Studying in Germany as an American: Essential Guide


    Germany is a great place for American students who want to go to college. It has excellent academic opportunities and offers a chance to experience Europe. Right now, around 380,000 students from other countries study in Germany, including 6,800 from the US. If you’re thinking about studying there too, you might feel a bit overwhelmed about what to do next. But don’t worry! This guide will help you through each step, giving you clear advice and support along the way.

    Find a degree first

    Picking a college in Germany is really important, even if you already know what you want to study. There are over a hundred colleges in Germany, offering lots of different degrees. The college you choose will have a big impact on how happy you are as an American student studying there. So, it’s crucial to choose wisely.

    Instead of trying to learn everything about every university and program, start by thinking about what’s most important to you. Consider things like the atmosphere of the university and what you want to learn in your courses. You might want to look for colleges that are highly ranked in your field. By following these steps, you can narrow down your options and find the German college that’s just right for you and your goals.

    Know and meet the entry requirements

    Once you find a program you like, it’s important to check what you need to get in. Different colleges and courses have their own requirements, so they can be quite different.

    Generally, American students who want to study in Germany need to provide the following documents:

    • Academic credentials
    • Grade transcripts
    • Evidence of language proficiency
    • Verification of financial resources
    • Proof of health insurance
    • Curriculum vitae (CV)
    • Optionally, a motivation letter and relevant references.

    Some sidenotes:

    In most German universities, undergraduate programs are taught in German, so you’ll need a B-2 level German language certificate to enroll. However, many postgraduate programs are offered in English.

    Health insurance is necessary for all residents, including international students. It’s often required for the student visa application, and some universities may ask for proof of insurance and financial support. Competitive colleges may also request extra documents beyond the usual requirements.

    It’s important to get information directly from your college, as entry requirements can change. Mistakes in the application process can lead to rejection, so it’s crucial to be thorough and follow the college’s guidelines carefully.


    You have a few options for applying to colleges in Germany: online, by mail, or in person. Many colleges use UniAssist, a platform for online applications. To apply through UniAssist, you’ll need to create an online account and upload your documents in PDF or JPG format. After you apply, you’ll receive a confirmation email within a few days to let you know they got your application.

    American students interested in studying in Germany ASAP should take note of the following application deadlines:

    • July 15th for the Winter Semester
    • January 15th for the Summer Semester

    It’s important to be aware that certain colleges may have different deadlines for specific courses, so it’s advisable to check for any variations.

    Admission Letter

    After you’ve sent in your application for the college and program you want in Germany, you’ll have to wait for the college to review it. Remember, German admissions committees deal with a lot of applications, so it might take a while for them to look at yours.

    Usually, German colleges take 4 to 6 weeks to process international applications. But if you applied through UniAssist, it might take a different amount of time depending on where you’re from. For American students, it usually takes around 5 weeks.


    The final step to becoming a student in Germany is enrolling in your course. Make sure to check the enrollment deadlines and plan your travel from the US accordingly, so you can register on time. The documents needed for enrollment vary depending on the college you’ve chosen. Make sure to carefully review the specific requirements for the day of enrollment.

    In general, US students studying in Germany colleges must submit the following documents:

    • Completed application form
    • Valid passport
    • Admission letter
    • Student visa
    • Semester fee payment receipt

    Residence Permit in Germany

    US citizens can travel to Germany visa-free for stays of up to 90 days. However, for longer stays, such as attending university, a residence permit is required after entering Germany.

    There are three types of residence permits based on the duration of the stay:

    • Temporary Residence Permit
    • EU Blue Card
    • Permanent Residence Permit

    US students planning to study in Germany should apply for a temporary residence permit. This means they need to register their address in Germany and make sure they have enough money to cover their living and study expenses.

    To apply for the residence permit, the following documents are required:

    • Valid Passport
    • Certificate of No Criminal Record
    • German Health Insurance
    • Proof of German Language Proficiency (minimum B1 level)
    • Proof of Sufficient Financial Resources
    • University Admission Letter
    • Medical Certificate confirming specific health checks.

    What’s the cost?

    One big reason you might consider German colleges over those in the US is their affordability. Since 2014, many public colleges in Germany have gotten rid of international fees, which has brought in thousands of international students each year. American students only have to pay minimal costs, mostly for administrative fees and a public transport ticket, called the “semester contribution.” This fee usually tops out at €350 per semester.

    Start Studying in Germany as a US Student

    Excited about top-quality education and a vibrant European experience? Explore Germany’s affordable yet excellent academic opportunities. If you’re not sure where to start, let this guide be your roadmap, giving you clear steps and support. Seize the opportunity to pursue your academic dreams in Germany, where culture and education meet.