Studying & Working in Germany as a refugee

“ this article based mainly from “ study in Germany website ”


As a refugee, you are eligible to study at a German university, especially when your refugee status is recognized. In terms of applying and gaining admission to a degree program, you will be treated just like any other international student applicant. Many universities offer special programs for refugees, such as trial courses.

by the Editors

  • General information
  • Requirements
  • Study opportunities
  • Advising services
  • Financing


As a rule, refugees are allowed to study at German universities. Normally you won’t encounter any problems if your status is recognized (entitled to asylum, granted refugee protection etc.). The same applies if your application for asylum is still being processed or if you only hold a “tolerated” status.

General information for asylum seekers is available on the website of the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. If you wish to consult with someone in your area, you can find the addresses of all the state refugee counselling centers.

The website of the Goethe-Institute provides answers to many questions foreigners have about living in Germany.

You might also be interested in visiting the website “workeer”, a job portal for refugees.

The website Recognition in Germany informs about the recognition of foreign professional qualifications.


The procedures for applying and gaining admission to a German degree program are the same for you as for other international university applicants. You must have a university entrance qualification and sufficient language skills. The language of instruction at German universities is usually German. However, there are many courses and degree programs offered in English, particularly master’s degree programs. Depending on the program, you might have to have further qualifications and provide additional documents with your application, such as a letter of motivation.

If you have already studied at university, you can have your coursework and certificates recognized in Germany. Visit the ANABIN website for more information about having your academic certificates recognized (only in German). Please note that the university, at which you are applying, is solely responsible for reviewing and recognizing your previous academic achievement. you can also check recognition finder. In case your documents are incomplete, there are several ways to verify your previous qualifications, please visit this link, to get know those ways.

If your secondary school-leaving certificate does not automatically qualify you for admission to German university, you will have to take a test called the “Feststellungsprüfung” (qualification assessment examination). You can prepare for this test by attending a foundation course in Germany. Foundation courses are programs at universities which offer subject-related courses in specific disciplines.


Many universities offer special programs for refugees, e.g.:

  • Courses auditing
  • Trial courses
  • Transition courses or orientation programs
  • Supplementary courses

In most cases, these courses and programs are free of charge. Some universities even offer partial credit for completed courses if and when you enroll in a regular degree program. We suggest inquiring about the specific options available to you at the university where you wish to study.

View a map listing the universities which offer free courses to refugees along with contact details. (This map is not associated with or coordinated by the DAAD. The responsible coordinator is Anna Schmauder.)


You can get more information about studying in Germany at the International Office at the university in your city. The staff at the International Office can help you choose a suitable degree program, evaluate your certificates and plan your next steps. Some universities have counselors specifically responsible for refugees. Inquire about them at your nearest International Office. You can find a list of contact partners at the International Offices on the DAAD website.

The Academic Advising Office at the University Guarantee Fund helps young immigrants continue or commence studies in Germany. The counselling sessions on location are free of charge. There are 21 advising offices throughout Germany. You can make an appointment on their website.

Initiated by German law students, Refugee Law Clinics offer free legal counselling to refugees. Currently, you can find Refugee Law Clinics in Berlin, Cologne, Giessen,Leipzig, Regensburg, Saarbrücken and Munich.


There are various ways to cover your expenses as a student in Germany. The best possibility is to apply for government funding called “BAföG”. Some universities pay for certain fees or waive them altogether. The good news is that German universities charge low or no tuition fees. At present, the DAAD does not offer scholarships exclusively for refugees. Please visit our website for more information about financing your studies.

However, there are some websites offer a full guide for this process, I suggest those two:


Guide to “Working in Germany”

In Germany, there are plenty of opportunities for qualified professionals like you. Find out here how to track down worthwhile job offers and let us be your guide to Germany with information about the immigration conditions you need to fulfill, how to get your professional qualifications recognized and the question of language skills.

Once you arrive, you will find a well-developed social security system that protects you and your family against the major risks. We show you how it works.

Having work and a career are particularly important areas for integrating into society. Here you can find out more about the labor market in Germany, about the support programs available when looking for a job and issues you should bear in mind.

  • Looking for a job
  • Applying for a job
  • Recognition of vocational credentials
  • Work contract
  • Taxes
  • Social security

Here some websites offer guideline about working in Germany

One Comment

  1. Wolfgang Ehle says:

    A great initiative! But why not in German, too? And as already mentioned we also have many refugees from Somalia, Eritrea and Etiopia. So, Arabic might not be the most needed language on this web site.

    From a practical point of view it makes much more sense to have the information presented in German – because that’s what they need to learn anyway.

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