6 Major Reasons for Rejection of German Student Visa
Getting your student visa rejected can be a very devastating experience. Students really invest a lot of time and energy before they finally appear for their visa interviews. It first starts with finding the right schools and also the right study programmes. You then go ahead to send numerous applications to various schools because of the fact that admission is very competitive in Germany due to the lack of tuition fees, and hence you wouldn't want to risk putting all your eggs in one basket.
If the schools you intend applying to have dealings with UNI-ASSIST, that means you will have to pay an application fee for every school you apply to, which can be quite costly. Then comes the long wait for admission which in some cases takes several months.
If you are lucky to get admission, you may be required to open a blocked account in Germany and transfer 8640 Euros into it. You then have to gather all the documents for your visa interview, pay your visa fee and finally battle to book an early slot for your visa interview, which is really tough because there are few slots available at any given time. Having gone through all these processes and challenges, it can be quite a hard pill to swallow if your visa ends up being rejected.
This is why you should leave no stone unturned when you are preparing for your interview. Based on research and personal experiences from students, I would try and outline some of the major reasons why the German embassy refuses to hand out visas to students. I must emphasize that these are not the definitive reasons for the rejection of student visas since the final decision lies with the Immigration Office where you will be studying.
It is also very important to point out that unlike most embassies, the final decision to issue or deny a visa is not dependent on the visa officer. It is mainly dependent on the Immigration Office where you will be studying. All the visa officer does is to give a positive or negative recommendation based on your performance at the interview. Therefore you might do exceptionally well at the visa interview and still have your visa refused. You might also do poorly at the interview and be surprised to learn that you have been issued a visa.
1. The State Didn't see Your Profile Fitting for Their Future Needs
Germany like most countries is in high need of skilled workers. They also need bright young minds because of their aging population. The free tuition has been extended to international students in an effort to attract bright minds from around the world. They hope these young minds would learn their language and get acclimatized to their systems. They can then go ahead to fill skilled positions that cannot be filled by their citizens for one reason or the other.
Currently, Germany is in high need of scientists and engineers. However, this does not mean they are not in need of other professionals as well. When you apply to study in Germany, the state where your university is located plays a huge factor in determining if your visa will be granted or not. If the state needs people in the field you applied to, there is a high chance your visa will be granted with all other things being equal. If the state already has a large number of professionals in the field you applied to, then they might use other factors like the availability of accommodation and transport facilities in making their decisions which really doesn't put the odds in your favor.
Suggestion: It will be unwise to choose to study a course in the engineering and sciences just because you feel there is a high chance of securing a student visa when you go for those programs. There is a high likelihood that you will end up getting kicked out of your university because you have zero interest in the course. If you are ex-matriculated from a German university for poor academic performance, you lose your student visa status and might have to return home.
It is therefore advisable to go for a program that you are genuinely interested in. What you will have to work on is your motivation letter. You will have to convince whoever is assessing your motivation letter that you can be of great benefit to Germany and your home country with the course that you have chosen. You can click here to learn how to write a perfect motivation letter for your student visa application.
2. Poor Financial Status
This is the number one reason most students have their visas refused. Despite the fact that most institutions in Germany do not charge tuition fees, you still need to be financially sound to survive in Germany. The German Embassy wants students to concentrate on their studies and does not want them to get distracted as a result of financial difficulties. Lack of sufficient funds can force students into crime. They may also neglect their studies altogether and take up jobs.
The German Embassy therefore places a huge emphasis on the financial capability of students. Students require around 720 Euros per month to cover the cost of living in Germany. It may be higher or lower depending on the city. Students are expected to show a minimum of 8640 Euros every year in order to renew their visa. As such, if the German Embassy has any reason to believe that you might have trouble financing your studies, it can easily lead to your visa being rejected.
Suggestion: The German Embassy is becoming stricter and stricter every year and is requesting stronger financial proof to ensure students are not stranded in Germany. Some students from Pakistan are now being asked to show blocked account for two years. This means they need to block 17280 euros in order to be granted visa.
Some embassies are now requesting sponsor’s bank statements and financial documents in addition to the blocked account. The reason for this is that they want to make sure your sponsor is in the financial position to send you 8640 euros every year for the duration of your studies. Remember that the German embassy assumes you will not be depending on part-time jobs to finance your studies once you arrive in Germany.
This is where you should be very careful. Please avoid borrowing large sums of money and dumping it into the account of your sponsor some few months before your interview as they 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. Also, he or she should earn not less than 1500 euros per month and shouldn't have many dependents. If your sponsor earns less than that, they might doubt his or her capability to provide you with the required amount of money every year.
It is also important to note that 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.
3. Poor Academic Profile
The visa officer assesses your capability to study in Germany using your previous academic results. Don't be fooled, the German educational system is one of the toughest in the world. The huge dropout rate in their universities is a testament to this. As many as 60 percent of students in the engineering and the sciences drop out during their first year.
German universities do not depend on tuition fees from students and hence they are under no pressure to pass them. They also do not grade on a curve. If an entire class fails a particular examination and there is nothing wrong with the questions, then so be it. Therefore, if the visa officer feels you are not academically fit to survive the rigorous academic standards in Germany, it might lead to your visa being rejected. The visa officer does not want you to enter Germany and end up getting frustrated because you are unable to pass your papers.
Suggestion: If you have a genuine reason on why you failed to attain good marks in your studies, you can make it known to the visa officer if he or she happens to bring it up during your interview. More importantly, you can make this reason clear in your motivation letter. You should point out that you have worked on the reason and that it won’t happen again. Below is a good example of a reason given by a student for his low academic profile.
“I am generally a very good student as you can tell from my high school results. However, during my first and second year at the university, the death of my mum really had a negative effect on my ability to study effectively. I was however able to recover and do exceptionally well in my third and final year.”
You can also work very hard on other aspects of your application to compensate for your low marks. If you have relevant work experience in the program that you intend to pursue, it can be of great help. For programs that ask for GRE scores, you should work very hard in getting excellent scores, especially in the quantitative section.
4. Lack of Preparation for Your Interview
Some students go into the interview totally unprepared which makes the visa officer doubt their seriousness to study in Germany. The visa officer expects you to know some basic facts about Germany. He or she expects you to know some facts about the state and city where your school is located. More importantly, you are required to know some facts about your school and your study programme. If you go into the interview lacking knowledge in any of these facts, the visa officer concludes that you are not really serious about studying in Germany and this can lead to your visa being refused.
Suggestion: To be able to sail smoothly through the German student visa interview, you should be able to understand the motive behind the questions asked by the visa officer. The questions asked during the interview can be grouped into four categories and each category serves a specific purpose. They are:
- Questions That Test Whether You Have Done Some Research About Germany
- Questions That Test Your Seriousness as a Student
- Questions That Test if Your True Intention is to Study
- Questions to Assess if You are Financially Sound to Survive in Germany
To get a detailed explanation of each category and some questions that you are likely to encounter under each category and their answers, please click here.
5. Insufficient Language Level (Either German or English)
It is very common for students to apply to study a programme in Germany that requires let's say C1 German language level when they only have an A2 qualification. This makes the visa officer doubt whether they can be able to comprehend lectures and pass examinations successfully.
As a student your ability to succeed academically is of high importance to the embassy and hence anything that would hinder your academic progress can be a reason for rejection. The same applies for English-taught programmes in Germany. If you have a very low score in your IELTS or TOEFL, the visa officer would doubt if you can be able to understand and pass lectures in English and this can contribute to your visa being rejected.
Suggestion: Before going for a German taught program, make sure you have mastered German to a certain level (at least B2) and can be able to speak it to a certain degree. The visa officer will likely conduct your interview in German if you study program is in German. So it’s not enough to be able to read and understand German, you should be able to speak it as well. If the VO realises you can't give some basic answers to his or her questions in German, it can easily lead to rejection. So take the time to learn German to a decent level before appearing for your interview.
The main problem with IELTS and TOEFL is that some students feel they can trick the embassy by presenting fake results. Please refrain from this. If you are caught, it’s a serious offence and you won’t be getting a visa to Germany anytime soon. These tests are not difficult and anyone who seriously studies for it for at least 3 months can be sure of scoring at least an overall band of 6.5 (which is the minimum requirement in most German universities). The same with TOEFL.
The visa officers are trained to be able to correlate your level of English with your IELTS score and so if your IELTS says you have a band of 7.5 but you can’t communicate effectively, the VO will assume your results are either forged or you didn't take the test yourself. The best thing is to prepare and take the test yourself.
6. Inconsistency With Your Choice of Study Programme
This usually comes in two forms. The first form is when students apply for master's programmes in Germany that are totally unrelated to what they did in their bachelor's degrees.
The second form is when a student applies for a second bachelor's degree or a second master's degree programme in Germany. The bachelor's degree is not that well regarded in Germany and having 2 bachelor's degrees is like starting 2 educational paths and finishing neither of them. Also if you already have a master's degree, the visa officer might wonder why you aren't applying for a Ph.D. This can make you appear desperate and the visa officer would doubt if your true intention is to study.
Suggestion: It is advisable to show solid proof of why you want to study in a new field, which can be in the form of work experience in the new field. You should make your reason for choosing to study in a new field known to the visa officer and in your motivation letter as well. Below is a good example of a reason given by a student for going for a master’s program that was totally unrelated to his bachelors.
"I had the opportunity to work in the environmental sector for two years. This is where my interest in environmental issues developed. Even though my degree is totally unrelated to this sector, I believe I have the relevant work experience and passion to succeed in this field."
Also, if you have very tangible reasons for going for a second master's or bachelor's degree, you can make your reason known. Here is a good reason given by a student who was going for a second master’s degree.
"I initially applied for my dream Ph.D. program at TU-Munich. However, I was denied admission on the basis that I lacked sufficient course content and research in my master's degree. I, therefore, decided to apply for another master's degree so as to get the necessary course content and research experience to apply for my dream Ph.D. program at TU-Munich."
I remember the first time I made up my mind to study in Germany. There were a lot of questions running through my mind. Unluckily for me, I had no one to answer these questions and had to find out the answers myself. I was surprised at how much false information was on the web when I finally went through the entire process and made it to Germany as a student. So I decided to take it upon myself to provide correct and detailed information so students can make a smooth transition from their home countries to Germany. You can find in-depth answers to the frequently most asked questions about studying in Germany by clicking here.