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Study in Austria-General Information for Pakistani Students.

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Study in Austria

General Information for


Pakistani Students

Revision 1.1

Muhammad Adnan
February, 2011
Study in Austria-General Information for Pakistani Students. Page 2

Table of Contents
Table of Contents .......................................................................................................................... 2
Revision Histor y ............................................................................................................................ 2
Pr eface ............................................................................................................................................ 3
The Stor y ........................................................................................................................................ 4
1. How to sear ch for your field of study .................................................................................... 6
2. Admission to Austr ian Univer sity .......................................................................................... 6
3. Eligibility Cr iter ia for Admission in Master s and Bachelors .............................................. 6
4. Document Attestation fr om Austr ian Embassy .................................................................... 7
5. Admission Dates ...................................................................................................................... 7
6. Language Requir ements ......................................................................................................... 8
7. Visa Pr ocess.............................................................................................................................. 8
8. Money matter s and Bank statement ...................................................................................... 9
9. Fees and Expenses in Austr ia ................................................................................................. 9
10. Health insur ance in Austr ia ................................................................................................. 10
11. Par t time J obs ........................................................................................................................ 10
12. Differ ence between Univer sity and Univer sity of Applied Sciences ................................. 10
13. Step-by-step pr ocedur e for study in Eur ope....................................................................... 12
14. Some Useful Links ................................................................................................................. 13
Fr equently Asked Questions ...................................................................................................... 14

Revision Histor y
Name Date Reason For Changes Ver sion
Muhammad Adnan January 9, 2011 Original Document Version 1.0
Muhammad Adnan February 17,2011 Added section of FAQs. New topic Version 1.1
on Admission criteria for Masters
and Bachelors.
Study in Austria-General Information for Pakistani Students. Page 3

Preface
This document contains information on admission and visa process for Europe in general and for
Austria in particular, for Pakistani students. I decided to write this document after receiving many
questions on admission and study in Austria. Many of these questions were very simple and
irritating, like “how can I get admission in Austrian university?” This question itself is enough to
tease your mind when a Bachelor degree holder asks this. Also, some people ask simple questions
which they may know by themselves by just analyzing one particular situation or just by Googling
this over internet. But, it seems that still there is a lack of information on ‘how to google’ topic or
people are too lazy to do that.

Another problem, usually with majority of Pakistani students is that they don’t understand
something by just reading it somewhere. Someone has to dictate them, virtually by pointing his
finger and saying that “DO THIS”, and then they get it. Even, if it was written there before and they
had read it hundred times before, but they were not getting it. This habit will also take some time to
get rid of. That is why I decided to write this document and categorically elaborate each step for
admission in some European university in general and for Austria in particular.

Since, the collective effort cannot be perfect at all, the case of an individual’s work is worse than
that. There will be some discrepancies in this document, lack of details on some topics and may be
some wrong information (I did not put anything wrong intentionally but I may not be updated), also
some grammatical mistakes as well. The reader is required to give his feedback. Ask some questions
on topics which may be left un-touched so that I may add it here for next version of document. In
this way, we will be able to carry it on with up to date information. No feedback will not only stop
its development, but also with time, some information may get wrong.

Another reason to write this document is the lack of information about Austria, as very few students
come here. Also, Austrian embassy does not clarify any matter regarding visa process and Residence
permit application. Behavior of person at Austrian embassy is really demoralizing and not helpful at
all. He will not tell you anything in detail. Embassy even does not know about how to prove your
financial status to the authorities in Austria. Either they don’t know or they don’t clarify this to the
applicant. This makes visa process more difficult along with the verification and attestation fee and
ambiguity of whole process. But I hope, after you read this documents, everything will be clear to
you.
Study in Austria-General Information for Pakistani Students. Page 4

The Story
Around 10 months ago, when I started applying at Austrian Universities, there was no one to help
out to clarify matters regarding Austrian visa, studies, work, bank statement etc. I asked on different
groups but could not find anyone. It’s not because there are no Pakistani students in Austria, they
are there, but they don't help out. Most of them are beneficiaries of HEC and since HEC handled
their visa process, they know nothing about actual difficulties which one encounters when one apply
for visa at his own. You won't find any of them on forums or groups.

I also got admission in Germany. I could only apply for one country, either Germany or Austria and
not both because I had financial proof of one year only. For Germany I had to send this money to
Germany and if I sent it there, the statement from Germany would not be accepted by Austrians. So,
after a long thought, I decided to apply for Austrian visa. I decided to go to Austria to clarify
different ambiguities related to Austria. e.g Visa process, Job situation etc. In other words I just
decided to be a "qurbaani ka bakra". Apart from that, the program in Austria was a little more
attractive to me than the one in Germany. My intention was to come here and then help more
students from Pakistan to come here and clarify the ambiguities surrounding Austrian visa
application. At this decision, my whole year or in other words, future and previous effort that I had
done in getting admission in Austrian and German university was on stack, but I believed in success
and finally after a long and tiresome visa process, I succeeded and arrived here around 3 months
ago.

Once I started Austrian visa process, there were a lot of difficulties that I faced. On every hurdle that
I faced, people around me heavily discouraged, literally demoralized and criticized me on my
decision to apply for Austrian visa and not for German for which everything was clear. At the very
beginning, I encountered a big hurdle and was almost turning back on my decision when one day, I
came across this verse of Holy Quran ( ‫ ")ﻓﺎﺯﺍ ﻋﺰﻣﺖ ﻓﺘﻮﮐﻞ ﻋﻠﯽ ﷲ‬When you have taken your decision, put
U

your trust in Allah". I just stopped there, where I saw this verse on a wall painting and thought for a
U

while ... "is this verse saying something to me?"....... And I said, yes! ......it is in fact about me!!!!.
This way I must say that I have found a clue, a golden rule to every success and every successful
decision. This one verse has given me a formula for my whole life. After that, I just remained firm
on my decision and I continued to cope with the hurdles. I remained stick to my decision and
believed in help from Allah Almighty and in fact, this is the key to success.

During my visa process, I encountered another guy from Lahore, who was also struggling for
Austrian visa and he was a student of same university where I had got admission. He was around 2
months late in applying for visa and knew nothing about the process. Since, I had been through the
visa process, I helped him out and I think it’s my first success that he has just arrived here around 3
week ago. Though, he is late to be here but the success has its worth and a nice taste and heavenly
smell. He is more than happy to be here and me too.

Though, I've helped him and I'm helping many other people to the extent I can, but I bear no credit
for helping others and giving favors. As, its Allah who has created and made me this way that I like
to help others and share knowledge and information, and after creating me like this, He is now
giving me the opportunity to deliver others what I've got. I ask you to pray for me so that I will be
successful in fulfilling that.

I am especially thankful to group moderators of Norway and Finland as one of them, I think
Mashhood Sheikh, related his personal experience of his Austria study application and its lengthy
Visa process. Apart from that I really appreciate their effort in maintaining a group related to studies
abroad in one particular country. Also, I appreciate from my heart, the perseverance, patience and
Study in Austria-General Information for Pakistani Students. Page 5

helpful attitude of group moderators, who repeatedly answer to stupid straight forward questions of
many people. May Allah give them health, wealth and prosperity in life and hereafter.

Muhammad Adnan
adnan_199@yahoo.com
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1. How to search for your field of study


To find the program of your interest is a primary task when you decide to go abroad for studies.
Here are links from where you can have a look at the study programs offered by Austrian
Universities.

http://www.studyguide.at/  Particularly for Austria


http://www.mastersportal.eu/  Whole Europe. Here you can search for your field of study. The
search tool here is very nice and sophisticated. You can sort your search results by country as well.

The first link actually is in German language but you can open it in Google Chrome which
automatically translates pages in foreign language into English. This will make your life easy. For
details on ‘Universities’ and ‘University of Applied Sciences’ please see the section “Difference b/w
‘University’ and ‘University of Applied Sciences’ ” First site is not very much detailed and you may
not know the details for the program you are interested in, but at least you will know that which
university is offering this program. After this step, you can Google the name of that university to
access university website to get more information and details about study program, admission
procedure fees and everything else.

The second link also gives some description of the program and in some cases its curriculum with
the link to course home page. Which makes this site more attractive for program search and off
course this site is in English.

2. Admission to Austr ian Univer sity

Unlike Sweden, Finland or Germany, there is no central authority for receiving and verifying
documents in Austria. Each university conducts its admissions separately and they have their
procedure different from each other. Please look at the website of your university to know details
about admission procedure.

3. Eligibility Cr iter ia for Admission in Master s and Bachelors


To apply for a Master degree program in Europe, one has to have a Bachelor degree of 4 years from
Pakistan. This accounts of 16 years of education (Intermediate + Bachelor = 12 + 4 = 16 years of
education). If, however, your Bachelors degree is of 2 years, then you will have 14 years of
education and you are not eligible to apply for Master degree courses. So, in this case, you have to
do Masters from Pakistan and complete your 16 years of education and then apply for Master
Degree here in Europe.

To apply for Bachelor degree, you must have your 12 years of education completed. It means that
Intermediate (FSc) degree holder can apply for Bachelor program provided that he/she fulfils
language requirements. Almost all Bachelor degree program in European countries are taught in
their local languages e.g German, Italian and Finnish etc. However, you may find some Bachelor
programs in English in some countries like Finland, Germany and Austria. Please look at university
database of respective country to find info about that.
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Admission to Bachelor degree program is usually accompanied by an entry test, just like Pakistan.
Some universities conduct entry tests in foreign countries if they have sufficient Bechelor degree
applicants from that particular country. If you apply in such a program and your university does not
conduct entry test in Pakistan, then you may have to visit India or Nepal for that test, if university
conducts that entry test there. I have a friend who applied for such a program in Finland in 2010. His
university conducted entry test in Nepal and he has to go to Nepal for that test. He went there,
appeared in entry test, passed it and now he is in Finland studying his Bachelors degree.

4. Document Attestation from Austr ian Embassy

Some universities in Austria ask applicants to send documents attested by Austrian Embassy. If your
university says so, then you have to send them attested documents by Austrian Embassy. If
university website does not say so, then for admission, there is no need to attest your documents
from Austrian Embassy. But for visa, you will have to attest them, as according to Embassy, this is a
standard procedure which you have to follow. So, in either case you have to get your documents
attested by Austrian Embassy. Here is a list of documents which Austrian Embassy Attests.

1- Academic Certificate (Metric, FSc, BSc and any other degree issued by a Pakistani
University or Institute)
2- Birth Certificate (Embassy verifies your birth by sending and advocate to your local area-
union council)
3- Police Clearance Certificate or Police Certificate.

First step of this attestation procedure is the verification. Embassy verifies each of your document
by a third party organization linked to the embassy. Embassy pays them for this purpose. So, you
have to pay Embassy to get your documents verified. This fee at my time (2010) was around 23,000
(Twenty Three Thousand Rupees Only). Keep in mind that this is Verification fee. When documents
are verified, embassy will call you to get your original documents Attested. Embassy will put a
stamp at the back of your Original Documents with the signature of Counselor/Ambassador. They
will charge 30-Euros (Thirty Euros Only) per document of yours, for attestation. You have to pay
equivalent amount in Pakistani Rupees.

For verification/attestation, it is better to make an appointment with the embassy, but you can go
there on Monday for documents submission without appointment. In this case you have to be there
early in morning to have your name written at the gate. After embassy is done with people with
appointment, it will call you inside. But your turn may not come if there are too many people there.
So it’s good to make an appointment.

Embassy only attests your original documents and not photocopies. You will send photocopies of
these attested documents to your university.

5. Admission Dates

Admission dates are not specific in any country of Europe. Dates vary from university to university.
Most universities intake is annual and it is usually in fall semester. For fall semesters, admission
starts usually in February, March. If university intake is also available in summer semester, then for
summer semester, admission dates are usually in October, November. You have to consult website
of your selected university to know final dates and information about intake.
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6. Language Requirements

Usually, Bachelors degree programs all over the Europe are taught in local language of that
particular country. There are very few universities which offer Bachelor degree courses in English.
But for Masters, case is different. From last decade, majority of universities which offered Masters
courses have started Master degree courses in English. They say these courses as “International
Master Degree Program”. It is called ‘International’ because it is in English.

If your selected program is in local Language then university will require you to have a certificate in
their Local language e.g German, Italian etc. If program is in English, then they will require you
provide English Language Proficiency Certificate (IELTS, TOEFL or in some cases, they may
accept a Proficiency Certificate from your university).

To know about the score requirements in TOEFL or Band requirements in IELTS, you have to
check your university website. Each university has its own requirement. Many universities accept
IELTS band 6.0 or even 5.5, TOEFL iBT score 80. Some may require a higher score of 90 (TOEFL)
or 6.5(IELTS). So, it would be nice if you strive for the maximum score in your Language
Certificate to increase number of universities you can apply.

Note: Although you’re selected university may accept a Proficiency Certificate issued by your own previous university,
this certificate will always be below the scores of IELTs and TOEFL. Since competition for admission is more and more
every year, you may lose your position if your competent are providing IELTS/TOEFL as compared to you. So, it would
always be better to provide an internationally recognized English Language Proficiency Certificate.

7. Visa Process
In general, visa process is same for all countries accept Austria. As, if your documents are not
Verified and Attested by Austrian Embassy, they will do so first(this process takes 4-8 weeks) even
if your university does not require you to get them attested by Embassy.

Once you get your admission letter from university and your documents are attested by embassy,
you start your visa process. In Austrian case, application for visa is called “Application for
Residence Permit”. You apply for Residence Permit and once your application is approved (It
usually takes 4-6 weeks), embassy will call you to submit Schengen visa form. After you fill in that
form and submit visa fee and submit your passport, you get your visa in 10 days.

The form for Residence Permit Application is a little complicated and is in German. It has around
10-12 pages. At first sight you may not be able to recognize even a word out of it. But with a little
effort you can find the soft copy of this form on Google. I found it on the Austrian foreign ministry
website (I don’t remember it now). Once you get the soft form, you can give this .pdf or .doc to
Google translator to get a Translation and then fill in the form. Otherwise, If someone of yours
knows German language can fill this form. But at least don’t pay anyone to fill out this form. You
can contact me if you don’t find any way out.

The fee for Residence Permit Application is around 80-Euros (Eighty Euros only), which you have
to submit while submitting your application. Almost same amount you will pay when you apply for
Schengen Visa at last step.
Study in Austria-General Information for Pakistani Students. Page 9

Residence permit application is necessary for people (students) who want to stay in Austria for more
than six months. Usually, Master degree program is of two years. Students who want to come to
Austria for one semester or less than six months, they don’t need to apply for Residence Permit. I
don’t have any further information about the visa process for this kind of students.

8. Money matter s and Bank statement


If you are not holder of a scholarship then you have to prove that you have sufficient funds to cover
the expense of one or two years. As, I know, Sweden requires the proof of two years. The rest of
countries, including Austria, require you to show sufficient money for one year. Money for One year
for Austria is around 9500 Euros (Nine Thousand Five Hundred Euros only). It changes a little bit
every year. (Usually, increases). This amount of money is more than any other country in Europe.
This is because Austria is a little bit more expansive then other countries.

For Austria, your local bank account statement which is in rupees will not be accepted. Actually,
they require you to either open a bank account in some Austrian bank or provide them with equal
amount of Traveler Cheques. Both things are not possible because you cannot open a bank account
in Austrian bank unless you are in Austria and also Traveler cheques are not available in Pakistan.
You cannot buy them either. The solution is to open a Euro account in an internationally renowned
bank like Standard Chartered or HSBC etc. Submit this amount of Euros (9500-euros or whatever
is required) into that account, get your bank statement, and attach it to your Residence Permit
Application form. For Austria, money doesn’t need to be there for last six or 12 months. But it
would be nice, if it is there for last 3 or 4 months to avoid any risk. Even if it was not there for last
3, 4 months, it will not be a problem. You may have opened your euro account just a week ago.

If your university requires you to show proof of funds while applying for admission, they will give
you a form to fill. This form will have some fields asking you to enter annual income of your family.
Usually, university doesn’t need any proof at this time. So, you can just fill this form in to show that
your family income is sufficient to support you. You don’t need to have money in your bank at this
time.

9. Fees and Expenses in Austr ia


Usually, there is a tuition fee of around 363 Euros (Three hundred, sixty three Euros only) per
semester in Austrian universities. This fee is not too much and one who has studied in any private or
semi-government university of Pakistan, can afford it very easily.

Austria is a little expensive country in compared to other countries of Europe. For single person
living alone in single room, the cost will be from 300 to 350 Euros per month (this includes rent,
internet, electricity cost and food). Room rent is usually from 200 to 250 Euros/month. But if you
share your accommodation, you can reduce your monthly cost to around 250 Euros. Furthermore it
also depends on the city where you live. Capital and large cities are expansive as compared to small
and remote areas. But even if you live in Capital, the monthly cost should not be more than 400
Euros.

Food cost per month, as I estimated here is around 50 to 80 Euros, if you know how to save money.
But even if you don’t know, it will not be over 80 Euros.
Study in Austria-General Information for Pakistani Students. Page 10

10. Health insur ance in Austr ia


Health insurance is must is Austria. You have to get it once you arrive here. It costs you 25 Euros
per month which is low as compared to Germany, where you have to pay 68 Euros per month.

You have to get some travel health insurance when you apply for Residence permit from Pakistan.
You have to get Insurance of at least 3 or 4 months from your expected travel/arrival to start of your
study period. You will submit this insurance certificate with your Residence Permit Application.
Once you are here, you will apply for student health insurance at a local insurance company. This
health insurance is in fact local to whole Europe.

11. Par t time J obs


Due to small number of students, part time jobs are available in Austria. For example you can do a
newspaper delivery job and earn 500 Euros a month. This job is easy to get in winter because people
avoid doing it due to cold. In big cities like Vienna, student work in restaurants and earn reasonable
amount to support themselves for their study period.

If you are technical person, you can work in some company as and internee and they may pay you
from 400 to 800 Euros (it is just a rough estimate). But, it’s always hard to find such internships
related to your field of study. Still, there are more opportunities here in the technical field as
compared to Norway, Finland and Sweden.

If you want to work here, then for that you have to get work permit. Work permit is hard to get
everywhere in Europe because of policy of European Union. Companies are asked to hire local
Europeans unless absolutely necessary. If you are too good in your field, then you will have no
problem in getting a work permit.

After your Master degree, there is no “work-search” visa here in Austria. In Germany, they usually
give you a work-search visa once you complete your Master or Bachelors degree. Here in Austria,
students, if they get an internship/trainee-ship in some company, they usually get admission into
another Master to prolong their stay and earn money from that internship/trainee-ship. Then with
time, company may hire them if they are good enough and in that case they get a work permit. You
can also get a visa on basis of your internship/trainee-ship, but it is usually of 6 months only. So, it
is better to get admission into another Masters to get a visa/residence permit for a year.

12. Difference between Univer sity and Univer sity of Applied


Sciences
Before 10, 12 years ago, there were only Universities and there was nothing named like University
of Applied Sciences (Fochhochschule in German abbreviated as FH). Then the government in
German speaking countries (Germany, Austria) established this new type of university and named it
“Fochhochschule” (FH)University of Applied Sciences. The purpose was to enhance industrial
and practical courses in Bachelor and Masters.

Study at FH is more pr actical or iented in collaboration with industry, while at University study is
more Resear ch Or iented. So, if someone wants to work in Industry after his Bachelors or Masters,
Study in Austria-General Information for Pakistani Students. Page 11

he should enroll in an FH and if someone wants to have more research in his study, then he should
prefer University.

According to the definition or law, degrees from both FH and University are equvalent when
compared by credit scores earned. Also, one who has done his Bachelor from an FH is eligible to
enroll in Masters in a University. Similarly, a Master degree holder from an FH is eligible to enroll
into PhD anywhere. But, unfortunately, this may not be exactly the case.

Generally, a degree from University is considered superior to a degree from FH, when you want to
enroll for further studies. I know one of my friends who did is Bachelors from an FH in Germany,
but he was denied admission in Masters in a University saying that you hold a degree from FH and
you need to take more study courses to be eligible to enroll in Masters. So, that guy has no other
way except to enroll in a Master course at some FH. This is one example which may not be implied
as a general rule, but I wanted it to share this with you.

In, the case that you go for a practical work in an industry, then FH degree would be preferred over
University degree.

Generally, outside German speaking countries, people and universities don’t know the difference
b/w FH and University. They consider both as university and degree of both as equivalent. This
means that if an FH master degree holder goes to some non-German speaking country to enroll in
PhD, they may not consider this little difference and he will not have any problem in getting
admission.
Study in Austria-General Information for Pakistani Students. Page 12

13. Step-by-step procedure for study in Europe


1. Get your passport if you haven’t made it yet. Passport is needed not only for IELTS/TOEFL but
also it is required by every university where you want to apply for admission.
2. If you want to apply for Austria, Get your documents attested from Austrian Embassy whenever
you have time. As, this may not be required for admission but it will eventually be required for
visa.
3. Get your IELTS or TOEFL done on priority bases. This will make you eligible to apply for
admission anywhere.
4. Get your documents attested from BISE, HEC and Foreign Office whenever you have time. Get
sufficient copies attested from BISE and HEC so that you can apply to at least 3, 4 universities.
Get your original documents attested from Foreign Office.
5. Make some Recommendation letters (2 or 3) from university professors you know. Make them
general and not particular to any university so that you can use them while applying anywhere.
6. Meanwhile, think about arrangement of money which you have to show, once you get admitted.
Look around for people who may help you out. Also, pray for yourself so that some resources
may appear out of nowhere.
7. Find your field of study in some university which is free or which has some nominal fee which
you can afford. It’s better to make a list of universities where you think yourself eligible to apply
and prioritize them. Look at university website in detail to know about admission procedure and
fee matters. Some universities may want you apply online and then send your documents along
with a printed copy of the online form. In some cases they may defer your documents until you
have been preselected. If you are preselected, then they will ask you to send paper copies of your
documents. The process depends on your university. In some cases they may conduct an
interview.
8. Note down admission procedure and mark deadlines on your Calendar so that you may have no
problem in future in meeting deadlines.
9. Apply for admission in time. It is better to apply as soon as possible when admission starts.
10. If you are admitted, you will be notified by email as well as you will receive an admission letter.
After you receive your admission letter, you can start your visa process.
11. For Austrian visa, you have to show proof of accommodation arrangement. Your university will
usually arrange you a proof of accommodation if you are admitted. You have to ask them for
that. Proof of accommodation is necessary for Residence permit application.
12. Contact the embassy to make an appointment to apply for visa.
12.1. In case of Austria, you apply for Residence Permit.
13. Apply for visa (Residence Permit) as soon as possible. Usually visa process takes 4-6 weeks.
But it may prolong if there is some problem. In case of Austria, if your Residence Permit
Application is accepted, embassy will ask you to submit Schengen visa form. They will call you
in that case. Submit that Schengen visa form and you will get your visa in 10 days.
14. When you get your visa, and have your passport stamped by the embassy, book a flight and get
yourself on a study abroad tour.
Study in Austria-General Information for Pakistani Students. Page 13

14. Some Useful Links


www.studyinfinland.fi  Admission for Finland.
www.daad.de  German universities and scholarships data base
www.studyguide.at  Austrian Universities guide.
http://www.mastersportal.eu/  Master portal for all Europe.
http://www.oead.at/index.php?id=1916&L=1  Austrian Exchange Server. This is a very useful
and informative link about study in Austria. You will find up-to-date information about financial
proof and scholarships available in Austria. It also contains detailed information on visa process,
part time work and work permits in Austria.
http://www.pakscholars.org/austria/index.asp  Site created by Pakistani Students (by HEC
scholarships holder). You may find some useful info there but this site is not updated for, I think,
over three years.
Study in Austria-General Information for Pakistani Students. Page 14

Frequently Asked Questions


1- Can I go to Ger many or any other Eur opean countr y, once I am in Austr ia after my
admission to an Austr ian Univer sity?

Yes. You can go to Germany or any other European country after you get Residence Permit Card
from here. Since you are living in a Schengen country, you can go to other Schengen countries (25
countries) and live there for maximum of 3 months in a 6 months period.

If you plan to apply for any other European country, you can do that from Austria as well. For
example, if someone plans to apply for some German university then he can apply there. If he gets
admitted then he has to apply for German residence/student visa, because with this Austrian
residence, he can live in Germany for maximum of 3 months in a 6 month period. And again, you
will have to fulfill all the requirements laid by Germany for a student e.g. deposit of one year
expanse money in German bank etc.

2- How univer sity conduct Inter view of an applicant?

If your university conducts interview for admission to Master degrees then this interview will be on
Skype.

3- Is ther e any inter view at embassy while applying for r esidence per mit or visa?

If you are a student and you are applying for residence permit after your admission, then there will
be a short interview at embassy. Usually interview questions include enquiry about your profession,
your job, your source of income and about your financial support etc.