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 January 2020 .

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 (Aufenthaltserlaubnis-Schweiz) from the Berlin Immigration Office (Landesamt für Einwanderung, LEA).

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.

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 not restricted to the course or the university the applicant has chosen.

The electronic residence permit (elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel - eAT) is issued in card-size format, including biometric information (passport photograph and two finger prints), auxiliary conditions and personal data. 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. The Visa Service for international students of our university (see below) offers advice and support to submit the application documents to the Immigration Office. Under certain problematic circumstances (if the language skills are not sufficient or if the average duration of studies is considerably exceeded, financial problems, etc.), the application to the LEA can also be made via the visa service; at the very least, advice is recommended.

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/

Public transport:

U-Bahn U7 (Mierendorffplatz)
Bus M27 (Keplerstraße station)

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

There are currently no public office hours. Applications are accepted electronically under B1B2B3[at]lea.berlin.de. After processing, you will be invited to an appointment. Or you can book an appointment directly with the LEA, but appointments are not always available. (► Appointment).

enlightened  You also have the possibility to make use of the Humboldt Visa Service. Through this service, you can receive multilingual support and advice. 

Students Welcome Centre
Visa Service for international students

E-Mail: visaservice@hu-berlin.de
Web: https://hu.berlin/visaservice-en