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 on a German telephone number. We generally recommend that before you arrive, you arrange 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 steps required.

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. You can get an appointment for registration at short notice via the Welcome Center for International Researchers.

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: They do not need a residence permit, but simply 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 Immigration Office of the City of Bonn.

The team of the Welcome Center for International Researchers will be glad to make an appointment for you - just contact us.

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

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

Employees at 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, valid health insurance is compulsory and must be demonstrated, for example, when applying for a visa, when signing an employment contract or when being issued a residence permit. Insurance from abroad is only sufficient in a few exceptional cases; very often only health insurance from German insurance companies is recognized. 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 otherwise financed (e.g. through a scholarship, funding from your home university, your own funds).

If you do not have a bank account in the SEPA area (Single euro payments area), 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 carried out by credit card.

Please note: In order to open a bank account in Germany, you must have registered your place of residence beforehand. The bank must also be shown a tax identification number (tax ID) after 90 days at the latest. After registering your place of residence, you will automatically receive the tax ID by post. This can be submitted to the bank later on.

The following banks have branches in Bonn (list is not exhaustive):

The Welcome Center for International Researchers will be glad to help you open a bank account.

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

Please note that many mobile phone contracts have a term of at least 24 months. If you want to terminate the contract early, high cancellation fees may apply. Please read the termination provisions and notice periods of a contract carefully before signing it.

The Uni-ID is 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, provided the institute management agrees.

You can apply for a Uni-ID on the website of the University Computer Center.

Employees of the University of Bonn automatically pay a monthly contribution to the ocucpational pension scheme (VBL). International researchers who want to work in Germany for less than 60 months can opt for an alternative variant of this old-age provision, the VBLspezial. Further information on choosing the system that is right for you is available on the VBL website or from the Welcome Center.


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 serves as proof of authorization

  • for using the University and State Library - ULB
  • to use the canteens - Mensa - of the 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 would like to participate in university sports, please note the relevant information in the "Sports" section. The Visiting Researcher Card can be obtained at any time on request from

We strongly recommend that you take out liability insurance that protects you from expensive payment obligations for damage caused by you. There are a large number of liability insurance providers whose premium and benefit differences are sometimes enormous. You can get independent advice from the consumer advice center in Bonn, for example.

The  first 100 days in Germany

Your start in your new home

Die ersten 100 Tage in Deutschland
Wird geladen