How to prepare for my time in Germany
Studying abroad – especially in a country very different from your own – is an exciting challenge and will have a long-lasting impact on your life. Yet there are many things to consider and to organize. We offer a wide range of support for international students.
Detailed information about visa for Germany can be found on the websites of the German Federal Foreign Office.
Indian Students can check here.
The entire visa procedure can take eight to twelve weeks, especially for fall intake, so ideally, you should submit your application for a visa as soon as you have the letter of admission from SRH University Heidelberg
- If you are a citizen of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you do not need a visa. You only need a valid personal ID card or passport.
- If you wish to stay longer than 90 days in Germany, you can obtain a visa after you arrive, as citizen of one of the following countries: Andorra, Australia, Canada, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, South Korea, and the United States of America.
- All other foreign nationals wishing to stay longer than 90 days must apply for an entry visa in their home country before they come to Germany
As there are several types of visa, be sure to apply for a student visa, and under no circumstances come to Germany on a tourist visa. You cannot study in Germany on a tourist visa, and a tourist visa cannot be converted to a student visa.
Student visas are usually issued for a three-month period. After you have arrived in Heidelberg and enrolled at SRH University Heidelberg, you will have to apply for an extended residence permit at the Aliens Registration Office in your town of residence (Heidelberg, Mannheim, Eppelheim, Schriesheim, etc).
As a rule, you will be asked to present:
- Proof of financial resources. At present, foreign students must prove they have at least 8,640 euros per year at their disposal (720 euros per month). Proof of financial resources can be provided in various ways. In some cases, the German embassy or consulate may require a specified amount to be paid into a blocked access bank account (Deutsche Bank) so as to ensure financial security for the initial period of the applicant’s stay in Germany.
- Certificate confirming health insurance
- Certificate of past academic work and achievements – make sure that you write a convincing motivation letter, why your study at SRH University Heidelberg is important for your career.
- Certificate of German language proficiency (Exception: international programs taught in English)
- Notification of admission from SRH University Heidelberg (“Final letter”)
Please be aware that there are only limited numbers of student apartments available on campus and that the accommodation situation in Heidelberg is always difficult, especially for the October intake. We recommend that students make their accommodation reservations as soon as they have been accepted and/or have received their visa.
If you want to secure your accommodation on campus, you must already have your visa stamped. In addition you will be asked to transfer the deposit and two monthly rents in advance. We strongly recommend to do so, as we will not be able to help you, when you arrive in Heidelberg beginning of October without having accommodation.
Students in Germany either live in a student hall of residence or in private accommodation. In contrast to other countries, German universities do not automatically allocate rooms to students when they enroll. This means that even international students are responsible for finding their own accommodation.
Dorms on campus: There are several dorms on campus, furnished with a bed, mattress, desk, chair, bookshelf, and wardrobe. Some have private bathrooms and some have shared kitchens. Please bring bedding and pillows with you or buy it at the International Office.
Short-term hostels: If you arrive in Heidelberg before you can move into your dorm, try to book a room in one of the following hostels for a couple of nights (€ 20 – 30 per night):
Sharing an apartment: A room in a private house will generally be furnished, whereas rooms in shared student flats or houses are generally unfurnished. A reasonable rate to expect for a room in private lodgings or in a shared flat or house off campus is between € 300 and € 500 a month. In a shared flat, everyone has their own room. Kitchen and bathroom as well as other utility rooms (if any) are shared, as the costs for the rent, electricity, gas, water, Internet, etc. This arrangement certainly works out cheaper than living alone. In most cases, tenancy contracts must be signed in person at the location itself. This means that you will have to wait until you arrive in Heidelberg before you can actually secure private accommodation.
There are several dorms on campus, furnished with a bed, mattress, desk, chair, bookshelf, and wardrobe. Some have private bathrooms and some have shared kitchens. Please bring bedding and pillows with you or buy it at the International Office.
As a student in Germany, you are required to have health insurance. Without proof of coverage, no German university will accept you.
During Orientation Sessions we will have representatives at the university from German public health insurances. They will check your current insurance and advice.
Please check to see which of the following situations apply to you:
- You are a citizen of an EU country or of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or Macedonia, and are insured at home. In this case, your medical insurance probably covers your stay in Germany. Germany has signed social insurance agreements with these countries to ensure cross-border coverage. With your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you are also insured in Germany. Please check with your insurance provider to be sure.
- You are a citizen of a non-EU country and you are insured in your home country, but not covered for travel abroad. In this case, you must buy insurance from one of the statutory medical insurance companies in Germany (e.g. AOK, BEK, BKK, DAK, IKK, KKH, TK). Doctors will charge the insurer directly for any medical treatment you receive. Cost of coverage: insurance rates for students are currently about € 75 per month. Though all public insurance policies cost the same amount, it is worthwhile to compare services and payment options offered by the various insurers.
- You are a citizen of a non-EU country, and you have sufficient medical coverage in your home country for international travel/study. If so, you can be exempted from obligatory student insurance. Be sure to bring your proof of insurance with you.
If you plan to fly to Germany, Frankfurt Airport is usually the best choice. There is a very good train connection to Heidelberg (about 80 kilometers directly south of Frankfurt) or you may want to use private shuttle services.
Arrival by train:
Frankfurt Airport Station to Heidelberg Main Station. Tickets: From an automatic ticket machine in the station. In IC/ICE long-distance trains, you can also buy your ticket from the conductor for an extra fee of € 2. (But be careful – this is not possible on regional and S-Bahn trains!). Price: Approx. € 25 (one-way ticket)
Arrival by shuttle service to Heidelberg downtown:
Price: approx. € 25 one-way. Seats should be booked in advance. Be prepared to pay the fare in cash.
Arrival by shuttle service door to door:
Price: approx. € 35 one-way. Must be booked in advance. Be prepared to pay the fare in cash.