After receiving your offer of admission ("Zulassung") from the HsKA, you will have to take the following steps:
Get information about entry to and residence in Germany.
- Students from EU member states: no visum required. Once you are in Karlsruhe, you need to register at the Bürgerbüro (local authorities).
- Students from the following states: Andorra, Canada, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, and the USA: no visum required. Once you are in Karlsruhe, you need to contact the Aliens' Office for a residence permit.
- Students from Non-EU countries: Apply for a visa FOR STUDY PURPOSES at the German embassy or consulate in your country or the area where you live. A visa will, in most cases, be valid for only three months after your arrival in Germany and will have to be extended once you are in Karlsruhe.
Are you unsure if you need a visa? On the Federal Foreign Office website (Auswärtiges Amt), you will find the comprehensive and updated list of countries with visa requirements and also a first overview of the procedure. Then use the list of German embassies worldwide to contact the embassy in your country for details, such as specific requirements, the procedure which you need to observe, the necessary forms, and other information. Get the information as quickly as possible, because the visa process can take several weeks!
Applicants who have no admission from a university or preparatory college (Studienkolleg), but wish to enter Germany in order to inform themselves about study opportunities, to apply to a university, or to prepare themselves for acceptance to a study program: apply for a study applicant visa. This will give you 3 months in Germany and then you can extend the residence permit to study purposes without having to leave the country.
You cannot get a student visa after you have entered Germany without visa, also a tourist visa cannot be converted into a student visa or residence permit for study purposes. Therefore, we must urgently warn you against entering Germany as a tourist, or without visa! Because without student visa or residence permit for study purposes, you cannot be registered as a student but have to return to your home country to submit the student visa application.
Remember that it can be time-consuming to obtain the documents which are required for the visa process: e.g. a valid passport, proof of adequate funds, a health certificate by a doctor (these requirements can vary with each country, therefore check the embassy website to know which documents you need).
Check with a health insurance provider in your country if your health insurance is valid for studying in Germany also, or if you can apply for a special health insurance which is accepted in Germany. Alternatively, you can apply for health insurance upon arrival in Karlsruhe (cost: approx. 80 Euros a month). This is very important! Without health insurance, again, you cannot be registered as a student.
Prepare your life at Karlsruhe
You will find an overview about everyday matters such as accommodation or food at Student Life. Exchange students or students in international programs will receive a special information package in due course.
Arrange your trip to Germany.
Most airlines do not allow passengers to take more than two checked suitcases and one carry-on bag onto the airplane. Therefore, although you may be coming for a year or longer, you will have to pack lightly. Make sure you book your ticket well in advance of your trip. Good sources for plane tickets at student prices are Travel Cuts and STA Travel
Long-distance buses are a fairly new alternative. You will find some companies with Karlsruhe as destination on our travel page.