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How to apply for a Germany student visa in the Philippines (2017)

In June of this year, I received my offer to study at the University of Potsdam in Germany. I am super excited to go and I started preparations as early as I could. As a self-funded Filipino student, I searched the internet for some tips from those who went through this whole process. Apparently, I only found 1 Filipino student in Germany who wrote a blog and nothing else.

Anyway, if you are still searching for THE perfect course for you in Germany, the DAAD website has a comprehensive database of scholarships, universities, and courses. Also, there are many programs in Germany that are free or has minimal fees.

The easiest part of this whole journey is the application for a Masters course. If you have good college grades or relevant work experience, you have a shot at getting accepted. Everything after that is just stressful especially if you’re like me who overthinks everything. This is what I want to share here – practical matters on going through all the hoops and hurdles while trying to keep calm.

Please keep in mind that this based on my own personal experience and it may not be similar to yours. Here’s a step by step guide on enrollment and visa application.

  • As soon as you receive your offer from the university, schedule a visa appointment at the German Embassy. In my experience, when I booked an appointment I received a first email saying that there is a waiting time of 5 months and that they will send my final schedule in another email. The wait is usually long and book as early as possible. I applied for my appointment in June but my actual appointment was on August 30…and school starts October 1.

If you’re a self-funded student, you will also need to pay your registration fee to secure your spot in the university.

  • Read the requirements, read it 1 million times. You need to comply with the requirements and more. Make sure that you have at least 3 sets of all the documents. Prepare other documents too that are not in the requirements list such as diploma, transcript of records, place of residence, etc.
  • If you’re a self-funded student, you need to open a blocked account in a German Bank and deposit the amount required by the embassy. I opened mine in Deutsche Bank and as of August 2017, they require EUR 8640 for 12 months in Germany. Opening a bank account is quite simple as long as you have money to cover your cost.
    • Print and fill out the form and request for a bank certificate from your local bank in the Philippines.
    • When your documents are complete, go to the German Embassy to have your documents authenticated. You do not need to set an appointment for this but ask the Embassy for the time slot for this kind of transaction. There is a fee of PHP 1780.
    • Double check your documents and make sure you signed everything. Then, ship via DHL to Deutsche Bank in Hamburg and wait for their email notifying you that the account is open.
    • Deposit the required amount in your blocked account via wire transfer from your local bank. Note that there is EUR 150 fee for opening the account, it will be deducted from your deposit.
    • The bank will email you the confirmation letter that the money has been credited to your bank account. You need to print this out and include in your documents for visa application

I also found out that you can also open an account on Fintiba which offers cheaper transaction fees but I’m not sure about their process.

  • You also need to purchase a health insurance for the duration of your stay in Germany. I got mine from Mawista, it’s relatively cheap. They have different packages for as low as 25eur/month but I bought the Student Comfort package because I don’t want to risk it. You can buy it online and you’ll get your insurance on the same day.
  • On the day of your visa appointment, bring everything and arrive an hour early because the traffic in Makati is insane. My appointment was at 8:00am and I arrived in RCBC Plaza at around 6:30am. The embassy allows applicants to enter as early as 7:30am so I was 2nd in line! Yay! I have to say that the interview was nerve-wracking but as long as you’re earnest and sincere, you’ll be fine.

This pretty much sums up my July and August 2017. During this time, I was too stressed and worried because I wanted to get everything right and perfect. But it wasn’t, I honestly feel like I messed up in the interview part. Hopefully everything works out!

I learned to be an independent goal-getter through this experience.

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