following documents are necessary to apply for a residence permit:

For a personal visit to the Foreigners' Registration Office, an ► eAppointment can be made in advance online. In exceptional cases, however, the Foreigners' Registration Office is prepared to receive foreign citizens without a prior appointment.

Issuing a residence permit carries a mandatory fee. As of 01.09.2017 there is a new schedule of fees. The basic principle is that a student pays € 56 for a residence permit and € 57 for the extension of the residence permit (if the extension is longer than three months), both in the form of an adhesive label in the student's passport. Students from Switzerland pay € 8. Students funded primarily through German public financial resources (scholarships or grants) are exempt from these charges. If an electronic residence permit (eAT) is requested, the fees are increased by € 44 respectively.

We strongly recommend that you use the Visa Service of the HU, which can offer advice and answer your questions in both English and German. Through the Visa Service of the HU, you can turn in your documents and application without needing to go to the Foreigners' Registration Office personally. After a processing time of ca. 2-3 weeks, you can pick up your passport with your residence permit.

Visa Service at the International Office
International Club "Orbis Humboldtianus"
Unter den Linden 6, room 1071, ground floor
10117 Berlin 

Phone: (+49 30) 20 93-46 746 (during office hours)

E-Mail: visaservice@hu-berlin.de
Internet: www.international.hu-berlin.de/en/studierende/an-der-hu/orbis-infothek/visaservice

Opening hours during lecture period:  
Tu 11.00 - 13.00   
Th 13.00 - 15.00

Please note that there are different opening hours during the semester break.