Study Abroad in Germany for Free in 2023 – Requirements and How to Apply

Do you want to study abroad? Is Germany your desired study-abroad destination? If yes, keep reading.

This article is dedicated to helping international students who want to study in Germany actualize their dreams.

In this article, you will learn everything about studying in Germany, how to study in Germany, and what it takes to get a German student visa.

You will also discover the different types of German student visas and get an insight into the cost of living in Germany.

To make choosing a university easier, we have also compiled a list of the cheapest universities in Germany and available scholarships for international students.

We still went further to give you the universities in Germany that teach in English.

After reading this guide and applying the knowledge, with all things being equal, in no time, you should be studying abroad in Germany.

Germany is one of the few countries in Europe where you can study for free, even if you are from Asia, Africa, or elsewhere. So, ride with us; let’s walk you through what studying in Germany entails.

See Also: How to Get a Scholarship to Study Abroad in [A Complete Guide]


Things You Need to Know Before Studying Abroad in Germany as an International Student

Before you embark on your journey to study abroad in Germany, ensure you are equipped with all the necessities, including basic information on how things will be once you move there.

This western European country is one of the best options for studying abroad.

This is so because of many factors, such as its world-class education, affordability, beautiful culture, and rich history.

Thousands of international students travel to Germany annually, making it a diverse center for international students.

International students are precious to Germany, just as Germany is precious to international students and their careers.

If you are going to Germany soon or are still planning your future study destination, we have compiled a list of things you should know before studying abroad in Germany.

Although we have tried to include both the good and the bad, it is fair to say that being an international student in Germany is a beautiful experience with many benefits. Therefore, the good outweighs the bad.

#1. Accommodation Will Be Challenging

Accommodation facilities are not available for every German university.

Those universities that offer student housing usually have affiliated dormitories or student housing arranged through your partner institution.

Additionally, some universities offer single-person accommodations; you should contact your university if you want to live in one of those.

To find something convenient, you should start your apartment hunting early.

#2. Germans Love Punctuality

Typically, Germans appreciate punctuality.

They consider it rude when someone is as much as a few minutes late.

From going to doctors’ appointments or simply meeting friends, you should make punctuality your best friend during your time in Germany.

Trust me, being on time shows the type of commitment Germans highly appreciate.

#3. Medicine Is Only Sold in Pharmacies

Unlike in the U.S., supermarkets cannot sell over-the-counter medicine in Germany.

If you want to buy such medicine, you should go to a pharmacy.

It is also known as an Apotheke in Germany.

Apotheken can be identified through a large, red A on the entrance.

So, if you need to buy cough drops or cough syrup, head toward the pharmacy.

Check: How to Study Abroad for Free

#4. The Cost of Living is Reasonable

Compared to other European countries, the cost of living in Germany is quite reasonable and affordable.

According to, as of October 2022, as a foreigner in Germany, you need a minimum of €934 per month for living expenses. So, you must have €11,208 in your bank account before applying for a German student visa.

The cost of food, bills, and clothes is affordable; however, one of the challenges you might face is the monthly rent of about 300 to 500 Euros.

Typically, students live in shared flats with other students and share the cost of accommodation and utilities. In addition, part-time jobs are another way students earn a bit of extra income during their studies.

Based on data from DAAD, other average monthly costs are as follows:

  • €168 (~US$205) for food
  • €42 (~US$52) for clothes
  • €94 (~US$115) for transport
  • €31 (~US$38) for telephone, internet, and TV license
  • €20 (~US$25) for work/study materials
  • €61 (~US$75) for leisure activities

#5. Education Is Not Always Free

Tuition fees are one of the primary issues when studying abroad, but this is not the case in Germany.

This country is popular among international students because it offers quality, world-class education with little to no tuition fees, which is nothing compared to other study destinations worldwide.

However, not everything is free.

In Germany, tuition-free education is only available if you apply for select programs at public universities.

You will have to pay costly tuition fees to study at private universities.

Nevertheless, public universities are renowned for their excellence and quality of education; therefore, if you get the chance to study at one of them, you shouldn’t waste it.

#6. Numerous Grant Opportunities

Germany is known for the many grants and scholarships it offers for international students.

Whatever your field of study, the chances of finding a source of funding are numerous.

Be it engineering, literature, or art, all you have to do is search carefully and make sure you are attentive while applying for a grant.

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Study in Germany for Free

Germany is one of the best countries to study abroad because it provides a unique combination of great universities and a high quality of life, competing with other popular destinations such as the United Kingdom and Holland.

And not only is Germany home to some of the best universities in the world – you can study there for free. 

For a Western European country, Germany is otherwise very affordable. Here is an overview of the typical cost of living as a student in Germany:

You can get by on 850 euros per month, give or take a bit, depending on what city you study in.

Larger cities like Munich, Frankfurt, or Hamburg are known to be more expensive than smaller towns.

ItemAverage cost per month
Rent and utilities300 to 500 €
Food and drink200 to 250 €
Health insurance100 €
Phone and internet30 €
Leisure and hobbies50 to 100 €

At which Universities in Germany can I Study for free?

  • University of Cologne
  • Ludwig Maximilians University Munich (LMU)
  • Goethe University Frankfurt
  • RWTH Aachen University
  • University of Münster
  • Ruhr University Bochum
  • University of Duisburg-Essen
  • Universität Hamburg
  • FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg
  • Technical University of Munich (TUM)
  • University of Würzburg

Who can Study in Germany for free?

Anyone can study in Germany without paying tuition fees!
It’s true: Germans, Europeans, and all non-Europeans can study in Germany for free, without tuition.
It doesn’t matter if you come from the EU or the EEA.

This applies to almost all study programs at public universities.
There is a catch: if you come from outside the EU, you must obtain a residence permit before arriving in the country; and you will have to complete your studies in Germany.

At which universities in Germany can I study for free?

In Germany, you can generally study for free at public universities.
There are almost 300 public universities in Germany and more than 1,000 study programs in total – so you have many options!

-University of Cologne
-Ludwig Maximilians University Munich (LMU)
-Goethe University Frankfurt
-RWTH Aachen University
-University of Münster
-Ruhr University Bochum
-University of Duisburg-Essen
-Universität Hamburg
-FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg
-Technical University of Munich (TUM)
-University of Würzburg

What Scholarships are available to study Abroad in Germany?

There are many scholarships for foreign students in Germany.
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has an official scholarship database that allows you to search for suitable scholarship options, e.g., based on your country of origin.

What other costs do I have to consider when Studying in Germany?

While there usually aren’t any tuition fees at public universities, you usually have to pay something called a “semester fee” (“Semesterbeitrag”) or “administrative fee.”

But that’s a small amount: often around 300 or 400 euros for the whole semester.

This also covers a public transport ticket for your city and sometimes even the surrounding areas at a fraction of what you normally pay for such a ticket.

Undergraduate Costs to Study in Germany

Public German universities allow undergraduates to attend for free, although there is a fee per semester for administration, confirmation, and enrollment. This varies by the university but is normally no more than €250 (about US$290) per semester.

A “Semesterticket,” which covers transportation costs for six months, may incur an additional fee; the cost varies based on the Semesterticket option you select. You may also be subject to a long-term fee if your study time is more than four semesters; this amount might be as much as €500 (about US$540) every semester.

Public universities predominate in Germany. Private institutions determine their tuition rates, ranging up to over €20,000 per year (about US$24,400). They typically rely on tuition fees for income (although some also receive help from foundations).

The Federal Student Financial Aid Program (BAföG: Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz) can be used by both German nationals, EU students, and some foreigners under select conditions.

Generally, persons under 30 are eligible for this funding (under 35 if you’re pursuing a master’s degree), although there may be exceptions depending on the situation. The BAföG is often divided in half, with 50% coming in the form of a state grant and the other 50% coming in the form of an interest-free loan that must be repaid in installments once the maximum time of support has passed.

Master’s and postgraduate costs to study in Germany

If a master’s degree is considered “consecutive” at a German university, meaning it comes immediately after a relevant bachelor’s degree earned in Germany, it is typically free. A minor fee per semester is required for enrollment, confirmation, administration, and a Semesterticket.

For students who have earned their bachelor’s degree elsewhere in the world, tuition costs for “non-consecutive” master’s degrees vary between universities. They can range from roughly €20,000 (US$24,400) to up to €30,000 (US$36,600) per year at private German universities.

For instance, tuition for non-consecutive master’s degrees at Germany’s top university, the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, ranges from €2,500 (US$3,050) each semester for a Master of Arts in American Studies to €5,000 (US$6,100) per semester for a Master of Medical Education (MME).

All German institutions offer at least free tuition for the first six semesters of a Ph.D. program. Ph.D. students must contribute a semester fee for administrative and other fees, which cannot exceed €250, much like students at other levels of study.

Study Abroad in Germany Requirements 2023

Required Application Documents

Each university sets its own required documents but, generally, most of the following will be included:

  • Certified copy of high school diploma or previously completed a degree
  • Translation of the course modules and grades
  • Passport photo
  • Copy of your passport
  • Proof of language proficiency – German (and/or English)
  • Motivation letter
  • Application fee

Types of Germany Study Visas

You may be issued a Germany visa for studies for various study levels and degrees.

This includes undergraduate, exchange, graduate, or postgraduate studies.

This also covers participation in a pre-academic measure or a non-academic German language course.

There are three types of German student visas you can apply for:

  • German Student Visa. This is the standard student visa for international students who have been admitted to a German university and are ready to start their studies at a full-time university program.
  • German Student Applicant Visa. You need this visa if you need to be in Germany to apply for university admission in person. This visa doesn’t allow you to study in Germany; it’s only valid for the university application process.
  • German Language Course Visa. You need this visa to study for a German language course in Germany.

Germany Student Visa Requirements 2023

The most important requirements during your Germany student visa process are:

Visa Application Documents.

  • Duly filled out and signed national visa application form.
  • Your valid national passport.
  • Two photocopies of your passport.
  • Your certificate of birth.
  • Your marriage certificate. (If applicable).
  • Your child’s certificate of birth. (If applicable).
  • Your recent passport-style photographs. (Up to 3).
  • Photocopies of previous German residence titles. (If applicable).
  • Previous Schengen visa.
  • Previous German resident permit.

Proof of Financial Resources “Finanzierungsnachweis”

You will have to provide one of the following

  • €11,208 deposit confirmation at a German-blocked bank account.
  • Letter of commitment and evidence of your parent’s income records and financial assets.
  • Letter of commitment by a German resident, “Verpflichtungserklärung.” This letter is taken at the Alien’s Registration Office by the German resident who will cover your costs during your studies.
  • Scholarship awarding certificate. It must show the number of costs it covers.
  • Bank guarantee. Issued to you by a recognized German bank.

Proof of University Admission

  • Confirmation of admission in studies “Zulassungsbescheid.” Issued by a recognized higher education provider in Germany, showing when you’re starting your studies and the language of teaching.
  • Proof of conditional admission “Bedingter Zulassungsbescheid” and a confirmed intensive course “Intensiv-Sprachkurs.” The letter must show you’re conditioned and confirmed to participate in an intensive language course before getting the final university admission. The course must last more than 6 months, with not less than 18 hours of lessons in a week.
    • Proof of conditional university admission.
      • Letter from “uni-assist.”
      • Confirmation of admission as an applicant.
      • Communication with the university regarding conditions for final admission.
    • Proof of having paid for the language course. Accompanied by a confirmed place in the course. The payment must cover at least three first months.
  • Confirmation of admission in a university preparatory course, “Studienkolleg.”
    • Proof of conditional university admission.
      • Letter from “uni-assist.”
      • Confirmation of admission as an applicant.
      • Communication with the university regarding conditions for final admission.
    • Proof of having been confirmed as a participant in the course.

Evidence of your earlier education

  • Original school-leaving certificate.
  • Degree certificate. (If you’re entering Master’s or Ph.D. studies).

Other Requirements include

How to Apply For A German Student Visa?

The German student visa application process can be confusing for many international students.

The procedures are different from country to country, but you can have a general overview of the main steps you need to go through below.

Here are the steps to apply for a German Student Visa:

#1. Locate the Closest German Embassy or Consulate. 

You can use Google to search for an embassy or a consulate near you, in your country (or another country close to you), to get more information about the requirements and set up a visa appointment.

All official German missions in other countries have an official website online as well as their physical address and contact information.

#2. Review the Requirements and Procedures. 

Once you find the German embassy website, you go to the student visa sections to review all the specific requirements for your country and the procedures to set up a visa appointment.

Make sure you carefully review all the information provided (especially the documents you need to have) before you set up a visa appointment.

#3. Set up a Visa Appointment

When you’re ready, you should set up a visa appointment by following the steps described on the official website of the German embassy in your country.

In some countries, you should apply for your visa appointment a few weeks ahead, as that particular embassy could have many visa applications, and they could take longer to get to you.

Timing is essential; sometimes, all student visa interview slots can be taken, so make sure you act fast.

#4. Have all of the Visa Application Documents Ready 

Once your visa appointment date is confirmed, you should double-check your documents to ensure you have everything together.

You can do this and don’t need to pay outside consultants or agencies to apply for you.

#5. Prepare for Your Visa Interview

You should pay the visa application fee (€60.00 – €75.00) and have the payment confirmation with you at the time of your visa interview.

This fee is non-refundable if your visa is rejected.

You need to verify the exchange rate of your country’s currency and pay the exact amount.

You should prepare yourself in advance for your interview. Here are some of the most common student visa interview questions and answers. 

After the interview, you will get the official answer on whether your visa has been approved or rejected.


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