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International Student Services Centre (ISSC)

International Student Services Centre (ISSC)

Orientation at the beginning of your studies, studying and living in Bielefeld, residence law, financing of studies


Student Office

Application, admission, enrolment, language skills (German), UniCard, leave of absence

Persons to contact
Contact form

Before departure

As soon as you apply to study at Bielefeld University, you should take a closer look at visa and residence permit issues.


For admission to Bielefeld University, a good knowledge of German or English is required for most degree programmes.

Right before you start your studies (March or September), you can attend a free intensive German course at the PunktUm German Learning Centre.

Before applying for a place at university, you should already plan your student financing.

Here you will find all the information you need to find your way around Bielefeld University.

Make sure you look for accommodation in Bielefeld as early as possible.

Upon arrival

As soon as you have an address in Germany, you must register your residence at your place of residence. The registration takes place in the town hall at the Citizens' Advice Bureau. In Bielefeld, you have to make an appointment online and bring a confirmation of residence (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung) and your passport to the appointment in presence. You can find more information for the city of Bielefeld on the citizens' counselling website (in German). After registering, you will automatically receive your tax number, which you will need, for example, to work and to receive scholarships. You will also have to pay a broadcasting fee during your time in Germany. You can find more information here.

After you have registered at your German place of residence, as a citizen of a country outside the EU you must apply for a residence permit at the authority for foreigners in the town hall. Please note that appointments must be made in advance. You should therefore make an appointment at least six weeks before your visa expires. You can find all the information about making an appointment online and about the documents you need here.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the ISSC team at

You should open a German bank account to pay your semester contribution, health insurance, rent, etc. Most banks offer free or very cheap bank accounts for students (Girokonto). You can find out more about this topic here.

It is mandatory to have a health insurance policy in order to be enrolled at Bielefeld University and you should check whether the health insurance in your home country is sufficient.

  • Students from EU countries (EEC + EEA)
    If you have a statutory health insurance in your home country, you only need to present your European Health Insurance Card at a German health insurance agency. A form will be issued which confirms that your insurance is sufficient to be enrolled.
  • ​Students from countries who have entered a social security agreement with Germany (e.g. Switzerland, Turkey)
    If you have a statutory health insurance in your home country, please inquire at your health insurance provider to get form E-111, AT 11, ATN11 or BH6. This form can be presented at a German health insurance agency and a form will be issued which confirms that your insurance is sufficient to be enrolled.
  • Students who have a private health insurance
    You need to provide a written confirmation of your health insurance provider (either in German or English) that
    • you have a health insurance
    •  it is valid in Germany
    •  it provides you with sufficient insurance coverage.
    •  a regular travel health insurance cannot be accepted!

You have to take this written confirmation to one of the statutory health insurance providers in Germany. They will then issue a written exemption from compulsory insurance (called a "Befreiung") and you will need to show this to enroll at the university. If you have a private health insurance, you will have to pay for any necessary health treatment yourself and then claim the money back from the health insurance provider in your home country.

Please note that your health insurance might only reimburse the costs according to common treatment rates in your home country. In that case, if the treatment is more expensive in Germany, you will have to pay the difference yourself.

  • For students who need an insurance in Germany
    You can get a statutory or a private health insurance. If you are younger than 30 and/or if you have not studied for longer than 14 semesters (7 years), a statutory health insurance for students will cost around 80 € at all health insurance companies. Private health insurance is usually more expensive and you have to pay costs in advance, which can be very expensive.

Please note: As soon as you have taken out private health insurance in Germany, you will not be allowed to change to a statutory health insurance.

After you have successfully applied and received admission, the next step is enrolment. If you have any questions regarding enrolment, please contact your contact person in the Student Administration Office. You can find an overview here.


There are two different study orientation offers for you:

We recommend that you take part in both programmes. There you will get to know other students and receive important and helpful information for a successful start to your studies. You are welcome to inform yourself here in advance.

At the beginning of each semester, there is a first semester welcome by the Rector of Bielefeld University, which usually takes place on the first Monday of the lecture period. Take this opportunity to get to know the university.


Are you an international (degree-seeking) student starting your studies at Bielefeld University? Then come to our orientation days. There you will receive information for a successful start at Bielefeld University, get advice on your questions and network with other students.

Here you can find the current programmes of the orientation days in the Summer semester 2023:

  • Orientation Days at Uni on March 21 and 22
  • Orientation Day online on March 13

If you would like to participate in one of the offerings, please register via our registration form. As soon as you have registered, you will receive more detailed information by mail.

During the semester, we hold online and face-to-face events and workshops for international students, where we provide information on legal, financial and other topics and clarify individual questions. We also offer excursions, game nights, museum visits and much more.

You can find our programme for the winter semester 2022/23 here:

Scholarships and Awards

Bielefeld University, together with its various partners, awards scholarships and prizes to international students with special achievements in their studies and/or extraordinary commitment alongside their studies.

The following scholarship programmes are available for international students:

  • Graduation scholarships for students in the period shortly before their bachelor or master degree or the state examination (application 2x/year, next application deadline: 15th January 2023) Please click here for further information.
  • Scholarships for students in English-language master programmes in their 1st or 2nd semester (together with the Universitätsgesellschaft Bielefeld), next call for applications in 2023
  • Scholarships for international students with a refugee history, for which you can find information here.

First and foremost the scholarship holders are provided with financial support. In addition the students find further support in a social and ideational form. You can find an insight into the first scholarship holder celebration of the International Office here.

Further there are many other scholarships that are financed by different sponsors, such as the scholarship programmes of the Studienfonds OWL, which are open to all students of Bielefeld University. In the future, you will find an overview of other scholarships in the ISSC's e-learning space. In addition, you can research here:

There are also offers of support for financial emergencies. The ISSC can pay international students emergency aid from funds of the Association for International Students in Bielefeld (ViSiB) in case of financial hardship. Please contact for further information. Alternatively, both the Protestant Student Community (ESG) and the Catholic University Community (KHG) can help with small amounts to overcome financial emergencies. It is also possible to apply for a social loan from the General Student Committee (AStA).

For more information and assistance in finding and applying for scholarships, please attend our events and office hours about financing your studies. There you can also find out about our assistance in financial emergency situations. You can find the current office hours here.

In addition to scholarships, the following awards are presented to international:

If you are a student and wonder whether you would be suitable as an award winner contact us:

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