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Enrolment: The official start of your studies

All students have to enrol at university before they can commence their studies. The certificate confirming enrolment is called an “Immatrikulationsbescheinigung”. It’s an important document that you’ll need on future occasions. The enrolment period is often quite short. After you have enrolled, you will receive a student ID.

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Student at the enrolment © Hagenguth/DAAD
Student at the enrolment . © Hagenguth/DAAD

Before you can begin studying, you first have to enrol. This procedure is called enrolment or “matriculation”. Once you’re officially enrolled, you are allowed to attend courses at university, take examinations and obtain an academic degree. Enrolment allows you to gain access to all the facilities at the university. Students are normally required to enrol in person at the Office of Student Affairs ("Studentensekretariat") at the university.

You may enrol if you have received notification of admission from your German university. If the university accepts your application for a study place, it will send you the notification of admission by mail. The letter also includes information concerning the enrolment period.

Documents for enrolment

The enrolment period is often quite short! You will need to present various documents for enrolment. The staff at the International Office and the Office of Student Affairs can tell you exactly what to bring along. Here are the documents you will definitely need:

  • Personal identification card or passport
  • Notification of admission
  • University entrance qualification: the original or a certified copy with a certified translation in German
  • Several passport photos
  • Confirmation of health insurance coverage by a public health insurance provider in Germany, or proof that your policy from your home country is recognised in Germany
  • Certification confirming that you have passed the German language examination.
Advising © Hagenguth/DAAD
Advising . © Hagenguth/DAAD

Once you have enrolled, you will receive a certificate of enrolment which also serves as your provisional student ID. You will have to present this certificate of enrolment to apply for a residence permit at the Alien Registration Office.

You will also receive an electronic payment slip with which you must pay the semester contribution and possible tuition fees. As soon as the university receives your payment, it will send you your official student ID card by post.

Along with the student ID card, every newly enrolled student receives an account on the university server, e-mail address and password. You will need this information to take advantage of your university’s intranet services, such as the electronic course prospectus, online registration for courses and exams and online course material provided by your instructors.

Student ID card

Every student at university is issued a student ID card. You will need your card to use the library, dining hall, computer rooms, sports facilities, etc. The student ID frequently doubles as a ticket for public transportation in the university town. You can also receive special student discounts with your card, for example, on tickets to cultural events, swimming pools, museums and trade fairs.

As soon as you are enrolled, you should register with the institute or department responsible for your subject of study. If you’re majoring in more than one subject, you may have to register at several institutes. You can do this at the administrative office in your institute or department. Sometimes they issue you a separate departmental ID (for which you need a passport photo). With this ID card, you can use the facilities reserved for members of the institute, for example, the specialist library.

Re-registration

Your enrolment at university is only valid one semester at a time. For every additional semester, you have to re-register and pay the semester contribution. The re-registration period for the coming semester is always at the end of the current semester. If you forget to re-register, you will have to pay an “administrative fee” and in the worst case, you might even be removed from the register. You can find the re-registration deadlines on your university’s website or you can inquire at the International Office.