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General information

The residence of foreigners in the Federal Republic of Germany is governed by the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz). The Residence Act is supplemented by the interim procedural guidelines of the Berlin foreigners' registration office (Vorläufige Anwendungshinweise der Ausländerbehörde Berlin), which regulate specifics regarding Sections 16 to 20 of the Residence Act (sections relating to foreign students and scholars). Other important regulations include the ordinance governing residence (Aufenthaltsverordnung), the ordinance governing employment (Beschäftigungsverordnung) and the employment procedure ordinance (Beschäftigungsverfahrensordnung).

The foreigners' registration office for Berlin is the
Landesamt für Einwanderung
Friedrich-Krause-Ufer 24
13353 Berlin
(metro station Amrumer Str.)
Tel.: (030) 90269-0

Students, scholars and their dependents should apply for their residence permits at the Keplerstraße office:
Keplerstraße 2
10589 Berlin
(metro station Mierendorffplatz)
Tel: (030) 90269-4000
Opening times:
On all days of the week, service is only available by prior appointment.

For making an appointment see:

Telephone contact hours: Wed, Fri 09:00-12:00

The foreigners' registration office (Ausländerbehörde) is responsible for all issues relating to the residence of foreigners in Germany, including entry, residence and deportation. It is possible to submit an appeal against the decisions of the foreigners' registration office to the administrative court (Verwaltungsgericht) within one month.
Should you encounter problems with the foreigners' registration office, it is essential that you seek advice (International Student Counseling, AStA, the Berlin Senate equal opportunities officer).

Residence permit for the purpose of studying

Entitlement to residence for the purpose of studying is issued in the form of a visa or a residence permit. With only a few exceptions, foreign students are required to obtain a visa for the purpose of studying prior to entering the Federal Republic of Germany to commence a degree program. Possession of a visa is also necessary when entering Germany to pursue a doctorate degree. Anyone entering the Federal Republic of Germany not in possession of a visa issued by the German diplomatic mission and only then applying for a residence permit at the local foreigners' registration office, will be required to exit the Federal Republic of Germany and submit the appropriate application from their country of origin.

Visas may be applied for by university applicants (not yet accepted for a degree or a preparatory course), as well as by students (already accepted for a degree program). It is possible to present a confirmation of application from the university or confirmation from assist e.V. that an application has been submitted instead of a confirmation of acceptance when applying for a visa.

Exceptions to the requirement to obtain a visa
currently apply for nationals of EU states, Andorra, Australia, Brazil, El Salvador, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Canada, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, South Korea, Switzerland, Honduras and the USA. Only nationals of these states may apply for a residence permit issued by the foreigners' registration office after entering Germany.

A visa is generally issued for a period of three months, with right of residence then extended for a further two years in the form of a residence permit. As a rule any necessary preparatory measures (such as a course at the Preparatory School, language courses or internships) should be completed within this period. Once preparatory measures have been completed, students have nine months to provide proof of acceptance to a degree program.
Please note that residence permits issued for some degree programs are restricted to the selected degree program and university (TUB). 

Issuance/extension of a residence permit

All newly-arrived foreigners in Berlin have to first register at one of the city's citizen's offices Bürgerämter. Registration should be completed within seven days of moving into accommodation.

Bürgerämter office hours: Mon 8:00-15:00
Tue, Thu 11:00-18:00
Fri 8:00-13:00
Wed 8:00-13:00 with telephone appointment

You should apply for an extension to your visa at the foreigner's registration office as soon as possible after your arrival in Berlin. You will require your registration certificate as well as documents relating to the financing of your stay and your degree program. The foreigners' registration office limits the period of validity of the residence permit issued upon expiry of a visa in order to be able to check at certain intervals if the conditions for an extension to the residence permit are still being met. After the initial two years, the residence permit will be regularly extended for a further two years for as long as it is still required for the purpose of studying. Should the time taken to complete a degree program exceed the average duration of study for this particular degree by more than three months, it could become difficult to obtain a further extension from the foreigners' registration office.
Please note: Your residence permit will be invalid if you spend a period of more than six months outside of Germany!

The TUB Visa-Service

The visa service, which has been in existence at the TU for many years and which made visits to the Immigration Office unnecessary for international students and academics, can unfortunately not be continued in its present form. Since June 2020, the State Office for Immigration has only issued electronic residence permits (eAT) to students and academics, which require a personal visit to the State Office for Immigration, which is why the application for residence permits can no longer be delegated to the Visa Service of the TU Berlin. The staff of the department for the support of international students will, however, continue to advise students in all matters relating to residence law.

Passport photo

Please ensure that your passport photo is up to date. Your photo must also be biometric.

Act on the Freedom of Movement / EU

Nationals of European Union member states and their families enjoy freedom of movement and have the right to enter and reside in the German Federal Republic. The same applies for nationals of European Economic Area states. Family members who are not themselves nationals of either EU or EEA states will be issued with a residence card (Aufenthaltskarte). Only spouses, domestic partners and children entitled to maintenance qualify as family members of students. Residence cards can only be issued by the foreigners' registration office (Ausländerbehörde). Due to a change in the Act on the Freedom of Movement / EU, no further Freedom of Movement Certificates are being issued. EU citizens and nationals of EEA states wishing to remain in Germany for more than three months must register their residential address with the citizen's office (Bürgeramt) after their arrival in Berlin.

Swiss nationals, who also do not require a visa to enter the Federal Republic of Germany, will be issued with a residence permit by the Berlin foreigners' registration office (Ausländerbehörde) in accordance with the freedom of movement treaty between the EU and Switzerland.


Parents have to apply for a residence permit for any children aged under 16 living in Germany. Exceptions to the obligation to obtain a visa/residence permit apply only to children of nationals of EU and EEA states. When applying for a residence permit, it is necessary, as far as the applicant possesses these documents, to present the passports of the children, the passports of both parents, two passport photos for each child and birth certificates (in German).

Changing degree

Should a residence permit be linked to a specific degree program, then it is valid only for that program and will cease to be so if a student changes his or her degree. Anyone intending to change their degree program and whose permit is linked to a specific degree is required to inform the foreigners' registration office and apply for a residence permit for the new program. If the residence permit is not linked to a specific degree, then it is not absolutely necessary to inform the foreigners' registration office before changing. The change of degree program will be approved by the Berlin foreigners' registration office as long as it is possible for the student to complete the degree in accordance with the specified regulations. Previous credits earned will be taken into account when deciding whether a degree can be completed in accordance with the specified regulations.
We strongly advise you to seek advice from International Student Counseling before changing your degree program to avoid any difficulties!

Working while studying

Foreign students and participants on preparatory programs are entitled to work for 120 days in a year. This could be in the form of 120 full days or 240 half days (four hours), with only the individual days actually worked being counted. Student assistants do not require a work permit and are not restricted to the above working hours, provided there is a close link between their studies and their part-time employment. No permission is required for internships which are an integral part of a degree program. Internships do not constitute part of the 120 full / 240 half days.

Completion of degree

A degree is considered completed at the point when TUB informs students that their degree certificate is ready for collection. Upon completion of your studies you can apply for a residence permit for the purposes of preparing for departure, which is generally issued in the form of a deadline for departure. This period of time is intended to allow you to deal with important issues before leaving the Federal Republic of Germany (such as giving notice on your flat) and to prepare for your journey home.

Working after completion of degree

The last amendment to the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz), effective as of 1.8.2012, permits foreign graduates to have their residence permit extended by 18 months for the purpose of looking for employment commensurate with their degree. Proof of efforts to find suitable employment (applications etc.) need to be presented to the foreigners' registration office. Following the coming into effect on 1.8.2012 of the transposition (implementation as law) regarding the EU directive on conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly-qualified employment, it is now possible to undertake paid employment for an unlimited period to fund your search for suitable employment.

The regulations concerning the entry of foreign graduates to the labor market ((HSchulAbsZugV), which became effective as of 16.10.2007, additionally facilitate the entry to the labor market of all foreign graduates of German universities who have found employment commensurate with their degree.

Obtaining further qualifications/working as a teaching or research assistant

Should you intend to pursue a doctorate upon completion of your degree, commence work as a research assistant or seek any other further qualifications, there are a number of formalities which you need to be aware of when applying for a residence permit from the foreigners' registration office.

The following documents are required when applying for a residence permit for the purpose of taking a doctorate:
Confirmation from the university (your doctoral supervisor) concerning the topic, supervision and planned duration of your doctoral program, including evidence of scientific interest; your degree certificate and new proof of financing. 

Commencing employment as a research assistant at the University as part of a doctoral program is quite straightforward. Upon presentation of a contract of employment from TUB, the foreigners' registration office will confirm that employment within the faculty requires no work permit and issue a residence permit. Doctoral candidates are permitted to take on additional employment for up to 120 full days or 240 half days in a year.

It is advisable to seek advice from International Student Counseling before beginning a doctorate or any other form of study or work to discuss your plans.

Obtaining legal advice from the Berlin district offices (Bezirksämter)

Telephone appointment required for all advisory services  (9029-17633)
Otto-Suhr Allee 100
10585 Berlin

Room 100f (position 1)

Tue 13:00 - 18:00
Hohenzollerndamm 174-177
10713 Berlin

Room 1017

Thu 11:00 - 16:00
Heerstraße 12-14
14052 Berlin

Room 25

Wed 10:00 - 12:00
Halemweg 22
13627 Berlin

only with telephone appointment
Wed 14:00 - 15:30
Blaschkowallee 32
12359 Berlin

Room 011

Thu 16:00 - 18:00
Fröbelstraße 17
10405 Berlin

Room 101
Haus 2

only with telephone appointment
Tue 14:00 - 18:00

Kirchstraße 1-3
14163 Berlin

Room A 103

Mon 16:00 - 19:00
Thu 13:00 - 16:00
You can sign in at reception 30 minutes before office hours commence

Treptow- Köpenick
Alt-Köpenick 21
12555 Berlin


Mon 13:00 - 18:00
Tue 14:00 - 16:00 (with appointment)
Wed 08:00 - 14:00 (with appointment)
Thu 14:00 - 19:00

Myliusgarten 20
12587 Berlin

1st and 3rd Monday in the month 13:00 - 15:00 with appointment


The district offices of the following boroughs do not offer a legal advice service: Lichtenberg-Hohenschönhausen, Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Mitte und Spandau
It is advisable to confirm office hours in advance by telephone.

Equal opportunities officer (Beauftragter für Integration und Migration)

Beauftragter für Integration und Migration
Senatsverwaltung für Gesundheit, Soziales und Verbraucherschutz
Potsdamer Straße 65, 10785 Berlin,
Tel.: 9017-2351
Office hours: Mon, Tue, Thu 9:00 - 13:00, Thu 15:00- 18:00

Waiting numbers can be obtained one hour earlier
Telephone advice available at the above times on: 9017-2372

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