STEP 1: Do I Need A Residence Permit Or Visa?


YOU DO NOT NEED A VISA:  If you hold a Passport from one of the following countries listed below. Instead of obtaining a visa, you will apply for a Residence Permit after you arrive in Germany. Before you depart, you must collect the documents listed under STEP 3 and carry them with you on the plane to Germany. This applies to Semester or Year participants only.

      • European Union, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland.
      • Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea.
      • Brazil, Honduras, USA, Canada, Israel.
      • If you are a summer program participant from one of these countries, you will not need to apply for a residence permit.


YOU DO NEED A VISA:  If you hold a passport from a country that is not the USA or listed above. In this case, you are required to apply for a visa at the German Embassy or Consulate. As soon as possible, please contact to discuss your visa application process. The German visa process takes anywhere from 4-7 weeks. Remember, it is your responsibility to read this entire webpage (including the disclaimers box), visit the German Government’s webpage and research your visa requirements before you begin.


STEP 2: Are These Costs Covered In My AFS Program Tuition?

No, your program fee does not cover any of the costs related to obtaining your passport, residence permit or visa.

STEP 3: What Documents Are Required? 

****Students who require a visa please contact [email protected]***

Students applying for a Residence Permit, you are required to bring the following documents with them on the plane to Germany:

  • U.S. Passport
      • Signed and valid for six months beyond your stay.
  • Two (2) Passport Photos
      • Click here for more information on passport photos.
      • Passport photos must be professionally done.
      • Passport photos do not have to match the photo currently in your passport!
      • You cannot submit photocopies of passport photos.
  • Approximately 100-150 Euros for the Resident Permit fee
  • Photocopies of both parents’/legal guardians’ state IDs attached
      • Attach the photocopies to your notarized parental consent form.
      • Click here to download this form.
      • You must also complete this additional parental consent form for your residence permit application.
      • This form authorizes your host family and AFS Germany to determine your place of residence with the government during your AFS program.
      • This form DOES NOT need to be notarized or apostilled.
      • For more information on who should sign your parental consent forms, click here.

***Please note: processing fees and forms may vary between regional German immigration offices. AFS Germany will provide this information to your host family after your arrival.

STEP 4: Can I Travel Before The Start Of My Program?

If you do need a visa to enter Germany, do not travel 2 months before your departure date. During this time, you need to be available for your visa appointment with the German Embassy or Consulate. This includes all international and some domestic travel.

If you do not need a visa to enter Germany, you may travel before the beginning of your program.