The German Language Course Visa: An Overview
A German language course visa is a separate class of travel permission document to standard study visas, specifically designed for those who are taking part in an intensive language course to learn German while in Germany.
Such a course may last any time up to a year but must involve a minimum of 18-hours worth of lessons per week, with the visa applicant already having been accepted for participation onto it.
In many cases, a German language course visa is sought by those who wish to learn German to a decent standard prior to starting studies or work in the country, and so it will be granted as a standalone visa before the applicant returns to their home territory before coming back to Germany at a later date. If the intended course of action is for the applicant to immediately commence study without leaving the country, they will have to apply for a separate specific study visa.
If an individual is visiting Germany to take part in an intensive German language course but is a citizen of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand or the United States, they do not need to apply for a German language course visa and may attend to study without one.
- The German Language Course Visa: An Overview
- Language Course Visa Types in Germany
- Requirements for the Language Course Visa Germany
- Documents Needed to Apply for a Language Course Visa
- What Is A Blocked Bank Account?
- How to apply for a German Language Course Visa
- Processing Time For Language Course Visa Germany
- How Can Total Law Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Language Course Visa Types in Germany
There are a variety of German language courses, as with any language in the world. However, with the intensity required to qualify for a German language course visa – to be limited and set in duration, to comprise at least 18-hours of lessons a week, to be focused entirely on acquiring comprehensive Germany language skills and not only take place across nights and weekend – there are only a few standardised courses that fit the bill.
There are three types of German language course certificates that are recognised by most mainstream educational establishments. These are all available in a format intensive enough to meet the eligibility criteria for a German language course visa. These are:
- Test of German as a Foreign Language (TestDaF)
- Goethe Institute German Language Diploma (GDS)
- German Language Diploma of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (DSD), up to Level II.
Where an individual requires a comprehensive knowledge of the German language for whatever reason, one of these accredited course certificates is likely to be accepted as evidence of such skills. In most cases, the intensive version of these courses last at least three months in duration; but varying options are available.
Requirements for the Language Course Visa Germany
In order to qualify for a German language course visa, applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Be a citizen of a nation that is not a member state of the EU or EEA; and not Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand or the United States
- Have a written acceptance confirmation onto an eligible intensive German language course (this must offer at least 18-hours worth of classes per week and be set in its duration)
- Be intending to study the German language in Germany for the duration of the language course but not then intending to stay in the country to study any further
- To be able to prove that they have the financial means to support themselves while in Germany with no reliance on the state
The applicant does not necessarily require any prior knowledge of the German language, but courses may have their own requirements for a base level of skill.
Documents Needed to Apply for a Language Course Visa
In order to apply for a German language course visa, several supporting documents must be submitted along with the visa application form. These are:
- Two passport standard photographs, taken within the last six months
- Proof of accommodation in Germany for the duration of the German language course (usually a rental agreement or hotel reservation)
- Copies of any previously held visas for Germany or any other Schengen member state
- Confirmation of acceptance, enrolment or registration to attend a language course that meets the eligibility criteria
- A ‘letter of motivation’, whereby the applicant writes out why it is they wish to partake in the intensive German language course
- Proof of health insurance cover for the duration of the stay in Germany
- Proof of the visa fee paid (usually a receipt)
- Proof of a blocked account with a German bank to demonstrate sufficient financial resources
Further documents may be requested during the German language course visa application process, but these documents can be considered standard.
What Is A Blocked Bank Account?
A blocked account is a type of German bank account that is used to provide proof of a visa applicant’s sufficient financial resources. This proves that during the duration of their stay in Germany that they will not need to rely on any state benefits.
A blocked bank account allows foreign nationals to deposit the required amount of money for a visa of whichever type they’re applying. For a German language course visa, this amount is in line with the student visa requirements – which as of 2023 is €11,208 per annum or €934 per month.
The visa applicant deposits the amount into the blocked account. The ‘blocked’ portion of the account refers to the ability of the account holder to withdraw only a total of €934 within a month.
Register for relevant German language course
It must be noted that only intensive German language courses that take place over classes of at least 18-hours a week will be considered sufficient for an applicant to successfully receive a German language course visa. The applicant must have either registered onto or hold written acceptance onto such a course before they proceed any further.
Complete application form
A German national visa application can be downloaded from the German government website or a paper copy picked up from any German Embassy or Consulate. The applicant can file it online if preferred, but will still need to attend an in-person visa interview. If they are completing a paper version of the form this should be taken with them to said interview. All information in a visa application form must be accurate and correct to the best of the applicant’s knowledge. If any information reported is knowingly false or inaccurate, this will render the visa application invalid – and can lead to banned entry to Germany or even prosecution.
Collate all required supporting documents
All supporting documents should be compiled in advance so that the applicant is able to present them as soon as requested by German immigration authorities. It should be noted that additional documents may be requested from the applicant during the German language course visa application process, and that the processing of any application will be paused until such documentation has been received.
Schedule visa interview at Consulate
All applicants for a German language course visa must attend an in-person visa interview at their local German Embassy or Consulate. This interview must be booked in advance and the applicant must take with them all supporting documentation, and a completed application form (if submitting a paper form). German authorities will use this interview to ask questions of the applicant and may take biometric data such as fingerprints.
Pay visa fee
The visa application fee of €75 must be paid at the visa interview, and the receipt for this amount submitted along with the supporting documents. This fee is non-refundable even when a visa application is declined and without it, the application will not be processed.
In some instances, the individual will be granted a German language course visa and issued with it right away at the visa interview. If this is not the process in the applicant’s home country then they will need to return home and wait for written confirmation of a decision either in the post or by e-mail. In most cases, a decision on a German language course visa application will take only a couple of weeks.
Travel to Germany and start learning German
Once a German language course visa has been issued, the applicant may enter Germany for the purposes of attending their language classes. If the visa has specified dates of validity, the holder should not travel to Germany outside of these dates.
Processing Time For Language Course Visa Germany
It is advised that applicants for a German language course visa apply no sooner than three months before the commencement of their course, as the processing time can take this long to be completed. Anecdotally, however, most visa applications of this type are processed within just a couple of weeks.
More complex applications may take longer (for example, if the applicant has been rejected for a German visa before or if they are taking part in a non-mainstream German language course) and all Consulates are subject to their own workload fluctuations.
How Can Total Law Help?
Total Law can help citizens of all nationals navigate through the German immigration system and successfully apply for the relevant visa type for them. Whether you need help finding an appropriate German language course, aren’t sure of your eligibility or would like more information on the in-person visa interview process, our team can help.
Total Law are a team of specialist immigration lawyers able to guide applicants through even the most complex of application and appeal processes. Get in touch today for a free, no-obligation discussion on your circumstances on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or through our online contact form. We’re available at all times and are here for you from start to finish throughout the process. We won’t rest until you’re in Germany and fluent in German, so give us a call and let’s work together.
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The German language course visa does not permit holders to work or earn income in any capacity during their stay and so if this is a requirement for the applicant, another visa type may suit better.
A visa specifically for a stay in Germany to study German can be obtained – but only for intensive courses which include a minimum of 18-hours of study time a week.
In most cases, a local German Consulate General will be the institution that manages visa applications – but not all territories have a Consulate. In this case, applicants should contact their nearest Embassy of Germany for more advice.
The German language course visa does not allow the holder to convert their visa to any other immigration document during their stay. If they wish to change their visa, they will need to leave Germany and re-apply for a new visa.