Living in Germany

How do I find accommodation?

You should take care of finding suitable accommodation several months before coming to Germany. Upon request, we can take care of that for you for a small fee. See our list of Services.

Within two weeks of your arrival in Germany, you need to register your new address at the Residents’ Registration Office. You will need to bring your passport and a landlord’s confirmation of residence (“Wohnungsgeberbestätigung”). If you should move during your stay in Germany, you always need to register your new address quite quickly with the relevant Residents’ Registration Office.

The Residents’ Registration Office will issue you with proof of residency, which you will need for all further dealings with bureaucracy.


How do I open a bank account?

Many banks offer free current accounts for students. In order to open a bank account, you will need your passport and your proof of residency, in some cases also your residence permit and the registration certificate from us.


What kind of insurance do I need?

You definitely need health insurance.

  • If your require a visa, you must prove that you have taken out health insurance for the period of your intended stay whilst applying for a visa.
  • In Germany, one distinguishes between private and statutory health insurance. While attending our college, you need private health insurance. Later, when you start your degree programme at a German university, you need statutory health insurance for students. For a one-off fee, we should be delighted to procure suitable private health insurance for you, see our list of Services.
  • Some countries (e. g. EU-countries and countries belonging to the Single European Economic Area) have entered into a social security agreement with Germany. Persons who possess statutory health insurance in one of those countries can have this status confirmed by a German statutory health insurance provider. In that case, one does not need additional health insurance in Germany. In order to obtain an exemption from the mandatory requirement for health insurance in Germany in this manner, one needs a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in most cases. Please make sure to clarify this issue early on with your health insurance provider in your home country.

Personal liability insurance may not be a legal requirement, but it is an excellent idea. It indemnifies you against third-party claims that could otherwise financially ruin you in case of an accident. Our Insurance Service also comprises an appropriate personal liability insurance.


How can I make cheap phone calls?

You will probably also need a suitable mobile phone contract, with which you can make cheap phone calls within Germany as well as with your home country. Our partner company LMT GmbH can procure the right mobile phone contract for you.


How do I extend my residence permit?

Before your visa expires (3 months after arrival in most cases), you need to visit the Aliens’ Registration Office in order to apply for a residence permit. You will require the following documents:

  • proof of residency from the Residents’ Registration Office
  • proof of health insurance
  • the registration certificate from Studienkolleg Düsseldorf
  • perhaps proof of financial means
  • passport, in some cases plus visa
  • the fee for issuance of the residence permit
  • perhaps a landlord’s confirmation of residence
  • 1 biometric passport photo

A residence permit for the purpose of attending a German language course entitles you to a stay of at most 12 months’ duration. If, for example, you initially obtained a residence permit for 6 months and then book another German course, the Aliens’ Registration Office can extend your residence permit by (at most) another 6 months.

Students: At most six weeks before your entry visa expires, you need to apply for a students’ residence permit at the Aliens’ Registration Office.  A residence permit for the purposes of studying or preparing for studying is valid for a maximum of two years and hence regularly needs to be extended while you attend university. A prerequisite is that your studies are progressing according to schedule. Once you have successfully completed your degree programme, you may apply for a further residence permit enabling you to stay another 18 months during which you can look for a job that is commensurate with the degree that you have obtained.

Study applicants: A visa for the purpose of applying to universities is valid for a maximum of 3 months. Subsequently, a residence permit for the purpose of study application may be issued for a further 6 months. Hence, the duration of your stay is restricted to a total of 9 months. If, however, you should subsequently begin your studies or enrol in a preparatory measure (such as attending one of our Foundation Courses), you can have your residence permit altered accordingly.


What to do in case of illness?

Unlike in some other countries, in Germany, one does not immediately go to hospital if one falls ill, instead, one visits a doctor’s office. One only goes to hospital straight away in absolute cases of emergency, e. g., after an accident or if one is suffering extreme pain and requires treatment at once.

Even if you are completely healthy, you ought to choose a primary care physician (a general practitioner) in your vicinity after arriving in Germany. If you should ever feel ill, your primary care physician is your first point of contact. He or she will examine you and then decide whether he or she can treat you or whether you need to be referred to a specialist.

  • The sole exceptions are dentists, ophthalmologists, gynaecologists and paediatricians. You can visit them straight away without first needing to consult your primary care physician.

  • Take your health insurance documents with you every time that you see a doctor and point out to them that you have overseas health insurance. Make sure to ask whether or not the examination and treatment are covered by your health insurance provider, because, unfortunately, not all medical services are covered by the health insurance provider. Your health insurance provider can also advise you on the question which medical services are covered and which are not.

What to do in an emergency?

If doctors’ offices are closed (at night or on weekends) and you do not suffer from life-threatening symptoms that would otherwise lead you to see a doctor at once, yet treatment of your symptoms cannot wait until the next working day, call the medical on-call service on 116 117 (without area code).

In case of life-threatening symptoms such as unconsciousness, severe bleeding, severe heart complaints, severe respiratory problems, complications during pregnancy or poisoning incidents, call the ambulance service at once on 112 (without area code).

Pharmacies are usually open only during regular shop opening hours; however, there always is one pharmacy in your area that is on emergency standby duty and is open around the clock. If you urgently need medication, you can check here which pharmacy is on emergency duty.

The emergency number of the fire brigade is 112 (without area code), that of the police is 110 (without area code).