En Planning to Study in Dresden
Good Planning From Your Home Country Is Essential
The basis for a successful stay abroad, be it in the form of a Teilstudium or a complete course, requires an early and precise planning from the home country, starting one semester ahead of the intended stay abroad.
Living and studying at the university or a college in Dresden will no doubt prove to be an exciting time. But you can surely do without the turmoil, the problems and the annoyance resulting from careless planning. Therefore, the major part of your preparation should already be taken care of while you are still at home. Central concerns will be the search for accommodation, financing your studies and the formalities concerning entering and staying in Germany. To facilitate your journey through the jungle of applications and bureaucratic institutions, we have assembled for your benefit useful facts and details concerning the most important aspects.
Before you start looking for an apartment or a place in a university hall of residence, it is advisable to ascertain what kind of requirements have to be met in order to get an entry permit for Germany. Again, you should reserve and plan sufficient time in order to meet the required deadline for the application.
Conditions of Entry
If you are a citizen of the European Union, a visa is not necessary in general, because starting from 1 January 2005 the new immigration law (Einwanderungsgesetz) is valid in Germany. This law also deals with the new regulations for foreign students who are enrolled at a German university or college for a Teilstudium or complete course. Although in case of an EU-citizenship a visa is not required, there is the obligation to register for the duration of your stay, a duty that one has to fulfil within 14 days after arriving in Saxony. This formality is dealt with at the appropriate Einwohnermeldestellen (registration offices) or Bürgerbüros (citizens' bureaus) of your new place of residence.
Should you wish to study in Germany and your home country is not part of the European U Union, a visa is required for the duration of your stay. In your case that entails going to the deutsche Auslandsvertretung (German foreign representation) in your home-country and get the information you need concerning the obligatory requirements.
Immediately following the notification of admission to the German university or college in question, you can apply for a visa for study purposes. Next to the notification of admission two more documents are required, a certification about the health insurance and a certification concerning the financing for the entire duration of your studies. The complete batch of documents will then be processed and after approval by the German foreign representation you will receive the visa for study purposes.
In case the notification of admission to the German college of higher education is not yet available or in case you have not yet decided and committed yourself, you will have to apply for a Visum für Studienbewerbung (visa for study application). Such a visa has a limited validity of three months. After you have been admitted to a university or college, you can change this temporary visa into a residence permit for study purposes. Do not travel to Germany on a tourist visa because that cannot be changed in Germany into a visa for study purposes.
In order to gain some sort of overview we have prepared a list of all countries whose citizens require a visa for entry into Germany.
All the new member-states that have realised their entry into the European Community on 1 May 2004 are subject to transition regulations concerning the right of free movement of citizens of the European Community. You can find out about these regulations at the Foreign Office or the embassy in your home country. Although there is no general visa obligation for citizens of these new member states on entry into Germany, a visa for study purposes has to be obtained from the German embassy in question. Again, please note that it is not possible to apply for a visa for study purposes after having entered Germany. An exception applies to citizens of the United States and Switzerland who can obtain a visa for study purposes after entry into Germany.
Finance Certificate Required
In case you need a study visa for a stay at a German host university or college you will have to produce a finance certificate. Such a certificate serves its purpose not only for the authority that processes the details you supplied and that awards a visa, but also for yourself on a strictly personal level. You will have to finance a study at a German university or college for the major part through your own resources. With a balanced financial situation it is therefore easier to arrange your stay for study purposes more effectively and stress-free. You can spend your time studying, without having to spend a substantial amount of time trying to make money. You are of course free to try to get a part-time job, but there is only a limited number available. What's more, for students staying in Germany on a visa for study purposes, special conditions are valid concerning part-time employment. In many cases, one needs a work permit, obtainable at the German International Office (branch of the municipal authority).
A solid financing in advance will prove of great benefit to your studies. On the up-side, the monthly living costs for a student in Dresden of 550 EUR are below the federal average. It is advisable to calculate with that sum in mind and to allow for a respective total sum for the duration of your stay in Germany. In order to prove that you are able to finance studying and staying in Germany, you will have to produce a sum at your disposal to the amount of 3,300 EUR per semester. If you are only partly able to fulfil that requirement, there is the possibility of providing a security. In that case someone living in Germany declares his or her willingness to vouch for you on an unrestricted basis and to provide you with a bank security. Without a financial certification you will not get a visa for study purposes; thus, it is necessary to settle this formality before applying for a visa for study purposes.
However, also for students who travel to Germany to study without a visa, it is highly advisable to use that monthly sum as a benchmark figure.
Financial aid through stipends/grants or foundations is based on a limited availability, which would make it advisable to obtain information in your home country on the possibilities of financial aid.
Health Insurance is Obligatory
During a stay in Germany for study purposes it is also necessary to have a health insurance. Again, there is a difference whether you are from a member state of the European Community or not. If the first applies, ask for a European Community insurance certification from your health insurer in your home country. This certification is often referred to as E 128 or E 111. After your arrival in Germany you should go to a locally represented health insurance company, present your European Union insurance certification and then register. After registration you will receive an insurance certification from the German health insurance company in question. You will take this certificate to the Academic International Office of your university or college, in order to go through further registration procedures. Without this health insurance certificate you cannot be enrolled at a German university or college.
If the second applies, i.e., if your home country is not a member of the European Union, you will have to get your own health insurance with a health insurance company. That will involve a monthly health insurance payment of approximately 55 EUR. If you are above 30 years of age, you are obliged to enter a private health insurance deal with an acknowledged insurance company for students. A travel health insurance contract from your home country is only valid for three months. Also, one has to consider that in case of sickness every treatment has to be paid for in advance (to be reimbursed later).
Reserve a Room in a University Hall of Residence from Home
Dear student, after having met all the prerequisites for entry into Germany successfully, there remains the task of organising suitable accommodation. Your first point of reference would naturally be the Studentenwerk Dresden (Office of Residential Life), because providing of places for students in university halls of residence for German and foreign students is one of the key tasks of the Office of Residential Life.
Applying for a place in a hall of residence is easiest if you use the application forms prepared on the website of the Studentenwerk. Several colleges of higher education and the TU Dresden will send application forms for a place in a hall of residence together with your notification of admission. Please fill out the application form for the hall of residence and send it to the Studentenwerk. Should you get a confirmation, you can look forward to living in one of the 35 halls of residence in Dresden. More than half of them have recently been refurbished and offer the modern comfort of living in small-scale units, with nice people, many recreational opportunities, student clubs and fraternities meeting in the hall itself, and with easy access to the internet. As one can see from the application form, there are several options as far as the type of accommodation is concerned. There are single or double rooms in large flat-sharing units or separate apartments.
In Dresden, there are 5,692 students (at this point in time some 14% of the student population) who are currently living in the halls of residence run by the Studentenwerk Dresden, a fact that illustrates the quality of living in the halls of residence.
Those who prefer to live on their own, will not have a problem finding an appropriate apartment or room, as there are plenty of both available.
To share a flat with one or more room mates is a very popular and cheap alternative. Information on offers and demands can be found on campus or in regional and local magazines such as SAX and Dresdner or in the independent newspaper for students in Saxony, called ad rem.
If you have not applied for a place in a university hall of residence and if you have not yet found suitable accommodation, the youth hostels in Dresden offer a temporal and cheap accommodation alternative. In any case, the Office of Residential Life in Dresden is there to help you, actively engaged in providing you with a place in a university hall of residence.