For International Students: Formalities

Visas

International students who want to study in Germany need a student visa which can only be issued by a German Embassy or Consulate in the student’s home country. This currently does not apply to students or study applicants of the following countries:
 

  • EU states & EEA states (European Economic Area countries: Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein)
  • Andorra *
  • Australia *
  • Brazil *
  • Canada *
  • Honduras *
  • El Salvador *
  • Israel *
  • Japan *
  • Monaco *
  • New Zealand *
  • San Marino *
  • South Korea *
  • Switzerland **
  • United Kingdom ***
  • USA *

* Please note: Persons from these (as well as from all other non-EU states) must nevertheless apply for a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) after arriving in Bamberg (see chapter “Citizen Registration Office/Aliens Registration Office”). They are only allowed to work with a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis).

** Persons from Switzerland must apply for a residence card (Aufenthaltskarte), which is similar to a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) (see chapter “Citizen Registration Office/Aliens Registration Office”).

*** Brexit: Citizens from the United Kingdom and their relatives who were living in Germany before 31 December 2020 reported their residency to the Aliens Registration Office by 30 June 2021, and then received a residence document. Citizens from the United Kingdom who started living in Germany after 1 January 2021 can stay in Germany for 90 days without a visa, and must apply for a residence permit for studying after arrival in Germany. They are only allowed to work with a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis).

For more information, you should always contact your nearest German Embassy or Consulate.

The visa application process normally takes eight to twelve weeks to complete; however, sometimes it may take even longer. Some German embassies and consulates abroad are temporarily closed during the Corona crisis. You should take this into account when planning your stay abroad.

Important: It is not possible to change a tourist visa to a student visa after arriving in Germany. It is also not possible to apply for a student visa in Germany. Visas can only be obtained at a German Embassy or Consulate abroad.

In addition, the website of the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – German Academic Exchange Service) provides helpful information on visa requirements for international students as well as a useful information leaflet with ‘Information on the legal framework conditions for Immigration and Residence of foreign students and scholars’.


Citizen Registration Office/Aliens Registration Office

Citizen Registration Office ('Einwohneramt')


All citizens living in Germany are required by law to register their address with the Citizen Registration Office located in the City Hall (Rathaus am ZOB) in Bamberg at Promenadestraße 2a (near ‚Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof/‚ZOB‘) within one week of arrival and after having found a permanent address. Please schedule an appointment at ewo(at)stadt.bamberg.de, and be prepared to accept waiting time.

Students living in the administrative area of Bamberg may find information on the Citizen Registration Office at:

Students who live outside the administrative area of Bamberg must register with the authority of their place of residence (e.g. municipal administration – Gemeindeverwaltung).

Aliens Registration Office ('Ausländerbehörde')


Students who are not from states of the European Union and do not have a visa for their stay have to register at the Aliens Registration Office in addition to the Citizen Registration Office. Please note that the Citizen Registration Office (Einwohneramt) and the Aliens Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) are two separate authorities.
Important: If you have a visa for the entire duration of your complete stay (e.g. for your exchange semester), you do not have to register at the Aliens Registration Office at all. If you want to stay in Germany longer than your visa allows, you need an appointment at the Aliens Registration Office. You must ask for an appointment before your visa expires (contact: abh(at)stadt.bamberg.de).

For students living in the administrative area of Bamberg, the Aliens Registration Office is located in the City Hall (Rathaus) at Maximiliansplatz 3 (‚Maxplatz‘). After registering at the Citizen Registration Office, you must ask for an appointment with the Aliens Registration Office of the City of Bamberg by e-mail at abh(at)stadt.bamberg.de about 8 weeks before your visa or residence permit expires. Please send only one e-mail. The following information must be included in your e-mail to the Aliens Registration Office when you ask for an appointment:

  • your last name(s)
  • your first name(s)
  • your birth date
  • information that you are a student at the University of Bamberg; in addition, your field of study (e.g. English and American Studies, Business Administration) and intended degree programme (e.g. short-term studies within an exchange programme; Bachelor’s; Master’s)
  • expiry date of your visa/residence permit

No appointment can be made without prior arrangement! Appointments must be made at least 8 weeks in advance. Therefore, please be sure to ask for an appointment in time. Please contact the Aliens Registration Office again by e-mail only one week before your residence permit expires and attach your first appointment request. For the appointment with the Aliens Registration Office, the following must be brought along:

  • current confirmation of enrolment at the University of Bamberg (Immatrikulationsbescheinigung)
  • one new biometric, German passport photo (not older than 6 months)
  • valid passport with visa
  • proof of adequate health insurance (current certificate issued by health insurance company)
  • your lodging address in Bamberg (as registered with the Citizen Registration Office)
  • proof of funding during the study period in Germany (e.g. by formal obligation*; scholarship; savings book with restricted access/”blocked account”; or proof of sufficient funds in your personal German bank account -- in the current year 2021, the minimum credit balance is € 10.332 for one year -- to be proven with a current account statement of the credit balance). Proof that you had enough money for a year when you entered the country, or when you were issued a visa, is not enough.

* In a formal obligation, a person signs an official document declaring her or his willingness to bear the costs for the student:

The person who wants to make the declaration has to contact her or his Aliens Registration Office at her or his place of residence to make a declaration of commitment.

Please note: An informal letter, e.g. written and signed by the student’s parents, is not accepted.

The electronic residence permit is issued within 3 up to 6 weeks. It is not necessary to hand in one’s passport during the application process for the electronic residence permit. Consequently, students are granted full freedom to travel within the Schengen area during the waiting period of approximately three weeks. The fee for the initial electronic residence permit is € 100; the renewal costs € 93.

Students will be notified via regular mail from the Federal Printing Office (Bundesdruckerei) when their electronic residence permit (Elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel) can be picked up in Bamberg. Please make sure that your name is on your mailbox so that you can receive the PIN letter by post. Currently, due to the Corona crisis, the Aliens Registration Office is making appointments by e-mail or post (regular mail) to pick up the electronic residence permits.

If you have any questions, please contact abh(at)stadt.bamberg.de.

Further information on the Aliens Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) can be found at this link:

Students who live outside the administrative area of Bamberg must register with the Aliens Registration Office of their place of residence (e.g. Rural District Office – Landratsamt).


Health Insurance

By law, all students in Germany, both German and foreign nationals alike, must carry health insurance. Upon university registration, students must have a health insurance certificate issued or verified by a German health insurance provider.

To check which documents you need to bring along from your home country, please see below.

The following applies to students from the EU states, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, United Kingdom or Switzerland:


Students who are already insured in their home countries have to obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for coverage abroad and bring this card along. This insurance card must be valid for the complete duration of your stay.

The EHIC must be sent electronically to a statutory health insurance company in Germany (for a list of statutory health insurance companies in Bamberg, please see below).

Important: The statutory health insurance company will then automatically transmit the corresponding insurance notification digitally to the Enrolment Office of the University of Bamberg for your enrolment.

Students from the United Kingdom must contact the National Health Service (NHS). This organization will issue a valid card for you.

The following applies to students from one of the following Convention States: Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia (excluding Kosovo), Turkey and Tunisia:


You need to apply for a valid insurance certificate from the health insurance provider in your home country before your departure to Germany. This certificate must be valid for the complete duration of your stay:

  • Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Insurance Certificate: BH6       
  • Country: North Macedonia, Insurance Certificate: D/RM111, www.fzo.org.mk      
  • Country: Montenegro, Insurance Certificate: DE/MNE111, www.fzocg.me
  • Country: Serbia, Insurance Certificate: DE 111 SRB    
  • Country: Turkey, Insurance Certificate: A/T11, www.sgk.gov.tr   
  • Country: Tunisia, Insurance Certificate: A/TN11

This insurance certificate must be sent electronically to a statutory health insurance company in Germany (for a list of statutory health insurance companies in Bamberg, please see below).

Important: The statutory health insurance company will then automatically transmit the corresponding insurance notification digitally to the Enrolment Office of the University of Bamberg for your enrolment.

Please find out before the departure from your home country which costs your health insurance company takes over while you are in Germany, and bring along the respective confirmation.

If you need a doctor or hospital:


Students who have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) must bring along the following documents when going to a doctor/dentist or to a hospital:

  • EHIC
  • identity card (e.g. passport)
  • student ID

You must inform the doctor, the dentist or the hospital that you do not have a German health insurance. No costs shall be incurred for the services agreed contractually, except for any statutory additional payments which may arise (e.g. for medication).

Students who have an insurance certificate from one of the Convention States must contact one of the statutory health insurance companies and receive a medical treatment certificate (Nationaler Anspruchsausweis), which is required for a visit to a doctor/dentist or hospital treatment.

For students from non-EU states who do not hold EHIC or one of the health insurance certificates listed above, there are three options:

1. Insurance with a statutory health insurance company in Germany


The student rate is currently about € 100 per month (for a list of statutory health insurance companies in Bamberg, please see below). When registering at the university, you need a notification by the statutory health insurance company.

The advantage of a statutory health insurance is that patients do not have to pay the doctor’s bill because it will be forwarded directly to the insurance company.

Please note, however, that such medical insurance coverage is effective only after the beginning of each semester (for the winter semester: from 1st October, for the summer semester: from 1st April). This is why you must take out some other health insurance until the beginning of the semester, e.g. by means of a travel health insurance from your home country that must be valid until 1st October, resp. 1st April. Alternatively, private health insurance coverage could be purchased on short notice.

Exceptions:

  • Persons who are over 30 years of age are usually not entitled to statutory health insurance. Such students must therefore take out private health insurance.
  • Note: The following does not apply to exchange students!
    Persons who are enrolled for the DSH semester course cannot be insured with a statutory health insurance. It is only possible to be insured with a private health insurance. The confirmation of private health insurance must be must be sent electronically to a statutory health insurance company (for a list of statutory health insurance companies in Bamberg, please see below).

    Important: The statutory health insurance company will then automatically transmit the corresponding insurance notification („ist nicht ordentlich versichert“) digitally to the Enrolment Office of the University of Bamberg for your enrolment.

Having completed the DSH semester course and when registering as a degree-seeking student, a change in insurance policies from private to statutory health insurance is possible.

2. Insurance with a private health insurance company in Germany


Alternatively, students, regardless of their age, can also buy a health insurance from a private health insurance company in Germany. If you have a private health insurance policy, you must nevertheless send your confirmation of private health insurance electronically to a statutory health insurance company (for a list of statutory health insurance companies in Bamberg, please see below).

Important: The statutory health insurance company will then automatically transmit the corresponding insurance notification digitally to the Enrolment Office of the University of Bamberg for your enrolment.

Please note: If you have a private health insurance, you must first pay the doctor’s bill and then submit the bill to the private health insurance company. Then, the private health insurance company will send you a notification about the extent of the reimbursement, which may not always cover all of your expenses. The disadvantage is that the amount to be paid by the patient for doctors’ bills can be very high, and may not be fully reimbursed. Besides, a change in insurance policies, back from private to statutory health insurance, is not possible for the entire duration of your studies!

3. Private health insurance from your home country


If you take out health insurance from an insurance company in your home country for the complete duration of your stay in Bamberg, you must bring along a complete insurance policy from the insurance company in your home country to prove that you are insured there. This document must be issued either in German or in English.

The complete health insurance policy from the insurance company in your home country must cover:

  • hospital treatment (preferably unlimited)
  • emergency treatment (emergency doctor, etc.)
  • outpatient treatment (doctor, specialist, dentist)
  • remedies (massages, etc.)
  • medical appliances (crutches, etc.)
  • preventive measures (cancer screening, skin cancer screening, etc.)

The complete insurance policy from the insurance company in your home countrymust be sent electronically to a statutory health insurance company in Germany (for a list of statutory health insurance companies in Bamberg, please see below).

Important: If the home insurance coverage meets German legal requirements, the statutory health insurance company will automatically transmit the corresponding insurance notification digitally to the Enrolment Office of the University of Bamberg for your enrolment.

Students who have only inadequate coverage under German law have to purchase German health insurance and take out a student rate insurance from a statutory health insurance company in Bamberg (see option 1).

Please note: Experience has taught us that many foreign health insurances often provide only limited coverage and do not accept all costs in case of an accident or illness in Germany. In addition, there might be problems with the visa extension in rare cases. We therefore strongly recommend taking out statutory health insurance in Germany (option 1)!

Here is a list of the statutory health insurance companies in Bamberg:

Please note that this list is not a recommendation, but is for information purposes only.

For further general information on health insurance, please see:


Opening a Bank Account

Students from countries who are not part of SEPA (= Single Euro Payments Area) have to open a local bank account (for the regular bank transfers during their study period, e.g. rent, semester contribution fees).

To open an account, the following documents are required:

  • identity card (e.g. passport)
  • Letter of Admission from the University of Bamberg
  • confirmation of your address in Bamberg (registration with the Citizen Registration Office, rental contract, certificate of residence/Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung)

Upon receipt by the authority in charge, the following must also be submitted:

  • German Tax Identification Number (this will be sent automatically by post to your correspondence address in Germany within four weeks after registration with the Citizen Registration Office). The German Tax Identification Number must be submitted immediately after receipt. The EC card cannot be ordered without the German Tax Identification Number.

Students are mostly not subject to bank charges. The account must always be sufficiently covered for each withdrawal; otherwise, you might have to pay a penalty fee!


Liability Insurance ('Haftpflichtversicherung')

A private liability insurance is not compulsory, but strongly recommended. Not having a private liability insurance is grossly negligent.

A private liability insurance protects the holder against risks of liability imposed by lawsuits and similar claims. This means that a liability insurance offers protection if you are legally held responsible for property damage or negligent physical injury.

Anyone, who - for example - accidentally causes an accident, must compensate for the damage.

Examples:

  • You bump into someone at a bus stop, the person’s mobile phone drops to the ground, and the phone screen breaks. Fixing the damage or a new phone can cost you € 500 or more.
  • While riding a bicycle you run over a pedestrian, and the person breaks his/her leg. The treatment costs can go up to several thousand euros. You must pay for any direct damage and, if necessary, bear the costs of treating permanent injuries.

Such and similar cases can therefore involve high costs. A private liability insurance protecting against this risk is available already from € 5 per month, and can be taken out after arrival in Germany. It is also possible to take out a liability insurance in your home country if the insurance from abroad is valid in Germany.

However, a liability insurance does not cover liability for injury or damage caused while driving a car. In this case, a car insurance is necessary, which is obligatory in Germany for the registration of a car.

More information and practical tips can be found on the page Organisation:

Enrolment Office (Studierendenkanzlei) | Semester Planning | Costs | Scholarships | Accommodation in Bamberg | Student Welfare Services/Studentenwerk | Further Information for your Studies