Semester Abroad for Non-European Students

Taking a semester abroad is a great opportunity for students! You can study and research at a different university or even do an internship at a company in a foreign country.

Before you plan such a semester please note that there are some very important things you need to take care of in advance:

  • Stay abroad is allowed for international non-European students if it is a fixed part of study course.

  • You should always inform your Immigration Office in advance that you are planning such a semester.
Validity of the residence permit ↓
  • your current residence permit must be longer than the planned semester abroad so that you can easily come back to Germany to continue your studies here. In case it will lose its validity before you plan to come back - you will not be able to enter Germany. Please extend it if needed.


Duration of the stay abroad ↓
  • You can leave Germany for maximum 6 months with your current residence permit for studies.

  • in case you plan a stay abroad which is longer than 6 months, you need a permission from the Immigration Office otherwise the residence permit expires automatically after 6 months (new visa for re-entry would be needed in that case!).


Application for Academic Leave of Absence at the Office for Student Affairs (Studienbüro)/ Application for the refund of the semester ticket share at AStA ↓
  • You can apply for the Academic Leave of Absence at the Office for Student Affairs (Studienbüro). This can only be done within the official enrolment renewal period (Rückmeldung).

  • In case you are planning to participate in exams at the Fachhochschule Dortmund or are writing your final thesis in the same semester as your semester abroad you should pay the full semester contribution at our university. In that case you have the possibility to apply for the refund of the semester ticket share at the AStA. Please get in contact with the AStA if you need further information on that issue.


German address/ Registration in Germany ↓
  • you must stay registered in Germany also for the period of time of your semester abroad - as your residence permit in only valid with a German address. German address is also a proof that Germany is the main destination for your studies and that you are willing to come back here and finish your studies. Please do not de-register and keep a valid German address!

  • In case you are worried about paying the rent double which is a financial burden - you can always sublease your accommodation, e.g. to our new students who struggle to find a suitable room or flat. Please note that you must inform your landlord or your landlady that you are going for a semester abroad and that you will sublease your room. You must sign a new contract with the tenant for that particular period of time as well.

  • In case you live in a dormitory room of Studierendenwerk Dortmund – subleasing of your room is also possible, however you will need an official agreement with Studierendenwerk Dortmund and you must find a new tenant of the same gender (student of the Fachhochschule Dortmund or TU Dortmund). New contract must be signed for that particular period of time too.

  • In case you have family or relatives - maybe you could register there? You will need as always official landlord confirmation.

  • You will need accommodation after your stay abroad anyway -  so maybe it is not that bad to keep your current accommodation in Germany!

Working during your semester abroad ↓
  • Please contact the International Office of the host university for more information about national legal regulations for international students of foreign universities - these are different in each country. In some cases you will need a visa with a working allowance.


Internship in a foreign country ↓
  • If your want to do your internship at a foreign university please contact the International Office of your host university to get more information on national legal regulations for international students of foreign universities.

  • If your want to do your internship in company in a different country then Germany – visa with working allowance will be needed. Usually your employer should be able to help you with that issue. Otherwise the embassy is always a contact point to be asked.

  • However – in both cases please always contact the Embassy in advance! In case you must apply for a visa – it takes time!


Should you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact us at the Social Advisory Service of your International Office - we will gladly support you!