< Study in Germany guide

Masters in Germany: A checklist for international students after arriving in Germany

A much-needed guide for international students coming to Germany for higher education.

January 4, 2024

Moving to a new country is daunting, especially when you don't speak the local language. Here are some tips for international students coming to study in Germany to make your start smoother:
(If you're earlier in the process of applying to higher education in Germany, start at the guide.)

1. Town hall registration / KVR Registration

In Germany, everyone needs to register his or her place of residence at the registry office (the “Bürgeramt” / “Einwohnermeldeamt”, /  “Kreisverwaltungsreferat” or other names depending on the region). Ideally this should be done within 2 weeks of arrival.

To register your residence, you need a form from the landlord which confirms that you are renting the apartment from them. The document is called "Wohnungsgeberbestätigung". It varies from city to city, so search on Google for the city you're living in.

Then you book an appointment at the city registry (you can find the closest one here). The documents needed are:

  1. Passport
  2. Rental contract (Mietvertrag)
  3. Wohnungsgeberbestätigung
  4. Registration form (Anmeldüng)

For late registrations, there could be a 20-30 EUR fine. Don't worry if you haven't got an appointment within the first 2 weeks. What matters is the date of booking the appointment.


  • If you don't find free appointment slots online easily, you can go to the registry office early in the morning (opening time) and get the appointment directly. Note: if you go in the middle of the day, there will be long waiting hours.
  • Most of the staff at the Government offices won't speak English. Be sure to take someone who speaks German along with you.

2. Enrol at university (Immatrikulation)

At the start of the semester, new students must enrol at their university. You cannot take courses or access the university facilities without completing this step.

How do I enrol?

Every higher education institution has its own rules. The International Office will tell you exactly what documents you need. In general, these 3 are required:

Usually you will have to go to the registrar's office in person on a certain date. Sometimes it is also sufficient to send the necessary documents to your higher education institution by post within a certain deadline.

TIP: Enrollment deadlines are often short. If you are too late or forget documents you will not be able to enrol.

3. Bank account

A German bank account makes it easier to handle regular payments such as rent and insurance. Most banks offer free current accounts for students. Compared to other countries, people in Germany frequently pay in cash, especially small amounts, but paying for day-to-day purchases by EC card is also common.

4. Name on the house

Official correspondence in Germany happens predominantly over post. To receive letters, get your name listed on the post-box and bell of your apartment.

5. Driver's licence

Foreign driver's licences remain valid for stays of up to six months in Germany. Sometimes you will need a translation into German or an international driver's licence. Non-European driver's licences however usually become invalid after six months. Then you will have to get a German driver's licence. The Bürgeramt (administrative office for citizens) is responsible for issuing driver's licences.

6. Sim card

You might have a roaming pack when you land in Germany, you'll need to get a local number. Sim cards are easily found in supermarkets everywhere. In Germany, there are 3 major network providers:

  • O2
  • Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile)
  • Vodafone

There are plenty of resellers based on these networks. We found Premiumsim to have pretty affordable plans.

7. Student Jobs

Masters students in Germany can work for 20hrs per week. This article explains where to look for such student jobs. Social awareness is key here, make sure you join student groups, notice forums, mailing threads and facebook communities early on to spot opportunities.

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