The Foreign Student Checklist
Students need to ensure everything is taken care of before classes start…
There are a number of different tasks for foreign students to complete before commencing classes:
- Apply for an applicant visa or a student visa (if applicable)
- Register with the International Office of the university
- Register your residence (anmelden) in Germany
- Set up a German bank account
- Enroll at the student administration (Studentensekretariat)
- Transfer visa to a residency permit
The first step is to ensure that an applicable visa has been granted. EU and EEA nationals are not required to have a visa to enter or study in Germany. Find out more about the different visas available for students in the guide on the left.
Once a visa is approved, the next step is to contact the university’s international office. The international office will be able to help with a number of different aspects of moving abroad and is a good contact to have when moving to Germany.
Finding accommodation can be challenging for a foreign student in Germany. Unlike other countries, students are not immediately granted accommodation with enrollment. Therefore, students are advised to start searching for a place to live early.
There are several options available to students. Student housing can generally be found by contacting the university’s student union. Other options include: renting an apartment, shared flats, or temporarily staying in a hostel until a more permanent residence is found.
Register Your Residence
Once accommodation has been found it is important to register (anmelden) with the German authorities. Every resident in Germany is required to register their address at the Citizen Services Office (Bürgeramt) within two weeks of moving. Registration is also required in order to receive a residency permit.
German Bank Account
After registering, it is then possible to set up a bank account. A German bank account is important for proving financial livelihood for residence permits, as well as for paying student fees in Germany, and much more. Many banks have discounted or free accounts for students.
Enroll at University
Before being able to choose or attend classes, every student is required to enroll. This is usually accomplished at the student administration office (Studentensekretariat). Each university has its own documents that it requires for students to register. However, the following are generally required:
- Passport with visa or residence permit
- A passport photo
- Confirmation of admission
- Registration form
- Proof of education documents (diplomas, final examination results, etc. with certified copies and translated into German)
- Evidence of adequate German language knowledge (TestDaF or other proof of proficiency. May only be required for courses in German)
- Health insurance
- Payment receipt of semester fees
Once a student has found accommodation, opened a German bank account, and enrolled at a university, it is possible to switch a student visa to a residence permit. To do this, an appointment needs to be made at Germany's Foreigner Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde).
- Berlin’s Foreigner Registration Office
- Munich's Foreigner Registration Office
- Hamburg's Foreigner Registration Office
- Frankfurt's Foreigner Registration Office
- North Rhine-Westphalia Foreigner Registration Office
- German Academic Exchange Service (Deutsche Akademischer Austauschdienst)
- Student Services Berlin (Studentenwerk)