Deutsches Studentenwerk

Making a good start

Bank account

Open a bank account as soon as possible after your arrival. This will make it much easier to organise monthly payments such as rent and insurance.

Account maintenance fees are usually charged for a bank account. However, most banks and savings banks offer current accounts free of charge for students - ask for a student account.

Methods of payment

In Germany people tend to pay in cash - especially for small amounts. Credit cards are relatively widespread but are not often used for everyday purchases.

On the other hand, payment by cash card is very common.

Driving licence

Foreign driving licences are valid for stays of up to six months in Germany. However, you may have to provide a German translation of your national licence or an international driving licence.

After six months non-European driving licences are mostly no longer valid. Thereafter, you will most probably have to take the German driving licence.

Rundfunkbeitrag / TV-Radio-License

Every person, who is registered in an apartment in Germany, will receive a letter from "Landesrundfunkanstalt", which is the regional public broadcasting agency (former "GEZ"), every three months. You will be asked to pay 18,36 Euro a month, regardless if you possess or actually make use of a television or radio. Only if you receive student loan (BAFöG) you can apply for exemption.

The German Federal Administrative Court ruled on October 30, 2019 (AZ: 6 C 10.18) that even students who do not receive any financial aid (such as BAföG) should be exempted from fees as a hardship case if their income does not exceed the subsistence level (requirement rates according to SGB II / SGB XII).

Further information