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German Residence Permit for U.S. citizens

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Does anyone have any experience or know of the process of obtaining a residence permit in Germany for study purposes? 

I'm planning on starting a masters program in Germany this fall, & I've received conflicting information about the proof of funds requirement. I'm unable to apply early through the U.S embassy because I won't have the money that's required saved up until a month or two prior, so I will have to wait to apply once in Germany , at the KVR. I emailed both the U.S embassy and the KVR and the embassy said I must have either a blocked bank account or scholorship to prove the funds. The KVR said a bank statement or confirmation from your parents, that they will support you will suffice. 

Also, if anyone knows of any alternative funding options (besides loans) please let me know. I've applied for the Deutschlandstipendium but it's competitive, so not a guarantee. I'd rather not have to continue working 70 hour weeks all summer long:wacko: 


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Proof of sufficient funding confirms that one can cover your studies financially. At least the cost of living in the first year in Germany should be covered. Generally 720 euros a month, hence 8640 euros is required for first year. Following forms are possible

Sufficient income of parents of assets and income (income tax statement plus declaration)

A German sponsor guarantees to cover your cost and issues a statement

A security amount must be paid to a blocked bank account

You are awarded a scholarship by a recognized foundation (DAAD, Fulbright)

For student visa, you need

valid passport

written acceptance to a German uni

Proof of sufficient funding (see above)

Additionally, you need to proof that you have a student health insurance cover when you apply for residence permit. You can bring your own international insurance if it is recognised in Germany. Otherwise, you join a German insurer and pay standard student rate of 80 euros a month.

Q: Can you get a federal education loan for MA studies in Germany?

DAAD (German Fulbright equivalent) is the best choice for internationals. Deutschlandstipendium is good.


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  • 1 month later...


CakeTea as always has the best answer.

I have been using https://www.daad.de/deutschland/stipendium/en/ to look for funding. I am also planning to apply for the Deutschlandstipendium but I saw that FU Berlin is giving 24 out this take so it looks slim. I plan to just apply around, the political parties offer some. The DAAD scholarships look awesome, but you can't apply til later in the year.

I am in the same boat as you working a bunch to have enough money. I have an online job, so I plan to still work enough while in school to pay for my expenses.

Let me know if you come up with anything.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Funding is a bit rough for Americans, at the moment. I have gone through the process with the DAAD and Deutschlandstipendium twice (both rejections), and several political parties. First, your German has to be almost fluent. You will have an interview about your application, research project, goals for studying in Germany, and future plans. Second, and unfortunately, the funding targets for the federal government has shifted towards Asia and Africa, which makes the limited scholarships designated for North America even more competitive. Finally, you can only work a maximum of 20 hours a week during the semester as a student in Germany.


Despite the negatives, you have one massive plus. You are a native English speaker! Throughout my program, I have been teaching English and doing some English editing for fellow students. If you can carve out a niche, you will find plenty of work that can sustain you. Another bonus would be having some German skills (at least B1). If you have both language skills, then finding work will be easier, but still fairly difficult.


Sorry if I sound a bit pessimistic, but the past couple years have jaded me a bit about funding for foreigners in Germany.

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