After arriving in Karlsruhe, you should:
1) Open a bank account
You will need a "Girokonto" (checking account, as opposed to a "Sparkonto" savings account) to transfer the study fees. Also, it is used to refund your hall of residence deposit once you leave, or to credit your salary if you have a small job, and a possible tax rebate.
Banks at Karlsruhe include Sparkasse Karlsruhe, Dresdner Bank, Hypo Vereinsbank, Deutsche Bank AG, Commerzbank, Baden-Württembergische Bank AG, SEB AG, and others. You should always compare rates – a Girokonto should be free of charge. Ask for special student rates.
You will have to wait for a few weeks to receive your bank card, but if you have to use your account in the meantime (withdraw or deposit money), you can talk to the bank officers at the counter.
Remember: If your account is overdraft, you will get a certain amount of credit by the bank but you are required to pay interest for this loaned money.
When you leave Karlsruhe, it is a good idea to keep your bank account open for your entire stay in Germany and close it from your home country, in case you will receive late refunds. Take the appropriate forms for closing your account with you. Please inform your bank of your valid address after leaving Karlsruhe.
2) Get health insurance
This is important, because students who have no valid health insurance coverage are de-registered ("exmatrikulieren") by law and cannot continue their studies or sit exams.
Health insurance agreements exist with all EU member states and most of the other European countries. Social security arrangements exist with some countries, e.g. Turkey or Tunisia. Students who are insured at their home country and who present one of the following certificates: E 111, E 106, E 109, E 120, E 121 and E 122, are exempted from the obligatory German student health insurance. Students from other countries, check with your health insurance company, before coming to Karlsruhe, if your health insurance is valid and accepted in Germany. You will have to bring a letter clearly stating that you are covered (your name, your parents' names if applicable, dates of coverage, and any other relevant information has to be mentioned in the letter).
- If you have one of these certificates, please make sure that you bring it with you. It must be valid for the whole period of your stay. You need to present the certificate at a health insurance company to obtain an exemption certificate to show at HsKA, in order to register as a student. Ask for at least two original copies of this exemption, as you might have to hand them in at different institutions (some do not accept photocopies).
- If you have no valid health insurance and are not older than 30 years, you can join the German Student Health Insurance. The fee amounts to about 60 € per month. Insurance is offered by AOK, TK and other Gesetzliche Krankenkassen.
- Students older than 30 years: you will have to arrange for coverage through AOK or a private insurance company (e.g. Union Versicherungsdienst GmbH, Hanse-Merkur Reise-Krankenversicherung, Victoria Krankenversicherung AG, Inter Krankenversicherung). This coverage will probably be a bit more expensive than the student rate.
Please get information directly at the health insurance companies about available rates and application procedure.
When you need medical treatment, you present your insurance card to your doctor. Insurance pays costs for medical and dental treatment, prescription medication, medical adjuvants and aids, stays in hospital, treatment by therapists, rehabilitation measures. Sometimes the patient must pay a contribution towards these costs. Check with insurance and doctor to make sure that the treatment is paid by the insurance.
3) Register as a resident
All residents of Germany have to register their address. Students from EU/EFTA countries apply for a "Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung" (certificate of free movement). Non-european students need to get their visa extended into a residence permit. Note: the residence permit might be limited, so that you are required to extend in after a certain time.
Please get an appointment at the city's Ausländerbehörde or Bürgerbüro (Aliens Office), this can be done online.
You will have to register ("anmelden") withing your first week in Germany. Take all of your documents with you as informed by the Aliens' Office, including visa, passport, rental contract, Zulassung (admission letter), and registration form.
Please inform the Bürgerbüro if you: move during your stay in Karlsruhe, if you move to another town (you will have to deregister in Karlsruhe and register again at the office in the new town), if you wish to change your study program, or the university.
Register at the university ("Immatrikulieren")
- have paid the study fees (information for the transfer is included in the admission package)
- have a certificate of health coverage or exemption
- have a valid residence permit.
In order to register as a student, you will have to fill out the "Immatrikulationsantrag". You will also need one photograph (passport-size) and have to hand in all documents listed on the Zulassung.
You will receive the Campus Card. By using the student ID number printed on the Card, and your birth date, you will be able to use the online system to print out the Immatrikulationsbescheinigung (proof of enrolment), and other documents.