APS Certificate Guide for Indian Students: Everything You Need to Know | Study in Germany

APS Certificate Guide for Indian Students: Everything You Need to Know | Study in Germany

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Apr 17, 2023 07:15 AM
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Germany has earned an esteemed reputation as a global leader in education, offering exceptional courses in diverse fields such as engineering, research, and academic training. According to the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), about 330,000 international students are currently pursuing their education in Germany. Among them, around 25,000 are Indian students, making them the third-largest group of international students. Although the admission process to German universities for Indians is generally straightforward, a recent change in visa applications requires attention. As of November 1, 2022, Indian students applying to German universities must now submit an APS certificate with their student visa application.
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1. Understanding the APS Certificate

The Academic Evaluation Centre (APS) is responsible for assessing the authenticity of an applicant's Indian academic documents. The APS certificate serves as proof of their validity and indicates the applicant's eligibility to apply to German universities. Not only is this certificate mandatory for student visa applications, but some universities, such as the Technical University of Munich and the University of Münster, also require it. The Academic Evaluation Centre states that having an APS certificate simplifies the student visa application process and streamlines applications to German universities.
Starting November 1, 2022, all visa appointments necessitate the submission of an APS certificate.

2. The Purpose of the APS Certificate

Any student applying to a German university for a Bachelor's, Master's, or other degree programs must obtain an APS certificate. Students submit their documents to the Academic Evaluation Centre, which verifies their authenticity and provides the certificate for inclusion in the student visa application.

3. When to Apply for an APS Certificate

As the APS certificate is a prerequisite for some universities, candidates must apply for the certificate before the admission procedure, along with other requirements such as IELTS or TOEFL scores. APS applications opened on October 1, 2022.

4. The APS Application Process

Here's a step-by-step guide to applying for the APS certificate:
  1. Register online at the APS website, download the form, fill it out, print it, and sign it. Ensure all information is accurate, as errors may invalidate the form.
  1. Transfer the APS procedure fee of ₹18,000 to the APS bank account. (Refer to the Trivia section below for APS Bank Account Details.)
  1. Submit the required documents to APS India via courier or post. (Refer to the Trivia section below for the postal address and contact details.)
  1. APS will assess and verify the documents, a process that takes approximately 2-3 weeks.
  1. Successful applicants will be issued a digital APS certificate "DigZert" which will be sent to their registered email address.
  1. Successful candidates can apply to any German university and submit their student visa application through the VFS. For more information about the visa, visit the German consulate website.
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5. Documents Checklist

  1. A printed and signed application form, including a passport-sized photo (not older than six months)
  1. A copy of the APS fee transfer receipt
  1. A copy of the Aadhaar card with a linked mobile number
  1. Copies of the passport (1st and last page)
  1. Copies of mark sheets and certificates
  1. Copies of language certificates in German and/or English
Note that the required documents may vary based on the degree level and program. Consult the APS document checklist for specifics.

6. Important Facts about APS Certificates

  • APS Certificate Validity
    • APS certificates are valid indefinitely once issued. However, if eligibility criteria change, re-issuance may be necessary.
  • APS Certificate Cost
    • The fee for five APS certificates is ₹18,000. Each additional certificate costs ₹500. Certificates are delivered by post.
  • APS India Address
    • R.K. Khanna Stadium, 1 Africa Avenue, New Delhi – 110 029.
  • Student Authorization Letter
    • It is mandatory to submit the filled Student Authorization Letter along with the documents. Please download the letter from the APS website and fill it out accurately.
  • Original Documents and Notarization
    • Only copies of documents are required for submission. However, inform your school/university/college about the submission, as APS may contact them for verification. Documents do not need to be notarized.
  • APS Certificate Exemptions
    • Students attending short-term courses (less than 90 days) at a German university are exempt from the APS requirement. However, any course exceeding 90 days requires an APS certificate.
      Note: Students funded by EU or German scholarship programs do not need to apply for APS certificates.
  • APS Certificate Processing Time
    • Successful applicants can expect to receive their certificates within 2-3 weeks after document submission.
  • TestAS Requirement
    • Candidates seeking admission to a Bachelor's program in Germany who have not yet graduated with an Indian Bachelor's degree must submit a TestAS score. Those who have cleared JEE Main and Advanced are exempted. This requirement applies from the Winter semester of 2023. Refer to the complete checklist for undergraduate students or categories here.
 
Here are two tables that can be helpful for understanding the APS certificate process:
Table 1: Steps to Apply for an APS Certificate
Step
Description
1
Register online at the APS website, fill out the form, print and sign it
2
Transfer the APS procedure fee of ₹18,000 to the APS bank account
3
Submit required documents to APS India via courier or post
4
Wait for APS document assessment and verification (2-3 weeks)
5
Receive 5 APS certificates via courier upon successful verification (now being done digitally)
6
Apply to German universities and for a student visa application through VFS
Table 2: Required Documents for APS Certificate Application
Document
Description
1
Printed and signed application form with a passport-size photo (not older than six months)
2
Copy of APS fee transfer receipt
3
Copy of Aadhaar card with linked mobile number
4
Copy of passport (1st and last page)
5
Copy of mark sheets and certificates
6
Copy of language certificate – German and/or English

APS Certificate: Exceptions

You do NOT need an APS Certificate for Visa if:
  • You are going to obtain a non-German degree in Germany (if so, this should be included in the Offer Letter)
  • You plan to do PhD or postdoc studies in Germany
  • You received a scholarship or stipend from German or EU public funds
  • Your previous studies were not based on Indian qualifications. For example:
    • You completed International Baccalaureate or other non-Indian high school
    • You obtained a non-Indian degree already (e.g. British Bachelor's, Turkish Master's)

Conclusion

A recent study placed Germany 4th among the top 20 countries for higher education in 2022. While the German university application process is strict, it is also straightforward and easy to follow. New requirements like the APS certificate serve as a safety precaution for universities and an eligibility stamp for students. This not only smoothens the admission process but also ensures deserving students secure their places at prestigious German institutions. This blog has provided all the information needed to apply for and obtain an APS certificate. So, start the process and get closer to studying at your dream university!

FAQs

What is the APS certificate?
The APS certificate is issued by the Academic Evaluation Centre (APS) and serves as proof of the authenticity of an Indian student's academic documents when applying to German universities. It is now compulsory for Indian students applying for a German student visa.
Why is the APS certificate required?
The APS certificate ensures that the academic documents submitted by Indian students are authentic and verifies their eligibility to apply for German universities. This helps maintain the quality of students studying in Germany and streamlines the visa application process.
When should I apply for an APS certificate?
You should apply for the APS certificate before starting your admission procedure for German universities. Make sure to consider the processing time, which could take 2-3 weeks, and apply well in advance to avoid any delays in your university application process.
How do I apply for an APS certificate?
To apply for an APS certificate, you must register online on the APS website, fill out the application form, transfer the APS fee, and submit the required documents to APS India via courier or post. Upon successful verification of your documents, the APS certificate will be sent to you.
What are the documents required for the APS certificate application?
The documents required for the APS certificate application include a printed and signed application form, a copy of the APS fee transfer receipt, a copy of your Aadhaar card, a copy of your passport, copies of your mark sheets and certificates, and copies of your language certificates (German and/or English).
What is the cost of obtaining an APS certificate?
The cost of obtaining an APS certificate is Rs. 18,000 for five certificates. If you require additional certificates, they can be obtained for Rs. 500 each.
How long does it take to receive the APS certificate?
After submitting your documents, the processing time for the APS certificate is typically 2-3 weeks. However, this may vary depending on factors such as the volume of applications and the responsiveness of the educational institutions involved in the verification process.
Is the APS certificate valid indefinitely?
Yes, once issued, the APS certificate is valid indefinitely. However, if there are changes in the eligibility criteria, your certificate may need to be re-issued.
Are there any exemptions from the APS requirement?
Students pursuing a short-term course (less than 90 days) in Germany are exempt from the APS requirement. Additionally, students funded by EU or German scholarship programs do not need to apply for an APS certificate.
Are there any steps that can be taken to expedite the APS process?
Unfortunately, there are no definitive steps to directly expedite the APS process. But these can help:
  • Apply for the APS certificate well in advance, before the university admission process to avoid these delays.
  • The processing time for the APS certificate as mentioned on the office 2-3 weeks, but wait times can sometimes be longer.
  • Follow up with the APS office to check on the status of the application after submitting it
  • Seek guidance from study abroad consultants or the university admission office to ensure that all the necessary documents and information are available for the APS certification process
  • Be patient during the evaluation process, which may take several weeks or even months
  • Check for updates on the APS India website or the German embassy website for any changes in the process or requirements

Recent Updates on APS Certificate Issuance

For latest news, check: https://aps-india.de/news/
In recent months, there have been several complaints and concerns from students regarding delays in the issuance of APS certificates. These delays have caused anxiety and uncertainty among aspiring students, as their plans to study in Germany are contingent on obtaining the APS certificate in a timely manner.

Reasons for Delays in APS Certificate Issuance

  1. COVID-19 Pandemic: The ongoing global health crisis has caused disruptions in various sectors, including education and visa processing. Staff shortages, reduced working hours, and safety measures at the APS offices may have led to delays in processing the applications.
  1. Increased Demand: With the recent change in regulations making APS certificates compulsory for Indian students applying for German student visas, there has been a surge in the number of applications submitted to the APS offices. The sudden increase in demand may have strained the available resources and processing capacity of the APS centers.
  1. Verification Process: The APS certificate process involves verifying the authenticity of academic documents, which requires contacting and coordinating with various educational institutions in India. Delays from these institutions in providing the necessary information can contribute to extended processing times for the APS certificates.
Recently, there have been growing concerns among students regarding the delays in the APS certificate issuing process. In an effort to expedite the process, universities have sent the admitted students' list for Summer 2023 to APS authorities, ensuring that their applications are prioritized and processed more quickly. Despite this, several students have been forced to defer their admission from Summer 2023 to Winter 2023 or even to the following academic year due to the ongoing delays. Many students are currently awaiting their certificates, having applied for them 3-4 months ago.
In response to this situation, some universities have shown flexibility by allowing the submission of APS certificates at the time of enrolment, while others still require the certificate before the application deadline. It is crucial that this issue is resolved promptly so that students planning to begin their studies in Winter 2023 do not have to face further deferrals to the next academic year. We remain optimistic that the concerned authorities will address these delays and find a solution that enables Indian students to pursue their higher education in Germany without any further hindrances.

August 2023 Update:
Summary of an e-mail from APS office with General Instructions on APS
  • APS office is working at full capacity and receiving a lot of emails that are causing delays in the APS process.
  • Students waiting for their APS certificate should ensure that their email address is correct, check their spam folder, verify that all documents have been submitted, and avoid sending multiple emails with large attachments.
UPDATE on 21 June 2023:
  • If your CCAvenue payment got cancelled during your APS certificate registration, you can proceed with CCAvenue online payment again by logging into your APS account.
  • Once logged in, click on "My Account" and then "Payment Details."
  • Under "Payment Details," select "Document Verification Registration" and then click "PAY NOW."
  • You will see the CCAvenue online payment form, through which you can complete your cancelled CCAvenue online payment.
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UPDATE on 26 April 2023:
APS India has successfully dispatched the first batches of digitally signed certificates. Students should take note of the following document to understand how to use and verify these digital certificates.

FAQs on digital APS certificates

  1. What is "DigZert"? DigZert refers to digitally signed verification certificates issued by APS India to applicants who successfully complete their evaluation process after April 24, 2023.
  1. How is the "DigZert" certificate delivered? The "DigZert" certificate is delivered to the email address used during the APS registration process.
  1. Who is eligible for a "DigZert" certificate? Only applicants who register for the individual verification procedure are eligible for a "DigZert" certificate. Those participating in partnerships or exchange programs are not eligible.
  1. Do German universities and institutions accept "DigZert"? Yes, German universities and institutions recognize and accept "DigZert" for their application processes.
  1. Can I submit a "DigZert" certificate for my visa application through VFS? While the "DigZert" is recognized, for your visa application through VFS you must submit a paper printed copy of your digital certificate.
  1. How can I verify my "DigZert"? You can verify your "DigZert" using either Acrobat Reader or digiSeal Reader software.
  1. Can I print out the "DigZert" and use it for my university application? No, "DigZert" is an electronic document intended for digital communication. However, a printout is required for VFS visa appointments.
  1. What should I do if I didn't receive an email with my "DigZert" certificate? Please ensure that you provided a valid and accessible email address during the APS registration process. APS will not be able to change your email address once your account has been created.
  1. Is there an expiration date for "DigZert" certificates? Yes, due to EU regulations, the signature on the digital certificates will expire after three years from issuance.
  1. What should I do if there is a mistake on my "DigZert" certificate? If there are mistakes in the digital certificate, you can get it corrected by sending an email to info@aps-india.de with "DigZert Mistake" as the subject. APS will issue a new certificate in case of an error.
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