Before your arrival

1. Online application

Please check first, what to do if your home university is a partner of h_da or if it is not a partner: Application

After you‘ve been nominated by your home university to study with us , you will receive an email with a link to our online application. The email will be sent to you in May if you‘re applying for a winter semester, and in September, if you‘re applying for a spring semester. Our online application deadlines are 

  • 1 May for the winter semester 
  • 1 November for the spring semester 

For your online application, you need to submit the following documents:

  • our online application form (will be sent to you by email) 
  • a copy of your ID card 
  • a passport-sized photo
  • a CV 
  • a provisional learning agreement 
  • An English and/or German langauge certficate (depending on the language you wish to study in at h_da)
  • An official transcript of records (i.e. a list of all your grades so far) from your home university (in either English or German)
  • proof of your health insurance (for EU students a scan of your European Health Insurance Card; non-EU students can upload a document saying that they will buy a health insurance plan later) 
  •  If you‘re applying for the Department of Design or the Department of Media, you will also be required to send a portfolio of your previous projects and works by email.

You will find out if you‘ve been accepted at h_da in 

  • June, if you‘re applying for a winter semester 
  • December, if you‘re applying for a spring semester 

If you‘ve been accepted, you will receive a Letter of Acceptance with which you can apply for a visa (if you need one).

The academic calendar at h_da (Important! Please note that the start date of the semester is different for exchange students: The spring semester starts 1 March; the winter semester starts 1 September, i.a. more than a month earlier! All other dates are the same.)

2. Visa

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 certficiate 

Please make sure you apply for your visa well in advance as the process might take several months!

Whether or not you need a visa, depends on your nationality (see also an up-to-date overview of the Federal Foreign Office):

EU nationals do not need a visa and may skip this section. 


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).

Option a):
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!


Option b):
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 861 € 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.

If you choose this option, we will assist you with your residence permit application!

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. 

If your ID lists your second nationality and it is a European one, you do not need a visa for your stay in Germany, but please double-check with your local embassy, just in case!

3. Accommodation

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 deal with the Studierendenwerk Darmstadt, a non-profit organization that runs a range of residence halls for students in Darmstadt. More precisely, we have a fixed number of rooms in two of their residence halls which you can apply for. The rooms are located in shared apartments; this means you will be living with one to four other students (these may be international students or local students) and the monthly rent is between 350 and 450 €. You will also need to pay a deposit of one month‘s rent (which you will get back later). For more information on the residence halls, see the link in the box on the right-hand side.  
So, what is that you have to do in order to be assigned a room? Just fill out the housing form we will send you between June and August (if you’ve applied for the winter semester), or between December and January (if you’ve applied for a spring semester), respectively.  

Please note:

  • There is no guarantee that you will be allocated a room 
  • The rooms can only be rented for one semester 

Please note that the move-in date will be 1 September, if you‘re staying with us for a winter semester and 1 March, if you‘re staying with us for a spring semester. This means that you might need to book a room in a hostel. Hotel or through Airbnb for one or two nights at the end September, or the end of March, respectively. 

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: 



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!

4. 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

Information on the German health insurance system

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!

  1. It is a very good plan and valid throughout all of Europe.
  2. You’ll have easy access to medical services in Germany (as you will have a to European Health Insurance Card).

5. Financing your stay

You‘re probably thinking about the financial side of your study-abroad stay with us. 

1. Expected living costs

Monthly expenses

rent (average)  450,00 €
German health insurance approx. (if required)  100,00 €
materials for your studies   50,00 €
food, clothing, etc.  300,00 €
broadcasting fee (compulsory)  10,00 €
leisure activities    100,00 €
total 1.010,00 €

One-time costs

semester administrative fee approx. 222,00 €

rental deposit ((average) will be paid back)) 450,00 €

residence permit for Non-European students 100,00 €

room set up (bedding, kitchen equipment) 50,00 €

total 820,00 €

2. Scholarship opportunities

For some of you, scholarship opportunities are available.

You‘re from…


If you‘re from the European Union, or the European Economic Area, you‘re eligible for an Erasmus scholarship. Please apply for an Erasmus grant at your home university. They will guide you through the process. For more information, see the links in the boxes on the right-hand side.

…Brazil, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Mexico, Namibia, Paraguay, Russia, Vietnam or Ukraine:

If you‘re from one of these countries, you‘re eligible for a so-called STIBET scholarship, (“STIBET-Kontaktstipendium“), a scholarship funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) (see box on the right-hand side). STIBET scholarship holders will receive a scholarship of 450 euros per month, granted for a total of 5 months. On average, we award 4-5 scholarships per semester, but this number may vary.

… Pokhara University, Nepal:

If you‘re from our partner university Pokhara University in Nepal, you‘re eligible for an Erasmus scholarship of 800€ per month for up to 5 months plus travel expenses.

Akademia Sztuk Pięknych Jana Matejki w Krakowie (Poland) •Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai din Cluj (Romania) • Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Katowicach (Poland) • Ulyanovsk State Technical University (Russia)

We offer scholarships within the Ostpartnerschaften-Programm funded by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) for students from these h_da partner universities. The scholarships include a monthly grant of 850 euros as well as travel expenses for up to 5 months.


Other scholarship opportunities

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers even more scholarships. Check out their scholarship database.
Please note that some scholarships require you to apply well in advance (sometimes even a year before your stay with us) so you should start looking for a scholarship right now!

Please feel free to ask for more information by email:

6. 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
Make sure you select the right semester.For English-taught classes, select “English“ as the “Language of instruction“. For German-taught classes, select “German“.


Learning Agreement and 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:

  1. Discuss the classes you’re required to take and if and how they can be counted towards your degree with the departmental (Erasmus) coordinator of your home university.
  2. Ask your home university which program they’re using for the Learning Agreement. Most universities have a special program by which the document can be filled in eletronically only, others still accept paper documents.
  3. Check the list [Link] to see who’s your departmental coordinator at h_da (Ronja and Marina cannot sign the document). Send us your Learning Agreement either through the Erasmus Dashboard or through MoveON or through another program used by your home university. Explanations on who can sign your Learning Agreement can be found on this  explanation sheet

Make sure you hand in the document after receiving your offical Acceptance Letter from us (but no earlier than that). Typically, the Learning Agreement should be issued about 4 to 6 weeks prior to the start of your exchange semester with us.  


7. Buddy program

Everybody needs somebuddy. Looking for a fellow student to help you get settled at h_da and in Darmstadt? Don‘t worry – we got you covered!

Our Buddy Program is designed to pair up local students (“welcome buddies“) with newly enrolled international students who are about to start their studies with h_da in Darmstadt or Dieburg (“incoming buddies“). Not only do welcome buddies support their respective incoming buddies in study-related matters, the program also facilitates forming new friendships, gaining intercultural experiences and improving language skills for both buddies. Taking part in the Buddy Program is free of charge.

8. Pre-Arrival online meetup

Shortly before your arrival in Darmstadt, we will meet up online to discuss the following aspects of your study-abroad stay with us: 

  • your enrollment form (we will fill out your enrollment form together)
  • Your health insurance coverage (for non-EU students) 
  • We will also walk you through the things you need to take care of once you‘re in Darmstadt. 

The pre-arrival online meetup will take place online in August for those of you coming to Darmstadt for the winter semester as well as in February for those of your starting their studies with us in March. You will be invited by email.