After arrival in Berlin

Welcome to Berlin! The first days in Berlin will be exciting and challenging at the same time. Please use the support services offered by the International Office to make your first steps easier.

If you arrive more than ten days before the orientation period, you can come to the International Office for a short meeting, just drop by during our office hours or make an appointment with us. Students who arrive even earlier (e.g. in case they are doing an internship) should also attend the early bird meeting where they can meet their fellow exchange students.

Check list: After arrival in Berlin

After arriving in Berlin, there are some bureaucratic things ahead of you, such asregistering your address at the "Bürgeramt" or appling for a residence permit (if applicable). We will inform you in detail about these things during the orientation days, but you can also use our check list:

If you paid for the semesterticket, you will receive it on the first orientation day. The semester ticket for the winter term is valid from 1 October to 31 March, the one for the summer term from 1 April to 30 September. These dates cannot be changed or adapted to your individual period of stay.

To cover public transport for the time before 1 October or 1 April, you need to buy regular public transport tickets at the BVG or the S-Bahn. They offer single, day, week or monthly tickets for the tariff zones A, B and C. Should you arrive in Berlin more than two weeks before 1 October or 1 April (e.g for the German intensive course), we recommend buying a monthly ticket.

More about public transport

After you have moved into your dorm or flat, you are required to register your address at a so-called Bürgeramt, usually within two weeks. When doing so, you will receive a confirmation of registration called Anmeldebestätigung. You need this document to open a bank account, apply for a residence permit or to use public services of the city of Berlin, so you should always carry a copy of it with you.

Each district of Berlin has three to four Bürgerämter, but you can go to anyone in Berlin, regardless of where you live. The Bürgeramt Helle Mitte is in walking distance from the university building. Since the Bürgerämter are usually quite busy, you should be prepared for some waiting hours. You can avoid waiting hours by making an appointment. You can either book an appointment online, by calling the telephone number +49 30 115 or you can use our registration service during the orientation days (see below).

If you don't speak German well, it is very helpful to have a German native speaker - for example your buddy - joining you at the Bürgeramt.

The following documents are required for the registration:

If you're not sure how to fill out the forms, you can use our "How to complete the Bürgeramt-Anmeldung" instructions.

Winter term 2019/20 students: Thanks to a cooperation with the Bürgeramt Helle Mitte, we can do a collective registration for exchange students. You will fill out the forms together with us during the orientation days. Within 1–2 weeks (but by 11th of October 2019 at the latest), you can submit the confirmation of your move-in as well as a copy of your ID or passport to us. We'll collect the papers, hand them to the Bürgeramt and after 5–7 days, you can pick up your registration from our office.

All people who are older than 18 years and who are registered in Germany (see above), are required to pay a mandatory broadcasting license fee ("Rundfunkbeitrag") of currently 17.50 EUR per month - no matter where you're from or how long you'll stay in Germany.  

After your registration with the Bürgeramt, you'll receive an automatic letter with the details of how to register and pay. The rule "one apartment - one fee" applies so if you live in a share flat, you can also share the fees with your flat mates. When you leave Berlin and also de-register from the Bürgeramt, you'll also de-register from paying the fee.

You can find further information in German at rundfunkbeitrag.de, the website also provides details in different languages (e.g. English, Spanish, Turkish).

Students who are NOT citizens of EU member states or of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein need to apply for a residence permit at the Ausländerbehörde within 90 days after arrival or before their entry visa has expired.

The Ausländerbehörde is exceptionally busy so we strongly recommend making an online appointment1–2 months even before you arrive in Berlin. If necessary, you can use our step-by-step instructions about how to book an online appointment.

If you don't speak German well, it is very helpful to have a German native speaker - for example your buddy - joining you at the Ausländerbehörde.

Please take the following documents with you:

  • Completed form “Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels"
  • Valid passport
  • Anmeldebestätigung (= confirmation of registration at the Bürgeramt, see above)
  • Health insurance policy that is valid for the entire period you wish to stay in Germany (see health insurance)
  • Proof of sufficient financial funds: You need to proove that you have a minimum of 720 EUR per month for the duration of your stay in Germany. This may be proven by scholarship letters, a notarized declaration of your parents or by a so-called blocked bank account (German: "Sperrkonto").
  • One passport-sized biometric photo
  • ASH Berlin student ID
  • 28–110 EUR for administrative fees (depending on your citizenship and length of your stay)

You can find more information about the residence permit for students on the homepage of the Ausländerbehörde Berlin.

Students with Swiss nationality can find specific information about their type of residence permit on the homepage of the Ausländerbehörde Berlin (in German only).

If you need assistance with filling out the necessary form or with making an online appointment, please contact the International Office for support.

During your stay in Berlin, you may need to open a German bank account, not just to pay rent, but also because your bank at home may charge extra fees for withdrawing cash and/or for every international money transfer you do.

Student bank accounts are free of charge and easy to set up. The bank will probably require the following documents to open an account:

  • passport or ID card
  • ASH Berlin student ID
  • confirmation of registration at the Bürgeramt (see above)
  • if applicable, your residence permit (see above)

Student bank accounts do not always include a free debit or credit card. Please enquire with the bank beforehand.

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Orientation days

Bild von den Orientierungstagen
© Marleen Wischow

The orientation period for all students will take place during the last week of September (winter term) and during the last week of March (summer term). During orientation, we will introduce you to the university and its rich history as well as guide you through the upcoming challenges of your stay at ASH Berlin. Students can attend a library and campus tour, learn about our cultural activities during the semester and explore the Hellersdorf district as well as the immediate surroundings of our campus on a walking tour. The first orientation day traditionally ends with our first International Regulars' Table.

Winter term 2019/20: 25th to 27th of September 2019
Summer term 2020: 25th to 27th of March 2020 (date tbc)
The orientation days are mandatory to attend.

  • For health insurance: On the first orientation day, you can either purchase German health insurance or you will need to receive the health insurance waiver. Please bring your EHIC (European health insurance card) or your home health insurance policy. Students from Turkey need to bring their AT 11 form (original and a copy) and a passport copy. Students with a private health insurance from a non-European country also need to bring their insurance documents (in German or English language) as well as a passport copy.

  • For the registration at the Bürgeramt: During orientation, you have the option of getting your address registered at the Bürgeramt. Please bring a readable copy of your ID or passport (front and back side if necessary).

  • For the student cafeteria: If you wish to buy food or drinks from the "Mensa" (the student cafeteria) during the break or before or after the orientation programme, you need to get a MensaCard. Please bring your Letter of Acceptance and get the MensaCard directly at the cash desk for a deposit of 1,55 €. Please also bring cash money (notes) to top up your MensaCard right away.

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Cultural programme for exchange students

The International Office organizes a variety of cultural events and international regulars' tables (in German: "Stammtisch") - for all exchange students and their buddies from our Buddy Programme, as well as for all other international  or local students! We aim at giving all students the possibility to get in touch, socialize and connect - and of course get to know Berlin and some of its countless museums, opera houses or memorial sites.

Cultural events and international regulars' tables

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