FAQ - First answers

How to open a bank account? In what bank? What documents are required?

You will need a bank account to pay for your insurance, place of residence, and getting a scholarship or salary. The two main types of bank accounts in Germany are:

Griokonto: This is a current account, which is the standard type of bank account in Germany, used to receive pay-checks as well as pay bills. German banks tend to offer both, general current accounts as well as specialized accounts (for students and youth).

Sparkonto: This is a savings account, which can be opened at the same time you open a Girokonto, and you can use it to save money and earn interest. This type of account can be opened by both, German residents as well as non-residents.

Alternatively, if you are a student in Germany (up to a certain age, typically 29), you have the possibility of opting for a student account which exempts you from paying fees.

To open a bank account in Germany, following documents should be provided:

  • Duly completed application form (at the bank)
  • Your valid passport and current German residence permit (visa)
  • Proof of registration/address (the one from a city hall, renting agreement, confirmation from a landlord)
  • Proof that you are a student (if you’re opening a student account)
  • One must be an adult

TIP: you can set up a monthly transfer from your blocked account (required for visa) to the regular bank account to have only 1 account in the actual use. 

How to sign up for insurance? What company should I choose? Public or private company? What documents do I need?

Health insurance for foreign students in Germany is mandatory by law.

There are two types of health insurance in Germany:

  • Public health insurance
  • Private health insurance.

Public health insurance is mandatory, thus regardless of your income, you will be entitled to this scheme. Naturally, there is a limited set of medical needs covered by your public health insurance. If you want your health insurance to cover more medical needs you can pursue private health insurance if your earnings are above a threshold.

Note: your health insurance in your home country may cover your medical needs in Germany partially or completely.

How do I find an accommodation? Where to look?

There are 2 typical types of accommodation for a student: a student residence hall (dormitory) and a shared flat (WG). Usually, universities provide information regarding accommodation at their’ location. Here are two general sources:

TIP: The monthly rent for a flat is divided into Kaltmiete and Warmmiete. Kaltmiete, or basic rent, is the part of your rent that covers the use of one or several rooms. Adding the costs for waste collection, water, gas, heating and other amenities in the house, the so-called Nebenkosten, or utility costs gives you the Warmmiete, or total rent. You will also almost always be required to pay a Kaution, or deposit, which usually amounts to three times your monthly basic rent and serves as security for your landlord. The deposit is returned when you move out if you leave the flat in good condition.

What is the ARD ZDF tax? Do I have to pay for it? How can I pay for it?

The ARD ZDF tax is paid license fee or broadcasting contribution for public German TV and radio. It often gets called the radio and TV tax; however, it is not a tax. Every household in Germany must pay it.

How long does it take to get an appointment (Termin) in the city hall?

There is no unique number of days, as it varies from city to city. However, you might expect to get your appointment in 2 weeks maximum.

What is a ‘blocked account’ (Sperrkonto)? How can I open it?

With a blocked account, you can provide evidence during the visa application process that you have adequate financial resources. The blocked account must have sufficient credit in order to cover the costs arising for the duration of your planned stay in Germany unless other proof of financial support is presented in the visa procedure (e.g., scholarship). From 1 January 2021, the presumed annual requirement that must be paid into the blocked account when applying for a visa amounts to 10,332 euros (year amount). 

You can open a block account in further banks: 

  • Deutsche Bank
  • Fintiba 
  • Expatrio              
  • Coracle
Do I have to speak German to study in Germany?

No, there are English study programmes in Germany. Yet, knowledge of German will be beneficial for your stay. 

How much does it cost to live in Germany?

The expenses that arise in the course of leading a normal life, i.e. accommodation, food, clothing and recreational activities, are called living costs. They are about average in Germany compared to other European countries, that is to say, they are significantly lower than in countries like Denmark, Luxembourg or Switzerland, but rather high compared to countries like Poland, the Czech Republic or Italy.

On average, a German student has expenses of EUR 867 per month. That includes rent, travel expenses, expenditures for food, clothing, learning materials, health insurance, telephone, Internet, radio and TV license fees, and recreational activities. Added to this is the semester contribution, which varies between higher education institutions. International students usually have less money at their disposal than their German fellow students: on average, they can spend EUR 725 per month. If you have affordable accommodation and are careful with your money you will manage easily with this sum.

TIP: There are a number of discounts for students. If you can show a valid student ID, you will often pay less for tickets to the theatre, museums, opera houses, cinemas and other cultural institutions. If you are more the sporty type, you should take a look at the sports programmes at your higher education institution: with a few exceptions, they are free for students.

How much does it cost to study in Germany?

Education in Germany is not considered to be high. However, there are certain costs one shall take into account.

  • Proof of financial resources - In order to receive a study visa for Germany, you will be required to present proof of financial resources. This serves as a guarantee that you can afford the cost of studying in Germany. Since January 2021 you are expected to demonstrate funds of 861 EUR per month / 10,332 EUR per year. Proof of the amount must be provided for visa applications submitted as of September 1st, 2019. Acceptable forms of proof include proof of parental income, an allocated amount on a blocked account (“Sperrkonto”), or proof of receipt of a recognised scholarship
  • Tuition fees - The majority of higher education institutions in Germany are financed by the state. There are generally no fees for Bachelor's courses or most Master's courses at state higher education institutions. Tuition fees may have to be paid for certain continuing education Master's programmes, but they are not particularly high compared to other countries. Private higher education institutions may demand more substantial fees for their degree programmes. The Federal State of Baden-Württemberg charges non-EU citizens tuition fees of EUR 1,500 per semester for (Bachelor's, Master's, Diplom and state examination) degree programmes from the 2017/18 winter semester onwards.
  • Semester contribution - In Germany, all students at all higher education institutions must pay a semester contribution. This payment has nothing to do with tuition fees; rather, it covers your contributions to student services and the student government (AStA). At many higher education institutions, it also includes a semester ticket that allows you to use public transport in the region. The semester contribution varies between higher education institutions and comes to between 100 and 350 EUR. It has to be paid when you enrol and before the start of every new semester. Whether you incur further costs relating to your studies, for example for materials such as specialist books and copies, depends on your subject.
Are there any scholarships to finance my studies?

To find a scholarship to finance your studies, please refer yourself to a university of your choice or check the DAAD database.

How do I find a study programme in Germany?

You can find a study programme of your choice in one of the following databases:

What is matriculation and how do I get one?

Certificate of enrolment for the next semester. You will get it by the university once you register for the upcoming semester and pay semester fees if any.

What are the key dates for me as a student?
  • The application for a place on the course is usually submitted by July 15 for a winter semester which starts in September/October.
  • The winter semester ends in February/March.
  • The application for a place on the course is usually submitted by January 15 for a summer semester which starts in March/April.
  • The summer semester ends in August/September.
  • The registration of your address of residence at the local Anmeldung must be done within 2 weeks following your entrance in Germany.
How to register my place of residence?

By German law, everyone residing legally in Germany, be it temporary or long-term must register his/her address at local authorities known as Anmeldung which are responsible for registering addresses.

The registration of your address of residence at the local Anmeldung must be done within 2 weeks following your entrance in Germany. Applying by post or other sorts of means rather than appearing personally in their offices is not accepted.

The documents required for registering your address of residence in Germany are the following

  • Proof of identity (ID or a valid passport)
  • Residence permit or visa
  • Singed registration form
  • Rent contract
  • Marriage certificate (if you are married)

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Email: info@ua-study.de