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Arrival & first steps

Arrival & first steps

Finally the time has come - you have arrived in Germany and will start your studies shortly. You are standing alone at the airport? What are you supposed to do at night at the train station or bus station? Here are tips for the first time and against the initial disorientation.
In addition, we have put together important information for you, in particular, which formalities are to be complied with during the first few days after your arrival in Germany (registration, account opening, health insurance, registration at the university...).

Arrival – Where can you spend the first nights?

If you don’t have a room immediately, you can use the comparison portal Hotelnapper or similar sites to search for a hotel and in case of doubt book it online. However, youth hostels are a much cheaper alternative. On the page of the German Youth Hostel Association you can choose the closest possible hostel and book online. If you have a hostel card of your home country, it is probably valid in Germany, too.

You can find more information about room and apartment search in the section Rooms on our website

First steps

Before you can finally start studying, you still have to comply with some formalities:

1. Registration (immigration office or registration office)

You have to register with the immigration office or the registration office within seven days and indicate your place of residence. If you don’t have a permanent address yet, please provide your transition address first. In case of a move you have to re-register accordingly.

2. Opening a current account

In Germany, recurring payments are usually made via bank transfer. You can transfer semester fee, rent, telephone, etc. easily and conveniently via bank chain. And because in Germany more and more payments are made cashless, a corresponding debit card is very practical.
For students, there is often a free current account. So pick a cheap bank, get special tariffs for students and open an account. For that you need:

  • your passport,
  • your admission letter und
  • a registration confirmation from the registration office or the immigration office

3. Transfer of the semester fee

Before enroling at the university you have to pay the semester fee. You shouldn’t do this from your home country, because cross-border transfers are often chargeable and cumbersome. The amount can be paid in cash at a bank for a fee. However, it is advisable to transfer the money from your current account. You will receive the transfer form together with your admission or at the international office of your university.

4. Taking out a health insurance

To enrol at the college, you must have a health insurance. Detailed information on medical care and the health system in Germany can be found on the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) page page www.study-in-germany.de/en/. And in the Illustrated Health Dictionary of the German National Association for Student Affairs DSW) you will learn all the important facts about the German health insurance system, about doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and more.

5. Enrolment at the university

The deadlines and place for registration (enrolment) can be found on the admission letter, but you can also inquire at the International Office of your university. For enrolment you need the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Certificates in the original (with translation, if necessary)
  • Letter of admission
  • Payment receipt of the semester fee
  • Health insurance certificate

Important for the entire course of studies: your Hochschul-Card (university card)

After registering, your student ID will be provided as a personal Hochschul-Card for you. You will need it, for example, to eat in the canteens and get the reduced student tariff or for the respective university libraries. Also on all other occasions where discounts are available for students (e.g. cinema, theatre, swimming pool), you can score with your card and save money!

6. Applying for a residence permit

For your study visit in Germany you need a residence permit. It can be obtained from the immigration office responsible for you in the form of an electronic residence permit in chip card format. You have to make an appointment before you visit the immigration office.

For the residence permit you need the following documents:

  • Rental contract
  • Passport
  • Current biometric photo (passport photo)
  • Enrolment certificate
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of financial resources
  • Money for the accruing costs