En Planning to Study in Dresden
Good Planning From Your Home Country Is Fundamental
The basis for a successful stay abroad, no matter if it is for a study stay or a complete course, requires an early and precise planning, starting at home one semester prior to the intended stay abroad.
Living and studying at a university or a college in Dresden will - no doubt - prove to be an exciting time for you. However, 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 complying will all formalities concerning entering Germany and your stay in Germany. To guide you on you way through the jungle of applications and bureaucratic institutions, we have compiled useful facts and details concerning the most important aspects.
Before you start looking for an apartment or a room in a student hall of residence, you should first of all sort out which requirements have to be met in order to get an entry permit for Germany. Again, you should arrange enough time to meet the required application deadline.
Conditions of Entry
If you are a citizen of the European Union, you no longer need a visa as the result of the new immigration law (Einwanderungsgesetz) which has been in force in Germany since 01 January 2005. Nevertheless, you are obliged to register for the duration of your stay within 14 days after your arrival in Saxony. Therefore, please turn to the appropriate Einwohnermeldestellen (registration offices) or the Bürgerbüros (citizens' bureaus) at your new place of residence.
Should you wish to study in Germany and your home country is not part of the European Union, a visa is required for the duration of your stay. Therefore, please turn to the deutsche Auslandsvertretung (German foreign representation) in your home country to get all necessary information concerning the obligatory requirements.
If you have already received notification of admission to the German university or college in question, you can apply for a visa for study purposes. In order to apply you need: the notification of admission to university, a health insurance certificate and a certificate giving proof of finance for the entire duration of your studies. Your complete documents will then be processed. After approval by the German foreign representation you will receive your visa for study purposes.
In case you have not yet received notification of admission to a German university or have not yet decided and committed yourself, you will have to apply for a Visum für Studienbewerbung (visa for study application). This visa is valid for three months only. After you have been admitted to a university or college, you can have this temporary visa converted into a residence permit for study purposes. Do not travel to Germany on a tourist visa. It cannot be converted 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 new member states that have realized their entry into the European Community on 1 May 2004 and 1 January 2007 (except for Cyprus and Malta) 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. Please inform yourself in detail about the regulations that apply to your nationality! While some of the new EU member states do not have to meet any visa requirements on entry into Germany, citizens of other countries still have to apply for a visa for study purposes at the German embassy in question. Please note that it is not possible to apply for a visa for study purposes after having entered Germany.
Full-time students need a Finance Certificate
In case you need a study visa for a stay at a German host university or college you will have to provide evidence of finance by presenting a finance certificate. Such a certificate does not only serve the authority that processes the details you supplied for your visa, it is also important for you on a personal level. You will have to finance your studies 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 without stress. You can spend your time studying, without having to earn money during your stay. You can of course try to find a part-time job, however, the number of vacant part-time jobs is limited. Moreover, special conditions concerning part-time employment apply to students staying in Germany on a visa for study purposes. In many cases a work permit is needed. It can be obtained at the responsible International Office (branch of the municipal authority).
Solid financing in advance will prove of great benefit to your studies. Anyhow, the monthly living costs for a student in Dresden are slightly below the federal average. In order to prove that you are able to finance studying and living in Germany, you will have to prove a sum of 7020 euros per semester at your disposal. If you can only partly fulfill this requirement, you may find a person who gives you 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. Under certain conditions foreign students are also entitled to the student loan „BaföG“. The responsible BaföG office in the Studentenwerk at your place of study will provide you with all necessary information. Without a financial certificate 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 the above mentioned monthly sum as a benchmark figure. Financial aid through grants or foundations is always limited. It is therefore advisable to inform yourself in your home country about the possibilities of financial aid for your study stay in Germany.
Health Insurance is Obligatory
During a stay in Germany for study purposes it is also necessary to have a health insurance.
Foreign students who are EU citizens
If your home country is part of the European Union please ask the health insurance company in your home country for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). After your arrival in Germany you should go to a locally represented health insurance company in order to register by presenting your European Health Insurance Card. After registration you will receive an insurance certificate from the German health insurance company in question. Please present this certificate to the Academic International Office staff 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!
Foreign students who are Non-EU citizens
If your home country is not a member of the European Union, you are required to take out health insurance with a compulsory health insurance company yourself. That will involve a monthly health insurance payment of approximately 60 euros.
If you are over 30 years of age, you are obliged to enter a private health insurance deal with an acknowledged insurance company for students. Please inform yourself at the Foreigners’ Registration Office about the health insurances accepted in Germany. A travel health insurance contract from your home country is only valid for three months. Please do also consider that in case of sickness you will have to pay for your treatment in advance (will be reimbursed later).
Reserve a room in a university hall of residence from home
After you have successfully met all prerequisites for entry into Germany, the only task remaining is organizing suitable accommodation. Your first point of reference should be the Studentenwerk Dresden (Office of Residential Life), that regards the provision of student hall rooms to German and international students as one of its key tasks.
The easiest way of applying for a room in a hall of residence is by using the application forms for foreign students provided on the website of the Studentenwerk. Please fill out the application form and send it to the Studentenwerk Dresden together with your notification of admission and all other required documents. If you receive a confirmation, you can look forward to living in one of our halls of residence in Dresden. Almost all halls of residence have recently been refurbished, offering modern comfort of living with nice people, many recreational facilities, student clubs and high speed internet access. As you can see on the application form, you can choose between several options concerning the type of accommodation. The available rooms are either single or double rooms in large flat-sharing units or separate apartments.
Approximately 15% of the student population in Dresden is 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 of finding an appropriate apartment or room due to sufficient availability.
To share a flat with one or more room mates is a very popular and cheap alternative solution. Information on offers and demands can be found on campus or in regional and local magazines such as SAX and Dresdner, in the independent newspaper for students in Saxony called ad rem or in the university newspaper CAZ. If you have not yet applied for a room in a university hall of residence and have not yet found suitable accommodation, the International Guest House or the youth hostels in Dresden offer reasonably priced transitory accommodation. In any case, the Studentenwerk Dresden is there to help you and makes every effort to provide you with a room in a university hall of residence.