Everything went well, you got your acceptance, your student visa and you are planning to go to Germany. But what will you do and how?
Registration : Many universities now offer online registration and require you to upload documents online. Check the requirements on the university website and upload the documents to the university portals. You will take the originals with you to Germany and hand them over to the school. Create a file and upload scanned copies to a cloud storage (Google Drive, One Drive, etc.) just in case.
Documents such as diploma, language proficiency certificates, application form, photo and health insurance will be required to be uploaded during registration. The health insurance can also be hand-delivered upon arrival in Germany, as in some cases it can be received late. After you have paid the semester fee and uploaded the documents (no credit card, unfortunately you have to use Swift or other transfer methods) you will receive a registration certificate from the portal. Please print this, you will need it later. Afterwards, depending on the university, your ID card and semester ticket will be printed to be delivered to you by mail or when you arrive.
After you arrive in Germany, the first thing you should do is to go to the school, hand in the relevant documents and get a student certificate (you may need more than one).
Accommodation : As I said while introducing each city, finding a place to stay will be the biggest challenge you will face in Germany. Since the capacity of the dormitories is insufficient (especially if you have reservations about using a shared bathroom and kitchen with someone else), it may take 1 to 2 years for the dormitory queue to arrive. For this reason, it is useful to make dormitory applications at the beginning of summer. Anyway, as I said, state dormitories are difficult, so you have the option of either private dormitories, church/foundation dormitories or shared/private apartments. Each city’s “Studentenwerk” (Student Union) provides tips, links and advertisements about accommodation in the city. You can also find links to private dormitories on some pages like this one. E-bay Germany is also very popular for rent-to-own listings. For more information see “Student Accommodation in Germany“
I suggest you start your research before you get there as it will be a long process, but keep in mind that there are a lot of scammers on the internet. Since Germany accepts a large number of foreign students every year, there is a lot of demand and an industry has been created. There are also scammers who want to take advantage of this. Be especially skeptical of very attractive offers and never send a deposit without physically seeing the apartment, except for corporate companies.
Residence Document : Every person who is staying in Germany for more than 90 days has to register for residence at the municipal citizenship office within 10 days of arrival in Germany. This is a serious situation in Germany and you may face a 1000 Euro fine. Attention! I don’t know how strict the laws are in your country, but keep in mind that there are rules for everything in Germany and those who do not comply are severely penalized.
You can obtain a residence document in Germany with the “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung” issued by your home owner. This document is issued by the home owner, the apartment manager or, if you are a sub-tenant, by the main tenant. This document can be downloaded from the internet as a pdf and filled in by hand, or it can be filled in online by some home owners.
An important question may come to mind here. “I haven’t found a place like I want yet, I’m still searching, what should I do?” Even in this case, you should get this document from the hotel, motel or pension where you are staying and apply to the municipality. If you plan to stay in such accommodation for a while, do not choose establishments that do not want to provide the document and confirm that they will provide the “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung” before booking.
Opening a Bank Account : One of the things you will need in Germany is undoubtedly a bank account. A certain part of the blocked account you opened while getting a visa (861 Euros for 2022) will be solved every month and transferred to the account you will open. It is not possible to say that this bank is good and that bank is bad. The good bank or bad bank may vary according to the city you will stay in, the account operating fees or the facilities that the bank will offer you.
First of all, look at the distribution of the ATMs of the bank you will choose in your city and the ease of use. Although there are common ATMs like in most countries, you will be charged a significant fee for using another bank’s ATM. Some banks can offer additional opportunities to young people and students, so it is best to consult with former students there. (Student unions answer many such questions, especially during orientation periods)
After opening your bank account, you need to activate your Blocked Account by uploading the documents related to your account from the site where you opened your account (Expatrio, Fintiba, etc.). However, you should be aware that the banking system is slow.
Health Insurance : If you have taken out health insurance to give to the school, you will need a current insurance letter (Versicherungsbescheinigung or Befreiungsbescheinigung). Tell them that you will use this letter when you apply for residence at the Immigration Office (Zur Vorlage bei der Auslaenderbehörde).
For more information about health insurance, please also read my article “Health insurance for students“.
Residence Permit : Another thing you need to do after your municipality appointment when you go to Germany is to get a residence permit. Your type D national visa from the consulate will need to be converted into a residence permit by applying to the local immigration office. For this process, it is important to get information about the details from the website of the local immigration office of the city you are visiting. You will also make an appointment on their website or by phone. I should mention that these procedures take quite a long time. Germany’s famous bureaucracy will show itself here. After your first application, you will be given a new appointment (depending on the city, it may be 3 to 5 months later) and you will be asked to submit the following documents at this appointment. Afterwards, your residence permit will arrive between 4 to 6 weeks.
The documents required for this are roughly;
- Application form (fill it in there), passport, biometric photo, your rental agreement
- Student certificate, Blocked account certificate, Health insurance
can be counted as. Nevertheless, check on the website of the relevant office.
Responsibility Insurance : In Germany, anyone who causes material or physical harm to third parties can be held liable. In addition to your compulsory health insurance, I strongly recommend that you take out a valid liability insurance in Germany so that you do not have to pay out of pocket for damages to third parties. For a monthly premium of 4 Euros, this insurance will cover any unintentional damage you may cause to your landlord, your neighbor, anyone at school or on the street. I don’t have an insurance company, I don’t get any commission, I’m just writing this because I’m thinking of you. Still, the final decision is yours. By the way, some private dormitories or home owners will already ask you to have this insurance.
Radio Tax : I don’t know what the situation is in your country, but “Rundfunkbeitrag” is also in my country. Every household in Germany has to pay this tax. After you register at the citizenship office, you have to pay this contribution of 18,36 Euros every month. Germans also complain about this but there is nothing to do about it.
If you have any questions, you can contact me at recep[at]recepdayi.com.tr.