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Your First Few Days

International Relations Office
Residence Permit and Registration with the City
Arranging Health Care Coverage
Banking and Financial Considerations

International Relations Office

After you have moved into your room, please come and see your exchange coordinator in the Dezernat Internationale Beziehungen (International Relations Office)! For office hours of the exchange coordinators, please see:

Contact details exchange coordinators


Our office is located in the center of the Altstadt near Universitätsplatz in the so-called "Carolinum" building. At our Serviceportal (resource center for international students (room # 33) you can find a variety of services, including assistance with admissions and enrolment. Registration for excursions offered throughout the semester takes place there, too. We also offer a private accommodation service (room # 32) and counselling services on academic, health insurance and visa issues.

We hope that our resources and expertise will help contribute to the success of your stay in Heidelberg.

Opening hours the Serviceportal for international students in room 33:
Mo - Th      10:00 - 16:00
Mo - Fr       10:00 - 14:00

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Residence Permit and Registration with the City

In order to study in Germany, foreign students (except citizens of EU-countries) need a valid residence permit (Aufenthaltsbewilligung zu Studienzwecken). Citizens of the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Israel and EFTA countries may apply for their residence permit after arriving in Germany. Citizens of all other countries must apply for a visa with the German consulate or embassy prior to their departure.

After your arrival to Heidelberg, you have to receive a residence permit within the first three months of your stay. This is a two-stage process. Within the first ten days after your arrival, you will have to register with the City of Heidelberg at one of the city's Bürgerämter. You will have to present your passport and proof of your current address in Heidelberg (i.e. a copy of your lease) and fill out a form called Wohnungsgeberbestätigung (which you will find on the right hand side, unfortunately only in German).

Form "Registration"

In addition to stamping your registration form, the staff member of the Bürgeramt can give you a second form (Antrag auf Ausstellung der Aufenthaltserlaubnis) which you will eventually have to present to the Bürgeramt, Zuwanderungsangelegenheiten (local foreigners registration office) when you apply for a residence permit.

Students staying less than 12 months may submit their application to the Service Point of the Foreigners' Registration Office without an appointment.If you will be in Germany longer than 12 months, you need to make an appointment with the Foreigners' Registration Office to apply for a residence permit.


Bürgeramt, Zuwanderungsangelegenheiten
Bergheimerstr. 147
telephone: +49 (0)6221/58-17 000 or 58-17520
fax: +49 (0)6221/5817900

Opening hours:
Mo. + Fr.: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Tue. + Th.: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Wed.: 8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.


Administrative Offices (Bürgerämter)

Registration & Residence Permit


You may direct any questions you may have about your residence permit to a representative of the Foreigners' Registration Office without an appointment at their Service Point via e-mail, telephone or in person (see above for contact information).

When applying for your residence permit, you must present the following to the Foreigners' Registration Office:

  • form Antrag auf Erteilung der Aufenthaltserlaubnis
  • your passport
  • certificate of enrolment from the University of Heidelberg (Studienbescheinigung)
  • statement of financial support (minimum 735 €  e.g. bank statement, notarized parental statement, confirmation of scholarship)
  • proof of health insurance (for further details please see below)
  • proof of residence (copy of the stamped Wohnungsgeberbestätigung form)
  • 1 passport-sized photo (biometric)
  • 50 € fee for students staying less than 12 months / 100 € fee for students staying longer

Students who had to receive a visa prior to their arrival in Germany must also register with the Bürgeramt. If the visa is not valid for the whole duration of your stay, you must also apply for a residence permit at the Foreigners' Registration Office (see above) by presenting your certificate of university enrolment (Studienbescheinigung).

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Arranging Health Care Coverage

All Heidelberg University students must have sufficient health insurance coverage.

Exchange students may either bring health insurance coverage from home or purchase German student health insurance.

Health insurance in Germany is available from state and private insurance companies. State halth insurance costs about € 550 per semester and includes visits to the doctor and dentist, prescription medicine (excluding a small basic charge) and some therapeutic treatments. Premiums and the extent of coverage are fairly uniform amongst state insurance providers (gesetzliche Krankenkassen). The same type of insurance from private insurance companies is generally more expensive.

If you have health coverage from home you may not need to pay for health insurance in Germany. Especially students who come for one semester only can apply for exemption from German State health insurance upon their arrival to Germany.  

In order to register with the University you must present either proof of health insurance in Germany or the certificate of exemption (Befreiung). In order to receive a residence permit, you must present documentation on your health insurance coverage.

Important note for students wishing to stay for a full academic year: even if you can provide an exemption from the German state insurance and are thus able to enroll, you will not qualifiy for a residence permit if your health costs in Germany are not completely covered (= no limitation for reimbursement for doctor’s visits, hospital stays, emergency operations, etc.; the term “unlimited” must be mentioned in the description of your insurance policy)

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Banking and Financial Considerations  

You will need to open a bank account in Heidelberg because monthly bills such as rent and health insurance are paid by standing order from a bank account rather than by check. 

In principle, you can open an account with any bank. However, you should be aware that some banks may charge a maintenance fee.
Because of growing international cooperation, many large banks have partners abroad now. If you have an account with such a bank at home, it might be possible to withdraw money at the German partner bank without having to pay fees. Please contact your bank for further information on this topic.

In order to open a bank account in Heidelberg you need to make an appointment and present your letter of admission, proof of residence (housing contract) and your passport.


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Latest Revision: 2017-03-22
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