Visa and Immigration
If you are an EU, Swiss or EEA student, you can move to Germany and begin your studies at BIMM Institute without the need for a visa. All you need to do is register with the local authorities within 2-weeks of your arrival to let them know you’re here.
If you are a non-EU or UK student, you may need to apply for a visa to study at BIMM Institute. You can get immigration and visa support throughout your time with us – from when you apply to when you graduate.
Germany offers very positive terms for international students, including the right to work a certain number of hours per week during your studies, which could greatly help you engage with the music industry during the semester or holiday periods as well as have part-time employment to support your living costs. The process of applying and being awarded a visa can be completed directly with the local German embassy in your country of origin and takes approximately 25-days to complete.
Nationals of a country in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland do not need a visa or any other form of immigration permission to study at any of BIMM Institute’s campuses in Germany, and are entitled to the freedom of movement when entering Germany.
EEA countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
You may be aware that the UK is in the process of seeking to leave the European Union (EU). Recognition of educational degrees including our undergraduate and postgraduate courses are based on common international regulation and will remain in place after Brexit. Changes should not be expected.
UK nationals do not currently need a visa or any other form of immigration permission to study at either BIMM Institute Berlin or Hamburg.
After Brexit, conditions for studying abroad could change, and as in most areas, exact effects cannot yet be predicted. Here at BIMM Institute, we are determined to keep our community of creative students as diverse and vibrant post-Brexit as always.
During the UK’s transition period of withdrawing from the EU, the UK is treated like an EU member state, meaning British students’ rights of movement and ability to study would not change. These will be continued if you have moved to Germany to study before 31st December 2020, and remain in Germany thereafter.
‘Hard’ Brexit Scenario
If an agreement cannot be reached in due time, the UK will be treated as a third (non-EU) country as of 31 December, 2020.
Students considering studying in Germany after a ‘hard’ Brexit should take into account that freedom of movement would no longer be guaranteed. Residence permits or a study visa may be required. Currently, laws are being created that maintain BAföG eligibility for British students and trainees in Germany, however, these are subject to change until the UK’s withdrawal from the EU is concluded.
Further information on the requirements for British nationals planning to move to Germany can be referenced from the German Federal Foreign Office, as well as the Gov.uk website:
International students often need a visa to enter Germany. If you plan to study in Germany, you have to submit an application for a student visa to the respective German mission (embassy) abroad before travelling.
You can find a list of countries requiring visas for study, and exemptions here:
If you come from Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea or the United States you can enter Germany without a visa. On arrival in Germany, you can apply for a residence permit from the Foreigners’ Authority, as visa-free access is limited to a 3-month period from your date of arrival.
Documents have to be presented proving that you have been accepted for studies by BIMM Institute. The German mission abroad will then forward the visa application for an opinion to the Foreigners’ Authority in either Berlin or Hamburg (dependant on which city you applied to study in).
This process can take some time. German embassies generally advise this process takes 25-days, but we highly recommend allowing up to 90-days for your study visa to be processed by your local German embassy.
As such, if you plan on studying at BIMM Institute and will be moving to Germany from a non-EU country, we advise applying and completing our application requirements at your earliest convenience. This in general is no later than the end of May in the year you plan to study, as all BIMM Institute degree courses begin in late-September.
Applying for study early, so you are in a position to provide a confirmation of your place of study to your local German embassy, will allow you to complete the visa application process with minimal delays. If you apply for your visa later than June, then you may experience some issues which could impact you being able to begin your studies in September.
Further information on applying for a student visa, and a list of overseas German embassies, can be found here:
Germany is a vibrant and diverse country in which to study, and both Berlin and Hamburg have rich creative and international communities. Many of our students wish to work to during their studies to support their living costs and engage with the music industry, and below are some considerations dependant on your nationality and circumstances:
Students from the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland have unrestricted access to the German labour market and have practically the same rights as German students. However, if they work more than 20 hours per week they must pay certain insurance contributions (just like German students).
British students currently living and studying in Germany can also work alongside their studies with no restrictions besides the above. This is subject to change dependant on the terms of the Brexit agreement with the EU after January 1st 2021.
Non-EU students can also work during their studies, up to 120 full days or 240 half days per year. Generally, this equates to 20-hours per week during each 30-week semester. You may be able to increase this to full-time work during holiday periods/ semester breaks, but will also need to request a work permit from the Federal Employment Agency and Foreigners’ Authority. This work permit would have details on the number of hours of work you can take up.
Our Admissions Team are on hand to provide prospective and enrolled international students with information and advice on moving to Germany to study.
For help, support or advice, please call or email us between 9am-5pm CET using the contact details below.
Tel: +49 30 311 99 186