Sometimes, tertiary education involves internships and hands-on training experience as part of your course requirements. When you’re a student in your country, it is possible you want to seek adventures elsewhere; get a change of scenery, or find opportunities that seem better for you. In such cases, Germany could be an ideal case for you. Hence, you will need a Germany Student Internship Visa.
In this article, we shall explore what a student internship visa is in Germany. Furthermore, we will consider who needs it, and how they can obtain it. We shall also touch on the requirements and other little details about the process as a whole. If you wish to apply for an internship visa in Germany, this article should provide you with more than enough knowledge you need to begin your application.
In this article
What is a Germany Student Internship Visa?
A Germany Student Internship Visa (also known as a Germany Internship Visa or a Germany Training Visa) is a visa the German government grants to foreign students or recent graduates. This visa permits them to come to Germany to undertake on-the-job training in their field of study; usually in partial fulfilment of their degree in view (for students) or in preparation for full-time employment (fresh graduates).
One of the many things Germany is known for is the availability of job opportunities for local and foreign job seekers. Hence, it is a dream destination for lots of students and fresh graduates seeking internships; especially those in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). If there are German companies where you would like to intern, you can stalk them on social media or on their website to see when opportunities are available. Otherwise, you can search out their email address and apply directly. Who knows? You might get lucky.
Who Needs a Germany Internship Visa?
Applying for an internship in Germany is open to everybody, no matter your country. However, like various other Germany Visa Applications, a few countries are exempt from the visa requirements. Essentially, foreign nationals who hold a passport from any of the Schengen Area countries do not need a visa. This exception applies to countries in the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA), the European Free-Trade Area (EFTA), Canada, Australia, Japan, Israel, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, and the United States of America (USA).
Citizens and passport holders of the countries listed above need not bother themselves to get a Germany Student Internship Visa. As a matter of fact, unlike people from other countries, they don’t even need to secure an internship before coming Germany. Since their passport allow them to stay up to 90 days (out of every 180) in Germany without a visa, they can simply come to Germany and start looking for internship opportunities.
However, if your country is not listed above or doesn’t fall into any of the categories listed, then you definitely need to apply for visa. To do that, you must first secure an internship or a training program. This begs the question; what else do you need to get your Germany internship visa?
Requirements for a Germany Student Internship Visa
After you have checked and confirmed that your country is not one of the Germany Visa-exempt countries, the next step is to begin gathering the necessary documents. The requirements for obtaining a Germany Student internship visa are the same as the general requirements for a Germany visa. However, as it is with ever kind of visa, there are certain specific additions required.
For Germany Internship visa, some of the extra requirements include;
#1. ZAV Consent Letter
The ZAV consent letter is issued by the Bundesagentur für Arbeit; a German federal agency responsible for the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. In essence, this letter acts as a work permit for intending foreign interns in Germany. Your employer has to request this letter on your behalf from the Bundesagentur für Arbeit. However, if your internship is funded by any EU-funded programme, you automatically become exempt from this requirement.
Erasmus and Socrates are strong examples of EU-funded programmes. However, if you do not fall under this category, ensure you bring this document in both original and photocopy.
#2. Approval From Your Institution
Next, you need an approval letter from your school. This letter should confirm two things;
- It should confirm that you are a student of the said school
- The letter should also confirm that you are permitted to be on that journey for the internship.
Ensure you come to the embassy with the original and photocopy of this document. Likewise, if you’re an employee at a company attending a training in Germany, your employer organisation should provide this letter. Another name for this is Letter of Deputation or No-Objection letter.
#3. Approval From Prospective Institution
You’ll be needing another approval letter for your Germany internship visa application process; this time, from the very organisation that wishes to hire/train you. The said letter should contain your working conditions, including your pay (if applicable).
#4. Identity Document (if applicable)
If you’re a student or an employee going for an internship or training respectively, you will need to provide an ID Card. The organisation you belong to will provide this ID for you, and it will prove you’re an active student/employee.
#5. Proof of Qualification
Your proof of qualification could range from your degree certificate to a diploma or even mark sheets that show you qualify for the position you’re going to hold in the company.
Other Possible Requirements
In rare cases, you could be asked to present a police report as proof that you have no criminal record. However, even with a criminal record, it could simply serve to prove you currently do not have an ongoing criminal case.
Furthermore, depending on the company’s requirements, you may need to prove that you speak German to a certain level. Some companies require expert or intermediate level, some require basic German, while others don’t require any knowledge at all.
Application Process for Student Internship/Training Visa
The process for applying for a Germany student internship visa is quite straightforward. In fact, it is more or less the same as that of the Germany long-stay visa. Ensure you apply on time, fill the form online, print and make two photocopies. Take two photocopies of other original documents along as well.
You will make your application at the German Embassy, consulate or visa application centre in your country. When all this is done, you can fix an appointment for an interview. The entire process usually takes 10-15 weeks to complete, so ensure you apply on time.
What to Do Once in Germany
Once you arrive in Germany as a foreign trainee or student intern, you must immediately apply for a Germany residence permit. You do this by scheduling an appointment online or over the telephone with the closest immigration office to your residence. This arrangement must be made within two weeks of your arrival in Germany.
Note, however, that this applies to both foreign nationals with a visa and those who do not require one (as stated above).
Frequently Asked Questions
Are German internships paid internships?
The answer to this question depends entirely on the organisation where you want to intern. Some internships in Germany are paid, while others are not. Hence you should attempt to make proper findings from the organization first and ensure you can afford to live in Germany before making your visa application.
What kind of visa do I apply for when going to Germany for an Internship/Training?
There are two kinds of visa you can apply for when going to Germany for an internship or training. If the internship will last less than 3 months, you can apply for a Schengen visa. However, if it will excede three months, apply for a Germany National Visa.
Can I travel the Schengen Area with Germany Student Internship visa?
Yes. The Germany student internship visa allows you to travel the Schengen area for the period of its validity. However, it only allows you to work in Germany, and nowhere else.
Is it possible to extend my Germany internship visa?
In the rare case that the company you intern with wishes to extend your internship, you can extend your visa duration. All you need do is go to the foreigners’ office in the city you live in Germany. Go along with all your visa application documents, and a letter from the company indicating they wish to retain you, and stating exactly how long.
The same goes for if they wish to retain you as a full staff. You can always switch your internship visa to a work visa.
How much does it cost to apply for Germany student internship visa?
The Germany student internship application fee typically costs €75 to purchase the form. However, you can see all other fees here.
Germany student internship/training visa opens a lot of doors for foreign nationals seeking to gain training or work experience in Germany. It could lead to retainment, boost your resume, and so on. If you can afford it, it is an experience you really should consider.