Have you ever dreamed of pursuing your studies outside of the Philippines, in Europe in general? To be specific, have you fancied yourself studying in Germany, watching your favorite football team in the bundesliga matches, munching your delicious currywurst, downing a Maß of dunkel beer while biting your huge schweinshaxe, getting drunk in Oktoberfest, and salivating over those beautiful Benz, Audi, BMW, VW and Porsche cars?
If you keep on nodding while reading this and have other fantasies to add, then you indeed are dreaming and very excited to study in Germany. READ: Top Reasons Why You Must Study Abroad.
Especially now that most German public educational institutions are tuition-free, there are more and more international students flocking Deutschland in search of a better educational system and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
But first things first: if you are a Filipino passport holder, you must apply for a visa to be able to study and stay in Germany for the duration of your studies. In this post, I would help you know how you can perhaps possibly also get your German student visa within ten working days.
Who wants to study in Germany? Say, Ja!
I get several emails and private messages with inquiries on how I successfully managed to get a student visa in Germany. Many of them are afraid to apply in that country as Germany is known for being a stickler for rules. To help others know the process as well as not to repeat myself over and over again to my friends, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply for national student visa in Germany for Filipino passport holders and hopefully get it within 10 WORKING DAYS, like how I did it.
Generally, Filipinos are required to get a visa before entering Germany. Last year, I have written about the process on how to successfully secure a Schengen Visa for Filipino Tourists. However, if you plan to stay longer than 90 days, the rule of thumb is for you to apply for a national visa.
What is a National Visa?
A national visa is a long-term visa issued by Germany to those who are planning to stay longer than the 90-day tourist Schengen visa offers. Unlike the Schengen Visa, the national visa has different and more sets of requirements. Also, national visas can only be issued after the approval of responsible Aliens’ Office in Germany. Therefore, processing time of several weeks to months must be expected and visa application should be done at an early date.
The embassy generally issues national visa for specific purposes: study, marriage, family reunion, employment, au pair, etc. Maximum validity is 90 days with multiple entries. Shortly after arrival in Germany, visa holders should visit the responsible Alien’s Office and apply to get a residence permit.
Who can apply for German national student visa?
To apply for a German national student visa, you must be a prospective student, student applicant, or long-term language course student in Germany.
What are the requirements?
- Valid passport
- Two copies of your application forms completely filled
- Three identical and current passport photos. Check the embassy’s photo requirement.
- Two declarations signed. Get this form in the website.
- Certificate of admission (for students) or proof of standard matriculation (for student applicants)
- CV in tabular form including your education background without a gap. My CV was in EuroPass format. Just Google it and you will be safe.
- Motivation letter and study plan essay. Just write clearly, briefly, and honestly. Remember what you have written as this may be asked in the interview.
- Proof of finance of at least €659/month or €7908 per year.
- Depositing the required sum in a special savings account in Germany (Sperrkonto) with Deutsche Bank
- Letter of award of an official scholarship
- Formal obligation of a person who will take over the cost (original with two copies)
- Confirmation of and registration with the language school if taking a German preparatory course
When to apply
The important thing is to apply as early as possible. Based on what I have read online, many people follow the three months rule. I have never done this, as my national student visa and even Schengen visa (for tourist) applications were never sent more than three weeks before my flight. But that’s just me. Haha! Still, it is better to apply early so if the embassy requires further documents from you, you can still have time to prepare and send them.
However, it is necessary to note here that you must have your school application settled beforehand. If possible, you must already have a Letter of Acceptance, or better, Letter of Matriculation or Enrolment as these documents will greater support your claim to get a visa. The embassy will confirm your application to your selected university and when you have these documents, your chance of getting your passport back with a visa stamp increases.
Where to apply?
Since you are applying for a student visa to study in Germany, then you must apply at the German embassy. In Manila, it is located at:
German Embassy Manila: 25/F Tower 2, RCBC Plaza 6819 Ayala Ave (cor Sen. Gil Puyat Ave) Makati City Metro Manila, Philippines
Monday to Thursday from 7:30 to 15:30 hours | Fridays from 7:30 to 13:30 hours.
Our general visiting hours are Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 11.30 hours. Please note that an appointment is necessary for passport applications and civil status matters.
Contact the visa section:
Phone: (0063 2) 702 3001 | Fax no.:(0063 2) 702 3045 | E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
How much does it cost?
The application fee costs €60 but must be payable in Philippines Pesos at the current exchange rate. There is no refund if the application is rejected.
However, in my experience last February, I was first asked to ready my payment but after answering questions whether I have been to Germany before or if I had Schengen visas prior to the application, the staff suddenly told me that I no longer need to pay. I forgot to ask her why so up to this day, I still do not know.
STEP-BY-STEP APPLICATION GUIDE TO GERMAN NATIONAL STUDENT VISA APPLICATION FOR FILIPINOS
Here, I am now giving you a step-by-step guide on how to prepare and apply for your German national student visa based on the German embassy website’s instructions and my experience.
Prior to Application
- Get the list of all required documents mentioned above and prepare them. Also fill-up the student visa application form found here: http://www.manila.diplo.de/contentblob/3618550/Daten/6193697/MB_student_jan13.pdf
- If you are a self-supported student (does not have a scholarship), you must open a Sperrkonto at the Deutsche Bank. Download the form in its website and answer as many items relevant to you.
A note of advice here: you can only apply for your account in the main Deutsche Bank located in Hamburg and for you to do this, you need to present your application form in the embassy and have it signed. Then, have your entire bank application mailed to Germany. I used FedEx in Zuellig Building, Makati for this. When you are finally advised that your account is active, you should start depositing the required amount for you – a semester, year, or two year’s worth of required money. You can also deposit an amount higher than what is required. When you finally reach the minimum amount required, Deustche Bank will inform the embassy that you fulfilled the necessary application requirement, and therefore your visa application will proceed. The amount deposited in your account can only be withdrawn in Germany and only at maximum of €659 per month or a specific amount you may have mentioned if you have deposited higher than what is required.
- Make an appointment in the embassy with this link: https://service2.diplo.de/rktermin/extern/choose_realmList.do?request_locale=en&locationCode=mani
When you already prepared the required documents or can already estimate when the rest of your papers will arrive, book for an appointment in the embassy for your visa application. It is better to regularly check the appointment database as slots can be easily filled.
Application of National Student Visa at the German Embassy
- Bring all your documents – application forms, photos, supporting documents and exact cash. Do not forget a printed copy of your appointment schedule. Ensure that you have every forms filled completely and double check the information you have provided.
- Arrive on time
- Have yourself checked by the security team then hand in your mobile phones, tablets, and other gadgets in a locker provided for you by one of the guards.
- Get your queue number. An embassy staff will ask for your application purpose and will then give you a color-coded card number.
- Proceed to the waiting area and wait for your number to be called.
- When it is your turn, give your application forms and required documents.
- Please answer all the interview questions given to you clearly and honestly! If you do not understand, do not hesitate to ask. Your interview will be done right there and then at the waiting area in front of the consular staff.
- Follow instructions when you are directed to the digital fingerprint machine.
- Submit your request to open a Deustsche Bank account to a separate counter mentioned by your interviewer.
- When all of your application documents have been submitted, your interviewer will return your passport and say that you will be contacted when your application for national student visa has been pre-approved.
- If you need the national student visa in a specific time, inform your interviewer about it so he/she can note it down.
- When you finally get an e-mail notification from the embassy (or maybe a phone call), go to the embassy and hand in your passport. If there are additional or supporting documents requested from you, give these to the staff as well.
- You will be given a slip of paper with a schedule on when your passport will be released. Go to that specific date and time. Never be late.
- When you finally received your passport, and hopefully with a national visa stamp, the consular staff will read the details in your visa to check if everything is correct.
- Double check this, especially the spelling of your name and travel dates.
- The consular staff may or may not give you instructions on what to do after arrival in Germany, i.e., visit the Alien Office to register your address and get your residence permit.
Too many things to prepare and keep in mind, right? Here are also 10 Tips on Preparing for Your Student Exchange Program. I know it is a lot to take in now and it can be overwhelming, but just imagine yourself being here.
TIMELINE OF MY GERMAN NATIONAL STUDENT VISA APPLICATION
Long term visas, including those for students, can only be issued after the approval of responsible Aliens’ Office in Germany. Therefore, processing time of several weeks must be expected and visa application should be done at an early date.
13 January – Request for documents from home and German universities, Philippine banks, and health insurance provider. Download and filled up the application forms. Took passport photos, etc.
14 January – first attempt to set an appointment schedule. All slots full. Earliest at mid-February. Contacted my German university and informed them about my situation
15 January – German university directly requested the German embassy Manila for a special appointment slot for me
18 January – reserved for the earliest slot given to me
II. APPLICATION TIME
26 January– Appointment schedule -> application and interview (window 5)
1 February – Received a phone call from the German Embassy. My visa has already been pre-approved after only 4 working days! Consular staff informed me to submit my passport, travel date information, and travel insurance.
4 February – Submitted required documents. Consular staff told me to return after two working days to get my passport and visa.
8 February – Chinese New Year holiday
10 February – Went to the embassy and got my passport with a German national student visa stamp. Yay!
TOTAL DAYS OF PREPARATION – 9 working days
TOTAL DAYS OF VISA PROCESS IN THE EMBASSY – six working days for the process, ten working days including time to submit supporting documents
TOTAL DAYS USED – 15 working days
Notes: I only counted embassy working days (Mon-Fri) and excluded counting 8 February as it is a national holiday.
HOW I GOT MY GERMAN NATIONAL STUDENT VISA IN 10 DAYS
First, let me begin by saying that what I had is a special case and perhaps won’t happen again the next time I apply for a national visa. The result was probably mainly due to the circumstances I had that time which the embassy recognized and therefore tried its duty to serve me as fast as they can. Normally, friends and people I met along the way told me that national student visa application normally takes more than one month of just embassy processing, so not including the preparation process. As seen in my timeline above, my entire visa processing took only 10 working days while with preparation is only 15 working days.
So how did I successfully manage to get it so fast? Here are my tips – none of them is illegal, by the way! 🙂
- Gather as much information as you can about the embassy, its office and visa hours, address, etc. You do not want to waste precious days and hours going there when you are not even allowed to.
- Read, read, and read. Anticipate what you will need in the application. Always go to the embassy website for its updated requirements for the national student visa.
- Always duplicate or triplicate printing and copying of your documents. Some items in the requirements must be in twos or threes, so always ensure that you have enough copies done. My rule is to always have the required number of copies, one copy for myself, and at least one extra copy for emergencies.
- Try to book an appointment as early as you can.
- While waiting for your appointment, try to finish collecting all the required documents and forms.
- If you are running out of time, i.e., your semester will start soon, ask your German university coordinator if he/she can contact the embassy and inform your situation while asking the possibility to expedite your visa application process.
- Write in your application form how soon you need the visa or when you must fly to Germany.
- During the interview, inform your interviewer about your circumstances. Mention your situation so the consular staff can at least note the urgency of your application
There you go. I hope this post help current applicants and aspiring students to apply for German national student visa. Everything that I wrote here is based from my experience and information from the embassy. Things may changed without notice, so I highly recommend that you still check the German embassy’s website for updated requirements. Again, this is simply a guide to help out fellow Filipinos who would like to pursue their education in Germany. Let me know if this helps. Good luck and pursue your dream to study in Germany!