First steps

So there you are, freshly arrived in Germany, not yet recovered from your jet-lag, maybe still under culture shock?

We suggest the following procedure next:

  • Register with health insurance (if not done online from your home country)

  • Pay semester fee

  • Enrol at the Registrar's Office in Sankt Augustin

  • Certificate of Residency: Visit the registration office (Meldebehörde/Meldeamt)

  • Get a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) from the municipal immigration office

  • Open a bank account

  • Find accommodation (in case no room in a student residence was granted to you)

Registering with health insurance

As soon you arrive in Germany, make sure you get a health insurance policy. Students are obliged to possess a health insurance policy. There are several health insurance companies where you can register. The cost of health insurance normally ranges from 50-60 Euros  per month.

In order to get a health insurance you will need proof of identity, the admission letter from the University and a mailing address.

Paying your semester fee

All students will be charged a semester contribution. The semester contribution inludes the costs for the semester ticket that serves as a travel pass, entitling you to the free use of all train and bus services in the local public transportation system with the exception of fast trains (IC, ICE). All fees have to be paid before enrolment.

Please make sure you have your bank receipt with you when you enrol. Without your bank receipt, enrolment will not be possible!

Enrolment ("Einschreibung" or "Immatrikulation")

Most parts of administration of the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University are in Sankt Augustin, including the Registrar's Office, where you will do your enrolment. 

For enrolment please have the following documents ready:

  • Admission letter from the university

  • A bank receipt covering payment of the semester fee

  • Proof of health insurance

The Registrar's Office for foreign applicants is open from Monday to Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., on Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon and from 2 to 4 p.m. On Fridays the office is closed. 

The University practices a policy of automatic re-matriculation, i.e. following matriculation and/or enrollment, students receive an automatically-produced bank transfer form bearing their matriculation number and the amount to be paid for the semester fee together with their study documents. On receipt of payment of this amount using the form rematriculation is done automatically. Please make sure to inform the Registar's office whenever your address has changed.

Certificate of Residency

Within 14 days after your arrival you need to register at the registration office (Town hall, Bürgeramt, Bürgerbüro) in the city where you live.

In order to obtain confirmation of registration, you will require the following documents:

  • Completed application form

  • Passport

  • Visa (if required for the duration of your study visit)

  • Tenancy agreement for accommodation

Registration forms are available from the Bürgeramt in your city of residence. Please do note that any changes of address must also be communicated to the Bürgeramt within one week of the move. Shortly before the end of your stay, the Bürgeramt should be notified of your departure.

After you have registered at the Registrar´s Office the next steps should lead you to the municipal immigration office where you have to get your residence permit.

Residence permit

You have to apply for a residence permit if you are not a citizen of an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, and intend to study longer than 90 days.

You have to apply for a residence permit at the Alien Registration Office in your university town within your first three months in Germany.

Make sure to take the following documents with you when you apply:

  • Confirmation of registration from the Residents’ Registration Office
  • Confirmation of private or public health insurance coverage
  • Student ID from your German university (certificate of enrolment)
  • Proof of financial resources (if you didn’t present it earlier when you applied for a visa)
  • Valid passport and current visa, if you have one
  • Your tenancy agreement (if applicable)
  • Biometric passport photos (if applicable)
  • Money for the residence permit fee (inquire at the International Office about the current rate)

You initially receive a two-year residence permit which can be extended if necessary. The approval of an extension depends on whether your studies have proceeded “properly” (i.e. you are keeping within thestandard period of study for your degree programme). You have to present a letter of confirmation to this effect from your university. And remember: You must apply for an extension before your residence permit expires!


Upon arrival, you should open a bank account so that you can deposit and withdraw money. This will give you a less expensive way to access to your money, rather than withdrawing it from your home country's bank. It is also a safe alternative to carrying large amounts of cash with you.

There are a number of banks in Germany where you can open a bank account. Most of them offer free services to students. Most international students will not be given an overdraft facility or a credit card. You should contact different banks to see what sort of account they are ready to offer you.

When opening a bank account you will need:

  • Proof of identity

  • Confirmation of your full-time registration at the University

  • Evidence of address

If you have a credit card, make sure you find out if it is accepted by any bank here in Germany, and from which banks you can withdraw money. While credit cards are widely accepted, you will find out that most shops or restaurants prefer EC-cards which will be given to you when opening a bank account.

Most ATM machines in Germany will allow you to access your bank account at home.

Registering with an Embassy

It is recommended that you register with your embassy immediately after you arrive in Germany. In cases of natural disasters, war or any other instabilities, your embassy can offer you shelter or help you go back home if necessary.

It is best that you find the location of your embassy in Germany as soon as possible, even before you leave your home country.