Preparing for your stay in Bonn

Organizational Matters Related to Your Stay at the University of Bonn

Have you successfully applied to study at the University of Bonn? Are you now looking to find out how best to prepare for your time studying abroad? These pages provide important information about entering Germany and applying for a visa, finding accommodation and purchasing insurance.

Before arriving to study in Bonn

Before arriving to study in Bonn (@University of Bonn \ Scource: YouTube)

Before Your Stay

There are a number of organizational matters you have to take care of from your home country before starting your studies at the University of Bonn. These include applying for a visa (for non-EU citizens), obtaining health insurance and looking for suitable accommodation.

Furthermore, exchange students receive program-specific information via email. 


Entry Requirements in Germany and Visa

Students from the EU and European Economic Area nations (EEA; Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) do not require a visa to enter or stay in Germany to study. All that is required is a valid travel document, such as a passport.

Students from countries that do not belong to the European Union or the EEA require a visa to enter into Germany. You should apply for this with the responsible German embassy in your home country as soon as you receive your letter of admission from the University of Bonn, and in all cases prior to your departure for Germany.

Exceptions: Citizens of certain countries, including for example Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the USA, can travel to Germany without a visa. For stays over three months for the purposes of studying, you must apply for a residence permit with the Immigration Office within the first three months after arriving, unless you already hold a residence permit in accordance with the REST Directive from another member state of the European Union (see Infobox below). A complete list of countries with visa requirements or exemptions can be found on the pages of the German Foreign Office.

Once you have received a letter of admission to study, you must apply for a national visa, which typically is issued for a three-month period. Within that period of validity and following enrollment at the University of Bonn, application must be made for a residence permit to the Foreigners Office. Information on applying for the correct visa can be found on the website Study in Germany.

Students from third countries who are already studying in one EU country and are in possession of a student residence permit in the sense of the REST Directive (see (EU) 2016/801) do not need to apply for a visa. However, you must provide the following documents in digital form to the International Office at the University of Bonn at least two months before your stay:

  • Residence permit from the first EU member state (issued for study purposes and valid for the entire period of mobility),
  • Valid, recognized and signed passport or passport substitute
  • Proof of sufficient financing (€934 per month)
  • Proof of health insurance coverage

All documents (except passport and residence permit) should be in German where possible, and in English where this is not possible. No other languages will be accepted. Please note that the REST Directive allows for academic stays in Germany of no more than 360 days. If your studies at the University of Bonn will last longer than 360 days, then you will typically require a visa for entry to Germany and a student residence permit for the remainder of your stay.


In Germany, all students must have health insurance.

Students from EU/EFTA member states (which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and students from countries that have a social insurance treaty with Germany require only their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or form AT11 (Turkey). Please request this from your health insurance provider in your home country. With your valid EHIC, please contact a German statutory health insurance company, which will notify the University of Bonn of your health insurance status in an electronic notification procedure.

Students from countries outside the European Union or EFTA should check whether there is a (private) health insurance from their own country that provides adequate insurance protection for Germany. This (private) health insurance is then used to request an insurance exemption certificate from one of Germany’s statutory or other health insurance providers. This certificate is to be presented upon enrollment.

If you do not already have valid health insurance for Germany, then you must sign up for student health insurance with a statutory health insurance provider (approx. €110 per month) immediately after your arrival in Bonn.

Please remember that student health insurance policies only take effect once the semester begins, meaning on October 01 or April 01 respectively. If you need to arrive for whatever reason before those dates, we recommend that you also purchase a travel health insurance policy.

These policies are only intended for a short time frame (less than 3 months) and are valid for the entire Schengen zone. We recommend that you research potential options from your home country and purchase a travel health insurance policy before traveling to Germany.

Please note that travel health insurance does not provide sufficient insurance protection for your entire studies in Germany, but rather only for a brief period.

The social insurance contribution that is paid upon matriculation includes accident insurance to cover accidents occurring between your apartment and the University and on university grounds.

It is also recommended that you purchase a private liability insurance policy.

Looking for Housing

As in all university cities, affordable housing is in high demand, especially at the beginning of semester. We strongly advise that you start looking for housing early! You should not arrive in Bonn without having already arranged for a room, or at the very least overnight accommodation for the initial days/nights after your arrival. Students in Bonn generally either live in residences intended especially for students, or rent a small apartment or room in a shared apartment, known as a Wohngemeinschaft.

The International Office at the University of Bonn cannot find a room for you, although it can offer some helpful information in your search for a room.

After Your Arrival

There are a number of formalities to handle upon arriving in Bonn, including registering with the local authorities, opening a bank account and enrolling at the University.

The International Office can help you with these tasks during the Welcome Days.

The University of Bonn offers a variety of support and counseling options to help you get settled in Bonn and to put you in contact with German students from the start.


Legal Formalities

If you intend to stay in Bonn for longer than three months, then you must register with the city of Bonn within two weeks after moving into your room or apartment.

You can make an appointment in advance using the online form from the Citizen’s Service Office (Bürgeramt) (Service Center Bonn). You can also register at the Citizen’s Service Offices in Bad Godesberg, Bonn Beuel or Bonn Hardtberg.

For registration, you will need:

Please retain a copy of the registration certificate. You will require this to receive a library card and to open a bank account, among other tasks.

Students from non-EU/EEA countries who will be staying for more than three months in Bonn must apply for a residence permit from the Foreigners Office of the City of Bonn. If your visa covers the entire duration of your stay, then you do not require a residence permit.

To apply for the residence permit, you must fill out the form provided on the website of the Foreigners Office. After submitting the application, you will receive a confirmation of receipt and a notification of which documents are required for processing. Please note that processing generally takes between 6 and 8 weeks.

To study at the University of Bonn, you must enroll for the beginning of semester.

Please note: The enrollment process for program students (e.g. Erasmus+, Global Exchange Program) is different from the one for degree seeking students. The students concerned will receive detailed information on this via email after successful application for an exchange program.

Degree seeking will need the following for enrollment:

  • Filled-out application for enrollment
  • Letter of admission
  • Copy of your personal ID or passport
  • Electronic confirmation of your status of health insurance cover from a statutory health insurance provider
  • University entrance qualification (such as Abitur certificate) in an officially certified copy
  • Bachelor’s certificate and Transcript of Records (for masters students only)
  • Proof of successfully passed German language exam (DSH) or equivalent certification of language

Following enrollment, you’ll receive an email with information on transferring the semester fee. One or two weeks after this payment is received, the semester paperwork will be generated and sent to you by post or to the International Office (for Erasmus students).

After successful enrollment, you will receive the following documents:

  • a student ID, which also functions as a ticket for public transportation in the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Sieg system as well as for all of NRW (Semesterticket),
  • Multiple certificates of enrollment,
  • Transfer form for the semester fee, for re-registration in the next semester and a
  • Documentation of studies.

If you have a bank account in a country that does not participate in the SEPA process, we recommend opening a checking account in Germany. It is needed to transfer the social insurance contribution for enrollment and to pay rent. In general, checking accounts are free for students. Please inform yourself in advance about the specific conditions offered by your desired bank or mutual savings bank.

You can open a bank account once you have registered with the local authorities. The following documents are required:

  • Personal ID or passport
  • Copy of your confirmation of registration from the City of Bonn
  • Student ID and/ or certificate of enrollment

A radio and television license fee (known as the Rundfunkbeitrag) of €18.36 per month must be paid per apartment or dormitory room. This fee is used in Germany to pay for public television and radio broadcasters (unlike the purely commercial private broadcasters).

Once you are registered with the city registration office, the Rundfunkbeitrag service can then check whether payment has been made for your apartment/ room in a residence. Failure to do so will result in a fine. If you live in a shared apartment or similar situation, the fee must be paid only once per apartment, and not by each resident.

Please register online (in German) after arrival and de-register before departing Germany.

Planning in a nutshell

Here you can find info videos on many topics that are important for your preparation and the beginning of your stay. The videos are in English, but you can set subtitles (English and German). For each segment you can find the respective presentation below to follow the links.

Visa and Residence Regulations (©Universität Bonn \ Quelle: YouTube)

Accommodation, City Registration and Broadcasting Fee (©Universität Bonn \ Quelle: YouTube)

Financial Matters (©Universität Bonn \ Quelle: YouTube)

Learning German (©Universität Bonn \ Quelle: YouTube)

Jobs and Internships (©Universität Bonn \ Quelle: YouTube)

Insurances – Health, Accident and Private Liability (©Universität Bonn \ Quelle: YouTube)

Welcome Days for International Students

At the beginning of every semester, we invite all newly arriving international students and PhD students to our Welcome Days. During the Welcome Days, you will have the opportunity to learn about the most important topics such as enrollment, city registration, opening a bank account, etc. in various ways. Furthermore, the Welcome Days offer the opportunity to get to know other international and German students and PhD students at our recreational events.

Organizing Your Studies

After arriving in Bonn and handling the most important formalities, there is nothing else preventing you from starting your studies. If you participate in the Welcome Days organized by the International Office, you will already receive some initial information about your studies and the facilities at the University of Bonn.

Further information is available on various University of Bonn websites, including information on support and counseling services.

Counseling Services for International Students

The International Office provides counseling and assistance to international students for organizational matters related to their studies and stay in Bonn.


The Central Study Advisory and Counseling Service advises prospective international students about academic orientation and basic questions related to applying to a degree program.

+49 228 73-7080

The Student Registry is the first point of contact for all interdisciplinary administrative questions related to your studies. Among other things, it handles application and admission procedures, enrollment, re-registration, leaves of absence and changes in subjects and degree programs.

Contact Team International Students
+49 228 73-4464
+49 228 73-4491

AStA’s International Students Department provides information and advice to international students and assists them with everything related to their new lives in Bonn. The multilingual team is made up of international students who faced similar problems when they began their stay in Germany. Staff can also be reached by email or phone for help in resolving social, legal, cultural and political problems.

+49 228 73-7040

The iStart Career Program for International Students teaches valuable skills for entering the job market in Germany. A varied program related to career entry is offered during the semester.

Kristina Khrul
+49 228 73-2419


Here you will find additional information like our Incoming Guide, tips for your free time and information about accommodation search.


International Office

The International Office provides counseling and support for international students for any organizational questions they face related to their studies and stay in Bonn.


Poppelsdorfer Allee 53
53115 Bonn (Germany)

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