German Student Visa Interview Questions and Answers
The visa interview always seems to be the scariest part of the process for students who wish to study abroad, but this shouldn’t be the case. The fact that a foreign university has offered you admission means they believe you are in good academic standing and have the skills necessary to pursue your desired program.
The aim of a visa interview in Germany is to confirm that you are in the right state of mind to study in the country. Being academically sound is only a small fraction of the total package students should possess in order to succeed abroad. Students are required to be mentally matured and independent, because studying in Germany is not always going to be a smooth ride. There are going to bumps along the way. Visa officers simply want to make sure you have made the right preparations for the life of a student studying abroad.
The questions asked during a German visa interview can be grouped into four categories. These are:
- Questions about Germany
- Questions about your seriousness as a student
- Questions that test your intentions
- Questions that asses your financial situation
Each one of these serves a specific purpose. The questions in each category are designed to extract certain crucial information from students, which gives the visa officer information with which to make their final decision. Below are the four categories with explanations of their purpose and example questions and answers.
1. Questions About Germany
The main purpose of this category is to determine if you are really motivated to study and live in Germany. If so, you will have gone out of your way to gather information about the country. If you have failed to do this, the interviewer will think you are unenthusiastic about living and studying there.
You should demonstrate to the consular officer that you are really passionate about Germany as a country, and have made an effort to get acquainted with some basic information.
Below are some questions that you are likely to encounter in this category, along with some perfect responses.
A) Why do you want to study in Germany and not in Canada or the United States of America?
I would like to study in Germany because the educational system is high-class and combines theoretical learning and practical training. As such, it is no surprise that the educational system in the country has produced influential scholars like Albert Einstein and Max Planck.
- Note: If you are already proficient in the English language and not prepared to go through the sacrifice of learning another language, then I highly advise you choose English speaking countries like the USA or Canada. Otherwise, you will end up getting frustrated once you arrive in Germany as you will need the German language in all walks of life.
B) Where will you stay in Germany?
I will be staying in Duisburg since it only takes one hour by train to get to my school.
- Note: If you are not successful in securing accommodation before your interview, do not panic. The German Embassy is aware that rooms can be hard to find especially in the big cities like Munich and Berlin and that it can take some time for students to secure permanent accommodations. In the meantime, you can use your school's address as your accommodation address in your German student visa application form. On the other hand, If you are lucky to secure accommodation before your interview, ensure that it is just a few hours from your school. If your accommodation is located very far away from your school, the Embassy will doubt if you can be able to make it to lectures several times in a week and will suspect you have another agenda other than studies.
C) What is the population of Germany?
Currently, the population of Germany is almost 82 million.
D) How have you been preparing for your stay in Germany?
I have succeeded in securing accommodation. This will make things a little easier once I arrive. I have also made an effort to learn the language so that I can integrate easily into German society.
- Note: I can't emphasize this enough. It is very important you learn German to a certain degree before arriving in Germany. It makes things a little easier especially for those who intend to work part-time whilst studying. Most student jobs in Germany would require that you speak at least some basic German. It also helps when you are looking for accommodation as most landlords will prefer you communicate in German.
E) Who is the President of Germany?
The current President of Germany is Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
F) Who is the Chancellor of Germany?
The current Chancellor of Germany is Angela Merkel.
G) Can you name any important tourist attraction sites in Germany?
- The Cologne Cathedral
- Brandenburg Gate (Berlin)
- Heidelberg Old City, Hohenzollern Castle
- Rugen Cliffs
- Old Town Hall (Bamberg)
- Harz Mountains
- Aachen Cathedral
- Schwerin Castle
H) How many borders does Germany have, and with which countries?
Germany has nine borders with the following countries:
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
I) How many states are there in Germany, and can you name some of them?
There are 16 federal states in Germany. They are:
J) Who told you about Germany?
I found out about Germany on my own while researching possible countries to pursue my master’s degree.
Map of Germany
2. Questions About Your Seriousness as a Student
This is the most important of the four categories of questions. Since your main purpose for going to Germany is to study, it is very important that you master the answers to these questions.
If you are unable to answer these questions convincingly, it is highly likely you will not leave a favorable impression in the mind of the consular officer.
Since they are very significant, these questions will make up about 50 percent of your interview.
A) What program did you apply for?
I applied for a master’s program in computer science.
- Note: If you are going for a master's program, it is very important you make sure it is related to what you pursued in your bachelor's degree. Also, it is advisable not to apply for a second bachelor's degree or a second master's degree programme in Germany unless you have a very tangible reason.
B) Why did you choose this particular program?
The computer science program ranks highly compared to other computer science programs at other universities.
C) What is the name of your university?
The name of my university is Technical University of Munich
D) How many universities did you apply to?
I applied to five universities, all in the field of computer science.
E) Why did you choose this university?
I chose this university because it provides an excellent learning and working environment, and builds the necessary framework for long-term success in a short period of time.
F) Can you tell me some facts about your university?
My university, TU Munich, was founded by King Ludwig II in 1868. It was granted the right to award doctorates in 1901. It is one of the most successful universities in Germany’s excellence initiative.
G) Can you describe your course structure?
Semesters one and two impart technological know-how in the form of lectures, tutorials, and laboratory courses. In semester three, case studies are carried out in small teams of three to five students. In semester four, the program is concluded with the master's thesis.
H) Can you name some of the modules you will be studying?
Continuum mechanics, structural mechanics, the theory of stability, functional analysis, programming, and software engineering.
I) What is the duration of your program?
The duration of my program is two years.
J) When did you complete your undergraduate degree?
I completed my undergraduate degree in 2013.
K) What have you been doing since completing your undergraduate degree?
I have been working as a software developer.
- Note: It is very important you portray to the Embassy that you have been doing something of value and not just sitting at home wasting your life away. If the Embassy has any reason to believe that you are not currently satisfied with the state of your life in your country, it can easily lead to the refusal of your visa.
I) Is this program relevant to your previous studies?
My bachelor degree was in computer science, and I was privileged to work on a project in robotics during my final year. I believe I have the necessary background and knowledge to be successful in this master's program.
- Note: Students should avoid applying for master's programmes that are totally unrelated to what they did in their bachelor's degrees. When it is absolutely necessary to apply to a program in a new field, it is advisable to show solid proof of why you want to study in the new field which can be in the form of work experience.
M) Can you name some famous German researchers in your field?
Rudolph Bayer, who is professor emeritus of Informatics at the Technical University of Munich, and Wilfried Brauer, who was also a German computer scientist and professor emeritus at the Technical University of Munich.
N) What benefit will you derive from this course?
Graduates of this program have excellent opportunities when it comes to starting their careers, and will have good prospects in the future.
- Note: The benefit should mainly revolve on what sort of positive impact studying the course can have on your home country.
O) Is the course taught in English or German?
The course is taught completely in English.
- Note: If your course is taught completely in English then you are not required to present any German language certificate at the Embassy. However, if your course is taught partially or completely in German then it is mandatory you present some proof of German language proficiency at the Embassy.
P) Can you tell me your final scores in your bachelor’s degree, high school diploma, and your IELTS?
I had a percentage of 75 in my bachelor’s degree. My 10th and 12th class percentages were 70 and 80, respectively. My IELTS score is 6.5.
- Note: The minimum grade for admission to most master's programs is 2.5 in the German grading system with 1.0 being the highest and 4.0 being the lowest. For IELTS, the minimum score is 6.5 though some universities accept 6.0. It is very important to note that unlike the US, most German universities do not place great emphasis on GRE scores. Very few universities may ask for your GRE scores and even if they do, they concentrate mainly on the quantitative section.
Q) How did you find out about your school?
I found out about my school as I was researching on the DAAD website.
R) What is the name of the city where your school is located?
S) Can you tell me a little bit about the city where you will be studying?
Munich is the capital and largest city of the German state of Bavaria. Munich is the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg, and the 12th biggest city in the European Union, with a population of around 1.5 million. The name of the city is derived from the Old/Middle High German term Munichen, meaning "by the monks."
3. Questions That Test Your Intentions
This category is usually comprised of trick questions designed to find out if you are using your studies as a possible immigration route. The German embassy is well aware that a high percentage of students completely abandon their studies when they arrive in Germany to take up jobs. Therefore, they use this category to weed out fake students.
It is important to note that even though most students would like to stay permanently in Germany once they complete their studies, this is not what the German government wants. Only an exceptional few are allowed to stay. They are hoping that a large percentage of students will take the knowledge they learned abroad and apply it in their home countries. You should, therefore, be careful how you respond to this category of questions.
A) Is this course available in your home country? If so, why don’t you study it in your home country?
The course is not currently being offered in my country.
- Note: Don’t lie. If the course is available in your home country, answer honestly. You never know what resources the visa officer has to verify your answer. If you answer no and the visa officer finds out the course is offered in your home country, you might as well gather your documents and leave the interview. If you do answer yes, a perfect reason you might give is, “The level of infrastructure and the quality of education offered in my home country cannot be compared to that in Germany. I believe doing this program in Germany will help me be a better-prepared, worldly graduate. Also, I get the opportunity to learn a new culture and language."
B) What will you do after completing your studies?
My main goal after the completion of my degree program is to return to my home and use the knowledge and skills I have acquired to positively impact my country. I plan on venturing into the private sector and establishing my own company that emphasizes renewable energy production. Various German companies like EnD-I AG, Energiebau, and MP-Tech, who are into solar and wind energy, have expressed their readiness to partner with the private sector in Ghana.
- Note: It is always important to remember that a student visa is granted with the intention that an applicant will return to his home country after his studies. Even though most students would like to stay permanently in Germany once they complete their studies, this is not what the German government wants. Only an exceptional few are allowed to stay. They are hoping that a large percentage of students will take the knowledge they learned abroad and apply it in their home countries.
C) What will you do with your degree in your home country?
I plan on venturing into the private sector and establishing my own company that emphasizes renewable energy production.
D) Do you wish to remain in Germany after completing your studies, or return to your home country?
I intend to return to my home country and use the knowledge and skills I have learned to make a positive impact in my community.
E) Have you applied for a visa at the German Embassy or any of the Schengen countries before?
No, I have not.
- Note: Be truthful here. They have all your details at the embassy. The Schengen zone has a unified system and they share information. If you have applied and were denied a visa for, let’s say, the Netherlands, the German embassy automatically gets that information. The fact that you have been denied a visa doesn’t mean your current visa will be denied.
F) Do you have any relatives in Germany?
No, I don’t have any relatives there.
- Note: If you have immediate relatives in Germany, you should answer honestly. However, there is no need to answer in the affirmative if your relatives in Germany are distant.
G) What do you plan on doing during your semester breaks?
I plan on visiting some tourist attractions in Germany.
- Note: If you plan on working during holidays, it is smart not to divulge this information.
H) Do you plan to work in Germany?
No. My sole purpose is to study and complete my master’s degree within the given duration.
- Note: The German Embassy assumes you will not be depending on part-time jobs to finance your studies.
I) How much do you expect to be able to earn after completing your studies?
I haven’t conducted any research into this since my main goal after completing my studies is to return home and use my acquired knowledge to make a difference in my country.
J) Are you aware of the post-study work norms?
No, I am not aware.
4. Questions That Assess Your Financial Situation
Even though tuition is free at most German universities, you still need to be in good financial standing to be able to survive in Germany.
The embassy places huge importance on the financial capability of students. It does not want students to enter Germany and become stranded because they are unable to cope financially. This can force students to neglect their studies altogether and take up jobs. Some may even be forced to resort to criminal activity to get by, and the German government wants to avoid this possibility. Thus, it is important that students prepare for this category of questions and that they answer them to the best of their ability.
A) How will you fund your studies?
I have blocked an amount of €8,640 for one year. My sponsor is willing to support my studies and provide me with €8,640 every year for the duration of my studies.
- Note: There are five main ways students can prove they have sufficient financial resources at the German Embassy. They are:
• 8,640 euros in a blocked account in Germany
• Recognized scholarships that are funded through German resources in particular
• Providing a deposit from someone living in Germany who guarantees the Foreigners' Office that they will finance your stay
• Providing a bank guarantee from a bank institute in Germany
• If accepted into a German university, presenting proof of your parents' income in the home country
Please note that most embassies would like to see 8,640 euros in a blocked account in Germany to make sure you are not stranded and the above alternatives to the blocked account do not apply to all embassies. You must, therefore, contact the embassy in your home country to make sure they accept some of these alternatives to the blocked account.
B) Who is sponsoring you?
My uncle is sponsoring me.
- Note: Your sponsor should not be necessarily related to you. What matters is that he or she should have a good motive for sponsoring you. It is better to choose a non-family member with a strong financial background than a family member with a not so good financial background.
C) What line of work is your sponsor in?
My uncle is the Managing Director of Unilever Ghana Limited. He also runs other private businesses.
D) Where does your sponsor live?
My sponsor lives in Accra, Ghana.
E) What does your father do?
My father is a farmer.
F) What does your mother do?
My mother is an elementary English teacher.
G) Do you have any siblings and, if so, what do they do?
I have one sister. She runs her own printing business.
H) Why aren’t your parents sponsoring you?
My father played a key role in financing the education of my uncle when he was young. Once my uncle had completed his studies and had gained good financial standing, he took it upon himself to finance one of my father's kids. He chose me because of my good academic background and has been sponsoring my education since I was six years of age.
- Note: If your sponsor isn't closely related to you, he or she should have a very good motive for sponsoring you.
I) What is the annual salary of your sponsor?
The annual salary of my sponsor is around €100,000.
- Note: Please avoid borrowing large sums of money and dumping it into the account of your sponsor some few months before your interview as the Embassy can easily detect this. It is advisable to choose a person who has had substantial assets and savings in his account for a number of years. Ideally, he or she should earn not less than 3000 euros per month.
J) Does your sponsor have any dependents?
Yes, my sponsor currently has one dependent. However, his salary is more than enough to cater for both me and his other dependent.
- Note: It is advisable not to choose a sponsor with many dependents. Otherwise, the Embassy might doubt his or her capability to provide you with the required amount of money every year.
K) What are the living expenses in your city for one year?
The living expenses in Duisburg for one year is around €8,500.
- Note: The living expenses vary from city to city in Germany. In some cities, you will require as little as 400 euros per month whereas in some big cities you will need around 700 euros per month to live comfortably as a student.
I) What plans have you made if your blocked account is expended after one year?
My sponsor has made adequate preparations to immediately fund my account with €8,640 before the money in my blocked account gets to €2,000.
- Note: Please keep in mind that the German Embassy require students to be financially sound for the entire duration of their studies and not depend on part-time jobs. You should therefore make it clear that you have no intention of relying on part-time jobs to finance your studies.
Some Useful Tips for Attending the German Student Visa Interview
1. You must be on time on the day of your visa interview. It's advisable to get to know the location of the embassy before the day of your interview. The worst thing that can happen to you is getting lost on the day of your interview.
2. Don't arrive too early for your visa interview. Sitting at the premises of the German Embassy and waiting for hours can make you feel more anxious than you already are. It is advisable to sit at home and watch a movie or listen to a favourite song to calm your nerves. Try not to be more than an hour early for your interview.
3. You should never be late for your interview. Most embassies would refuse you entry anyway if you are late. Even if you are allowed in, you might not present the best version of yourself at the interview. You will go into the interview disoriented, confused and even more anxious.
4. In case you can’t make it to the visa interview due to circumstances beyond your control, try to call the embassy ahead of time and inform them. Sometimes an accident or serious health condition can make it impossible to attend your interview. Try to call or let someone call the embassy on your behalf and possibly reschedule a date.
5. Be friendly and treat everybody you meet at the embassy’s premise with respect because you never know who they are. They might be the one interviewing you.
6. If you can, let someone drive you to the interview or simply take a taxi. Most people are anxious and stressed on this day and this can impair their driving skills. This is also to prevent your car from being a liability to you in case of an unfortunate event. For example, if you take a taxi and you encounter a problem on your way to the interview, you can simply switch and take a new taxi, unlike your car where you have to take other measures.
7. You should wear an outfit that you are comfortable in. If you aren’t comfortable in certain outfits, don’t try to wear them just for the sake of impressing the interviewer as this can distract you during your interview.
8. Try to dress formally and wear something that makes you really confident because you will need all your confidence. Avoid dressing shabbily to the interview and wearing clothes that you would for instance wear if you are going for a walk.
9. Try not to overdress, put on strong fragrances, show too much body parts, or wear too many accessories. Don’t put on accessories or anything with specific discriminating figures or portraits.
10. Make sure to take the complete list of the German student visa supporting documents with you to the embassy. Check the documents at home to make sure everything is set before going for the interview.
11. Get yourself acquainted with some questions that you are likely to encounter during the visa interview. This will help you feel more relaxed and confident.
12. Most German embassies usually require two photocopies of each set of documents and so remember to do this and don’t expect the embassy to do this for you once you arrive.
13. During your interview, your answers should be straight to the point. Avoid beating around the bush. Try to be as honest as possible because most of the time the visa officers can easily verify if what you are saying is true.
14. Avoid getting into an argument with the visa officer. Even if the visa officer seems rude, try to maintain your composure and put your best self out there.
15. If you don’t know an answer to a question, simply say no. Don’t try to make up an answer yourself or try to avoid the question.
16. After the interview, remember to thank the visa officer for his or her time and if you didn’t understand anything that the visa officer asked don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
Reasons Why the Germany Embassy Denies Visas
One of the first steps to passing your visa interview and securing a student visa is to understand the reasons the German Embassy denies visas. This will prevent you from making the same mistakes. You can find a detailed explanation of those reasons in my other article, where I go over six of the main reasons German student visas are denied.
Questions & Answers
I had my student visa interview recently. The officer asked me whether I would pursue a PhD after completing my masters in Germany. I replied, “If the circumstances are favourable, I may consider." Was that a good answer? Most of the forums I have read state that you need to make them believe you are going to return to your country.
Telling the visa officer that you intend to pursue your Ph.D. after completing your masters isn’t a big deal, as long as you make it clear that your ultimate goal after completing both your masters and Ph.D. in Germany is to return home and use the knowledge that you have gained to better your home country. Never paint a picture that you intend to stay and work in Germany after completing your studies.
It is always important to remember that a student visa is granted with the intention that an applicant will return to his home country after his studies. Even though most students would like to stay permanently in Germany once they complete their studies, this is not what the German government wants. Only an exceptional few are allowed to stay. They are hoping that a large percentage of students will take the knowledge they learned abroad and apply it in their home countries.Helpful 65
I applied for a student visa for a bachelors degree in Architecture, but was rejected. I would like to apply for a visa again, but this time in a different study field. How will the embassy view this?
What were the reasons given to you in your rejection letter? If you don’t correct those reasons, it is highly likely your visa would be rejected again. It doesn’t matter if you apply again for a different field of study or not, so far as you haven’t worked on the reasons for the rejection, your visa will likely be rejected again.Helpful 32
What if I intend to work, integrate and stay in Germany after my studies? Should I be honest about it or lie? I know Germany is actually seeking skilled workers because of their aging population.
I can't tell you to lie or not, but a student visa is granted with the intention that an applicant will return to his home country after his studies.Helpful 32
I already applied for accommodation in the student dormitories of TH Köln, but I didn’t get any confirmation as of now. I have my visa interview in July. Will this affect me during my interview? I got an email confirmation from the dormitory that I had applied for the accommodation.
It’s not going to affect your chances of securing a visa. A large proportion of students arrive in Germany without having secured any accommodation. The embassy is aware that getting accommodation can be tough especially in big cities like Munich and Berlin, and that it can take some time for students to get a permanent place of residence after they arrive in Germany.Helpful 21
I have secured admission at Phillips University in Germany to study medicine. I have succeeded in blocking the required 8640 euros for the first year. Is it necessary to block this amount of money every year?
It depends on the Alien Registration Office in your city where you will be studying. Some will require you to block this amount every year. Others will give you a 2-year residence permit which means you will only need to block the 8640 euros every two years. If you are lucky in securing a job that pays 720 euros every month, you don’t need to block 8640 euros every year or 2 years depending on your city. You can extend your visa by show your job contract and monthly pay slips as proof of financial means. Most student jobs only pay around 450 euros though which means you still have to show 3240 euros in your blocked account every year or every two years.Helpful 13
© 2017 Charles Nuamah