Germany as a study destination for internationals
Germany is the number 1 study destination for international students who want to study abroad outside of English-speaking countries. It is also the 4th preferred country for international students worldwide. This is due to the fact that public universities in Germany offer internationally recognised degrees in various programs and courses with no or low tuition fees. In addition, Germany’s student visa application success rate has been really good for international students, with more than 90% approval rate of visa applications. However, in some cases, the student visa application for Germany may get rejected due to simple mistakes that can be easily avoided with proper information and guidance. In this article, we will go over the most common mistakes students make when applying for a visa for Germany. We will also show you how to avoid or fix them in time to ensure your application is accepted.
Mismatch of names between documents
Before submitting documents to the Embassy, make sure that your first and last names are spelled everywhere as they appear in your passport. In addition, if you have changed your name in the past, attach proof of the name change, such as a marriage certificate or similar.
Starting the visa application too late
Starting your visa application process late may lead to several issued. For example you may receive a visa appointment date very close to or after the semester start. Alternatively, you may not be able to collect all documents on time, or you may face other issues. This can ultimately lead to a visa rejection or you missing a significant part of the first semester due to the overall delay. The procedure depends on when you receive your admission from a German university. Therefore, it is advisable to apply to universities as early as possible to speed up the entire process. In general, plan the entire visa process at least 6 to 8 weeks before the start of the semester or your desired travel date. This way you can organise everything smoothly and calmly.
Insufficient language skills
Whether you are applying for a study programme in English or German – you need to showcase fluency in the respective language to convince the officials that you will be able to successfully complete your studies. For programmes taught in English, universities have different requirements, but generally, you should show certificates of 6.5 on IELTS and 71 on TOEFL at the minimum. For German-taught programmes – the expectation is that your German is at least at a level of B2, which should also be showcased during the visa interview.
Wrong or insufficient health insurance
Another mistake is having the wrong or insufficient health insurance coverage for your visa application. If the travel health insurance you have does not cover at least €30,000 for medical treatments, your application may be kept on hold until you submit proof of the necessary insurance coverage. We also recommend that you take out travel and compulsory health insurance from a German insurance provider. This way you ensure that the policy is recognised by the embassy in your home country, as well as by your university and the authorities in Germany.
An unrelated course of study
This happens when you apply for a study course that is unrelated to your previous studies. For example, you have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and are now applying for a master’s degree in psychology. Visa authority may question your ability in mastering a new field without a relevant background, which may result in the denial of your visa. It is best to apply for a program that is related to your previous major. If you decide to change your career path and choose a new field of study, you must clearly explain the reasons to the visa authority in your letter of motivation. It is advisable to provide concrete evidence of work experience or other relevant expertise in the new field. In this way, you can convince the visa officer of your abilities and determination to succeed in a new field of study.
Poor interview preparation
Poor preparation for the interview is one of the reasons why your German student visa application may be rejected. The embassy officer may expect that you demonstrate at least basic knowledge of the country, the city where you will be studying, your university, and study program. If you go to the student visa interview unprepared and fail to answer simple questions about these topics, the visa officer will doubt your sincerity and the seriousness of your intentions to study in Germany. Doing some research and preparing well for the interview will help you in the best way.
Insufficient proof of funds
Another common mistake that can also be a reason for your application to be rejected is insufficient proof of financial means. The German government requires foreign students to prove that they have enough finances to pay for their living expenses such as accommodation, food, and transportation while studying in Germany. If you cannot provide this proof in the form of a blocking confirmation, a scholarship for the minimum standard amount, or a sponsorship agreement with someone residing in Germany, your application will likely be rejected.
The most common method of providing financial proof to apply for a student visa in Germany is to use a blocked account. A blocked account is a special type of bank account for international students and workers coming to study or work in Germany. As of January 2023, the required standard amount for a student is €11,208 per year. This means that a student must have at least €934 per month to live comfortably in Germany.
Incomplete set of documents
Each document listed in the visa application checklist is important and can determine whether or not you receive your student visa. Go through the list thoroughly because if you fail to provide any of the documents, your visa may be rejected. It is important not to lose or forget a document. Also make sure to order them as the checklist suggests, before submitting them at the embassy.
Lack of clarity in your letter of motivation
A letter of motivation is a very important document for your visa application because it shows your intentions, personality, and motivation to come and study in Germany. Please note that the visa authorities will check your motivation letter and what you have written in it. Therefore, avoid giving false information about yourself and do not exaggerate or write on emotional topics (e.g. religion or politics). The motivation letter should be short, professional, and to the point. Try to keep it to the point – no longer than one page with 3 paragraphs. Avoid writing about any future plans of staying in Germany and settling down in the country after your studies.
What should I do if my student visa application gets rejected?
In the rare case that your student visa application for Germany is rejected do not despair. You will receive a document stating the reason for rejection. There are a couple of options you have:
Option 1: Appeal the decision
You have 1 month to appeal the decision in writing (“remonstrate”) to the German mission abroad. “Remonstrate” means to complain about something. Legally, a remonstration is a request to the German embassy to reconsider the application. The remonstration must be submitted to the consulate or embassy where the application was rejected. Often the visa application is rejected because certain information was missing from the application or was considered suspicious. Through the remonstration process, the applicant can resolve the issues that led to the rejection.
The remonstration process involves submitting, in writing, your opinion of why the decision made by the embassy was incorrect. You should also request the re-examination of the rejected student visa application. At the embassy, it is advisable to seek the reason why your application was rejected in the first place. Knowing the reason for the rejection of your application means that you can better prepare your remonstration.
Option 2: Reapply
Once you find out what was the reason for the rejection, you can remedy it and reapply. However, you should note that reapplication is only possible after 3 months from the initial rejection. You may also have to reapply for the university’s next semester. Alternatively, you can ask the international office to defer your admission for the next semester.
In case your visa was rejected and you decide you no longer want to study in Germany you should close your blocked account. To do that, you need a document from the German embassy where you applied. This is because the blocked account provider has already guaranteed to the German state that your money is blocked. The embassy or consulate, should provide you with an official document, confirming that your student visa application has been rejected.
If you are curious to find out more about the whole visa application process and need a step-by-step guidance to successfully apply for the student visa, check our dedicated video course: How To Get Your German Student Visa Application Done — Quickly and Stress-Free in the Fintiba Academy.