Before your arrival
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These things need to be taken care of before your arrival in Darmstadt.
As an international exchange student, you may need a visa and/or a residence permit to study in Germany, depending on where you’re from.
To apply for a visa, turn to the local embassy or consulate in your home country. The documents typically needed to apply for a visa comprise the following:
- a valid passport
- your Letter of Accetpance from h_da
- proof of health insurance
- proof of sufficient funds
- a transcript of your study skills
- a language certficate
Please make sure you apply for your visa well in advance as the process might take several months! Find helpful information also on this website.
Whether or not you need a visa, depends on your nationality (see also an up-to-date overview of the Federal Foreign Office):
Non-EU students with a residence permit for another EU member state (REST procedure)
You belong in this group if…
- you have a vaild residence permit for the purpose of study in an EU member state (except for Denmark, Ireland, UK)
- you have been admitted for an exchange semester at h_da
If this applies to you, you are eligible for a simplified visa application procedure called EU-REST (REsearches & STudents). It's not a classical visa application but a formal request to have your current residence permit cover your exchange in Germany as well. It is requested at the Federal Office of Migration and Refugees (BAMF) and allows you to study in Germany for up to 360 days as well as to travel within the EU. If you are not sure whether this applies to you, please contact the embassy at your home country first.
These are the documents we need from you:
The REST permit has to be requested by us (not by you). For this, please send us the following documents by email (they should be in English or German, except for the bank statement):
- residence permit for the EU Member State where you're currently studying (the permit must be for study purposes; the word "study" has to appear in the document)
- proof of financial means for your exchange in Germany: 934 euros per month for at least 5 months (*for more details, see below)
- proof of a valid health insurance, i.e. your European Health Insurance Card (as a scan, both back and front), a travel health insurance is not sufficient
*How to prove your financial means:
- a scholarship confirmation from your home university listing 934 euros or less per month (the document has to state how much you receive per month)
- a confirmation of a blocked bank account with a financial institution that is permitted to carry out banking transactions in the Federal Republic of Germany. A blocked bank account is an account where you deposit money but that lets you use only a certain amount of the money each month, i.e. part of the money is blocked. Typically, you cannot use more than 934 euros from this bank account each month
- a declaration of commitment (issued by the German embassy)
- a written confirmation from your parents (details in the letter should include: amount, period, date and signature) and a copy of your parents' passport. You're also required to provide evidence about how you receive this money from your parents (e.g. through a bank statement listing the respective transactions)
- a student loan
- your own bank statement (which cannot be older than three months and not be longer than 2 pages)
- if you have a job: an income confirmation for this job (you'll need a copy of your work contract).
> These options may be combinded to reach the overall sum of 934 euros per month.
The Federal Office of Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has 30 days to decline the application (but in most cases, it has to accept it). It is your resposibility to hand in the documents in time. If you have a question concerning the REST procedure, please let us know: email@example.com
If you’re from a non-EU country other than Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea or USA, you cannot enter Germany on your passport and need to apply for a visa in your home country before coming to Darmstadt as early as possible (preferably as soon as you have received our admission letter).
If you’re from one these countries, you can a) apply for a visa that covers the entire period of your stay, or b) enter Germany on your passport, i.e. without a visa, and apply for a so-called residence permit in Germany (about 2 months into your stay).
You apply at the German embassy or consulate in your home country before coming to Darmstadt. The embassies and consulates are often less strict about the proof of financial means for your stay in Germany (Option b requires you to deposit a large amount of money on a special bank account). We highly recommend this option! Please read below why.
You may enter Germany without a visa and then request a so-called residence permit when you’re in Germany. Entering on your passport gives you the right to stay in Germany for up to 90 days. Of course, your stay with us will be longer than 90 days, which is why you will need to request a residence permit. Requesting a residence permit is similar to requesting a visa.
It requires you to open a blocked bank account and deposit 934 € (starting from Januar 2023) for each month you‘re staying in Germany. You can open the blocked bank account either before you come to Darmstadt or when you‘re here. See the information of the Federal Foreign Office.
In many cases it takes a bit longer currently to get an appointment with the Foreigner's Office in Darmstadt/Dieburg. If your 90 days are expired and you still haven't talked to the Foreigner's Office, it's possible that you may not be able to travel outside of Germany for a while. This is why we highly recommend you to apply for a visa in your home country.
If you do choose this option, we will assist you with your residence permit application once you're in Darmstadt/Dieburg!
Darmstadt offers plenty of housing options, from residence halls to private apartments. Finding a place to stay for only one or two semesters can be a little tricky - but we‘re there to help you!
We have a contract with Studierendenwerk Darmstadt, a non-profit organization that runs a range of student residence halls in Darmstadt. Each semester, they provide us with a set number of pre-booked rooms in two of their residence halls, for which you can apply. The rooms are part of shared apartments and exchange students share their apartment with between two to four other students (these may be other international students or local students). The monthly rent for the rooms is between 350 and 500 euros. Additionally, students have to pay a deposit of 2.5 monthly rents (which you'll get back after moving out of your room).
So, how can you apply for one of our International-Office rooms? for this, just fill out the form we'll send you by email in June or July (if you're coming for the winter semester), or December or January (if you're coming for the spring semester).
Please be aware that:
- there is no guarantee that you will be assigned a room
- the rooms are rented out for one semester only (even if you're staying for two semesters)
- the Media Departmen is located in Dieburg; classes from the Business Department are partially taught at the Dieburg campus. Our International-Office rooms are located in Darmstadt, not Dieburg (Dieburg is about 30 minues away from Darmstadt)
- the move-in date is 1 September, or 1 March, respectively. If you arrive in Darmstadt a day or two earlier than that, please make sure to book a hostel, hotel or Airbnb room for the first one or two nights.
- special deal: For the months of August, and February, you do not have to transfer a monthy rent for the room
- the application procedure for our special International-Office rooms is through h_da's International Office, not through Studierendenwerk Darmstadt's website.
Some students search for "Studierendenwerk Darmstadt" on Google and appy for a general Studierendenwerk room before actually having received all of the information on our special International-Office rooms (all of these rooms are officially rented out through Studierendenwerk Darmstadt, but our International-Office rooms are different from the general Studierendenwerk rooms). Of course, you may apply for a general Studierendenwerk room through the website of Studierendenwerk Darmstadt. Please bear in mind, though, that the terms and conditions for the general Studierendenwerk rooms are different and generally more strict. As there are differences between the two types of rooms (even though they're all part of Studierendenwerk Darmstadt), we strongly advise you to wait for our email about our International-Office rooms before making a final decision about your place to stay in Darmstadt. This email is typically sent out to students in June or July (for students studying with us in the winter), and December or January (if you're coming to Darmstadt/Dieburg in the spring). The application procedure for our special International-Office rooms is through h_da's International Office, not through Studierendenwerk Darmstadt's website - the rooms are not available through the general Accommodation Service of Studierendenwerk Darmstadt.
You may apply for a general room in one of the many student residence halls in Darmstadt through Studierendenwerk Darmstadt's Accommodation Service. Applications for these rooms are managed by Studierendenwerk Darmstadt's Accommodation Service, not by h_da's International Office. A condition to apply for their rooms is that you're officially enrolled at one of the universities in Darmstadt. You'll find all the relevant details on their website.
Important: International-Office rooms versus general Studierendenwerk rooms
It is up to you whether you'd like to apply for one of the International-Office rooms or for a general Studierendenwerk room, but please be aware that the conditions for the two types of rooms are different. The conditions for the general Studierendenwerk rooms are typically a bit more strict than for our International-Office rooms:
- Rental period: Both types of rooms are rented out for 6 months. However, the exact rental period is different for the two types of rooms: The lease for our International-Office rooms starts on 1 September, and 1 March, respectively, because your exchange semester with h_da starts on 1 September, or 1 March, respectively. The end of the rental period is end of February, and end of Augus.
The lease for the general Studierendenwerk rooms on the other hand starts on 1 April and 1 October and runs until the end of March, and September, respectivey.
- Cancellation procedure: The lease for the general Studierendenwerk rooms needs to be actively cancelled by you if you want to move out; the lease for the International-Office rooms ends automatically.
- Number of payments: For the International-Office rooms there is a special deal with Studierendenwerk Darmstadt, according to which you do not have to transfer any monthly rent for your room in August, and February, respectively. For there general Studierendenwerk rooms, there is no such deal.
Please bear these aspects in mind when applying for a general Studierendenwerk room.
You‘re not the residence hall type? That‘s ok – you can find a place to stay on your own. These links might be helpful:
- Dünen Apartment: https://www.home2feel.de/mikrowohnen/
- Smartments: https://www.smartments-student.de/en/locations/darmstadt-stephanstrasse
- Stolze Haus Darmstadt: https://www.stolzehaus.de/en/
- The Fizz: https://www.the-fizz.com/student-accommodation/darmstadt
- Uninest: https://unineststudents.de/en/locations/darmstadt/elementum
- Camp 5 Dieburg: https://camp5.de/en/
- Quartier 56 Dieburg: https://www.quartier56.com/international-students/
If you‘re looking for a flatshare, you might want to check out this website:
We also have a Facebook group called "h_da housing exchange”, where you can get in touch with h_da students who are about to spend a semester or two abroad and who would like to sublet their room – it’s worth taking a look! (But please note that h_da is not liable in any way for the offers published on these websites!)
It‘s likely that your room will be in one of the two residence halls "Karlshof" (Alfred-Messel-Weg) or "Berliner Allee" (LAB), but changes are possible. You'll find more information and pictures here.
Useful information when looking for accommodation
WG - Flatshare
In Germany, it is common for students and trainees to live in a flatshare, called wohngemeinschaft (WG) in German. This means living in a shared apartment with other students and/or trainees and sharing your kitchen, bathroom, and living room (if there is one), but having a room of your own. Most room offers are posted on wg-gesucht.de. This is a German website, but it has an English interface. Even though most offers are posted in German, you may translate them easily using DeepL.
3. Health Insurance
This is probably the least exciting thing to take care of, but believe us: It‘s one of the most important ones!
In Germany, only people with sufficient health insurance coverage can be enrolled as students. This is why we are required by law to check your insurance status before you can complete your final enrollment at h_da. Please note that receiving a Letter of Acceptance does not mean you’re enrolled at h_da. Enrollment takes place in two steps:
- Pre-enrollment on the basis of your Letter of Acceptance
- Final enrollment in person – when you’re in Darmstadt and after your health insurance plan has been checked
So, what kind of health insurance coverage do you need? Again, this depends on where you’re from:
You already have European-wide health insurance coverage – make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for the entire duration of your stay and bring it with you! Note that you will be required to pay a certain amount of the treatment costs in advance, but you can ask your health insurance company for reimbursement. Please contact us if you do not have an EHIC.
You are required to prove that you have a health insurance plan equivalent to the public health insurance coverage for students in Germany. Basically, you have two options:
- You have bought a private health insurance plan that covers your study abroad-stay in Germany. In that case, please contact us so we can have your insurance plan checked. If your health insurance coverage is sufficient, you will receive a validation letter from us that you can use for your enrollment with us.
Please note, though: Most private health insurance plans are not accepted for enrollment at h_da, even if they are recommended by the International Office of your home university! Travel health insurance plans are not accepted, either.
- You can take out a German public student health insurance plan (monthly costs around 100 €). We will send you an email with all the details.
Our advice: Apply for a German public health insurance plan!
- It is a very good plan and valid throughout all of Europe.
- You’ll have easy access to medical services in Germany (as you will have a to European Health Insurance Card).
The German healthcare system
You'll find more information about the German health insurance system at:
4. Expected living expenses
You‘re probably thinking about the financial side of your study-abroad stay with us.
Expected living costs
5. Classes (first look) & Learning Agreement
In Germany, the final course catalog is available online rather late compared to other countries. At h_da, the course catalog for the winter semester does not post online before 1 September, the course catalog for the spring semester is usually not available before 1 April.
Even though you will not be able to select your final classes before these dates, you can become familiar with the typical course offerings by taking a look at our English-taught classes or our German-taught classes on https://qis.h-da.de/
Make sure you select the right semester.For English-taught classes, select “English“ as the “Language of instruction“. For German-taught classes, select “German“.
Erasmus Online Learning Agreement (OLA)
If you‘re an Erasmus+ student, please don‘t forget to have your Learning Agreements signed (one Learning Agreement has to be signed before your arrival; if you change a class or two you need to have a new one signed after you‘ve arrived in Darmstadt). Without the signed Learning Agreement you will not receive an Erasmus+ grant. Please note that it takes a couple of days for us to sign the document.
For Erasmus students, completing this document is absolutely necessessary. But even if you’re not an Erasmus student, your home university may ask you to fill in a Learning Agreement and have it signed by us.
This is how it is done:
- Consult with your home university's departmental Erasmus coordinator about the classes you should take at h_da. Ask them whether these classes can be counted towards your degree and if so, in what way.
- Ask your home university what online platform they're using for the Learning Agreement. Most universities use a special online platform which requires you to fill out the Learning Agreement electronically.
- Take a look at our info sheet to find out which h_da professor should sign your Learning Agreement; look up their address and other information in our list of staff members (h_da's International Office cannot sign the document, but you may list us as an administrative contact).
- Send us your Online Learning Agreement through the online platform your home university uses (e.g. through the Erasmus Dashboard).
When should you submit your Learning Agreement? Please submit your Learning Agreement after being officially admitted for an exchange semester with us. For to six weeks before the start of the exchange semester will do.
6. Online get-together
Before your arrival in Darmstadt/Dieburg, we will meet up online to discuss the following aspects of your exchange semester(s) with us:
- the things you need to take care of once you‘re in Darmstadt
- the document you need for your final enrollment at h_da
- the types of health insurance plan that are accepted at h_da (for students from overseas & Turkey)
Our online meeting is also a great way to meet your fellow exchange students for the first time! After the meeting, your exchange semester will suddenly feel much realer and more palpable.
Our online meeting will take place in June/July for those of you coming to Darmstadt for the winter semester as well as in January/February for those of you starting their studies with us in March. You will be invited by email.
7. Enrollment at h_da
After our online meeting, you will be required to prepare your final enrollment documents. For your final enrollment, we need:
- your enrollment form
- a confirmation from your health insurance provider
Semester contribution fee:
Students from Europe, or the EEA, are required to pay the semester contribution by bank wirement to h_da's bank account before their arrival in Darmstadt/Dieburg (i.e. before 1 September/1 March). We will send you the bank details as well as the exact amount to be paid by email. Do not send any money to h_da until you receive our email! Please also note that the exchange students pay a reduced semester contribution (excluding the administrative part of the fee).
Students from overseas and Turkey are required to pay the semester contribution only after they have arrived in Darmstadt/Dieburg (see here).
8. Information for students with disabilities
9. Our scholarship opportunities
Some of you are eligible for a scholarship. These are the scholarships we offer:
Erasmus+ for students from Georgia and Ghana
Prerequisites for Erasmus+ funding
An Erasmus funding is generally possible if you...
- are enrolled in a Bachelor's or Master's program at Caucasus University, Georgian Institute of Public Affairs or Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
- have been admitted to an exchange program at the h_da
- have submitted all required application documents completely and on time and
When do I receive my Erasmus grant?
You will receive your Erasmus grant after you have arrived in Darmstadt/Dieburg. Before the money can be sent to your account, you have to hand in the following documents:
- the Erasmus contract (Grant Agreement for Studies) (we'll send it to you by email)
- a Learning Agreement (Part I - Before the Mobilty) and have it signed by all three parties
- you need to take the first OLS Language test (we'll send you the link)
- a Confirmation of Arrival
- you have to open a German bank account
The grant will be sent to your account in two installments. You'll receive the first installment shortly after your arrival in Darmstadt/Dieburg. The second installment will be paid to you after finishing your exchange semester with us. To receive it, you need to
- take the seond OLS Language test (we'll send you the link)
- complete the EU Survey (we'll send you the link)
- hand in a Confirmation of Stay
- hand in a Learning Agreement (Part III - After the Mobility) or a Transcript of Records
Prerequisites for a STIBET funding
STIBET funding is generally possible if you...
• You are enrolled in a Bachelor's or Master's programme at one of the listed partner universities.
• you have been admitted to an exchange programme at the h_da
• you have submitted all application documents completely and on time and
• you do not receive any other scholarships from your home university or your home country
What application documents do we need from you?
• Completed and signed application form (will be sent to you in advance)
• a Learning Agreement for your stay with us (here you can use the "Preliminary Course List" that you also used for your online application)
• a letter of motivation of max. one page
• a letter of recommendation from a supervising university lecturer (with official seal and signature of the lecturer)
• a curriculum vitae
• Transcript(s) from your home university (the transcript must include an explanation of the grading system used at your home university and one of the abbreviations used in the document)
What are the application deadlines?
The exact application deadlines may vary and will be communicated to you by email in November (if you want to start your stay in March) or in May (if you want to start your stay in September). As a rule, the deadlines are in December (if you want to study with us in the summer semester) or June (if you want to study with us in the winter semester).
The selection of the candidates is decided by a selection committee of the h_da consisting of a member of the International Office and a professor. The STIBET contact scholarship is a merit-based scholarship. The following criteria are used for the selection:
• your academic achievements to date
• your suitability for the courses you would like to take at the h_da
• the fit of your stay at h_da with your academic and/or professional career
• Additional qualifications (e.g. linguistic and/or intercultural preparation for your stay in Germany; existing knowledge of German or references to Germany), if applicable.
• Recommendation by professors or lecturers at your home university
What is the funding amount?
Currently, scholarship holders receive 450 EUR/month for five months (as of November 2022). The amount of the scholarship may change; we will announce this accordingly.
The payment of the scholarship is always subject to the condition that you have been admitted to the h_da for an exchange programme and that you actually start this programme.
The awarding of scholarships is subject to the availability of funds.
When will I receive the STIBET contact grant?
You will receive your scholarship after your arrival in Darmstadt or Dieburg. The following things must be completed before payment:
• you must have opened a German (or SEPA-compliant) bank account
• You must have signed a so-called scholarship acceptance declaration (i.e. a scholarship contract) with us.
The scholarship will be transferred to your account in several instalments (usually three). You will receive the first instalment approximately four weeks after your arrival in Darmstadt/Dieburg.
How do I write the scholarship report?
STIBET scholarship holders are required to submit a final scholarship report (approx. 1 - max. 2 pages). In addition to your current address, the date and your signature, the report should contain the following information:
- Do you think that the exchange semester at h_da was beneficial for your studies? If so, in what way?
- Do you think that the exchange semester at h_da was beneficial for your future career?
- What other issues or experiences do you also find relevant?
Start of the exchange semester
The start of your exchange semester is 1 September (for winter semesters), and 1 March (for spring semesters). We expect you to be in Darmstadt/Dieburg on these dates.
Our Welcome & Orientation Days as well as the events offerend during the semester will be announced through our Meetup group called "h_da exchange students". Please download the Meetup app (for Android or iOS) and create a user account using your real name and using the Latin alphabet. We'll send you the pass code for the group via email.
h_da has four campuses: Three are located in Darmstadt, one is located in Dieburg. The Dieburg campus is home to all study programs of the Media Department. A part of our Business classes too are taught at the Dieburg campus. Check out our interactive campus map!
The AirLiner Bus takes you from Frankfurt Airport to Darmstadt. See here for more information.
Here you'll find an overview of the classes taught at h_da. Make sure you select the right semester. For English-taught classes, select “English“ as the “Language of instruction“. For German-taught classes, select “German“.
Please note that the course catalog for winter semesters posts online on 1 September, the course catalog for spring semester is made available on 1 March. If the semester you need hasn't posted online yet, browse the classes that were taught last winter, or spring semester, respectively. Typically, the sam classes are taught each winter semester and each spring semester.