I'm in Germany at the moment with a 90 day tourist visa and my question is very simple, can I sign up to a German Language Course and get the visa changed so I can start right away? Or I have to go back to my home country and apply there.

  • If you really have a Schengen visa, then you cannot. If you mean you entered for a 90-days visa-free tourist stay then you might. It all depends on your citizenship, what's your home country?
    – Gala
    Jul 12, 2015 at 12:47
  • I have a Schengen visa and I'm from Colombia, so I have to go back then?
    – XAE
    Jul 12, 2015 at 12:51
  • Yes unfortunately I'm afraid you do, you can add this information to your question and I will write an answer with all the details.
    – Gala
    Jul 12, 2015 at 12:52
  • Sure! I will also add some other questions if that is okay.
    – XAE
    Jul 12, 2015 at 12:55
  • Yes, of course, keeping questions short and focused on a single problem is the best approach!
    – Gala
    Jul 12, 2015 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


Generally speaking, it is necessary to apply for a student visa before entering Germany in a country where you have your usual place of residence (not necessarily your country of citizenship but definitely not a country where you are staying with a short-stay Schengen visa). A switch is not possible.

There is an exception for citizens of a small number of countries (USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, South Korea and, with some restrictions, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras and some European micro-states…) who can in fact apply for a residence permit even if they entered the country without long-stay visa but those are countries whose citizens do not need a Schengen visa for short stays either.

Colombian citizens definitely need to apply for a student visa from outside Germany. And I am not sure a “language course” is necessarily enough to get such a visa (it seems mainly intended for a full programme at a university).

  • How about if he is a non-EU family member? Will he be able to apply student visa within Germany?
    – Sayed A.
    Apr 11, 2017 at 12:04
  • 2
    @SayedA. You mean the Colombian spouse of an EU citizen residing in Germany for example? Usually, they should not need or want a student visa, they should get a permit as members of the family of an EU citizen and can use that to study or even work. This is something you can do after entering, at least in some cases.
    – Gala
    Apr 12, 2017 at 10:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.