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.
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:
You will receive your semesterticket on the first orientation day or via mail. 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.
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.
You can either register at the Bürgeramt in person or via e-mail or regular mail. This regulation is valid until 31.12.2020.
In order to register via e-mail, send a colour copy / scan as a pdf-file to the Bürgeramt of the district you want to move to. If you are not sure which Bürgeramt to send it to, you'll find a list sorted by disctrict and postal code here.
If you prefer to go there in person, you need to book an appointment. You can either book an appointment onlineor by calling the telephone number +49 30 115.
The following documents are required for the registration:
- Registration form
- Confirmation of your move-in, signed by your landlord / landlady or owner of the apartment
- Valid passport or ID card
If you're not sure how to fill out the forms, you can use our "How to complete the Bürgeramt-Anmeldung" instructions.
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 fee. 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. If you're not sure how to register and pay the broadcasting licence fee, feel free to check our guide on how to register for the Rundfunkbeitrag.
When you leave Berlin at the end of your Semester, you then also need to de-register from the broadcasting licence fee. You can do that on the website of the Rundfunkgebühr.
Current information about the residence permit (last updated: 6 April 2020): Due to the Corona virus crisis, the "Landesamt für Einwanderung" (i.e. the Berlin immigration office) is currently closed to the regular public. In case of an emergency, you can reach their staff at their location at Friedrich-Krause-Ufer in room 80 (house A), 13353 Berlin. Beforehand, make sure to check the website of the Berlin immigration office for current information.
Students from Switzerland are currently exempt from having to apply for a residence permit.
Students from other non-EU countries should first check until when their current visa is valid and contact us via e-mail for individual questions about their visa / residence permit.
Students who are NOT citizens of EU member states or of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein need to apply for a residence permit at the Landesamt für Einwanderung (Berlin Immigration Office) within 90 days after arrival or before their entry visa has expired.
The Landesamt für Einwanderung 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 Landesamt für Einwanderung.
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 861 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
- 29–110 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 Landesamt für Einwanderung Berlin.
Students with Swiss nationality can find specific information about their type of residence permit on the homepage of the Landesamt für Einwanderung Berlin
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.
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.
Summer term 2021: 29 - 31 March 2021 (to be confirmed)
Winter term 2021/22: end of September 2021, date to be announced
The orientation days are mandatory to attend.
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.