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  • After arrival

    Organisation of the stay  

    Campus Bielefeld University
    © Bielefeld University
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You have not yet been admitted to the programme or have been accepted for a research stay? Then please inform yourself here first:

After arrival

Advice and service

Infopoint International

Monday - Friday: 11.00-13.00

University Hall

Consulting hours via Zoom and phone

Monday and Thursday: 11.00-13.00

Phone: +49 521 106 67766
Fax: +49 521 106 154880


What you need to do when you arrive

Anyone staying in Bielefeld for more than 90 days is obliged to register at Bielefeld City Hall. As soon as you have an address in Germany, you must register your residence at your place of residence within 14 days. The registration takes place at the town hall at the citizens' advice bureau.


Rathaus Bielefeld
33602 Bielefeld

You must make an appointment online in advance.


These documents are required for registration:

  • Passport
  • Confirmation of your tenancy(Wohnungsgeberbestätigung)
  • Further documents if applicable:
    • previousresidentialaddressinGermany
    • Marriage certificate*
    • Birth certificates of children*
      (original and, if applicable, with apostille and certified translation into German)


If you are employed as a staff member at Bielefeld University, you will need a certificate of good conduct from the police for the purpose of employment. You can also apply for this at the Citizens' Advice Bureau. You will need 13€ and the address of the Human Resources Department of Bielefeld University.

After registration you will receive a confirmation of registration. If you are registering in Germany for the first time, you will receive your personal tax identification number by post in about 10 days. Please make sure that your name is on the letterbox.

After arriving in Bielefeld, you must - if you are staying in Germany for longer than 90 days - register your residence in the city:

Step 1 - Registration of your residence at the registration office, in Bielefeld this is the Bürgerberatung Bielefeld.

Documents required:

  • Passport or ID (if you have several nationalities, you will need documents from all of them).
  • Landlord's confirmation (filled out and signed by the landlord)
  • If applicable: previous address in Germany, marriage certificate for spouses, birth certificate for children, doctoral degree certificate.

Good to know:

  • You can apply for a police clearance certificate at the Citizens' Advice Bureau for €13 (e.g. for employees).
  • If you are registering for the first time in Germany, you will receive two letters after 10 days: tax identification number and registration for the broadcasting fee.

Step 2 - Register for your broadcasting fee

Step 3 -Apply for residence (initial application/extension)(Ausländerbehörde Bielefeld)

  • Make an appointment at the Aliens' Registration Office
  • Gather the documents together.
  • Make use of the service of the preliminary check of the documents International Office: Mon-Fri Infopunkt International 11.00-13.00

List of documents:

As a rule, the following documents are required with the initial application for residence:

  • Application
  • Valid passport
  • Biometric photo (not older than 6 months)
  • Proof of purpose of stay*
  • Proof of financing **
  • Current membership certificate of a health insurance company
  • Fee (except: Staff, people sponsored by a German Scholarship).

The Foreigners' Registration Office checks

The following documents must also be submitted for each purpose of residence:


  • BA/MA semester certificate (from the 3rd semester: certificate from the examination office)
  • PhD semester certificate (and, from the second extension, proof of supervisor/doctoral mother)

Staff members

  • Certificates + proof of equivalence of international certificates

Researchers (staff, people without employment contract)

  • Hosting agreement

**You must be able to prove to the Aliens' Registration Office that you have sufficient means to live in Germany. For students, this is the current Bafög rate. For all other staff, people, this is calculated from the current AlgII. The means can be proven with one or more proofs from this list: Scholarship and/or employment contract + employer's certificate + salary statement for the last 3 months and/or blocked account and/or salary at the home university and/or unemployment benefit and/or declaration of commitment.

Take all the documents you have with you to the appointment at the Foreigners' Registration Office.

Residence Act

If you stay in Germany for longer than 90 days, you must register for the broadcasting fee. As a rule, you will automatically receive a letter by post 10 days after registration. If you do not receive this letter. Register for the broadcasting fee.

If you are staying in Germany for a longer period of time and do not have a European account with an IBAN number, you should consider opening a German current account in order to be able to pay your semester fee, health insurance, rent, etc., make transfers and receive payments. There are many banks in Germany where you can open a so-called current account . Some banks offer free or discounted current accounts for students.

Please compare which bank is best for you, e.g. in terms of: Costs, online banking, ATMs, communication/language, credit card offer, transaction fee to home country.

A selection of sample banks

  • Savings Bank Bielefeld
  • German Bank
  • Volksbank
  • Postbank
  • Spardabank
  • Commerzbank
  • N26


These documents are usually required to open an account:

  • Passport
  • Confirmation of registration with the city of Bielefeld
  • Electronic residence card (non-EU citizens)
  • Tax ID number Germany (and if applicable, tax number in your home country if you currently pay taxes in your home country)
  • Certificate of enrolment for students (if applicable)

You need health insurance to enrol at Bielefeld University. The university receives the proof directly from your health insurance during the enrolment process.

The following options are available for health insurance:

  • Students from EU countries
    If you are legally insured in your home country, you only need to present the EHIC(European Health Insurance Card) to a German health insurance company. There you will receive confirmation that your insurance cover is sufficient for you to enrol.
  • Students from countries with which there is a social security agreement with Germany (e.g. Switzerland, Turkey)
    If you are legally insured in your home country, please request the E-111, AT 11, ATN 11 or BH6 form from your insurance office there. You can present this to a German health insurance company, which will confirm that your insurance cover is sufficient for enrolment.
  • Students who are privately insured
    You will need a written certificate from your insurance company (in German or English) confirming:
    • that you are a member there
    • that your health insurance is valid in Germany
    • that their insurance cover is sufficient.
    • an ordinary travel health insurance will not be accepted!

With this certificate, you go to a German health insurance company. They will issue you with a certificate exempting you from compulsory insurance. With this, they can enrol.

They pay for their treatment themselves and later apply for reimbursement from their insurance company in their home country. If their private insurance does not cover certain academic achievements, you will have to pay for them yourself. The costs can be very high.

Please note: If you take out private health insurance, you will not be able to switch to a statutory health insurance later (within your studies in Germany).

  • For students who need German insurance
    You can take out statutory or private health insurance. Statutory health insurance applies to students who have not exceeded the 14th subject related semester and are not older than 30 years of age. The contribution (without children) is around 110 euros per month. It is the same for all health insurance companies. Private health insurance is usually more expensive and all costs must first be covered by the student before they are reimbursed by the insurance company.

At Bielefeld University, students, employees and visiting academics can obtain a multifunctional, electronically readable ID card in cheque card format with the UniCard. The card is used as a student ID, as a service ID for employees and as an ID for external users of the library and can be used for card-linked electronic services on campus.

See here for more information.

After you have successfully applied and received admission, the next step is enrolment. For all questions regarding enrolment, please contact your persons from the Student Office. You can find an overview here.

There are various orientation programmes at the start date of your stay:

  • Orientation programme for international students and researchers
    The International Office's Team Services offers an orientation programme for all international students and researchers. You can find information for the programme and the registration form here. If you have any questions, please contact the Team Services:
  • Introductory events organised by the Faculties for students
    The Faculties generally offer introductory events for each semester, which are tailored to the course start in the respective subject area. You can find the dates of the Faculties' introductory events here. Please also note the preliminary courses that take place in some subjects before the start of the semester.
    You can also find important information about the university and starting your studies on this page.
  • Central welcome ceremony for first semester students
    At the start date of each semester, the Rector of Bielefeld University welcomes first semester students, which usually takes place on the first Monday of the lecture period.
  • Onboarding programme for researchers
    This portal contains important information and events for international researchers and professors to help them get started at the university.

We recommend that you take part in the programmes. You will get to know other members of the university and receive information for a successful start at Bielefeld University.

Learning German at the University

At Bielefeld University there is the German Language Centre PunktUm. Courses are offered here at levels A1 to C2. There is a four-week intensive language course in March and September (free of charge for cooperation students) and a semester-long course during the Summer and Winter semesters. Enrolled students, doctoral students and staff can use the semester courses free of charge. Family members or visiting academics can participate for a fee. Registration for the courses takes place via the electronic course catalogue ( ekvv).

In addition, PunktUm offers workshops on German as a language of science, e.g. writing seminar papers and theses, and individual coaching in the area of teaching.

Refugee students and Researchers have the opportunity to apply for a German language course at Bielefeld University.

Learning German outside the university

In addition to Bielefeld University, there are other providers offering German courses in Bielefeld. For accompanying family members from third countries, there is the possibility or Obligation, under certain conditions, to participate in an integration course offered by the Bamf. The integration courses are sponsored by the Bamf and are divided into a German language course and a part of information on politics/history/culture. At the end of the course, in addition to the German test (level B1), there is a test on Life in Germany. If you pass both parts, you will receive a certificate.

Other languages at the university


If you are interested in learning another language during your stay, you can use the services of the Fachsprachenzentrum [Language Centre] at Bielefeld University. The Fachsprachenzentrum [Language Centre] offers a variety of languages and workshops for students, doctoral candidates and staff.

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