Non-EU students whose programs have moved online due to the pandemic will not be permitted to enter Germany this year. Those enrolled in programs delivered according to a hybrid model, a mix of both in-person and online, will not be affected by the government’s decision.
The German government has announced that only international students who are required to physically attend classes this year will be eligible for study visas. Without proof that they cannot complete courses online from their home countries, students will not be able to obtain visas. To that end, non-EU students will now require a “certificate of presence” issued by a German university as a first step in applying for a visa.
It appears however that the restriction will affect a relatively small proportion of international students, since most German universities plan to offer a mix of in-person and online classes – a “hybrid” model. If there is an in-person component to the program, international students will not be prevented from applying for visas.
The announcement has stirred up controversy, especially given that the German government objected to the US government’s July announcement that international students in the country would have to leave if their programs moved online. That US government’s decision has since been revoked (now it is only new international students who will not be allowed to enter the US for online courses).