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Information for international students and doctoral students

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Last update 07.01.2021 (FAQ on travel to Bonn)

COVID-19 has changed our daily life. This is why we want to provide all international students and doctoral researchers with additional support and information on topics such as residence permits, financial support, contacts and social activities. 

General Information

Please find general information and current developments at the University of Bonn on our central information page:

General Information on the Coronavirus

(Specific) Information for Students

International Office

Even though the International Office is currently closed to the public, we are there for you. Please contact us via email or phone.

Consultation hours via Zoom: More information will follow soon

► Contacts

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FAQ on travel to Bonn, residence permit and visa

Which travel restrictions are in place and where can I find updated information?

Please note that this information can change at any time. We recommend referring to the detailed information on restrictions on entering Germany provided in the FAQ section of the Federal Police website.

Entering Germany from EU countries as well as from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom is not subject to restrictions.

This also applies to Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea*, Thailand and China* (* = depending on reciprocal approval of admission; last updated: January 1, 2021).

For residents of other than the above-mentioned countries, prior restrictions on entering Germany remain in place. Residents of these countries may only enter Germany when traveling in an important role or when travels are absolutely necessary.

Please find additional information on when travels are considered absolutely necessary here.


I want to travel to Bonn. What do I have to consider? (Last update 30.11.2020)

Entering Germany from EU countries as well as from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom is not subject to restrictions.

This also applies to Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea*, Thailand and China* (* = depending on reciprocal approval of admission; last updated: January 1, 2021).

 

Update 07.01.2021: New regulations on entering the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (as of December 28, 2020)

As of December 28, 2020, a new Ordinance on entering North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) applies. Persons arriving to NRW from countries considered risk areas by the Robert Koch Institute must test for the coronavirus via rapid test or PCR test. Tests must be taken within 24 hours prior to entering or immediately upon entering NRW. Different regulations apply to Great Britain and South Africa. There are some exceptions to this rule. Those taking a PCR test instead of a rapid test must quarantine until test results are received.  Digital registration continues to be required for entering NRW. All information and contact details are available on the  NRW state website. 


My student residence permit is about to expire. What shall I do?

Please apply for a renewal in good time. You can apply informally by sending an email to your local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) including personal details and attaching required documentation. Your local immigration office will then provide you with further information via email or post the documents to you. Please ensure that your mailbox shows your name clearly.


I have applied for a renewal of my residence permit but have not received it yet. My current residence permit is about to expire. What shall I do?

If you submitted the application in good time but your case has not been decided upon yet, your stay in Germany is still considered legal. The immigration office will mail you the documents and, where applicable, also a probationary permit limited in time. Please ensure that your mailbox shows your name clearly.


My residence permit is valid and I am temporarily abroad / in my home country. I am able to and want to travel back to Germany. Will I be able to cross the border?

This decision is up to the Federal Police at the border or the airport. You must have a valid residence permit or so-called probationary permit as stipulated in Section 81 Para. 4 of the Residence Act, provide proof that Germany is your center of vial interest and that you have important reasons to enter the country. However, please note that probationary permits as stipulated in Section 81 Para. 3 of the Residence Act do not entitle you to enter Germany. Please take your passport, residence permit and, where possible, other useful documents such as your certificate of enrollment or confirmation of registration/ rental contract with you.


My residence permit is valid and I am temporarily abroad / in my home country. What happens when my residence permit expires?

Please contact your local immigration office via email before your residence permit expires. Explain your situation and attach any documentation available as proof. The immigration office will then send you further information and (where applicable) a probationary permit (for collection at a currently operating German embassy).

If a renewal is not possible, you must reapply for a visa at a German embassy, the situation permitting.


My residence permit is valid and I am temporarily abroad / in my home country. What happens if I do not enter Germany for over six months?

Please contact your local immigration office via email before your residence permit expires. Explain your situation and attach any documents available as proof. The immigration office will then provide you with further information.


Which legal regulations apply to residence permits when taking up a side job?

Employment exceeding 120 days is only possible as an exception following approval by the immigration office and, if applicable, the employment agency (as e.g. in the case of harvest employment). Please contact your immigration office on this matter via email beforehand.

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Support and offers during the COVID-19 pandemic

Corona information in case you get sick

The Robert Koch Institute (www.rki.de) continuously informs about the current COVID-19 situation in Germany and regularly publishes information sheets with instructions for affected patients:


Financial support for your studies

  • Finances
    If you have difficulty paying monthly bills such as rent or health insurance, please make the relevant bodies aware of your situation. This way you can avoid potential late fees. Please contact us as soon as possible.

 

  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funds student interim financial aid (Last update 30.11.2020)
    The BMBF has launched interim aid to help students experiencing pandemic-related financial hardship. It comprises the student loan by the German state-owned development bank KfW as well as additional grants.

    The KfW student loan is aimed at (international) students and is interest-free up to March 31, 2021. After this date, students are responsible for covering the applicable interest rate. Monthly disbursements amount to up to EUR 650. Eligible to apply are students of the University of Bonn between 18 and 44 years with a primary residency in Germany.

    For the month of November, students can also apply for additional
    grants ranging from EUR 100-500 via the Studierendenwerk. Eligible applicants are students who are enrolled at the University of Bonn and who are not on a student leave of absence at the time of application. There is no age limit.

    Further information on the funding opportunities is available on the BMBF website.

  • Student Support Fund (Hifo) offers interest-free loans
    The Student Support Fund offers interest-free loans of up to €2.500 to students of the University of Bonn struggling financially. Hifo funds are administered by the student parliament committee. To receive the relevant questionnaire and application form for starting the process, please send an email to the contact below. The chair of the committee will be pleased to help with questions on completing the application. Contact: [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.]


Working and jobbing

Working and jobbing In addition to ads in local newspapers and the websites listed below, student job offers are published on notice boards inside University buildings. You might find some interesting job offers here:


Offerings for organizing your day

If you have further tips or references, please contact Christine Müller. Contact: [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.]


Learning German

Currently no in-semester general German language courses are taking place. To continue language practice during the summer semester and be able to brush up your German skills, you can refer to the interactive language learning software Rosetta Stone. This flexible self-study solution allows you to learn according to your individual needs and at your own pace. International and doctoral students and employees of the University of Bonn may use Rosetta Stone for free.  Information on registration and content is available on the ULB website.

Advice
The University’s German as a Foreign Language section will gladly advise you on questions with respect to

  • Studying German in general
  • Special tips (on studying German) during times of the coronavirus
  • Your level of German
  • A suitable German course for you
  • Our range of courses for the winter semester 2020/21
  • Preparing for the DSH examination (German Language Test for University Admission)
  • The DSH examination in general.

You can reach us Fridays between 09:00 and 09:45 am.

Organizational and general questions

Sonja Hammer

Phone: +49 228 73-7708

Email: [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.]

Questions on your level of German, specialist advice

Dr. Andrea Lax-Küten

Phone: +49 228 73-5945

Email: [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.]

 

Further resources

You can also make use of the  language exchange (Tandem) through the Language Learning Center (SLZ)  or the  Sprachlerntandem  organized by the General Students’ Committee (AStA). Also check out the Goethe Institute info page on “Practice German free of charge” and  Deutsche Welle

 

Office hours in case of questions and problems with digital teaching

The International Office offers online consultations every Monday at 2:00 pm and Friday at 10:00 am. In these online consultations, we are happy to help with questions on Basis, eCampus, etc. If you are interested in participating, please send an email to [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.] and we will provide you with all relevant information.


AStA support

The Department for International Students aims at making the life of international students easier. We help you with questions on studies and residence permits, provide advice on solving financial problems and finding accommodation, and support you with all other matters, problems and requests. In addition to consultations (currently via Skype, email or phone), we offer the “Sprachcafé International” online on Mondays at 6:00 pm. Further news and information on our support offer and events.

Office hours:

Tuesday 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, Friday 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Skype: Internationales Referat AStA Uni Bonn

AStA also offers further services such as free computer and bike repairs, certifications, psychological counseling, support with study-related problems or conflicts with professors as well as free legal advice. AStA departments regularly organize political and cultural events, campaign for sustainability and equal treatment of students and offer an LGBTIQ* drop-in café. In addition, we provide support for students with children. You can find all stakeholders and services on the official AStA Website AStA Website headings “Service” and “Referate”.


Student Council consultation offerings

The Student Council bodies are elected each year by the members of the respective departmental student body. They represent all students of their respective department within and outside of the department. In addition, Student Council members are active in the following areas: examination copying service, parties, support with curricular organization and many more. Please find an overview of relevant Student Council contacts here (in German).

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Digital offers at the International Office

 International Club

During this winter semester, International Club events continue to be conducted online. Events include regular online get-togethers as well as game, quiz and country-themed evenings. If you have an idea for an event and would like to discuss it with us, please contact the team[Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.]

You will find our program on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InternationalerClubUniBonn


Sprachcafé International online

In the winter semester, the Sprachcafé International by the  General Students’ Committee (AStA) Department for International Students will continue to be offered online in cooperation with the International Club. We look forward to meeting you! When: Mondays 6:00-8:00 pm, Where:  Zoom (Link to follow in the club’s Facebook group)


International Choir

Under the direction of Martin Kircharz, the International Choir of the University of Bonn will, for the time being, continue to conduct most winter semester 2020/21 rehearsals via Zoom but is hoping to return to on-site rehearsals soon; rehearsals are Mondays at 8:00 pm. The International Choir also offers voice training online seminars. Prior registration required via email at: [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.]
To conclude the digital summer semester, the Choir has recorded the song Africa. You can view the video on the Choir’s Facebook page. 


PhD Café

Starting mid-October, we are once more inviting international doctoral students to join our virtual PhD Café for conversation and networking on Fridays at 5:00 pm. Dates, times and information on further offers aimed at doctoral students (e.g. new peer monitoring or Pro Buddy Program) are available at www.pro-motion.uni-bonn.de. You can register for the PhD Café via email at [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.]


Study Buddy Program

Study Buddy Program events will be held online in the winter semester 2020/21. Buddies and Mentees may, of course, meet in person nonetheless. Almost 100 Study Buddy pairs have already teamed up. We would be happy to welcome you as well in the summer semester 2021. For further details on the program and applying, please contact [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.]


No Worries group

In the No Worries group organized by the General Students’ Committee (AStA) and the International Office, international students can meet up among peers to seek advice or talk about the challenges of student life in a casual setting.
Contact: [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.]  


Erasmus newsletter

In order to provide our digital Erasmus students with an insight into life in Bonn and the German culture outside of university, we send a weekly newsletter containing many tips on digital events and cultural offers. If you would like to receive our newsletter, please send a short email to: [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.]

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Cultural and social activities, sports

Cultural offers

Digital cultural offers (Süddeutsche Zeitung) (in German)

Digital cultural offers in Bonn (City of Bonn) (in German)

Beethoven 2020, virtual (in German)

City Library Bonn, virtual (in German)


Social activities

Student groups at the University of Bonn (in German)

Volunteer Agency of the City of Bonn (in German)

Volunteer Work City of Bonn (in German)

Corona Neighborhood Assistance Bonn (in German)

Spontacts, activities in Bonn (in German)

Tips for all kinds of events and interesting information for students in Bonn are offered by Bonns Campus Radio BonnFM. While the offer is in German only, the station’s social media posts should be fairly comprehensible. 


Sports

University Sports at the University of Bonn is providing digital sports offers. Athletes at our University are offered courses via CyberMoves (in German, login: [Email protection active, please enable JavaScript.], password: Training) and other live courses via Zoom. Click here and give it a try!

You can also find the weekly program on the Uni-Sport Bonn website (in German). Please find the link for free registration in the University Sports bio.

All you need is a bottle of water, a mat, a towel and some space. Stay healthy and active!

Further local digital sports offers for home workout:

Baskets@home: Sport und Spaß mit Bonni und Olaf! (in German)

Schwimm- und Sportfreunde Bonn (SSF Bonn e.V.) (in German)

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