We will summarize here in this article all the noteworthy points of enrollment in Germany to give you an overview of the whole enrollment process.
As you have read in our other articles, there are 2 kinds of semesters in German universities: Sommersemester (summer semester) and Wintersemester (winter semester). While the summer semester begins in April, the winter semester begins in October. So, depending on which semester you will start your study, you have to be enrolled before the semester begins. Usually, you will also be informed about the deadline for enrollment in the admission email.
Once you are enrolled in the university, which means you have decided to start with your study at this university, you are entitled to attend seminars, lectures and other courses from your institution.
In case you haven’t received any information about the deadline for enrollment, please contact the International Office or Office of Students’ Affairs (Studentenzentrum/Studierendenzentrum or Studentensekreteriat). You may find the email address on the official website of your university.
This Office of Students’ Affairs is also where you should complete your enrollment. We highly recommend you be enrolled as soon as arriving in the city of your study.
The process of enrolment is not at all bureaucratic nor anything like that. Instead, it’s usually quite short. Just bring the following documents:
But different universities require different documents for enrollment so don’t forget to check the official website of the Office of Students' Affairs for all the required documents beforehand.
As soon as you are enrolled, you usually receive two things:
Student ID card: Each student will have a student ID card which they need to bring with them every day. You will need it for the library, canteens, sports, computer rooms, and also all means of transport, except for the ICE train, in their states, for free. The transportation fees are actually included in the semester contribution that you pay at the beginning of the semester.
But because of the production time, it usually takes up to 2 – 4 weeks to get the physical student ID card. Therefore you will get a confirmation as proof that you are an enrolled student in the university for the first few weeks. Please take this proof and also your passport with you during this time until your student ID card is sent to your address via post.
In case you lose your student card, you can go to the Office of Students' Affairs at your university to report your lost card. You can show them your passport/ID in Germany, registration proof to the staff and fill in a form to make a new one. You may also have to pay a small fee for your replacement card. If you ever lose your card, stay calm and follow the instruction on your university's official website to make a new one.
Access to your student email address: In Germany, each student will have a student email address provided by the university to contact the professors and fellow students online, do projects on the online learning platform or get updated on any news from the university. Your username and password will be activated after the enrollment. What you need to do is to register online first and change the password and start using the email to receive useful information prior to the start of your study.
Re-registration is called “Rückmeldung” in German. This is a crucial step that you always have to undergo before the start of every single semester. In German universities, the enrollment is only valid for one semester, which means you need to re-register for the next semester and pay its semester contribution. Near the end of each semester, you will receive an email from the university to remind you to re-register. The reason behind this is due to the differences in each student’s study plans, for example, some students may take a “Urlaubssemester” (vacation – semester) for an internship or exchange programs. It would be easier for the universities and also students themselves to organize the schedules in the form of registration before each semester. !
You will find more information about re-registration in
A Urlaubssemester - vacation semester - allows you to take a break from your study at university while still maintaining your student status. This option would come in handy, especially when you are not able to go to school for a long period. The reasons could be because you are sick, you take parental leave, you want to do an exchange program or an internship abroad. Registering for Urlaubssemester, you don't need to cancel your study while still able to get your personal business done. If you are planning to have a vacation semester, let your university know by re-registering on time.
In case you miss the deadline for re-registration, it is still possible to do handle this at the Studentenzentrum, but you must pay an administrative fee between 20 and 30€. If the worst comes to the worst, you won’t be able to re-register anymore. So, take a note in your cell phone or calendar that you have to re-register before the next semester comes.
You will find more information about "Urlaubssemester" at German universities in this article
That’s everything you need to know about enrollment at German universities. Don’t forget to read our other articles to smoothly plan your stay in Germany. Also, don’t hesitate to contact EDUBAO if you need help of any kind! Fighting!