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First steps after arrival


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.

Registration at the Citizens Service Center

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.

Residence permit

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' office 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 at the Welcome Center for International Researchers will be happy 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.

Bank account

If you do not have a bank account in the SEPA area ("Single European Payment 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 happy to help you open a bank account.

Broadcasting fee

In Germany, there is a legal obligation to pay for public service broadcasting, since public service radio and television stations are largely financed by these broadcasting contributions. The ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio contribution service - (Rundfunk) Beitragsservice - collects the radio contributions for the public service broadcasters. The broadcasting fee is levied as a flat fee, regardless of the actual receivers. The monthly contribution per apartment is currently EUR 17.50 (as of 2020).

You can easily register and change your personal data (e.g. after moving within Germany) online. If you do not register online, you will automatically receive a letter from the ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio contribution service prompting you to do so.

Important note: As a resident of the International Guesthouse at the University of Bonn, you do not have to pay a broadcasting fee!

Visiting researcher card

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 [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.].

Questions? Feel free to contact us.

Requesting a Uni-ID at the University of Bonn

Your central account for all IT services (e.g. email) at the University of Bonn is called the Uni-ID. If you are employed at the University, you will receive your Uni-ID automatically within a few days per mail. International visiting researchers, who are not employed at the University of Bonn, can request a Uni-ID for the duration of their stay at the University.

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