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How Long Can you Study with a Residence Permit?

The OVG Lüneburg clarified the residence status of a student on April 7, 2006 (9 ME 257/05), who was then studying in his 13th semester. The foreigners office wanted to terminate his permit because he had been sick several times and the chances that he would finish his studies in reasonable time was not likely.


Billy Boy was studying automotive technique at a Fachhochschule in Germany. He was suffering from a general phobia and was not able to handle test situations. As a further example, he was also not able to manage the practical driving test for his driving license. This phobia was certified by a specialized physician for neurology and a psychiatrist. He has been in treatment for over five years. He visited the school’s social workers’ workshops on how to succeed in tests.

The foreigners office refused to prolong his residence permit because the duration of his studies would then exceed the typical study period (Regelstudienzeit) by seven semesters Therefore, it cannot be expected, that he will pass his exams in reasonable time.

The court held that even if it is possible to consider personal needs of an individual student, nevertheless it is still required that a student will finish his studies in reasonable time. The question is if 6 semesters over the usual period of studying is still reasonable. The court decided that when a program officially needs only 8 semesters and many students need 9 semesters, 7 semesters beyond time cannot be considered as reasonable. Besides this, the candidate of this case, only passed 4 ungraded tests, stepped back from 36 registered tests, and has not yet written one of the written tests needed to be accomplished. So even if there were a positive prognosis that he pass one or more tests in the next semester, he will not complete his studies in reasonable time. This being so, a residence permit with the reason for studying in Germany cannot be extended.


Even if this sounds rude, if you notice that you will not successfully finish your studies in a certain field within reasonable time, do yourself a favor and reconsider the plans for your future life and act accordingly. It might be a good idea to get a coach! No boss is interested in hiring a person that indefinitely has clung to the study of a certain field. Better to say you have a sophisticated knowledge in a subject complementing your successfully completed program than to be a drop-out. Of course, being a drop-out does not necessarily mean that you have completely ruined your life, when one thinks of such persons as Albert Einstein or Bill Gates…

Published on the old CMS: 2008/1/24
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 335 reads