I am moving to Germany next year to attend college and I'm not sure which kind of visa to apply for. The program I want to enroll in is a five-year program though and a normal student visa only lasts for one year. Is there a way to obtain a student visa that would last for the length of my study? or would I have to renew it every year? I am studying in Germany to be with my Fiance, who is living and working there but is not a German citizen. We will get married before I move if that makes any difference. Is there some sort of visa I could get that would allow me to move because of him? Or would that not work since he is not a citizen? If such a visa does exist, would I still be able to study with it?

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    Is he exercising EU treaty rights? – Michael Hampton May 8 '15 at 5:40
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    You need a residence permit, visas are for visiting. Many things depend on your citizenship, as well as your fiance's citizenship and his residence permit type. You could start with telling us about those. – downhand May 8 '15 at 6:34
  • @downhand Not necessarily, in many European countries (unlike Finland) it's common to get a one-year visa for the first year of your studies/work. You only get a residence permit after a few months or perhaps at the end of the first year when your long-stay visa expires. In Germany, most people do need a student visa before they can apply for the residence permit. – Relaxed May 8 '15 at 9:14
  • You should really tell us the citizenship and status of your husband-to-be. If he is from another EU country, there is probably an easier solution than the student visa. – Relaxed May 8 '15 at 9:17
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    @downhand Yes, with something called a long-stay or “national” visa. Schengen visas are not the only type of visas issued by Schengen countries and the Schengen regulations allow for it in several places. In many cases, you can't apply for a residence permit from abroad and you are required to get such a visa to be allowed to apply for the residence permit after entering the country. – Relaxed May 8 '15 at 9:32

You won't get five years up front, I fear. But let's walk through the basics first:

To attend college in Germany, you need an Aufenthaltserlaubnis (residence permit). To get that, you will have to show evidence that you are able to support yourself. €10k per year should be enough, but plan for at least one year of delay. You won't have the possibility to study in Germany if you do not have sufficient funds.

When you are in Germany on your student visa, do the following:

Go to the local Meldebehörde with your rent contract. After your Anmeldung has been received, you'll get the Meldebescheinigung, which states where you are living. With that and your student card, go to some health care provider and ask for a student health care plan. After filing the paperwork, they will give you a paper that states that you have now a health insurance with them. With all the papers you got before, and a bank statement showing that you have sufficient funds for two years, you can finally go to the Ausländerbehörde. They will then process your request and after some weeks, you should have a residence permit in your mail.

After just two years, you will have to renew that residence permit. For renewal, you will have to show all papers mentioned before, and furthermore prove that you made good progress in your studies during the last two years.

I wish you a pleasant stay in Germany, and good luck with your studies.

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