EU citizens have various options to fulfil the personal requirements under BAföG.

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One of these possibilities is for EU citizens to work in Germany while studying. The background to this is the principle of free movement of workers that applies in the EU. In concrete terms, the following requirements must be met:

  • When applying for BAföG for the first time, the student must have already been gainfully employed in Germany for at least ten weeks.
  • The gainful employment must be at least twelve hours per week on average over one month.
  • In order to maintain BAföG entitlement, the student must continue to work to this extent throughout their studies.
  • This regulation also applies to students who are self-employed.
  • In order for EU citizens to be entitled to BAföG, however, the employment must allow for full-time study.
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Another possibility is the right of permanent residence. This mainly covers EU citizens who have resided legally in the territory of the Bundesrepublik Deutschland for at least five years. Proof can be provided by means of a permanent residence card issued by the foreigners authorities.

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The BAföG entitlement also results from an employment relationship that is related to the content of the studies and that was taken up at least six months before the start of the studies. The employment must have been pursued in Germany.

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In addition, the personal BAföG requirements for EU citizens can also be fulfilled if the right to freedom of movement can be derived from a spouse, partner or own children.

Other international students

International students who do not belong to the group of EU citizens can also receive BAföG benefits under certain conditions.


Students who are staying in Germany with a residence permit according to § 16 of the Residence Act only for the purpose of studying are not entitled to BAföG unless they simultaneously fulfil one of the other requirements mentioned below.

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International students who have a settlement permit fulfil the personal BAföG requirements without further ado. A settlement permit is a residence title that is unlimited in time and space. Proof is provided by presenting the residence card.

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International students with the intention of residing in Germany can also fulfil the requirements of the BAföG. The decisive factor is the respective existing residence title. Which residence titles entitle the holder to funding under the BAföG can be found in § 8 paragraph 2 BAföG.

In particular, however, this includes persons who meet one of the following criteria:

  • Students are recognised asylum seekers, recognised refugees or have been granted a residence permit on international, humanitarian or political grounds.
  • Students are spouses or partners of a German national.
  • Students have custody of a minor child with German citizenship.
  • Students have a residence permit according to § 30 or §§ 32-34 of the Residence Act as the spouse, partner or child of a foreigner with a settlement permit.

The residence title must be proven by presenting the residence card.

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Students with other residence titles (e.g. § 25 Para. 3, Para. 4 Sentence 2, Para. 5, 30- 34 or according to § 36a AufenthG) can also receive education grants according to BAföG. In those cases, students must also have resided in Germany for at least 15 months. The residence title must be proven by presenting the residence card. 

Important note

The personal requirements may be based on other circumstances. In this respect, we recommend submitting an application for educational support (BAföG) to the Department for Grants in any case, so that all prerequisites and possibilities are checked.