Arriving in Bonn

There are a few things you will need to do during your first few weeks in Bonn – for example, if you are staying for a longer period you must register with the Citizens Service Center and apply for a residence permit. You may also need a few things for your work and leisure time such as a library card, a bank account or a SIM card so that you can be contacted via a German telephone number. If you like, we offer you to make an appointment with us for an initial consultation – ideally to take place during the first few weeks of your stay. During this consultation, we will go over all of the information with you and provide assistance related to the specific challenges you must face after arriving in Bonn. Beforehand, you can use the information compiled here as orientation and to gain an overview of the necessary steps involved.

If you move to Bonn, you have to register in person at the Citizens Service Center within two weeks of moving in. Registration is not required for stays of a maximum of 3 months. Please note that at the moment it might not be possible to get an appointment with the Citizens Service Center within the actually required two weeks. 

While the visa only permits entry and short-term stays, you need a residence permit for stays that exceed 90 days. An exception applies to nationals of EU/EEA countries, who do not need a residence permit, being only required to register their place of residence with the Citizens Service Center in Bonn.

If you need a residence permit and you are resident in Bonn, you can apply for the residence permit after making an appointment with the Ausländeramt Bonn.

The Welcome Center team will be glad to make an appointment for you, as we have a special contact at the Immigration Office for international researchers .- just let us know.

Please make sure that you apply for a residence permit for Germany before your visa expires.

Your tax identification number3 will be sent to you by post within two weeks of your initial registration with the Citizens Service Center. So please make sure that you have your name attached to your mailbox soon as you move in.

Employees of the University of Bonn must promptly submit their tax identification number to Human Resources.

Health insurance is part of the German social security system. In Germany, holding valid health insurance is compulsory and proof thereof must be provided on several occasions such as applying for a visa, signing an employment contract or being issued a residence permit. Foreign insurance is only sufficient in a few exceptional cases. Health insurance from a German insurer is exclusively recognized as a rule. In Germany there are both private and statutory health insurance schemes. Whether you can take out private or statutory insurance generally depends on whether you are employed in Germany or funded otherwise (e.g. via a scholarship, funding from your home university or own funds).

Extensive information on health insurance in Germany can be found on the webpages of EURAXESS

If you do not have a bank account in the SEPA area (Single euro payments area6), opening a current account with a German bank is advisable in any case in order to receive salary payments or scholarships. However, if you already have a SEPA bank account, this is not necessary as payments in the SEPA area are made in the same way.

As a rule, you will receive an EC card and / or a credit card when you open a current account in Germany. In Germany, cashless payment in shops is often done via EC card, whereas online transactions are usually by credit card.

Please note: to open a bank account in Germany you first have to register your place of residence. You also have to notify the bank of your tax identification number (tax ID) within 90 days. After registering your place of residence, you automatically receive the tax ID by postal mail. This can be submitted to the bank after account opening.

The following banks have branches in Bonn (non-exhaustive list):

In Germany, you have the option of purchasing either a cullular phone contract with monthly fixed costs or a prepaid card.

Please note that many cellular phone contracts have a minimum term of 24 months. Cancellation fees may be high for early termination. Please read the contractual termination and notice period provisions contract carefully before signing.

The Uni-ID is linked to the central account for IT services at the University of Bonn. If you are employed at the University of Bonn, you will automatically receive a Uni-ID when you start working. International visiting researchers (without an employment contract) can also receive a Uni-ID upon request with approval of the institute director.

You can apply for a Uni-ID on the website of University IT.1312

Employees of the University of Bonn automatically pay a monthly contribution to the occupational pension scheme (VBL). International researchers who intend to work in Germany for a period less than 60 months can utilize an alternative retirement plan called VBLspezial. Further information on choosing the best option for you is available on the VBL website and from the Welcome Center.

 Extensive information on pension schemes can be found on the webpages of EURAXESS

International researchers who do not have an employment contract at the University of Bonn can apply for a Visiting Researcher Card at the Welcome Center for International Researchers. The card confers authorization

  • to use the University and State Library - ULB
  • to use the canteens - Mensa - of Studierendenwerk Bonn
  • and to participate in university sports.

To use the library and the canteens, please show your card at the information desk. If you are interested in participating in university sports, please note the relevant information in the "Sports" section. The Visiting Researcher Card can be obtained at any time by request from

We strongly recommend that you take out liability insurance affording protection against having to pay for costly damage you may potentially cause. There are a large number of liability insurance providers, and premium and benefits may vary widely. You can obtain independent advice on such insurance from the consumer advice center15 in Bonn, for example.

The first 100 days in Germany

Your start in your new home

Die ersten 100 Tage in Deutschland

Wird geladen