Coming to Germany can be exciting for students, but many face a vicious cycle of documents that prevent them from getting a visa. This cycle goes a bit like this:
You start with needing an Anmeldung (registration), bank account, or student health insurance. The only problem that many students face is that they need a bank account to get health insurance and an Anmeldung (registration) to get a bank account and a bank account to get the Anmeldung (because they need to pay for the apartment and prove their income or provide a schufa).
Many international students can avoid this by getting placed within a student dorm. Still, with waiting times that are sometimes upwards of four semesters, that’s not always an option and can leave people in a challenging situation.
How to get around the vicious cycle
Thankfully, for international students, many people at Feather have been international students in Germany at one time or another and have created a process to help. First, we break the cycle by allowing students to sign up without an address or bank account. We can also provide you with preliminary confirmation of coverage to help speed up the visa process.
If you’re still abroad and want a bank account right away, you can try with N26 as long as you have a place for them to mail the card to.
Students from other European countries and countries with a healthcare agreement
This is by far the easiest way to get health insurance in Germany since you’ll have the choice to switch your health insurance to one of Germany’s many public insurers, or you can use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). If you start working, you’ll need to sign up for German public healthcare even if you’re just a working student, which TK explains in this article.
Here is a list of the following countries with health insurance agreements with Germany:
- An EU State
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- North Macedonia
Students from countries that allow a tourists visa
If you’re coming from a country that is granted a 90-day tourist visa, you can apply for your insurance after entering Germany. Please keep in mind that you’ll need to gather quite a few documents for the student visa, plus wait for an appointment depending on the city you’re in, so it’s important to get started right away.
To register on our website, you’ll have the option between four of the largest insurance providers. Each has a small perk, so you can pick which would be most beneficial to you!
Other than that, you’ll be required to provide the following documents for your insurance application (required for all students regardless of visa requirements):
- Immatrikulationsbescheinigung (proof of registration at your university)
- IBAN (German or European bank account number)
- German address (no need for the Anmeldung, we believe you. Plus, you won’t get your card if your name isn’t on the mailbox)
Students coming from countries with restricted entry
If you’re from a country with entry restrictions to Germany, like India or China, you’ll need to apply for a specific visa at your local embassy before coming to Germany. If you try to go to Germany on a tourist visa, you won’t be eligible for a student visa.
You’ll be granted three months for the temporary student visa, and you’ll need to apply for travel insurance during this time until you have a German address.
You can also apply for our Expat Insurance which you can use until you fulfill the above requirements for public insurance.
Student prices for different providers
Depending on the health insurance provider, you’ll end up paying a slightly different amount. This is about €5, depending on the insurance provider. A full list of prices for different student health insurances can be found in this article.
Certain public health insurance providers sometimes charge different amounts depending on the Bundesland (federal state) you’re studying in. This is the case for AOK and IKK, but you can expect the same coverage since the government regulates the services public insurance providers offer.
You might think that you’re eligible for public health insurance just because you’re studying, but there are some limitations for students that can ban them from entering the public health insurance system.
First, you have to be going to a pre-approved university (you can see our list on the drop-down menu when signing up for public health insurance). If you aren’t going to an approved university, we will let you know and provide you with an alternative to public health insurance until you are finished with your studies.
Secondly, you have to be under the age of 30. As soon as you turn 30, you are no longer eligible for public health insurance as a student and will need to sign up for either expat insurance or discounted student insurance for those over 30.
What is the Immatrikulationsbescheinigung?
Immatrikulationsbescheinigung means proof of registration in English. This is a paper that you will need to get from your university in order to apply for student health insurance and your visa. This paper will also be useful to have when going through German customs since it means you’ve already paid your next semester’s fees.
There is an online portal for almost all universities where you can download the document in both English and German. Otherwise, you can go to the International Office or Infopoint to ask someone to help you find the document.
The people at the international office are generally used to these questions and happy to help.
What happens when I finish studying?
When you finish your studies in Germany, you are eligible for a “looking for a job” visa valid for 18 months. This visa can be applied for after you submit your thesis and get proof from the testing center that you will pass.
At this point, you can work full-time in any capacity until your “looking for a job” visa has expired. Then you will need to pick from one of Germany’s numerous working visas — at 24 months of working full-time, you are also eligible for permanent residency since you have a German degree.
It’s at this point where you can switch to public insurance if you are over 30 and studying since you are eligible if you work full-time through a German company.