Special Requirements for International Students from Mannheim

If you, as an international student of the University of Mannheim, want to go abroad, we are happy to support you.

We recommend attending one of the Introductory Study Abroad Meetings to find out all about the different options for going abroad! They are usually held in German. An English-language meeting is held at the beginning of every fall/spring semester.

What you need to know as an international student: Depending on your nationality, there might be additional requirements that you need to be aware of.

This is why we would like to ask you to seek advice! We strongly advise any students who do not hold German citizenship to consult with the International Office before applying, so that we can identify any difficulties early on and find solutions together. This especially applies to you if you are studying in Germany on a residence permit or if you need a visa to go abroad. Make sure to consider the following questions:

  • Do I need a special proof of language proficiency to study abroad?

    • Please note that information on proofs of language proficiency listed in our database of partner universities applies to requirements for German students only.
    • Depending on your nationality, some host institutions require other proofs of language proficiency, especially from non-EU citizens. You might need to submit a TOEFL or IELTS instead of a Language Certificate.

    This is why you should check whether there are special requirements for your nationality at your preferred host institution before applying. This information can usually be found in the “exchange students” section of the host institution’s website.

    • For your visa application, there might also be specific conditions regarding the proof of language proficiency. Some countries have varying regulations depending on the applicant's nationality.
  • Do I need a visa? And what are the difficulties I might run into during the application?

    • Whether you need a visa to study abroad or not depends on your possible host country and your nationality.
    • Citizens of EU member states are able to study in other EU member states as well as other European countries without visa.
    • In all other cases, you will usually have to apply for a visa. Even if you stay within the EU, a visa in Germany does not automatically constitute a right of residence in other (EU member) states.
    • Please research the visa regulations applying to you ahead of time, preferably before applying for a stay abroad. Contact the embassies or consulates of the countries you are considering.
    • Pay especially close attention to the following matters:
      • Do you have to provide proof of financial resources? Keep in mind that the financial resources you had to provide proof of for your residence in Germany, such as a blocked account, may not suffice. You might be required to submit other kinds of proof of financial resources.
      • Does the embassy have special requirements regarding your foreign language skills, such as a special proof of language proficiency that is not required by the host institution?
      • Do you already have to indicate a place of residence in your host country when applying for a visa? 
      • Check your German residence permit and extend it in good time if necessary (see below).
  • I have dual citizenship – will this cause any problems?

    • If you have another nationality in addition to the German one, you are unlikely to run into any issues if you use your German nationality for your entry/visa application. You should check the visa requirements nevertheless.
    • If you have multiple international nationalities, please read the information for international students on this website.
    • Are you also a citizen of your host country? In this case, some countries insist that you use this nationality for entry and hold the respective passport. Please inquire about these regulations early on at the embassy or consulate. You should also find out if it is even possible for you to study as an exchange student in this country (see next section).
  • I want to study abroad in my home country. Can I do that?

    • Some partner universities do not accept exchange students who hold citizenship of the same country. So if you are citizen of a certain country and are interested in an exchange program for this country, we urge you to first consult the International Office to find out if participating in the respective exchange program is possible for you.
  • What do I need to keep in mind about my German residence (where I live) while studying abroad?

    Please do not cancel your registration as a resident in your respective city without contacting the Immigration Office first. This could result in your residence permit becoming invalid. If you are not permitted to cancel your registration, you have the option of subletting your room/apartment:  zimmer.uni-mannheim.de.

    Keep in mind that registering your place of residence with a friend is only possible with the landlord's confirmation (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung), which must be signed by the landlord or owner of the property.

  • What do I need to keep in mind if I don’t want to lose my German residence permit?

    If you are staying in Germany on a residence permit for the purpose of studying, there are a number of things you need to keep in mind:

    • Inform the foreigners’ office about the time frame of your stay abroad before leaving Germany. In some cases, you will need special permission. We will provide more information in the following sections.
    • It is important that your residence permit is valid until after the end of your stay abroad, so that you can reenter Germany without any difficulties. In some cases, you will also need a residence permit with extended validity in order to apply for a visa for your host country.
    • If your residence permit is not valid until after the end of your stay abroad, you will have to renew it ahead of time before you leave. There are two options for renewal:

    1. Regular renewal within four weeks before your departure

    Usually, you can renew your residence permit at the foreigners’ office four weeks before your departure, at the earliest. To do so, you will need a confirmation from the International Office that you are going to study abroad. We recommend contacting the International Office (outgoingsmail-uni-mannheim.de) regarding the confirmation on your stay abroad eight weeks before you leave. You need to keep in mind that getting an appointment at the foreigners’ office in K7 will take at least two weeks after receiving the confirmation, sometimes longer. In addition, there is the processing time for the extension of your permit.

    2. In exceptional cases: Renewal earlier than four weeks before your departure (if you need a visa)

    If you need to apply for a visa for your host country, you will need the renewed residence permit at an earlier point in time. An earlier renewal is possible with a special confirmation by the International Office. If this applies to you, please contact the International Office (outgoingsmail-uni-mannheim.de) immediately. Again, you must remember that it takes at least two weeks to get an appointment at the foreigners’ office in K7, sometimes longer, plus the processing time for the extension of your permit.

    • You plan on staying abroad for more than six months?

    In most cases, this is only possible if you are staying abroad for the purpose of studying.

    If you are planning on staying outside of Germany for more than six months due to study-related reasons, you need the approval of the foreigners’ office. Only then can you reenter Germany without any issues after completing your stay abroad.

    Please note: If you do not obtain the approval of the foreigners’ office and stay abroad for more than six months, your residence permit will automatically become invalid, even if you return before its expiration date. In this case you will have to apply for a German visa in your host country.

    If you want to spend time traveling outside of Germany after the completion of your semester abroad, the time you spend abroad must not exceed six months. This also applies if you are visiting your home country! Staying outside of Germany for private purposes for more than six months is usually not permitted.

    • Academic leave of absence: You also need the approval of the foreigners’ office if you want to take an academic leave of absence to go abroad. If you do not obtain this approval, it’s likely that problems will arise regarding the renewal of your residence permit. Unfortunately, this varies from city to city. At the moment, the Foreigner’s Office at the city of Mannheim does not permit an academic leave of absence to study abroad or to do an internship.
    • Health insurance: Please be aware that you will need to remain member of a German health insurance provider for the duration of your stay abroad in order to stay enrolled at the University of Mannheim. Without German health insurance coverage, you risk being disenrolled and losing your residence permit.
    • Re-registration: Remember to re-register for each semester at the University of Mannheim in due time. If you do not re-register, you will be disenrolled and thus lose your residence permit.

    If you have any questions regarding residence permits or the foreigners’ office, feel free to contact the team for international exchange students of the International Office: 

    Team International Degree-Seeking Students

    Team International Degree-Seeking Students

    University of Mannheim
    Division II – Student Affairs
    International Office
    L 1, 1 – Room 108
    68161 Mannheim
  • Can I request an exemption from paying tuition fees in Mannheim?

    • In rare cases, you can request an exemption from the fees by taking an academic leave of absence. This is only possible if your degree program allows for an academic leave of absence and if the responsible Foreigners’ Office will agree to it. However, this varies from city to city. Unfortunately, the Foreigner’s Office at the city of Mannheim does not permit an academic leave of absence to study abroad or to do an internship.
    • Students in a master's program who have successfully applied for the Baden-Württemberg Scholarship to fund their stay abroad will also be exempt from paying tuition fees for this period.
    • An exemption from the semester fee (administration fee, Studierendenwerk fee and fee for the Student Body Representative Committee) is not possible at all.
  • We are here to help – let us assist you!

    If you are unsure which regulations and requirements apply to you, feel free to come in for a consultation. We will help you in identifying potential obstacles and finding the right solutions.

I spent my semester abroad at Trinity College Dublin. At first, I could not believe that I was going to spent the next few months in a country I did not know at all. But that was exactly what made every day an adventure. There was always something new to experience. Trinity College is located on a beautiful campus right in the heart of the city. Every time I stood in front of the main entrance, I felt so grateful that I got to experience a view like this every day. Academically, Trinity College provided me with new tools and perspectives that I am using right now in my bachelor's thesis and will be using in the future. It was definitely an unforgettable experience!

Mariana Roa Vargas, student in the bachelor’s program in Political Science, Trinity College in Dublin (Ireland) / Credit: Elisa Berdica

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