Upon Arrival in Berlin
Table of contents
Welcome to Berlin
There are a few administrative matters to take care of upon your arrival in Berlin. We have listed the most important topics for you below.
- EU/EEA/Swiss students with a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) need to present this card at a German health insurance agency. Please make sure that the validity of the EHIC covers the entire duration of your exchange. A form will be issued which confirms that your insurance is sufficient to be enrolled. You are free to choose your health insurance provider. The two companies we often work with are TK and AOK. Your contact at TK is Mr. Gunnar Löwenberg (Tel.: 040 - 460 65 10 37 19, E-Mail: Gunnar.Loewenberg@tk.de). At AOK, your contact is Ms. Ulrike Simon-Mauersberger (Tel.: 0049 (0)800 2650 802 6475 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Students without a valid EHIC are required to obtain a local health insurance cover equivalent to a German public health insurance after their arrival in Germany as it is not possible to accept other insurance covers from your home country. Representatives of the health insurance companies TK and AOK will be present at the Welcome Meeting and will be happy to answer your questions and also offer you to sign up with them on the day. However you can of course sign up with any of the approximately 30 statutory providers of health insurance in Germany who all charge the same fees (around 105 EUR/month).
- If you are a Turkish citizen coming from a Turkish university, you are advised to speak to one of the Health Insurance representatives at our Welcome Meeting in order to enquire whether your Turkish Insurance can be accepted based on the bilateral Social Security Agreement between Germany and Turkey
The obligatory semester contribution for exchange students of around 260 EUR needs to be paid by bank transfer from a European bank account (IBAN and BIC) after your arrival in Berlin (within 4 weeks after the Welcome Meeting). It is recommended that students without a European bank account should open a German bank account or a European online bank account.
The semester contribution is almost entirely used to cover the costs for the public transport ticket which entitles you to use the public transport system (city railway, underground, tram and bus) in zones A, B and C (Berlin and surrounding area). A small share of the semester contribution is used to cover other costs, e.g. expenses for the student union. It is obligatory for all students to pay the semester contribution and it is not possible to stay enrolled without paying the semester contribution. The semester contribution is not a tuition fee. In accordance with existing exchange cooperation agreements, no additional costs beyond the semester fee are charged. Students can check on their LSF student portal whether the payment has been received by clicking on "Status of Re-Registration".
Those students who are completing an exchange at HTW Berlin that lasts longer than one semester, will need to transfer the semester contribution for the 2nd semester of their exchange by 1st March (re-registration for the Summer term) or by 1st September (re-registration for Winter term) respectively.
Student Card and Transportation Ticket
Obtaining the Student Card
Shortly before the beginning of our Welcome Weeks you will receive an e-mail from our IT-Department which contains an activation code for the LSF portal. Once you access the LSF portal you can generate a QR code which you can use to create your student card at one of the terminals outside room 140 on our Treskowallee Campus. After obtaining the card use the 2nd terminal next to room TA A147 to validate it and add your Transport Ticket.
Using the student card as Transport Ticket
This Transport Ticket which is integrated in the Student Card enables you to use the public transport system (city rail, underground, tram, bus, etc.) within zones A, B and C in Berlin. The semester ticket is valid for an entire semester (in winter semester from 1 October to 31 March and in summer semester from 1 April to 31 August). Information about public transport in Berlin and a personal route planner can be found on the website of the BVG (Berlin's public transport company). If you lose your semester ticket, please go to the Student Service Center at HTW Berlin in order to generate a new student card (subject to fees).
Additional functions of the Student Card
- Student ID: Use the card to prove that you are a student, e.g. in order to receive discounts and concessions
- Canteen card: After topping up your card with cash you can use it to pay for your meals in our canteens at affordable prices (student discounts apply)
- Library Card: Use your card to borrow a variety of media from one of our libraries
- Copy&Print Card: Use your card to copy or print documents after topping up the card
Registration at the Citizen´s Office
The registration with the Citizens‘ Office (Bürgeramt) is obligatory for everyone living in Berlin. You have to carry out the registration on your own.
How to carry out the registration:
- In order to make an appointment at any Citizens Office in Berlin, we recommend booking an appointment online by clicking on “Termin berlinweit suchen und buchen” on the following website: service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/120686/
- For the appointment you will need your passport/National ID, the completed registration form and your landlord’s confirmation (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung)
- If you are accommodated at one of our student dormitories you will receive the landlord's confirmation from the housing administration.
- If you are accommodated elsewhere, you should obtain the landlord’s confirmation from your landlord.
- The International Office at HTW Berlin can provide you with a filled in registration form upon request.
Residence Permit for Non-EU Students (VISA Service)
Students who do not have an EU (or EEA,CH) passport and do not enter Germany with a Visa for the entire duration of their stay are required to apply to the Landesamt für Einwanderung – LEA (Berlin Immigration office) for an official residence permit. The application needs to be made by personal appointment in time before your 90 day visa has expired.
You will be required to submit the following documents to the Berlin Immigration Office:
- Residence Permit Application Form
- Confirmation of registration with the local citizens' registration office (Bürgeramt)
- Copy of Passport and/or National ID card
- Confirmation of enrolment (can be downloaded from our LSF Student Portal)
- Confirmation of health insurance
- Proof of sufficient financial means
- Passport photograph (not a computer-generated photograph or colour copy)
Please visit the Berlin Immigration Office‘s website for information on how to apply for a residence permit during the Corona pandemic.
Opening a European Bank Account
As payments in Germany (rent, health insurance and other payments) are generally cashless and are made via bank transfer, we recommend to open a bank account unless you have a European bank account which might be accepted in some cases. In case you are staying at one of our dormitories, you will need a bank account so that the deposit you paid for your room can be refunded after you move out. We recommend to open a free student bank account at a bank with positive reviews and online banking services, such as N26, DKB, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank or Postbank. Fees and services may vary, so we recommend comparing the different options before making your choice.