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Change of Degree Programme or University

According to regulations, if you are in Germany to study, you are not entitled to a residence permit for a different reason, unless you have a legal claim (e.g. through marriage to a German citizen). A new residence permit can only be issued if you leave the country and then return. The reason for residence is determined by field of study. In your residence permit, the purpose of study is indicated by your degree programme and, if appropriate, field of study.

Image Auslaendische Studierende Ar _51_If you change fields during your studies, this means that your reason for residence has changed, which, in turn, generally means that the residence permit you were issued is automatically rendered invalid. As a rule, it is however possible to change your degree (e.g. from German to Spanish) or to change subjects within the same course (e.g. swapping French for Italian as part of your degree in Romance languages) as long as this happens in the first 18 months after beginning your studies. If you change your field or degree course later, university regulations apply. If university regulations allow the change, it can also be approved according to the legal regulations for foreigners as long as the work you have done so far can be credited so that the total time needed to complete your studies is not extended for more than 18 months (university confirmation). Whatever the situation, you must register any change with the Municipal Immigration Office so that the change in your reason for residence can be recorded.

If these prerequisites do not apply or if you wish to change subjects or degree programme again, this is only permissible if your studies can be completed within a total of ten years.

The same regulations apply if you change to a different type of higher educational establishment (e.g. you continue in your field but change from a university to a technical college).


Id-schulung 633Any further qualification you may then embark on after completing your first degree programme, or any course which leads on from your first qualification in Germany (e.g. training to become a specialist after completing your medical degree) constitutes a change in your reason for residence. A change is generally not admissible if your total period of residence would then exceed ten years.

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