A-Z for Studying in Germany – From Application to Visa and Arriving
3 steps to Germany
Below are the steps on how to get your feet in Germany via study visa.
Step 1: Making up your mind and deciding the field of study. (Use www.daad.de to search a university for you) Cost: Free
Decide what you want to study in Germany. I am related to computer sciences so in this blog I will explain taking MS in CS (English) as an example.
Go to https://www.daad.de/deutschland/studienangebote/international-programs/en/ and search for the universities you want to apply.
Please note that there are 3 type of institutions for higher education in Germany:
2. Technische universität (Technical University)
3. Fachhochschule/ Hochschule (University of applied sciences)
If you have mind set for PHD after your MS then you should try to go for number 1 as the education system is designed for those who are interested more in theoretical and research stuff. You can also go for number 2 if you find it difficult to secure an admission in Universität.If you are more toward entering into the practical world after your MS then you should go for number 3 the university of applied sciences; there they will try to prepare the students so that they can get into the industry right after their studies. Though it is not necessary that you will not go for PHD if you make up your mind later while studying in university of applied sciences or you might not get a job right after you pass out from universität. Its totally up to you. Because some time it happens that a student gets an admission in university of applied sciences and not in universität but wants to go for PHD, so in this case its entirely up to him. He can still go for PHD by taking his final year project a research oriented one.
Below you can find few images if you feel difficult in operating www.daad.de
After you get a list of universities take out a pen and paper and note down each single university which you find interesting, if you are easy with computers of tablets you can make a spreadsheet to maintain a list. I will share my spreadsheet which I prepared when I applied for my MS in CS.
Please note that most of the universities in Germany take admissions bi-annually (2 admissions in a year). The general deadlines are 15 July for Winter intake and 15 Feb for Summer intake, but the dates may vary depending on the rules of a specific university.
Step 2: Preparation for applying and applying. (Do IELTS/TOFEL, attest you degrees, make multiple photocopies, prepare your passport, write a prefect motivation letter, get few letters of recommendation) Cost: 25000/- PKR (Pakistani Rupees) approximately
Now you have a list of universities, their requirement criteria and the deadlines. Almost all universities requires an English language certificate, in my case I provided IELTS. You should immediately find an institute from where you can prepare for an IELTS test 1 month of solid preparation is enough for scoring good grades unless you really need more. If you feel you don’t need any coaching then you should go straight to the www.ielts.org and get an examination date.
Below are few images which can help you in getting an IELTS test date:
After you find out the date just download the application form from the website or go to the Standard Chartered bank and ask them to give you the application form. You can google the sample filled IELTS application forms to get some help if required. Its better to get it from the bank as you need to pay the fee to the same bank so it will be more convenient for you to go to bank in person, fill out the form, pay the fee and drop the form in one of the drop boxes in the bank. Ask bank personal for assistance.
Now you are done with IElTS date. You will be informed via email about the test date, location of the test center, timings and rules etc. You can visit http://www.britishcouncil.org/pakistan-exams-ielts-faqs.htm and can get answers to the frequently asked questions (FAQs). Go and get a good score in IELTS :)
2. Inter. Degree/College Leaving
3. BS Degree
4. BS Transcript
5. IELTS certificate
6. Sealed LOR (Letter of recommendation)
7. SOP (Statement of Purpose) or Letter of motivation
9. Job Exp. Letters
10. CNIC (National Identity card copy) *English translations only
12. Photo (passport size)
Some universities may ask you for some special kind of attestation of your photocopied documents, but most of them only need attestation from notary public. You can go to any civil court and get these notary public attestation by proving them your original certificates; the cost is 10-15 rupee per attestation.
SOP or Letter of motivation are the crucial part of the application you should never ever copy it from the internet or anywhere else. Take help from multiple SOPs but do write your own. Here are some sample SOP you can take help from.
LOR (Letter of recommendation) are required by some universities. Just go to your former or current university and ask your professor to write one for you and give you in a sealed envelope. It can be good if you can provide one letter from your professor and one from your employer provided that you have any employment history. (Sealed envelop is nothing high-tech. Its just an envelope that is closed and stamped by the writer to make sure its between writer and the reader).
Now as you have attested your documents from HEC or some board or just notary depending on the individual case you are ready to throw the application to the universities.
Please note that you are not supposed to send any of your original academic certificate, IELTS certificate, experience letters or any document that can be sent to multiple universities. You are supposed to send only letter of motivation/SOP, LOR in sealed envelope and CV in original form.
You can choose any courier service but I will suggest you to use the local post service with a registry, but only choose it if you have a margin of about 10-15 days otherwise use DHL, Fedex, UPS etc to make it fast. Local post is good to save money as it only cost about 300/- PKR for one complete application where on the other hand DHL etc cost more that 2000/- PKR
Now your documents are gone; wait for the reply :)
Step 3: Got admission! Lets get the VISA. Secure an interview date at the German embassy NOW! via online appointment system or whatever is the process. Many candidates have lost their semester or even admission just because they were unabler to get an appointment on time. Cost: 1180000/- PKR approximately
Now its time to book an appointment really fast. I am saying this because I faced the difficulties of not booking an appointment on time. Just go to https://service2.diplo.de/rktermin/extern/choose_category.do?locationCode=isla&realmId=108&categoryId=205 and press continue at the bottom. If you reside in country other than Pakistan search on google your German embassy website and get to the appointment system. It is not necessary that every German embassy follows the same system for appointment as in Karachi they have no online system and you just need to go there and get it done. But, for all of you out there with this kind of appointment system you need to follow this.
After you press continue you will get the list of available dates choose the best date that suits you don’t book a date that is too near as you need to prepare few important things before appearing in the interview also not make it that far as normally in Pakistan they take more than one month (about 5-6 weeks) to send you the visa.
Please note that there is no need to out smart the appointment system or making entries with fake passport number as it wont gonna help you anyway. Just relax and apply for only one best suited appointment date available.
Once you get the date you will be notified via email about the details. Visit the embassy website and read the information available on required document list. Normally what you gonna need other than already prepared documents is a block account (The most important part) and the travel insurance from the listed companies on the embassy website.
Now what you need is a travel insurance which is a pretty simple thing to do just go to some company (be sure that its among the list provided by the embassy) and ask them to make you a travel insurance starting from the interview date + 5 weeks app. The starting date should start from the date of your visa (expected) to 3 months after that as normally German embassy gives you a 3 months visa which you need to extend after arriving in Germany. Normally the companies charge about 5000/- to 7000/- PKR. I paid 5000/- and used Askari insurance.
Now we are going to work on the block account process. Go to the Deutsche bank franchise in Lahore its in the Avari hotel at Mall road. Take along your admission letter (take the confirmation email if don’t have the original admission letter yet) and the passport. Ask them that you want to open a block account in Deutsche bank and they will guide you to the rest and will give you a final document that you need to send through a courier to the main branch of Deutsche bank in Germany (you will get the address from that franchise). After 1-2 weeks you will get an email from the Deutsche bank about confirmation on opening of your block account.
Tip: Verify your IBAN number given by the bank on the internet to confirm its valid and is correct
Now you are ready to put the money in your account. Ask your dad for 8100 euros or if you have them just take them to some money exchange and they will send the cash to your bank. They will take a little fee for transferring.
Please note that transfers are only possible via cash transfer or transfer through European bank. Local bank transfers are not accepted by Deutsche bank. Though you can still ask them if you want to. As rules changes from time to time. Also note that at my time the amount to be blocked was 8040 euros + 50 euros bank opening fee so I submitted 8100 euros to be on safe side. Confirm your current blocking amount before making the transaction.
Once you sent the money you’ll be notified by Deutsche bank by sending a similar email that was sent previously about the confirmation that the amount has been received. You will get this email in about 10 days. You just need to take the printout of this email to the embassy. Now on your interview date be on time and make sure you have all the documents plus the original ones. Its better that you take out the check list from the website and check if you have all of them make sure all copies should be in A4 size even the CNIC should be copied on A4 paper. Now you are at embassy; wait for your turn and meanwhile take your time to make sure that your documents are arranged in similar order as listed on the wall right outside the interview rooms. These little thing are important to reduce the probability of panic situation. Now its your turn go in there relax and give the interview.
Please note that German language certificate is not necessary if you are going to study in English. But, it can be a real plus point if can learn the basics because it will surely going to help you in Germany.
General questions in an interview includes:
- Why going Germany why not your own country?
- Who is your financier?
- Will you come back after your studies?
- What is your motivation?
- What was your last job (if any) and the salary?
- What was your grades in your recent degree?
Use google chrome to auto translate the webpages into English for you. Normally the cost of living here in Frankfurt is 200-250 euros per month if you go for shared apartments or hostels. But, if you rent a single room apartment it can easily go beyond 350 euros per month. This living cost normally includes rent and utility charges (water, heating and electricity).
One month food will cost you a 100 euros if you stick to basic food (self cooking).
In Germany every one is required to get a health insurance and that normally cost around 80 euros every month (bit expensive but no other choice) but, as these 80 euros are going to be deducted directly from your blocked account you won’t feel it much unless you try to.
So overall expense that you need to pay by hand will be 350 euros per month and this is optimal.
Please note that these living expenses may vary from town to town. Currently I am listing here the details about Frankfurt where I am living right now. My friends living in other small towns easily manage to stay below 270 euros per month. So it may vary. Also note that you are allowed to take out 670 euros per month from your blocked account (not more).
Now for shopping I will give you my advice on not to invest lot on it. Just buy few important thing and that’s it. Your number of bags should not increase 3. One large suitcase, one small one and one backpack. Image below will illustrate what I want to say
At the end as promised earlier I will share a list of CS (computer sciences) universities that I have prepared earlier this year.