Students and Graduates
If you want to study in Germany, a residence permit can be issued. Even if you do not have a place yet and still have to complete a language course or a “Studienkolleg“, you can obtain a residence permit (§ 16 AufenthG).
The prerequisites for first-time issuance usually have to be checked in the visa process by the German Mission in the country of your legal residence. The local immigration office of the city you want to study in has to approve the issuance. During the visa process, you might be interviewed about your “motivation”. It is therefore advisable to have knowledge of your field of study.
If you have been granted a residence permit for study purposes, this often carries a so-called “resolutive condition“, such as a “Gets void with termination of studies in history at the Humboldt University”. If this condition occurs because you e.g. change the program or the university, the residence permit expires automatically before the expiration date. Therefore you should definitely apply for a residence permit for the new purpose before fulfillment of the condition.
Your student residence permit will be extended for as long as it is expected that the exam can still be achieved within reasonable time. After a certain period of study the foreigners authority can demand a study prognosis from the university about when to expect a successful degree.
A change of subject or subsequent postgraduate studies is possible if a successful completion within a total stay of 10 years can be assumed. However, the practice of the immigration authorities is quite inconsistent.
If you give up your studies, you can only switch to another residence permit in exceptional cases. Such a case exists if you can provide a vocational training contract in a job with a shortage of employees.
As a student you are generally allowed to work academically at the university. Further employment is allowed for 120 days or 240 half days per year. However, self-employment is regularly not possible.
As a graduate of a German university, you can receive a residence permit for 18 months to find an adequate job. During the period of job searching you have full access to the labour market.
During the job search period, there is full access to the labour market. However, a job offer “for which the training qualifies” is then required for the extension. The intended employment must therefore have a connection with the training. The Federal Employment Agency also checks whether the salary is in line with the local or collectively agreed remuneration. This information can be found in the “Entgeltatlas“.
As a graduate of German universities, you can receive a (permanent) settlement permit if you have been working for two years as a graduate (§ 18b AufenthG).
If you have a recognized foreign university degree, you can get a job search visa for 6 months. The prerequisite is that you can secure your own living for this time. If you receive a job offer during this time, a residence and work permit or a EU Blue Card can be issued by the immigration authority.
Our expert in this field is Specialist Lawyer for Immigration Law Sven Hasse.
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