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 'Campuscard' (i.e. your semester ticket and your ASH Berlin student ID) at the beginning of the semester. You will receive detailed information about how to get your 'Campuscard' via e-mail beforehand. 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 moving into your dorm or flat, you are required to register your address at a so-called Bürgeramt (Citizens Registration Office), usually within two weeks. For that, you need to book an appointment and go to the Bürgeramt in person. Due to the current situation, it is likely that you won't get an appointment within the two week period.

You can either book an appointment onlineor by calling the telephone number +49 30 115.  You can register at any of Berlin's Bürgerämter, no matter where you live.

If you can't go to the Bürgeramt yourself, you can also send someone else who needs to bring an authorization document as well as the registration form, each signed by you.

When registering at the Bürgeramt, 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

We strongly recommend to make an online appointmentas soon as possible.

Usually, you can extend your residence permit 8 weeks before it expires at the earliest. The appointment should thus be 4-6 weeks before your visa, residence permit or blue card expires. Please make sure to book the appointment while your visa, residence permit or blue card is still valid - even if the actual appointment is after the expiration date.

Due to the high customer flow at the Berlin Immigration Office, there are additional appointments available on Monday and Tuesday as well as express appointments for Thursday that you can book from Wednesday afternoon.

As soon as you have successfully booked an appointment, you will receive a confirmation via e-mail containing all information about the documents you need to bring as well as the amount due for the extension. Please don't glue or staple the documents.

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.

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.

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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.

Winter term 2021/22: 27 - 29 September 2021
Summer term 2022: end of March 2022
The orientation days are mandatory to attend.

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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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