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 Berlin Immigration Office (Landesamt für Einwanderung). This can also be done through the Visa Service of the HU (see below).

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

The Berlin Immigration 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.

In 2011, an electronic residence permit (elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel - eAT) was introduced in card-size 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, an eAT will only be issued upon request. The residence permit is normally issued as an adhesive label in the student's passport.

Students should apply for their residence permit as soon as possible after their matriculation, as long processing times at the Berlin Immigration 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 reviewed with regard to the reasons why the permit was granted and if they still apply, and whether a proper course of study (ordnungsgemäßes Studium) exists.

Please also note the specific regulations with regard to going abroad (►, the completion of the course (►, a change of university (► or taking up doctoral studies (► 3.8). For more information please refer to the Berlin Immigration Office or to the student Visa Service of the HU (see below).

Berlin Immigration Office | Landesamt für Einwanderung (LEA)
Keplerstr. 2
10589 Berlin
Web: www.berlin.de/einwanderung/en/

Opening hours:    
Mo, Tu   7.00 – 14.00
Th   9.00 – 17.00

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

Information on necessary documents as well as forms and fees are available online.

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

You also have the possibility to make use of the Humboldt Visa Service. Through this service, you can apply for and extend your residence permit and receive multilingual support and advice. For current office hours and information, please check the website.

Visa Service | International Department
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
Web: hu.berlin/orbis-visa-en