In order to enter and stay in Germany during your studies, you may require a student visa and/or a residence permit depending on your citizenship. Please do not enter Germany with a tourist visa under any circumstances - it cannot be used to obtain your residence permit.
Citizens of EU countries, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland
You can enter Germany with a valid passport or ID. No visa or residence permit is required.
Citizens of Australia, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, the US and specified other countries
(see the complete Federal Foreign Office list of countries)
Due to special visa regulation agreements for those countries, you can enter Germany with your passport and you do not need a visa. You can apply for your Aufenthaltserlaubnis (residence permit) at the Ausländerbehörde (Foreign Registration Office) in Germany after your arrival.
When applying in person for your residence permit, please make sure to bring along a proof of sufficient financial resources to cover your living expenses for at least one year (a minimum of EUR 720 per month). This can be evidenced by any one of the following: a blocked account, a declaration of financial commitment, a bank statement showing the credit balance in a bank account in Germany, a proof of stipend or scholarship. For exchange students only: a bank statement (for the form please email the Office of International Affairs).
Citizens of non-EU countries (other than those listed above)
You must apply for a student visa (Visum zu Studienzwecken) at the German embassy or at a German consulate in your country of residence prior to your departure. It can take up to six months to process, so start the process as early as possible. More information about entry visa for educational purposes can be found on the Make it in Germany website and the Federal Foreign Office website.
Residence permit (after arrival)
The student visa is normally valid for a maximum of 3 months. If you intend to stay longer than indicated in your passport, you must apply for a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) at the foreign registration authority of your town of residence upon arrival in Germany. In Stuttgart this is the Ausländerbehörde or Bürgerbüro [de].
Registration at the residents’ registration office
In addition to registering for the residence permit, all students (regardless of citizenship) are required by German law to register at the Einwohnermeldeamt/Bürgerbüro (residents’ registration office) of the town where they live within 14 days upon arrival. Check with the Office of International Affairs where to go and for the documentation requirements.