What do I need to know about the Visa?

What will it cost me to study in Germany?

What are the deadlines for Applications?

Are there Prerequisites / Criteria for Scholarship / Applications?

Where can I apply?

Do I need to speak German to study in Germany?

Can I get a scholarship for an Honours Degree?

What are the Academic Terms in Germany?

What are the DAAD consultation hours?

What do I need to know about the Visa?

As an international student, you will need a visa for the purpose of studying in Germany. Important to remember is that you cannot change the status of your visa in Germany. That means, you cannot enter the country on a tourist visa and then change it to a student visa. For that, you would have to leave the country again. If you want to study in Germany, you have to apply for a student visa before travelling to Germany. 

For any other information regarding Visa-applications, please contact the German embassy, which you can find here:https://www.visa-germany.co.za/index.php/visa_centres/view/2or at http://www.southafrica.diplo.de/Vertretung/suedafrika/en/03__RK/__Visa.html

According to the pocket guide, Destination Germany, DAAD has published:

You may need a visa for Germany depending on where you come from and how long you wish to stay in Germany. Ask about visa requirements at the German embassy or consulate in your home country. They will provide comprehensive information relating to your visa questions.

Important information at a glance:

  • Citizens of an EU member country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland only require a valid personal identification card to enter Germany.

  • Citizens from other countries require a visa if they wish to remain in Germany longer than 90 days.

  • Citizens from Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States may obtain a visa after arriving in Germany. The same applies for citizens of Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino who do not wish to seek employment.

  • Citizens from all other countries must apply for a visa before travelling to Germany.

Special conditions apply if your stay does not exceed 90 days. In such cases, citizens from the following countries may enter Germany without a visa: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Seychelles, Singapore, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Taiwan, Uruguay, Vatican City and Venezuela. These conditions also apply to citizens of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia who hold biometric passports.

Types of Visas

The visa you need primarily depends on whether you have already received your notification of admission from a German university.

  • If you have not yet been admitted to a university or university foundation programme, you should apply for a study applicant visa.

  • If you have been admitted to a university or university foundation programme, you should apply for a student visa. Student visas are generally valid for three months, after which time you will have to apply for a residence permit at the Alien Registration Office in your city of residence in Germany.

Please note: Do not enter the country as a tourist. Tourist visas cannot be automatically converted to study applicant visas or student visas. If you enter with a tourist visa, you will have to return to your home country and re-apply for a student visa.

Documents for visa application

When you apply for a visa, you will have to provide the authorities with a number of additional documents, for example:

  • Proof of health insurance coverage

  • Proof of financial resources

  • Certificates of prior academic achievement, i.e. transcripts (if applicable)

  • Certificate of German language knowledge or letter confirming planned participation in a language course in Germany (if applicable)

  • Notification of admission from your German university (if applicable)

  • University entrance qualification which is recognized in Germany (if applicable)

  • Health certificate (required in some countries)

The German embassy or consulate can tell you exactly which documents you will need for your visa applications.

What will it cost me to study in Germany?

When you study in Germany, you can expect the following costs:

  • Semester contribution, NO TUITION FEE

    • All students in Germany are required to pay a semester contribution. That is an admin fee to help finance a number of student services, including the dining halls, student halls of residence, university sport facilities and administration. The benefit is you will receive a student Card, which gives you reduced rates at restaurants and free rides for public transport in the area.

  • Health Insurance

    • All students must have health insurance coverage. If your health insurance policy from home is not recognized in Germany, you will have to get insurance in Germany. Insurance coverage is available to students for about 80 euros per month.

  • Living expenses (accommodation, food, clothing, books etc.)

    • Compared to other European countries, Germany is not overly expensive. The price of food, accommodation, clothing, and cultural activities are equivalent to the EU average. It is difficult to predict exactly how much money you will need in Germany. That mostly depends on whether you would like to stay in a big city or a small university town. A survey amongst international students revealed that the average international student spends 865 EUR per month. That however is above the average that most German students spend, which means you can get by with less.

  • Tuition fees (if applicable)

    • Most universities in Germany are publicly funded. That is 400 institutions of higher education. These public institutions normally waive tuition fees for most bachelor’s and many master’s degree programmes. There are also 100 private institutions that charge fees for certain master’s degree programmes. Only 2% of German students attend private universities.

Proof of financial resources

The visa application requires a proof of financial resources of at least 659€ per month for international students. There are several forms of proof of financial resources that you may submit, such as your parents’ income statement or proof of assets, a security payment in a blocked account, a bank guarantee, a scholarship or a guarantee issued by someone you know who lives in Germany. The German embassy in your home country can tell you which types of proof it recognizes. http://www.southafrica.diplo.de/

Please note that proof of financial resources is extremely important. Without it, you won’t be allowed to study in Germany.


Many institutions offer scholarships to international students. There are different types of organisations that offer scholarships, for example politically-affiliated foundations, business-affiliated foundations, German federal states, research institutes, student organisations and of course the DAAD. The DAAD scholarship database is the easiest way to look into funding opportunities (www.funding-guide.de). Also, the international offices are a source to get more information about scholarship programmes.

What are the deadlines for Applications?

The deadlines for the programmes from programme to programme.

The German academic year starts in October and ends in September. That means the first semester is from October to March, the second semester is from April to September. The application for degree programmes at German universities therefor open (mostly) in July for October and in February for April.

The deadlines for scholarships must be researched with the institution that offers the scholarship.

This is a list of DAAD programmes and deadlines. Please make sure to check the DAAD database for the latest information (www.funding-guide.de)

Level of Funding

Programme Name


Master in Germany

PPGG – Public Policy and Good Governance

Depends on Uni

Master in Germany

Development Related PostGrad

Depends on Uni

Master in South Africa

In-Country in SA (NRF)


PhD in Germany

Research Grant


PhD in South Africa

In-Country in SA (NRF)


Post Doc

Research Stay

1-Apr – for stay from Aug

1-Oct – for stay from Feb

Are there Prerequisites / Criteria for Scholarship / Applications?

The prerequisites for scholarships are dependent on the programme you are applying for.

For DAAD, the academic merit plays an important role. That means, applicants must have an academic average of 65% or above.

Where can I apply?

The application address depends on the programme you are applying for. For the DAAD scholarships you will find the relevant information in DAAD database (Www.funding-guide.de)

Do I need to speak German to study in Germany?

No, there are about 20 000 degree programmes in Germany. Most of them (about 18 000) are taught in German. However, there are about 1800 international degree programmes, which are taught mostly in English. The language level you need to qualify for admission to university depends on your degree programme and the university itself. Therefore you will need to ask the International Office at the university of your choice about the specific admission requirements before you apply. For German-language degree programmes, students are usually required to provide proof of German language proficiency on a B2/C1 level.

If you apply for a DAAD scholarship to go to Germany for more than 6 months, you will also be funded for a language course which will be highly beneficial to you since the international experience is not all about studying. Even if you hardly need German at university, it is still definitely worth learning the language of your host country. To feel at home in a foreign country, knowing the language plays a huge role. Knowing German can help you get settled into daily life faster, participate more intensively in German life and make friends much easier.

Can I get a scholarship for an Honours Degree?

An honours degree is a British and South African education term.  Germany does not recognize an honours as a degree, therefore the DAAD does not offer scholarships for an honours degree.  Post-graduate study commences from a master degree in Germany, which means you can apply to do a master degree in Germany after a completed bachelor degree in Germany.

What are the Academic Terms in Germany?

The winter semester in Germany starts in September/ October, this is usually the semester that your degree will commence. The second semester of the academic year, called the summer semester, usually starts March/ April.

When applying at your chosen university, it is recommended to contact the international office to inquire about the deadline for application.

What are the DAAD consultation hours?

The DAAD South Africa Office is open to walk-ins on Monday and Friday, 9h00-11h00. For any other time, please email us at daad@wits.ac.za or call us at 011 717 9334 for an appointment.