Tuesday, September 09, 2008

German Student Visa - A big pain! (part 1)

Watch out folks if you plan to visit Germany as a student. Getting Visa can be a pain all over the body. To ease the pain what you can do is start your visa process good 4 months before ur travel date. I started mine 3 months before and I got the visa stamped just on the day of my flight to Frankfurt. I’m penning down here the whole episode just in case it might help any of you looking for the same. To cut the story short, I’d write what happened after the receipt of invitation letter from German university.

Some time in mid June, I guess, I received an e-mail attachment of my invitation letter to spend one fall term (Sep-Dec) at Zeppelin University, Germany. The letter mentioned that while the university would like to help in whichever way they can, Visa procedures are solely the responsibility of the candidate. What that means is, it’s upto me to figure out all the modalities starting from what all documents I should procure and submit to till collecting the stamped visa.
A little web browsing gave the info that VFS is also the facilitator for Germany embassy, much like US case. In Bangalore the VFS-Germany centre is located in St.Mark’s Road, in a commercial complex named Sophia’s Choice, right opposite to Hotel Nandini. Good thing is that the complex has a free bike park area. [It is always full, but if you look hard you would find just enough space to move existing bikes and shove in yours in between.]
Many friends say many things about what documents to furnish, but what VFS center folks tell would be the most reliable info (they in fact give you a check-list with appropriate things tick-marked as per your visa requirement, if you visit their office and explain what your need is). At the risk of undermining my earlier statement I still am listing down the essential documents I could think of for a German student visa. Ah! I forgot to mention one thing, which appears now trivial to me but wasn’t that trivial when I began my visa formalities.
“Any person who wants to stay in any Schengen country (browse internet for what all countries of European Union form the Schengen region, Germany is certainly part of Schengen area) for a period of less than or equal to 90days can avail a Schengen Visa from any of the Schengen country consulate. If the stay is going to be for more than 90 days, one has to apply for the long-term/residence permit type of Visa.”

List of essential documents for German Student Visa:
Passport
Invitation Letter from University (English must, nice to have in German also)
Bank Statement for past 1 year
Letter from Bank mentioning the balance in your bank account both in rupees and equivalent euro amount (as per that day’s exchange rate)
German translation of above letter
Cover letter by candidate to Consulate seeking Visa
German translation of above mentioned cover letter
Filled long-term stay application form (application form can be downloaded from chennai german consulate website, or picked up free of cost from VFS-Germany center)
Bio-metric photo (have at least four in number)

With these in hand, I went to VFS-Germany center in St.Mark’s Road to book the mandatory appointment with consulate. Some one said the visa fee is 4100, but did not mention the 776 rupees of service fee. First time I tried to book my visa appointment I was short of 60 rupees and had to go the next day and book the appointment.

After the first personal visa interview in Chennai, I was told to collect my passport end of that week. I felt glad. Alas, the received passport doesn’t have any visa stamping on it. In the meantime I found out that the Visa stamping is not any near, and it’s a long way later to happen. From July 21st when my first visa interview was over, the executives whoever they may be, Germans or Indians, took their sweet long time to approve me a student visa after verifying with my german university and bank statements. While for my friend who was interviewed on the same day, who is from my college going on exchange to the same university the approval came before July end itself, my approval letter was generated only in the second week of August (15 days of delay for no conceivable valid reason). More comedy is yet to begin… for the executives in German consulate, Chennai it took 6 days to courier a piece of paper that I was repeatedly mentioning that I badly need to schedule my second personal interview (yes, it’s two rounds of personal interviewing for Germany, though one would argue it is not worth the salt when even for U.S it’s just one personal interview only).
Back home I mentally made up my mind that I would have to reschedule my flight dates (which would mean not just monetary loss but also a lot of personal disadvantage) as I waited eternally for the visa approval letter. Days passed by and my end-terms began. In he midst of my exams, on 23rd August when I had two exams 9a.m to 11.15a.m and 2.30p.m-6.30p.m, after the first exam was over I got a call from VFS-Germany center informing me that my visa approval letter arrived and that I should collect the same. When inquired what was the earliest date I could get if I have to book a second personal appointment, I was informed that it was 3rd September, which is the day I’ve my flight scheduled. I requested if a slot on that date can be blocked for me, but I was told that it’s not possible. And on top, I was fortunately or unfortunately, informed that the interview slots can be grabbed away by anyone from any of the other VFS centers as they speak. What this meant was – “JC! You better rush and book the appointment in person NOW, or else you risk rescheduling your flight”. I looked at my watch and it showed exactly 2hr 10minutes for my second exam to begin. I took a very risky call and started from my room towards VFS centre. Did I get my interview scheduled on 3rd? Did I miss my exam? (… know in my next post)

28 Comments:

Blogger Pratap said...

So what happened after this...
Your next post hasn't come up yet :)

pratap.

2:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the second interview for every student visa required ? or they will ask only to a few people ?

Waiting for your second post..

4:38 AM  
Blogger rakesh said...

can i get that covering letter i need that one plz send that one to my mail id

rakesh1432020@gmail.com

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like you, me too faced the same problem, last year 2008 i came hear oct 19, instead of coming on sep.17, visa cousulate taken 6.5 weeks(45 days)to issue my visa approval letter, but many of my anadhra friends got within 3 weeks. they played with me real snack & ladder game. And VFS informed lethagically 2 days after got letter from counsulate....

8:51 AM  
Blogger alfred said...

Hey is it too hard to get a German Visa ..? I am on my nerves now cos I got admitted at the university of furtwangen Germany and it says the orientation program starts in september but the Invitation letter has not yet reached me from the university. I read your blog today seriously I dont know how to proceed until I receive my acceptance letter from the University :-(

10:03 PM  
Blogger Jayachandra said...

@alfred,

things might have changed for the better, I don't know. However try to explore the possibility with your university incharge folks if student visa is going to take time, can you come on 'Schengen Visa' (this would come in two weeks time, process not as elaborate as that of student visa) and try to get a student visa done while at Germany. If you are not conversant in Deutsch, then I advise that you get all your work done here itself, wait to finish off your student visa and probably join few days late into the program rather than trying to get your resident visa done from there because government staff in germany even though they know english WILL NOT speak english and rarely can you get someone to accompany you to the government offices to act as your translator (time is precious for everyone at Germany). Without knowledge of Deutsch, finding out how to get your Schengen Visa converted to a resident/student visa is going to be a nightmare while in Germany.

But the immediate course of action is going to be 'pain to the max, the college authorities looking after international admissions to email as well as snail mail all the documentation required from college side.

Good luck!

10:41 PM  
Blogger Sree said...

Can u plz let me know where can i get Sample cover letter. It will be gr8 if can post this in this blog

11:13 PM  
Blogger ankitgkashyap said...

It is definitely a big help for people who are planning to pursue higher studies in Germany.

Thanks Jayachandra.

3:38 AM  
Blogger knowhemanth said...

Thank you Jayachandra. your blog entry on the explanation of visa process was a real help.

Thank you once again.

10:22 PM  
Blogger mani said...

hi weather the bank statment must be 12 months past or even 6 months is enough..because i dont have 12 months account on my name..weather can i show in my mothers account?.which one has the highest priority to get visa...

11:56 PM  
Anonymous krishna said...

this is really useful....pls tell me some good things happened to you on visa procedure and also pls post the second part

9:06 AM  
Anonymous krishna said...

this is really useful....pls tell me some good things happened to you on visa procedure and also pls post the second part

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

guys anybody have sample German student visa Cover lettet if so please to my Email id : sujithfem@gmail.com

2:56 AM  
Blogger knowhemanth said...

@sujith
its easy.. is a simple letter saying, dear sir/madam i want to go to germany for this purpose, on this date please issue a visa ASAP.

2:06 AM  
Blogger hemanth said...

hey jayachander thanks for the explanation dude.. can u please send me cover letter for the visa. my mail id is hemanthkaja@gmail.com
thanks in advance

3:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want not concur on it. I regard as warm-hearted post. Particularly the title attracted me to review the unscathed story.

4:27 AM  
Anonymous Frustrated Applicant said...

Well looks like you never posted Part 2!

As for my experience, I can say that it has been equally frustrating. After all why the two rounds of interviews, considering that I was hardly asked any questions during the first one?

You rcvd the approval letter in 4 weeks, but this is my seventh week and counting and those dumbos have still not issued my approval letter yet. I already came to know through the university that the local immigration office has approved me, but these ______ (fill it with some gross profanity) officials at the consulate have still not issued me the approval letter nor have they responded to my queries.

Frankly folks, though it has the stamp of Germany, the consulate is no better than the Indian office babudom (the staff is mostly Indian anyway).

It is seriously disgusting how Indian citizens are treated, scrutinized and we literally have to plead and beg for a visa should we wish to travel abroad.

1:46 AM  
Blogger KODALI'S said...

Hello sir,



I am pramod from india, I have applied for student visa in Chennai consulate in india.



At the first time I attended interview the interview people checked all documents and said that visa process will take 3-4 weeks. But I have been rejected for the reason “ JUSTIFICATION FOR THE PURPOSE AND CONDITIONS FOR THE INTENDED TO STAY WAS NOT PROIVDED”



And I attended for the second time the interview people said that it is ok then also it is been rejected for the same reason

“ JUSTIFICATION FOR THE PURPOSE AND CONDITIONS FOR THE INTENDED TO STAY WAS NOT PROIVDED” I submitted all the documents. Then also it been rejected.



How can I appeal to the German consulate…?



Please help me sir,



Thanking you,



Pramod.

9:44 PM  
Blogger KODALI'S said...

Hello sir,



I am pramod from india, I have applied for student visa in Chennai consulate in india.



At the first time I attended interview the interview people checked all documents and said that visa process will take 3-4 weeks. But I have been rejected for the reason “ JUSTIFICATION FOR THE PURPOSE AND CONDITIONS FOR THE INTENDED TO STAY WAS NOT PROIVDED”



And I attended for the second time the interview people said that it is ok then also it is been rejected for the same reason

“ JUSTIFICATION FOR THE PURPOSE AND CONDITIONS FOR THE INTENDED TO STAY WAS NOT PROIVDED” I submitted all the documents. Then also it been rejected.



How can I appeal to the German consulate…?



Please help me sir,



Thanking you,



Pramod.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Aditya said...

do they also ask for class 12 board marksheets? and do they inquire with the local school as well???

1:07 PM  
Blogger Aditya said...

can any1 plz tell me what are the questions asked???

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was stupid of you to go for interview on July 21st and then expect reply before July end!!!

10:46 AM  
Blogger Nam said...

Hi, could you tel me where you got your documents translated to German pls ? also i had been to VFS and they said that the bank statement need not be translated to German . Is that true ? Also my admission letter is in English. Should i get that translated too ?

5:57 AM  
Blogger kakarot said...

Mate!!! Some say that Germen consulate accepts only IELTS score not older than 6 months for people applying from Chennai,mumbai,delhi & kolkata.Is it true? I already had my IELTS on sept 2011 and i plan to apply for fall 2012. The univ admit will come only at april.By that time my ielts will be older than 6 months.Can u pls come up with a solution for this.

11:17 AM  
Blogger rddddr said...

Thanks Jayachandra, aren't you surprised that your post is helping people like me even after a couple of years have passed?

To others - I plan to visit Germany in January on a student visa. I haven't started my visa process yet, but here are some key things -

* I have enrolled myself in a language school there. I will learn German and the course is 6 months long.


* The fee is nearly 2,54,000 rupees (including my health insurance in Germany and courier cost of papers). The health insurance company was proposed by the school, I just nodded along.

* On the German Embassy website(I will apply from New Delhi, unlike Jayachandra) - it is mentioned that for a student visa, a TOEFL certificate is necessary unless the university mentions explicitly that it is not required (or unless one is doing their PhD etc.). My language school said they don't need a TOEFL certificate from me as they will speak with me in German from the first day (I have zero knowledge of German and will start from the basic lavel).

* My agent is confused and useless, he sometimes exclaims that student visa can take 2 months, but since last week he has been insisting I can get it within a month. From this blog we have learnt that it can take 2 months. Hmm...

* I want to study German language because I wish to apply for a master's degree next year.

My questions are to those who have been to Germany to a language school on a student visa from India.

- Should I reveal my intentions to the Embassy during my interview that I actually plan to do my masters after my language course? Would this make them doubt me as a potential immigrant? Or should I act like "I just wanna learn German because it is an interesting language and that's it!"?

- What kind of questions are asked in such a case (where someone goes to do a language course - Jayachandra was accepted in a university)?

- How long did it take for the visa to be processed?

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Jayachandra, aren't you surprised that your post is helping people like me even after a couple of years have passed?

To others - I plan to visit Germany in January on a student visa. I haven't started my visa process yet, but here are some key things -

* I have enrolled myself in a language school there. I will learn German and the course is 6 months long.


* The fee is nearly 2,54,000 rupees (including my health insurance in Germany and courier cost of papers). The health insurance company was proposed by the school, I just nodded along.

* On the German Embassy website(I will apply from New Delhi, unlike Jayachandra) - it is mentioned that for a student visa, a TOEFL certificate is necessary unless the university mentions explicitly that it is not required (or unless one is doing their PhD etc.). My language school said they don't need a TOEFL certificate from me as they will speak with me in German from the first day (I have zero knowledge of German and will start from the basic lavel).

* My agent is confused and useless, he sometimes exclaims that student visa can take 2 months, but since last week he has been insisting I can get it within a month. From this blog we have learnt that it can take 2 months. Hmm...

* I want to study German language because I wish to apply for a master's degree next year.

My questions are to those who have been to Germany to a language school on a student visa from India.

- Should I reveal my intentions to the Embassy during my interview that I actually plan to do my masters after my language course? Would this make them doubt me as a potential immigrant? Or should I act like "I just wanna learn German because it is an interesting language and that's it!"?

- What kind of questions are asked in such a case (where someone goes to do a language course - Jayachandra was accepted in a university)?

- How long did it take for the visa to be processed?

6:31 AM  
Blogger Srav said...

Hi JayChandra,
I work as software Engineer in London and i am on Tier1 visa. I am going to get my PR soon in UK. I have a brother who did his Intermediate in AP in MPC. I heard that there are many universities and colleges in Europe and Germany which offer graduate courses like Engineering Maths without any fee for Indian Students. Could you please let me know what do you think about graduate studies in Germany or Europe? My email: ihkris@gmail.com

Thanks
HariKrishna

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

please help me urgently. i got my visa approved and they had stamped on my passport. after two days i got a call from consulate for the 2nd interview. i don't know why. they had not asked me to come with any docs. i had received a very high rank in AIEEE exam also. What could be the reason of their call.

11:56 PM  

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