Study in Germany – Formal Obligation (Verpflichtungserklärung)

If you are not being sponsored by an organization, you need to show proof of financial independence throughout your study period.

During your interview at the German embassy, the consular officer will assess your financial independence based on the documents (e.g. bank statements, bond certificates, savings, assets, …) you submit at the interview. It is to a large extent, the discretion of the officer.

The estimated cost of living for a month is ~720.00 EUR* and you should be able to deposit at least 8,640.00EUR into a blocked account in Germany. Students who cannot show this amount at the time of application, can seek assistance from relatives or family friends living in Germany. This person signs a formal obligation indicating that they would sponsor the student during the entire period of study.

You and your sponsor need to keep the following in mind:

As a prospective student, you should have completed some form of education 🙂 and found the university of your choice.

Read the first chapter of this post to help you find the right institution (if you haven’t found any at the moment).

Need-to-know (Sponsor)

  • Must be legally living in Germany
  • Have permanent residence or temporary residence valid for the duration of your studies
  • Could be German citizen
  • Should have regular income if employed. There is no fixed amount as every state has their own rules. This amount is based on your status (single or married with/without kids). More kids will mean more money. In Munich, a single person needs to show proof of at least 1,800.00 EUR/month, married persons without kids or single with a kid needs to show proof of 2,200.00 EUR/month. This amount may be a lot less in smaller cities.
  • Must apply in person at the respective office with all necessary documents. The original formal obligation received should be posted to the prospective student.

Need-to-know (Prospective student)

  • Once you’ve found the university of your choice, applied and gained admission you must apply for an interview asap at the German embassy
  • Attend your interview with all necessary documents listed on the German embassy website (MUST include an ORIGINAL COPY of the signed formal obligation)
  • Wait for the embassy to make a decision on your application. It takes at least 6 weeks. Apply for your interview on time!

Recent Timeline (2018) 

  • 08.05 – Admission letter received
  • 28.06 – Interview date at German embassy
  • 06.08 – Flight reservation and proof of insurance requested by the embassy
  • 09-08 – Flight reservation and proof of insurance submitted at the embassy
  • 16.08 – Passport received with visa

Total duration from interview date to collecting the passport is 7 weeks.


* UPDATE: “From September 1, 2019, all applicants for a student visa have to present proof that they can bear at least 853.00 Euros per month to cover their living expenses. The required credit balance on blocked bank accounts has been increased from previously 8.640 Euros to now 10.236 Euros for one year.” – German embassy website, Ghana




5 thoughts on “Study in Germany – Formal Obligation (Verpflichtungserklärung)

  1. Kofi Mensah aikins says:

    Please help me get a school in germany .I hold a first degree in BA.Communication Design(film,animation,graphic design,photography) which I acquired at KWAME Nkrumah university of Science and Technology

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lawrence Agyei Nti says:

    I had a formal obligation letter last year but was not granted visa based not on the formal obligation letter but other reasons.
    I am applying this year still, can I use the formal obligation letter I used last year or I need a new one


    • Jennie B. says:

      Hi Lawrence, the formal obligation should not be older than 6 months when you submit your application.

      Even if the document falls within this timeframe, i will recommend you ask your host for a new one since the German embassy in Ghana (I’m assuming you’re applying from GH) may give you a tough time.

      Hope this helps. Thanks for stopping by.


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