Before arrival in Berlin
Before you leave home, there are a few important things you need to prepare, such as getting a visa if necessary or a health insurance for Germany. Please use our checklist below to make sure you have thought of everything:
3–4 months before arrival
Find accommodation in Berlin. In case we cannot place you in a student dorm, you can also apply for student dorm accommodation at the studierendenWERK BERLIN directly. If you're looking for a private apartment or shared apartment ("WG"), it's not always easy or possible to arrange accommodation before arriving in Berlin, since the flatmates usually want to get to know you personally ("WG casting") before making a decision. So please be aware that you might not find a shared apartment before being in Berlin in person. This being said, seeing the room and meeting your potential flatmates in person is the best way to make an informed decision.
Make sure that your passport or ID card is valid for the entire period of your stay in Germany.
EU-citizens as well as citizens of the following countries do not need a student visa to enter Germany: Andorra / Australia / Brazil / Canada / El Salvador / Honduras / Iceland / Israel / Japan / Liechtenstein/ Monaco / New Zealand / Norway / San Marino / South Korea / Switzerland / USA.
Students of all other countries have to apply for a student visa to enter Germany at the local German embassy or consulate in their home country.
When applying for a visa, you will be asked to show that you have sufficient financial funds for the length of your stay in Germany. Usually a minimum of 725 EUR per month is required (for visa applications after 1st of September 2019, a minimum of 853 € per month is required). The funds may be proven by a so-called blocked bank account (German: "Sperrkonto"), a scholarship letter or other documents. The local embassy or consulate will decide which type of proof of sufficient financial funds you need to show. You can find general information about proving your financial funds at study-in-germany.de. Usually, the fee for getting a visa is 60-75 EUR.
Since applying for a student visa may take up to four months, we strongly recommend starting this process as soon as possible. Especially if you need a blocked bank account as proof of your sufficient financial funds, you should start this process as early as possible, as it usually takes several weeks to set this up! As you will need the letter of acceptance from ASH Berlin for your visa, please also make sure to send us your application as early as possible.
Usually, your visa to enter Germany will be valid for 90 days. After your visa has expired, you need to apply for a residence permit in Germany.
German law requires that all students (including exchange and Erasmus+ students) have a German health insurance, either through a public provider or through a private company for the entire length of the semester (1 October to 31 March / 1 April to 30 September). For any questions about health insurance, please contact incoming@ ash-berlin.eubefore the start of your stay.
If you have health insurance in your home country, it might also be valid in Germany. If that's the case, you do NOT need to purchase additional German health insurance, but you do need to obtain a so-called insurance waiver confirmation from a German public health insurance provider. This form is required to complete your enrolment at ASH Berlin and you can easily get it on the first orientation day for free and within a couple of minutes. Only in case you start a paid job in Germany, you are required to purchase a German health insurance.
- Students who are citizens of EU member states as well as of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland: If you are insured by the public health insurance system in your home country, your insurance is valid in Germany. Please inquire at your home health insurance provider about the European health insurance card (EHIC). The EHIC is a blue card which is sometimes already printed on the back side of your usual health insurance card. If not, please ask your insurance provider to issue the EHIC for you. The EHIC must be valid for the entire length of the semester (1 October to 31 March / 1 April to 30 September) and please bring it along to the first orientation day. Before leaving your home country, you should ask your health insurance provider exactly what medical services you are entitled to in Germany.
- Students who are citizens of Turkey: Your home health insurance might also be valid in Germany - if that's the case, please bring the so-called AT 11 form with you (original and copy) as well as a passport copy. You can also decide to purchase German public health insurance after arrival in Berlin (see below) or private health insurance in Turkey (but valid for Germany, see below for information about private health insurances).
- Students who are citizens of other countries: You can either purchase German public health insurance after arrival in Berlin (see below) or bring private health insurance from your home country (but valid for Germany, see below for information about private health insurance). We strongly recommend the first option as most health insurance plans from other countries have proven rather expensive and cover many fewer medical treatments and services.
- Students who are German citizens or already have German health insurance: Please ask your insurance provider for the so-called "Versicherungsbescheinigung für die Einschreibung an einer Hochschule"and bring it along to your first orientation day. If you have German private health insurance, you will need a so-called insurance waiver confirmation which you can receive during the first orientation day for free and within a couple of minutes.
German public health insurance: Students below the age of 30 years can get public health insurance at the student rate (approx. 105 EUR per month). You can get public insurance during the first orientation day or start the process online beforehand. If you're older than 30 years, you are not eligible for public health insurance at the student rate. You may either arrange health insurance with one of the public health providers voluntarily or you can insure yourself through a private health insurance provider.
Private health insurance: You can bring private health insurance from your home country, provided that it's valid in Germany and meets the minimum standards. You can also purchase private health insurance in Germany directly. The insurance costs vary depending on the amount of coverage provided. The German student association "Deutsches Studentenwerk" has established a program with the Union Versicherungsdienst GmbH to offer students private health insurance at an affordable rate. However, please note: If you're below the age of 30 years, we strongly recommend purchasing German public insurance, as most private health insurance plans cover many fewer medical treatments and services. Also, once you've decided to go with a private insurance provider (no matter whether it's from your home country or from Germany), you cannot change into the public system at a later point during your studies. This is important if you're thinking about staying in Germany for longer than your exchange period.
No matter whether you have private health insurance from home or from Germany, you must also obtain a so-called insurance waiver confirmation from a German public health insurance provider. You can easily get it on the first orientation day for free and within a couple of minutes.
ASH Berlin does not charge any tuition fees. However, in order to be enrolled at ASH Berlin, you have to pay obligatory fees for the studierendenWERK BERLIN and the student social fund. Additionally, you have the option to purchase a semester ticket which will allow you to use the Berlin public transport system.
- The studierendenWERK BERLINis the Berlin student association which (by a mandate of the German Federal State of Berlin) provides social, economic and cultural support services to Berlin students (e.g. student cafeterias, free psychological counselling, student dorms, cultural events, a job database and so on).
- The student social fund enables the access to subsidised semester tickets for students in cases of hardship. The students must have lived for at least three months in Germany over the time period in question in order to be able to apply for the subsidy. Further regulations are determined in the statute of the social fund at ASH Berlin.
- With the semester ticket, you can use all trams, buses, ferries, underground and local trains in all three tariff zones A, B and C for the entire duration of the semester and you can also bring a bike for free on public transport. The semester ticket costs 193.80 EUR and is an excellent deal. A regular monthly ticket for the same time period in the tariff zones A, B and C would cost 603.00 EUR, so we strongly recommend purchasing the semester ticket. 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. If you've paid for the semester ticket, you will receive it (together with your student ID) on your first orientation day.
Fees for the winter term 2019-20:
- Obligatory fee for the studierendenWERK BERLIN (54.09 EUR) + obligatory fee for the student social fund (4,80 EUR) = 58.89 EUR
- Optional semester ticket = 193.80 EUR
If you wish to purchase the semester ticket, you have to pay a total sum of 252.69 EUR (= 193.80 EUR + 58.89 EUR). If you do NOT wish to purchase the semester ticket, you have to pay a total sum of 58.89 EUR.
Approx. three months before the start of the semester, all exchange students will receive an e-mail with detailed information about how to pay the fees. When making an international transfer, please ensure that your bank does not deduct the transfer charge from the amount to be paid. The difference must be paid if incomplete amounts are deposited.
Please pay the fee no later than:
Winter term 2019/20: 15 August 2019*
Summer term 2020: 28 February 2020*
* Students from non-EU countries have the option of paying the fee in cash after arrival in Berlin. Approx. three months before the start of the semester, you will receive an e-mail with information on how to pay the fees in cash.
If you do not pay the obligatory fees, you will NOT be able to study at ASH Berlin.
Please plan your date of arrival in Berlin and inform us about it. You have to be in Berlin either for the start of the German intensive course (if you're attending it) or at the latest for the start of the mandatory orientation period. In order to allow enough time to settle in and get used to Berlin or to maybe get over a jetlag (e.g. if you're travelling from another time zone), we recommend arriving in Berlin at least 2-5 days beforehand.
1–2 months before arrival
Students who are NOT citizens of EU member states or of Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein need to apply for a residence permit at the Ausländerbehörde (the immigration office) within 90 days after arrival or before their entrance visa has expired.
The Ausländerbehörde is exceptionally busy and appointments are often booked out many months in advance. Therefore, we strongly recommend making an online appointment with the Ausländerbehörde 1–2 months before you arrive in Berlin. If necessary, you can use our step-by-step instructions for booking an online appointment.
If necessary, you should arrange short-term accommodation for the first days or weeks in Berlin. We recommend staying in a hostel. Please keep in mind that ASH Berlin is located in the eastern part of Berlin in the Hellersdorf district, so a place close to the S-Bahn line S5 or the U-Bahn line U5 would be most convenient. You can search for hostels via Berlin.de or other search engines.
If you signed up for the buddy programme and we were able to find a buddy partner for you, you will receive an e-mail with their contact details approx. 1–2 months before the start of the semester. Please get in touch with your buddy partner and schedule a date for the first meeting.
Shortly before arrival
Pack all necessary documents related to your study semester or internship in Berlin (e.g. your passport or ID card, health insurance documents, Letter of Acceptance of ASH Berlin, Learning Agreement or Training Agreement).
Pack enough cash for your first days in Germany and find out where and how you can withdraw money from your bank account in Germany. Check whether there is a weekly or monthly limit on your debit and / or credit card and whether the limit and funding is enough for bigger payments (e.g. rent and deposit during the first month) or if you might have to adapt the limit for that. Exchange your local currency into Euros if necessary.
Pack warm and waterproof clothing that is suitable for the climate in Germany.