Prospective universities are not the only opportunity that Germany offers to foreign students and newly graduates. Foreigners also have the chance to do an internship in their field study / interest, at the many institutions and companies here. During the internship, they can benefit professionally and have the chance to work alongside specialists of their field of study.
Who Can Get an Internship in Germany?
Everyone interested can get to do an internship in Germany. Even if your German is very basic, or you know no word in German at all, you can still manage to get an internship. It all depends on the company that wants to hire you as an intern.
Here are two ways of finding an internship in Germany:
- You can check online for internship vacancies.
- You can also email the company/institution you would like to do an internship at and ask them if they are taking interns.
Often companies do not pay interns. Therefore, if you think that the costs of living in Germany will be unbearable for you, try finding an internship that is paid. A paid internship can at least cover some of your most basic needs.
Who Needs a Germany Long-Stay Student Internship Visa?
If your internship is less than three months long, then you ought to obtain a Short Stay Visa to Germany. However, if your internship is longer than that, you will have to apply for a Long Term Internship / Training Visa. It is part of the National Visa, also known as D Visa, for those who wish intend to remain in Germany for longer than three months.
If you are planning to do an internship in Germany, know that depending on your nationality and situation, you may need this visa.
You will not need to obtain a Long-Stay Internship / Training Visa before heading to Germany, if you are a national of:
- the Republic of Korea
- New Zealand
- the United States of America
On the other hand, if you are a national of a country not listed above, you must obtain a visa to do an internship in Germany. Internships in Germany cannot last more than 12 months and can only be extended in exceptional cases.
You will be required to find an internship prior to your visa application. The internship must be in your area of studies, in order to be able to get this type of visa.
Note that a Germany National Visa also permits you to travel through the whole territory of the Schengen Area. However, you are only permitted to carry your internship in Germany, and you are not permitted to work in any of the countries.
Visa Requirements for a Student Internship Visa
In order to complete the necessary procedures to obtain a Germany Student Internship Visa, you will need to collect several documents. The required documents for a Germany Student Internship Visa are as follows:
- Documents required for a Germany Visa.
- Proof of study: Student’s ID card (if applicable).
- Permission to work, received from ‘Bundesagentur für Arbeit’ (original and photocopy) – it is upon your employer to apply on your behalf for approval of the BA. Some internships do not require the agreement of the BA. These include internships under EU-funded programmes (Leonardo, Socrates, Erasmus, etc.). Internships funded by international intergovernmental organizations are also exempt from approval.
- A letter from the university institution you are studying at (if applicable), confirming that the applicant is a student of that organization (original and photocopy).
- Approval letter from the German company confirming conditions of your stay in Germany, including payment.
- Proof of qualification (diploma, academic degree, or mark sheets).
*Note that each original document has to be offered with 2 (two) photocopies.
Depending on the embassy, you may also need to provide proof that you do not have any criminal record. You shall obtain the document at the authorities in your country of residence. The visa officer may require extra documents, upon the visa interview. Take care to submit them all because your visa application depends on it.
Please note that your passport will remain at the Embassy/Consulate where you have applied during the processing of your application. If you need to withdraw your passport for any reason, you will have to apply again from the beginning.
How to Apply for a Student Internship Visa
You need to follow some very specific steps to complete the application process for a Student Internship Visa. These steps are as follows:
- Complete the application form for a Long-stay Student Internship Visa online. Print it twice and sign it at the end. Fill the application form here.
- Gather the required documents and photocopy each original twice.
- Appoint an interview. You can do so through the website of the German mission in your country of residence. If Germany has outsourced visa submission to a third-party company in your country, apply through the website of this party. The appointment might take up to three months. Therefore, take care to make the appointment as soon as possible in order to avoid any possible delay.
- Show up at the appointment center on time (embassy or consulate). Remember that if you are late even for a few minutes, then they will cancel your appointment. Make sure you have all the necessary documents with you and well organized. The submission process takes around 10 minutes to complete.
- Pay the visa fee. After you pay the visa fee, you will be issued a receipt, which you must save.
Can I Extend my Internship Visa?
You will be able to apply for a visa extension if f the company where you are working as an intern wants you to continue your internship.
To apply for a visa extension, appoint a meeting at the Foreigner’s Office in the city you are staying in Germany. Take all the documentations you have. Include a letter from your company that they wish to extend your internship for another couple of weeks/months.
Can I Switch My Internship Visa to a Working Visa?
You can switch your internship visa into a Working visa only in exceptional cases as. I.e. when the company where you are doing your internship wants to hire you as an employee.
Can I Bring Family Members Over?
No, an intern in Germany cannot bring their family over through the Family Reunion Visa. However, that does not mean that the family member is not eligible to apply for any other type of visa.
After You Arrive in Germany With a Student Internship Visa
As soon as you have a valid visa on your hands, you can travel to Germany. Within two weeks of arrival, register your address at a registration office close to your new home.
Then apply for a Germany Residence permit for student internship, following these steps:
- Make an appointment. The Immigration Authorities in Germany do not accept walk in applications due to the high number of applications they receive. You should make an appointment before you show up there.
- Attend the interview. On the day of your appointment, you should attend an interview with an immigration officer. You will also submit your documents and pay the residence permit application fee.