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 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)

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

  • admission to undergraduate or graduate studies or confirmation of admission to an exchange programme at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin or matriculation certificate
  • passport
  • 1 current biometric passport photograph
  • evidence of registration at the Local Registration Office (Bürgeramt, form ► 5.1.1)
  • evidence of health insurance coverage (► 5.1.2)
  • evidence of financial means, if applicable, proof of scholarship in German or English
  • application form for a residence permit (form)
    You can find the application form for a residence permit (Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels) on the website of the Berlin Immigration Office in several languages or at the Visa Service of the "Orbis Humboldtianus" (see below).

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.

Issuing a residence permit carries a mandatory fee. As of September 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.

You also have the possibility to make use of the Visa Service of the HU, which can offer advice in both English and German.

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

If you belong to the group of students who receive an adhesive label in your passport for your residence permit, you can hand in your documents to the Visa Service and then collect your passport with the valid residence permit after a processing time of approx. 2 to 3 weeks. This will save you a trip to the Berlin Immigration Office. If you belong to the group of students who applied for the electronic residence permit (eAT), you must personally go to the Berlin Immigration Office. In that case, book an appointment in advance online.