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Applying for a residence permit to participate in the European Voluntary Service

As a participant in the European Voluntary Service, you will be granted a residence permit for the duration of your voluntary service, up to a maximum of one year.

The agreement between you and the host institution must contain the essential information (job description, duration, working hours, working conditions, supervision, remuneration and, where applicable, training).

If you have not yet reached the age of 18, you will also need the consent of your legal guardian.

In addition to participating in voluntary service, the pursuit of additional employment is not permitted.

Process flow

  • Find out whether your Foreigners' Registration Office allows you to apply online or whether you have a special application form.
  • If the application is only possible in person, make an appointment at the Foreigners' Registration Office. In the case of an online application, the Foreigners' Registration Office will contact you after receiving your application to make an appointment.
  • During the appointment, your identity and documents will be checked (please bring your documents, preferably in the original, to the appointment).
  • If your application is granted, your fingerprints will be taken for the purpose of producing an electronic residence permit (eAT card). The Foreigners' Registration Office commissions the production of the eAT card from the Federal Printing Office. After completion, you will receive information and can pick up the residence permit from the competent authority. The eAT card must always be picked up in person.
  • If your application is rejected, you will receive a rejection notice.

Who should I contact?

the competent authority.

In Lower Saxony, the administrative districts (including the Hanover region) and the larger cities perform the tasks of the immigration authority.


  • You have a recognised and valid identity document (e.g. passport or passport substitute) and - if this was required for entry into Germany - an appropriate visa.
  • You have concluded a formal agreement with a reputable institution on the implementation of the voluntary service.
  • There is no legally regulated ground for refusal (for example, you should not be one of the beneficiaries of international protection in Germany, who have applied for international protection, whose removal is temporarily suspended or who has been granted temporary protection; nor should the institution receiving you have been established solely for the purpose of facilitating the entry and residence of foreign nationals).
  • You have sufficient health insurance coverage.
  • There is no interest in expulsion against you.
  • Your stay does not endanger or impair the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Which documents are required?

  • Recognized and valid identity document (for example passport or passport substitute)
  • Visa, if it was required for entry into the country
  • Current biometric photo in passport format (45 x 35 mm)
  • Agreement with the host organization for the implementation of the European Voluntary Service including a description of the activity as well as information on the duration of the voluntary service, working hours, working conditions, supervision, remuneration and any training measures included.
  • Proof of health insurance coverage
  • Before reaching the age of 18: consent of the legal guardians
  • In individual cases, the Aliens' Registration Office may require less or further proof.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

Duration: 6 weeks to 8 weeks

Remark (for further information about the deadline):

At least 8 weeks before the expiration of your still valid visa or before the start of your voluntary service, the application should be received by the Foreigners' Registration Office.

Period of validity: maximum 1 year

Remark (for further information on the time limit):

The residence permit is issued for a maximum of 1 year.

Processing duration

The time it takes to process the application depends on the local conditions as well as on the factual accuracy of the information in the application and the completeness of the application documents.

Applications / forms

Forms available: No

Written form required: Yes

Informal application possible: No

Personal appearance required: Yes


  • Appeal against the decision of the Foreigners' Registration Office
  • Action before the court named in the notice of appeal if the appeal is not granted
  • An action may be brought before the competent administrative court against a negative decision of the immigration authority.
  • A preliminary procedure (opposition) does not take place in Lower Saxony.
  • Detailed information can be found in the rejection decision

Technically approved by

Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior and Sports


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Data protection information

Landesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz Niedersachsen
Address: Prinzenstraße 5, 30159 Hannover
Telephone: +49 511 12045-00
Fax: +49 511 12045-99

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)