Learning German in Jena

An epic guide: German Language Visa application to learn German in Germany*

*For Malaysians

For the life of me, if I don’t know why you’d want to learn German in the first place. It’s difficult (trust me, it is), it takes forever to master and it’ll take you a lifetime before you could pass off as a German native speaker. However, if you’re doing it out of love, for a university programme, or if you’re just plain masochistic, well then, where else would you rather learn German but in Germany? I don’t need to extol here the benefits of learning the language at the country of its origin and embracing the experience of living abroad so I’ll just get on right to how to go about applying for the German Language Visa.


First of all, if you find a programme that could be completed in three months, you could just sign up and learn it on a regular “tourist visa”. For Malaysians, we could enter and stay within the EU/Schengen zone  for 90 days within 180 days without a visa. Which means, you have 90 days to remain and travel freely within the Schengen area.

However, once you’ve used up your 90 days, you’d need to LEAVE the Schengen area and stay away for 90 days before you’re allowed to enter again. Now if you fancy beating the system, be my guest. But if you do get caught, you could be deported, blacklisted, be fined or be jailed; hence in my opinion–not worth the risk.


This blog post won’t tell you which German course to take up since that’s personal and it highly depends on your goals and needs. Neither would I tell you which city to do it in, because almost every large enough town or city would have organisations, schools and language institutes that offer German courses, with a wide range of teaching methods, program goals, and prices.


However, if you’re like me, and ended up in a small village, you might have to look to the next bigger city to see if they’ve got something there.


Getting Started: The German Language Visa


If you’re planning for a German course that will last more than 3 months (and without the intention of being prepped up for further tertiary studies in Germany), you are then obligated to apply for the German Language Visa.


Now unfortunately, this visa was more complicated than I’d imagined. It took more documents and effort than applying for a 3-year Australian student visa. But don’t let that get you down.


As long as you meet all their requirements and file the application accordingly, there is no reason for a rejection.


Once again, go HERE for the checklist of the documents you needed. 


I insist that you look at the checklist before coming back to read this blog post further. Once you’re done, you might have questions, which I will try to address within this post and at the end, some FAQs.


Do also note that, this is guide stems from my personal experience for the visa and am not an agent, nor an expert nor the Immigration Officer.


Things to note:


  1. 2 duly completed Residence Permit Form
  2. 2 recent biometric Passport-size Photos (grey/white background)
  3. Acceptance Letter from a Language Institute Of Your Choice (min. 20 hours a week)
  4. A Curriculum Vitae (yes, like as if you’re applying for a job) and Proof of your academic qualifications (University certs would suffice)
  5. Motivation Letter (like a Cover Letter, stating why you want to learn German in Germany)
  6. Means of Subsistence (means, you got money or not?)
  7. Visa Fee: € 60 (payable in Ringgit and Cash)
  8. Processing time: 6 to 8 weeks (I got mine approved by the 7th week.)


Next Steps:

1. Research where you’d like to study and apply for the course. The course must be at least 20 hours a week to meet visa requirements. Those twice-a-week courses don’t count so don’t apply for them!


For me, I’d applied for an Intensive 25-hour a week Integration Course which lasted about 11 months. The IIK Language & Cultural Institute that I was studying at, had intensive German language programmes to help integrate migrants and refugees, but because I wasn’t a refugee I had to pay about € 254 per month.

I started from A1.2 and completed the B2 level. I’d initially did a quick 4 week programme in the Volkshochschule of Jena but it was more of a 2 x 90 minute lesson a week in the weekends. This course was done when I was still on a tourist visa.


2. Once you get a Letter of Acceptance from the course, you can now fill out the Residence Form. Make sure you fill out 2 of the same forms. Get the form here: Residence Permit Forms


3. Get your visa photos and Proof of Qualifications ready, write your CV and Motivation Letter


4. How would you prove your means of subsistence?

There are mainly three ways as stated here:

  • Scholarship
  • Formal Obligation (Verpliftungserklärung)
  • Blocked Bank Account



If you have a scholarship, then you could photocopy your scholarship forms to prove that your financial means are taken care of. However, chances are, your choices are narrowed down to these two: Blocked Bank Account or Formal Obligation.


Blocked Bank Account

I didn’t do a Blocked Bank Account, so I’ve no personal experiences to share with you.


But it’s basically the opening of a German bank account, where you’ve to bank in min. €8640 ( for studies up to a year.) You’re only allowed to withdraw €720 a month from that account to support your living and study expenses. It’s ‘blocked’ so that they’re certain that you are going to be supported financially within your time here in Germany.


To find out how to open a Blocked Account, go here.


Formal Obligation

Formal Obligation means, you have someone in Germany or abroad to financially sponsor you or at least obliged to take care of all your needs. So it isn’t going to be a German traveller that you met while travelling because he or she is legally obliged to care for you.


However, it could be anyone, living in Germany or abroad. They’d then need to get this Formal Obligation (Verpliftungserklärung) document from a German consulate or Ausländerbehörde (a Foreigner’s Office found in every town/municipality in Germany) by showing them an ID/passport, the latest 3 months of pay slips (salary has to be more than €1200, after rental deduction) apartment lease and a work contract.


Now these documents could change based on the demands of each consulate or Ausländerbehörde.


5. Once you’ve all your documents and passport ready, find out the opening and closing times of the German Embassy and make an online appointment


Everything else is pretty straight-forward after that. Don’t miss your appointment and my tip is, make sure you’ve got your documents sorted out neatly. You might also want to make copies of your CV, Motivation Letter, Proof of Qualifications, Formal Obligation, just in case they might need them.


learn German in Germany


FAQs (Everything Else)


  1. Once you get the visa from the German embassy, is that it?

No, that isn’t all. You’ll see that your visa will expire within 3 months. When you get into Germany, and once you know where you’ll be staying, you’ll need to go to the Ausländerbehörde to get an extension of your visa. This extension will be largely based on the duration of your enrollment in a language institute of your choice. Say for example, if your course is till June 2017, then you’ll be allowed to stay till June 2017. You won’t get another visa sticker on your passport but rather in a form of an identification card called the Aufenthaltstitel .


  1. How do I find a place a stay?

I didn’t have to find one since I was living with my partner but if you do need a room, you’ll probably be looking at a shared home (Wohngemeinschaft, in short–WG). Check these links out for more information:

This German Life-The Perfect WG 

A Student’s New Home-Finding a WG


  1. Do you need health insurance?

As a matter of fact, you do. Everyone needs health insurance in Germany, including the Germans! I’m not sure why it’s not written on the checklist but I remember it was mandatory when I applied for it. I got CareConcept which seemed fine. 

Everything was applied and dealt with online. However, I didn’t get sick or injured so I can’t comment if it was any good! But application was fast and without hassle.


  1. Can I stay for 2 years?

No, the visa requirements stipulated that you can only have a maximum of one-year stay.


  1. Can I get a one-way ticket to Germany?

Yes, you can!


  1. Which language institute should I attend?

Any, as long as the course that you’re enrolled in, offers 20hrs of German lessons a week. Volkshochschule (a sort of community college) in bigger cities are usually cheaper than private institutes. Some language institutes, for example, IIK Jena, the one that I attended is subsidised by the government. You could also check out language courses in universities, and so on.


  1. Can I apply for this visa in Germany itself?

No. You have to do this at the Malaysian embassy (if you’re a Malaysian, that is).


More FAQs answered here: Follow-Up FAQs to How To Apply For The German Language Visa


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Ying Tey
Ying Tey Reinhardt (Piccola Ying) is a Malaysian writer and copywriter based in Germany.

In her vagabonding heydays, she's backpacked to many countries, lived in a few, funded her wanderlust by teaching English to sailors on Italian cruise ships and making coffees in hipster cafes.

Her work has appeared in Marie Claire, Roads & Kingdoms, Bootsnall and OffAssignment.

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  • emily 30/05/2017   Reply →

    Hi Admin

    I want to learn german can you recommend me this e-book please help me

  • Shaz 09/08/2017   Reply →

    Hi admin, i understand that we need health insurance, but my concern is before the appointment with the embassy in kL, i need to show them that i have health insurance in germany? And i have to apply that online first of all?

    • Ying Tey 09/08/2017   Reply →

      Yes Shaz. You’ll have to apply it online and print out the documents needed for the visa application.

      • Shaz 09/08/2017   Reply →

        Ying Tey,
        Thanks for the info. so I’ll just have to start to find one now:)

        • Ying Tey 10/08/2017   Reply →

          Yeah, there are a few companies offering it. The one you should take shouldn’t be the version for students(studying in universities) but rather specifically for language students and so on.

          • Preeti 28/06/2018  

            Hi Admin,

            I read your post. and it helped to clear many of my doubts. I have few queries. Can you plz help me to know as am applying for Language visa from India. Am interested tom learn German as a beginner.
            1. Is Residence Permit form Mandatory ( Bcz i cannot see anywhere in the checklist mentioned in website of German embassy)
            2. Can we stay in Students apartment in sharing and show the proof. As one of my friend is staying as student but he is not working still and he has place to stay. Is that proof of accommodation sufficient is take it from his owner ?

            Please let me know is possible so that can start arranging the Accommodation papers.
            Thanking you in advance 🙂

          • Ying Tey 28/06/2018  

            Hi Preeti, The residence permit form is the National Visa Form. I’m unfortunately uncertain about the requirements for an Indian national. As far as I’m concerned, there was no need to prove your accommodation but rather proving that you’ve the required funds to sustain yourself in Germany.

    • Ying Tey 08/10/2017   Reply →

      Yes, that’s right. You’ll need to have applied for the health insurance online, print out those documents and then include them with your visa application. The application for the health insurance on the Internet is pretty simple. Some health insurance companies include Fintiba Bank, Mawista, CareConcept, etc.

  • Anna 05/09/2017   Reply →

    Hi) can you please say how to write this Motivation Letter.

  • Meng Lee 01/10/2017   Reply →

    Hi Ying Tey,
    Such a amazing information and many thanks for blogging it. It cleared out my doubts and question for the visa application.

    My questions are
    1. Do we have to submit the original passport for visa processing (Language Visa)? Or only copies?
    2. Since Malaysian can enter freely upto 90 days and I already got the visa, can I enter Germany as Tourist Visa before the Language Visa date? Which is before the course starts?

    Hear from you soon.
    Thank you

    Meng Lee

    • Ying Tey 01/10/2017   Reply →

      Hi Meng Lee,

      Thanks for stopping by. Glad I could help clarify your doubts. First of all, yes you’d need to give up your passport and copies of it for the application. However you can tell them that you might need to travel in between and they’ll give it back to you. But you’ll still need to bring it on the day of application. Yes, you can. The visa at the end of the day is really just a 3 month special visa. Once you enter, you’ll still need to go to the Foreigner’s Office and apply for your Aufenthaltstitel (Residence Permit). This ID card is technically the real ‘visa’ in a form of ID card.

  • Amir 24/10/2017   Reply →

    I have conditional offer letter from university and I have A1 certificate from gothe I want know Can I apply for student visa?

    • Ying Tey 24/10/2017   Reply →

      Student visa and language student visas are two different things. Unfortunately I’ve only experienced the latter. But if you’re learning German for the sake of uni, then you should be getting a proper student visa instead of a language visa

  • Panca 08/12/2017   Reply →

    Hello there !
    I thank you so much for your posts. It helps me so much on preparing to apply for the Language course visa. But I still have some questions in my head. And I hope you could do me a favor to answer it.
    1. As far as I know that the embassy would give us 3 months visa for this, and also could be extended up to 9 months. So 1 year in total. Right? One of the requirements is that I have to attach acceptance letter from the Language course and the receipt of fully paid course fee. I am planning to do a year long course, from A1.2 till maybe C1 if I could. Now the problem is, do I need to enroll all the course completely to get 12 months visa. Or can I just apply courses from A1.2 to B1.2 first, that makes up around 3 months, and then enroll for the next level like B2-C1 while I’m in Germany, and get the extension there?
    2. You mentioned that you were living with your partner, right? So when you were applying visa, how did you obtain a letter stating about your accommodation there? Did your partner make a letter that stated you would be living with him during your Language course? Because I will also be accommodated by my friend and want to know if we need such letter.
    3. Last but not least, will you get like residence card? Or just visa sticker? And also is it restricted to go out and come in the country during your Language course? Like I mean you’re supposed to study the Language intensively. But is it possible if you go back to your home country for like once per 3 months for a week or something. And also do you have breaks for every level? Or you just continuously go to the courses.
    Thank you so much for reading all my questions. I hope you’ll reply it soon.

    • Ying Tey 08/12/2017   Reply →

      Hi Panca, that’s a long list of questions so I’ll start with the answers right away.

      1. You could just apply for a couple of months and eventually get an extension up till a year on your residency. Or the other way is enrol with the school for a year but then pay as you go. That’s what I did basically. I asked for a letter that stated that I’d like to do a year long course but I only paid for the first month. I guess it depends on the schools.

      2. The letter I got wasn’t a letter stating accommodation but rather the fact that my partner is legally responsible for me. It’s called a Verpflichtungserklärung document. It was issued by the local Immigration Office in my area. I don’t think they care much about where you stay to be honest.

      3. First you’ll get a sticker. Then you need to register at the local Immigration Office to get a residence pass. It’s a multi-entry until the expiry date on your temporary residency pass.Usually there aren’t any breaks. There are 1 or 2 week holidays but not summer holidays like in uni. Every school is different. You’ll have to enquire with ya school. Hope that helps!

  • Angela 16/12/2017   Reply →

    Hello, thank you for the comprehensive post!

    Did you have your original acceptance letters from IIK mailed all the way from Germany to Malaysia or could the PDF files sent by IIK suffice for the visa application? I’m worried about whether the true originals (with stamp and signature) will be needed – it takes 80 euros to mail it to my home 🙁 thank you!

    • Ying Tey 16/12/2017   Reply →

      Hi Angela, you’ll have to email the embassy to clarify with them. In my case I had the originals as I enrolled with the school while I was having a vacation here. But I’m not sure if originals are a must or would a pdf copy would suffice.

  • Kavi 24/01/2018   Reply →

    Your post is very helpful. I have been looking for this explanation since long. Luckily i found your website.

    I plan to use the “Verpflichtungserklärung” instead of blocked account when applying the first visa.

    I have only one question, did you use “Verpflichtungserklärung” as proof of address, to EXTEND your visa? If not, how did you proved it?

    • Ying Tey 24/01/2018   Reply →

      Hi Kavi, I’m not sure what you mean. Anyway I didn’t extend the visa. I applied for the max time which is one year (proven by acceptance letter from the language school). The visa is non-extendable as 1 yr is the max

  • Yy 08/06/2018   Reply →

    Hi, can I only use Verpflichtungserklärung document instead of blocked account for apply language visa?

    • Ying Tey 08/06/2018   Reply →

      You can if you could get the document from someone who’s going to sponsor you. This document was procured from the Ausländerbehörde in my town and was completed by my then bf. You need to meet some criteria for this document to be issued.

  • Van 25/06/2018   Reply →

    Hi Ying,

    Are we allow to find job during our stay for language course?

    • Ying Tey 25/06/2018   Reply →

      Hi Van, no, unfortunately you are not allowed to work on a language visa.

  • Preeti 02/07/2018   Reply →

    Thank you so much for your immediate reply. Can you please let me know what are the opportunities of Job in Germany after completion of C1 Level certification. As am a Computer Science Engineer exp of 3 yrs in Technical Management currently. I am looking forward to work in Germany and take international experience in management in German Market. I have gathered Technical Management Experience through my work. What are my chances after completing C1 level in Germany? Can i give interviews on my Language Visa OR Do i need to come back to India for getting Job Search Visa? Kindly help. I will really appreciate your help in this regards.
    Thanking you in advance.

    • Ying Tey 02/07/2018   Reply →

      Hi Preeti, unfortunately I can’t exactly advise you about job prospects but I can tell you that it’s very difficult to get a job. Also, you cannot convert your language visa into something else. You’ll have to return to India to get a Job Seeker Visa.


    • Dheeraj gupta 14/11/2018   Reply →

      I am Dheeraj gupta, from india, applied for language course visa. I am a graduate student.
      Can you please guide me the exact category of visa i need to apply for this language course visa. For example.

      Purpose of travel: national visa/ student visa
      Sub visa category: Student: language course without intent of subsequent higher studies in germany.

      Are these details correct?if i am applying for language course visa of 8 months in germany.

      • Ying Tey 14/11/2018   Reply →

        Hi Dheeraj, the language visa is a visa on its own. If you are planning to further your studies in Germany, then you should apply for a student visa. But if not, then language visa is pro probably what you intend to apply for. Your purpose of travel would be to learn German..

        • dheeraj gupta 14/11/2018   Reply →

          Thanks for reply.

          But there is no exclusive category in purpose of travel regarding language learn

          As if you fill national visa form, they give option of language course also.

          It is confusing.

          • Ying Tey 14/11/2018  

            I think it’s best if you email the German embassy for details. They should be able to give you a more comprehensive guidance to filing out the form.

  • Preeti 06/07/2018   Reply →

    Thank you soo much ying.

  • Mae 11/07/2018   Reply →

    Hi! My language course visa was rejected 🙁

    But I do have multi. entry visa that I can use. Am i allowed to study short language course with my Schengen Visa?

    • Ying Tey 11/07/2018   Reply →

      Sure. You just can’t do it for more than 90 days

  • Anon 14/07/2018   Reply →

    Always been realllllllly into moving to Germany one day, love the lang, the culture etc. So glad I found out about this program and thanks a ton for writing this up. Very helpful

  • JD 26/07/2018   Reply →


    Just want to know what letter you submitted for proof of residence. For my case I will be staying with my boyfriend and just unsure if it’s going to be a problem to declare that I will be staying with him.

    Hope to hear your advise.

    Thanks a lot

    • Ying Tey 26/07/2018   Reply →

      Hi JD,
      I’m not sure why were you required to submit proof of residence? I went through the language visa checklist and it doesn’t seem like it was a requirement.

      • JD 26/07/2018   Reply →

        I haven’t applied yet. But just wondering if I would be asked for proof of residence and if it’s okay to declare that I’ll be staying with my boyfriend. Cos if I need then that means my bf needs to provide a formal letter of obligation, although I will have a blocked account for my proof of finance. Or weren’t you asked where you will be staying? Sorry for the tons of questions.

        • Ying Tey 26/07/2018   Reply →

          Hi JD,
          No, I wasn’t asked to offer any proof of residence. You do have to state where you intend to stay but there’s no need to prove it. It could be anywhere, I guess. Your bf wouldn’t be required to provide a formal letter of obligation unless he intends to be financially responsible for you. But if you have a blocked account available, then there’s no need to prove anything else. Just go according to the Language Visa Checklist and provide what’s stated there. You can’t go wrong with that! Good luck!

  • Dheeraj gupta 14/11/2018   Reply →

    Hi ying.

    Can you please guide me through the visa category.
    As a am a graduate student.

    Purpose of travel: national visa/student visa.
    Sub visa category: language course without intent of subsequent higher studies in germany.

    Are these correct?

  • van lee 23/01/2019   Reply →

    hi, i read about your post on germany. I was thinking to study german language in berlin but Im stuck in choosing the correct school. I know there is no perfect school but there is also many reviews over the net that makes me couldn’t decide the appropriate school. perhaps you have friends over at berlin who can give some advise?

    • Ying Tey 23/01/2019   Reply →

      Hi Van, Unfortunately I don’t really have many contacts in Berlin who learnt German there. I have heard that Deutsche Akademie or the VHS is good. How good a course is really depends on the teachers you get and not on the school. Though you might want a school that offers you support and flexibility. Good luck in finding a school and don’t worry too much about it. Just choose one with the intakes that suit your dates and your needs

  • Peter 06/03/2019   Reply →

    Hey! Thank you this is a great article! I have made a course which you can find here: http://www.newlifeingermany.com it helps you figure out everything about life in Germany and how to get there.

  • Tracy May Audi 24/04/2019   Reply →

    Hey! This was very helpful. I just wanted to ask if i can apply for the language visa without having any previous certificates in German Language ?

    • Ying Tey 24/04/2019   Reply →

      I did! I think it’ll be ok if you could prove that you’re already trying to learn it yourself or something. Like list down your efforts in your cover letter

  • Pia 29/04/2019   Reply →

    Hi Ying,

    Thank you for this blog, such a blessing to all of us readers. However, i have some doubts, did you instantly enroll for an integration course? Because I tried to inquire in one of the schools there in Germany for a detailed process how to enroll for an integration course. This was their reply:

    ******* For an enrollment to an integration course you need a permission from the Bundesamt or from the Job Center if you get any social money from them. In germany you only can get thhis permission if you have an „Aufenthaltstitel“. Without this kind of ID Card you can not do an integration class.

    Please contact the „Ausländerbehörde“/ foreigners authority center for further Information.****************

    Do you have any idea if the process changed? Thank you in advance!


    • Ying Tey 29/04/2019   Reply →

      Hi Pia, I’m not sure. I think every school and region has a different policy. However if you do get a language visa, they will give you an Aufenthaltstitel. It’s just a residency card that you’ll get whether you’re a student, language student, resident, etc. Maybe it’s best to ask a few schools and see. As for me, Intergration Course was the only language course available in the town I was in. If you are applying for one in a large city, they might reserve Intergration courses for residents who require integration. But then I’m sure there are language courses which are also available for you to apply.

      • Pia 29/04/2019   Reply →

        Thank you so much for the quick reply. If the other schools will say the same, I guess I will apply for the intensive courses from levels A1-C1.

        I visited Germany just last month to visit my boyfriend’s family and hometown and I really saw the need to learn the language, that’s why I am eager to find out more about how to obtain a student language visa.

        Another question, do you have a blog about how you managed to get married without the need of leaving Germany? Or a step by step process how to do this? Sorry for all the questions, and thank you again for all your help.

        • Ying Tey 29/04/2019   Reply →

          Hi Pia, I’m sorry I haven’t had time to write a blog post like that. However in my experience, or after speaking to many people, the process varies from state to state, city to city. So my experience might differ from yours depending on your nationality and where you plan to reside or get married in Germany. The best way is contact the local Standesamt and get the required documents that they ask for. If you don’t want to leave Germany before your time is up and want to change your visa to something else, best to contact the local International Office. Sometimes they might be able to help you convert it.

          Hope that helps!

  • Pia 29/04/2019   Reply →

    Thank you so much Ying! Keep up the good work. 🙂

  • Winston 23/02/2020   Reply →

    Hi Ying,

    I would like to know do I have to register for 1 year language course in Germany in order to get 1 year language VISA? I am thinking to register for a language course in Germany for 1-2 months and if it is good then for sure will continue but if it is bad then might want to change school. But if I register at language school for 1 year and later not satisfy with the quality and may not be able to get refund. So if I only register a language course for 1-2 months will I still get 1 year language visa?

    Thank you.

    • Ying Tey 23/02/2020   Reply →

      Hi Winston, if the language course is only for one to two months, I’m afraid the officer would ask you to just go on a tourist visa to do your course. Maybe you could try to get a four month course. And at first you might also just get a four month visa. But after that, if you decide to continue with another language school or stay in the same school, you can apply for a visa extension. In Germany of course. Does that make sense? Unfortunately I don’t think you’ll be granted a one year visa unless you can prove that you’ll do a course for a year. You can also see if there’s a pay as you go language school. They might be able to offer you an offer letter for a year but you’ll only pay the fee monthly as you go along.

  • lisa 16/12/2020   Reply →

    when you first get the visa, do you have a deadline to when you must leave the country before it expires

    • Ying Tey 16/12/2020   Reply →

      No, you don’t have a deadline on that visa. But you’ll have an expiry on your residency permit which you’ll have to apply in Germany itself.

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