Hans-Torsten Richter answers your questions about surviving and thriving in Berlin. Write to [email protected]
I’m American and want to study at the TU, but the process of getting a visa seems incredibly complicated. I heard I can get a student visa through a language school in order to prepare for studies here. Is it true?
Yes, enrolling in a German university isn’t all that straightforward as a non-EU citizen. To prepare for your studies in Germany – after remaining in the country for three months – you’ll have to score an Aufenthaltserlaubnis zum Zweck der Studienvorbereitung (residency permit for preparation to study). You’ll have to prove you have a Hochschulzugangsberechtigung or higher education entrance qualification. For Americans, your high school diploma could be sufficient. You’ll have to be angemeldet (registered). You’ll need to provide evidence you have at least €8000 in funds at your disposal, proof of health insurance and a contract with a recognised language school.
Google, print and fill out the “Formular Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels” (an English version is available) and bring it – plus a biometric photo, your passport, your Anmeldebestätigung, confirmation of your language course and health insurance, and your bank statement – to the dreaded Ausländerbehörde. Don’t bother trying to get an appointment online. There are none available, ever. You’ll have to trudge to Moabit and head to section Z2.
If everything goes smoothly, you’ll be asked to fork over between €60-110. Your journey towards a (nearly) free education has begun.
Originally published in issue #128, June 2014.