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General Information

Visa

Before you can take up your studies in Germany, you may need to apply for a student visa. Please check the official websites of the German embassy or a German consulate in your home country to see if a visa is required. You can also check the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

Insurance

Health insurance
Health insurance is compulsory in Germany. You must have health insurance that is valid for Germany in order to enrol at FH Bielefeld. Please check with your insurance company at home whether they cover you while being abroad in Germany. Your health insurance is definitely valid if you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). If you are from Turkey and you have the form AT/11, this document is accepted for your studies in Germany, too.

If you need to take out German health insurance, you will have a choice between public (or statutory) and private health insurance. Public health insurance is usually the better choice: it offers low rates for students and pays doctors and pharmacies directly for any services you needed to use. There is no cap on expenses, i.e. necessary treatments will be covered no matter what the cost. Public German health insurance will be accepted for enrolment, no matter which company you choose.

Private health insurance will only be accepted for enrolment if your policy is comparable to public health insurance. This is often not the case: a private health insurance may not pay for necessary treatments in every case, or the may refuse payment past a certain sum (so that you would have to pay the rest yourself). You should also know that private health insurance companies do not settle bills with the doctor or hospital, but with you. This means that you need to pay for any doctor's visits out of pocket and then apply to the company for reimbursement.

It is possible to purchase a German health insurance policy online. If you need it to obtain your visa, for instance, you may want to consider buying German health insurance before coming here. You can also buy German health insurance once you are in Bielefeld. If you are not sure whether your home health insurance will be sufficient, it may be advisable to wait until arrival; this way, you can avoid purchasing expensive additional insurance policies that may not be accepted. There will be a meeting with a German statutory health insurance company during the Freshers’ Weeks.

Other types of insurance
It is advisable to take out liability insurance covering damages you might cause while living in Germany.
If you drive your own car during your stay, car insurance is mandatory.

Living costs

We cannot quote a fixed amount of money required for daily life as a student in Bielefeld as this depends on your living standards, your accommodation, your private expenses and the courses you take. However, statistics based on the experience of International students in the past years may give you an outline of expected monthly living costs.
The costs mentioned below are estimated and cannot be taken as binding. The accommodation costs refer to the price for a room in a dormitory / student hostel in Bielefeld.

Monthy living costs:

  • accomodation costs (incl. heating and electricity): 200-400 €
  • groceries: 200 €
  • health incurance (statutory) : 70 – 80 €
  • public transport (included in the semester service fee)
  • books, course materials:  30 – 50 €
  • semester service fee : 40 – 50 € (per semester 280,00 €)
  • broadcasting fees (TV, radio, computer): 17.50 €
  • miscellaneous: 70 – 80 €

Examples:

  • a meal in the canteen on Campus (Mensa/Cafeteria): 2 – 4 €
  • 1 L Milk: 0.75 €
  • 1 kg Rice: 1.40 €
  • 1 kg Apple: 2 €
  • 0,5 L Beer (in a pub/restaurant): 3 €
  • 1 kg  Bread: 3 €
  • 1 Glas Nutella (450 g): 2.30 €
  • 1 cinema ticket (student reduction): 6 – 10 €
  • 1 theatre ticket (student reduction): 7 – 25 €
  • 1 second-hand bicycle: 30 – 200 €
  • 1 pair of shoes: 30 – 100 €
  • 1 T-Shirt: 10 – 50 €


If you need to earn money during your stay, please keep in mind that the vacations will be the only time in the year when you have sufficient time to do so. Before taking up a job, please make sure that you comply with all the legal requirements.

Residence permit

Foreigners who do not need a visa but intend to stay for longer than three months may have to apply for a residence permit at the local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) within the first few days of their stay.

Registration as a resident

Like all residents in Germany, foreign students and trainees have to register with the Residents' Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt) in the town or region where you have taken up residency.
Registration must take place within the first ten days of your stay in Germany. To register you will need your passport, your rent contract and your visa (if applicable). Upon registration you will receive a residence confirmation slip.
Please do not forget to inform the Registration Office of any change of address and of your departure when leaving Germany for good.

Feel free to ask our International Office for help.