During your stay
Welcome to Darmstadt!
This section gives you an overview of the things you‘re required to do upon your arrival as well as fun and cultural things and events in and around Darmstadt!
- Moving into your room
- Our Welcome & Orientation Days
- Registration with the city
- Opening a bank account in Germany
- German language and culture
- Class selection and getting to know your department
- Exploring Darmstadt & the region
- Paying the semester administrative fee for another semester
- Requesting a residence permit
Those of you who have been assigned a room in one of the residence halls run by the Studierendenwerk, will move into their rooms typically on 1 September, or 1 March in the morning. The details will be sent to you by email.
The rooms in the residence halls are rented out without betlinen and kitchenware so you will need to buy those. Typically, after you have moved in, our student assistants will go buy these things with you in the city center of Darmstadt.
On your move-in day, you will receive a confirmation saying that you moved into your room. This document is called “wohnungsgeberbestätigung“ – you need it to register your address with City Hall later, so please keep it!
If you found a private accommodation on your own, please agree on a move-in date with your landlord! Please ask your landlord to issue a confirmation saying that you moved into your apartment/room, a so-called “wohnungsgeberbestätigung“ – you need this document to register your address with City Hall.
2. Our Welcome and Orientation Days
Our Welcome and Orientation Days (WOD) take place during the first two to three weeks in September and March, respectively. Our WOD program includes:
- Administrative matters: final enrollment with h_da (paying the semester contribution fee & receiving your Campus Card) & information sessions on important topics (such as how to open a bank account, how to sign up for classes, how to apply for a residence permit etc.) & a welcome meetup at your department
- German language and culture: There will be pre-semester German classes as well as a workshop on intercultural awareness
- Fun activities: a welcome dinner, trips to other cities nearby (such as Marburg, Mainz, etc.), trips within Darmstadt, a board gaming evening, and more
The exact program will be sent to you by email.
Join our Facebook group! It‘s called „h_da incoming exchange students“.
During the first week of September, or March, respectively, there will be an appointment to pay the semester contribution fee.
These are the documents needed for your final enrollment:
- your enrollment form
- proof of health insurance
- a receipt about paying the semester contribution fee
After paying the semester contribution fee of about 220€, you will receive
- a Campus Card (your student ID card and semester ticket / travel pass)
- a password to activate your h_da email account (How to do this)
The Campus Card and the password with which you will be able to set up your h_da email account will be sent to the International Office a few days after you have paid the semester contribution fee. Once we have it, you will receive an email so you can collect if from our office.
With your Campus Card, you can:
- borrow books from the library
- use busses, trams and trains within the Rhine-Main (RMV) area (see below)
- rent bikes for free
- receive student discounts in movie theaters and other places
- use the laundry machine at the residence hall
- pay at the cafeteria / canteen
- have free entrance to Darmstadt Staatstheater (Darmstadt national theater)
Public transport ticket / travel pass:
Your Campus Card is not just your student ID card, it‘s also your public transport travel pass with which you can use almost any bus, tram and local train in the RMV region (click on “Übersichtskarte Geltungsbereich“ to see a map of all the places you can go with your Semesterticket).
4. Registration with the city
Every German resident has to register with City Hall within the first two weeks after moving into a new room or apartment.
We will go to City Hall togehter within the fist half of September, and March, respectively.
In order to have your address in Germany properly registered, please make sure you bring the following documents to the appointment:
- your passport / ID card
- a document confirming that you‘ve moved into your room / apartment by your landlord (called “wohnungsgeberbestätigung“)
Students who stay in one of the residence halls run by Studierendenwerk, will be handed out this document automatically on their move-in day. Students staying at a private apartment or a room in a flatshare need to ask their landlord to fill out the form for them.
Wohnungsgeberbestätigung (See box „Formulare“ – the document is called "Anmeldeformular Wohnsitz")
Radio & TV fee:
In Germany, every household has to pay a so-called broadcasting fee (“Rundfunkbeitrag“) to use the radio and the TV. The fee needs to be paid, even though you may not use the German radio or TV. It is a little less than 20 euros per month. If you‘re living in a shared apartment, the fee will be divided by the number of people living in your apartment. If you live on your own, you have to pay the entire amount.
5. Opening a bank account in Germany
For those of you living in one of the rooms of the residence halls run by the Studierendenwerk, having a German bank account is necessary.
In some cases, having a bank account in the EU/EEA is enough – but please check back with the Studierendenwerk.
Other landlords too may prefer their tenants to have a German bank account, but please check back with your landlord.
To open a bank account in Germany, the following documents are typically required:
- an ID or passport
- a confirmation of your registration with City Hall
- an enrollment certificate
This means you will not be able to open a bank account before you have registered your address with City Hall and paid the semester contribution fee.
There are many banks in Darmstadt as well as online banks with very different conditions. Note that we‘re not allowed to recommend a specific bank to you, but we will discuss general options during our information session on how to open a bank account.
We do recommend choosing a bank that lets you withdraw money from the ATM for free and/or where the bank account comes with a debit card (called “EC-Karte“ or “Girocard“ in German), as this proves to come in extremely handy.
If you require a blocked bank account for your visa or residence permit as well, you may want to consider choosing a bank that offers both a regular bank account and a blocked bank account. It‘s not a necessity to have the two types of bank account with the same bank, though, so feel free to choose different banks for that.
During our Welcome & Orientation Days, there will be pre-semester German classes which typically run for three weeks. We will also offer German classes throughout the semester. The classes are offered by the Language Center. For an overview of German classes, click here: https://sprachen.h-da.de/.
Even though some of you will be studying in English, we highly recommend learning some German. It‘s a nice feeling to be able to order a cup of coffee – eine Tasse Kaffee – at the café.
In mid-September and mid-March, there will be info sessions on how to use QIS and OBS, our two student management plattforms. All departments except for the Department of Computer Sciences use QIS to sign up for classes and exams. The Department of Computer Sciences uses OBS
Each department has different deadlines by which students have to sign up for classes and exams. These deadlines will be made available through the plattform Moodle.
There will be a special Meet-and-Greet event at your department in October, and April, respectively. During our Meet-and-Greets, the professors who are in charge of international students at your respective department will welcome you to the department and tell you how things work at the respective department, which classes would be a good fit for you etc. The dates of our Meet-and-Greet events will be made available through Moodle.
8. Fun things to do in and around Darmstadt
Studying is hard and we all need a break sometimes. Join us for one of our fun activities! There will be day trips to other cities in the Rhine-Main region or within Darmstadt and other fun activities such as playing board games, going climbing, playing sports, having a coffee at a nice coffee place and many more.
Our events will be announced on the App MeetUp and/or by email.
9. Paying the semester administrative fee for another semester
If you‘re staying for another semester, make sure that you pay the semester administrative fee for the second semester in time. This is necessary to keep your student status (and have a public transport ticket) for the next semester. It is particularly important that you pay the fee in time if you’re in Germany on a visa or residence permit (or would like to apply for one soon).
The deadline by which the payment has been made and the exact amount (it may change very slightly from one semester to the next) can be checked here.
Please transfer the money to:
Name of Bank Account Owner:
DE51 5005 0000 5093 4000 17
HELA DE FF XXX
Explanation / Reference:
[Your student ID (“matrikelnummer”) + name]
Should you not stay for another semester even though your were scheduled to stay with us for two semesters, please let us know as soon as possible.
Re-Validation/ Activation of CampusCard for another semester
Once the fee is paid, you will be able to update your Campus Card with a new semester ticket – please use the so-called “validation scanners” on campus for this by help of which you will get the new dates printed on your card. Please note that it may take a couple of days before your money transfer is credited – so you should wait some time before using the printer.
The printers can be found in the following locations (building and description):
foyer, next to the stairs
main hall on the ground floor (EG), opposite the toilets
foyer of the auditorium (next to the toilets)
foyer of the Lernzentrum (on the left-hand side)
in front of the café (R304)
in room 0.41a (called "studentisches Wohnzimmer")
foyer of the cafeteria (close to the stairs)
in the copy area of the library
A map of the validation scanners can be found here.
10. Requesting a residence permit
If your visa does not cover the entire period of your stay with us, you‘ll need to request a so-called residence permit (“Aufenthaltserlaubnis“).
The following documents are required to request a residence permit at the Foreigner‘s Office (“Ausländerbehörde“):
- Residence permit request form (will be handed out to you by the International Office of h_da)
- a copy of your ID document (the parts that list your personal details and your visa/entry stamp)
- an h_da enrollment certificate (“Immatrikulationsbescheinigung“; can be downloaded from QIS) (check Moodle for instruction on how to download this document from QIS)
- proof of health insurance coverage
- proof of a blocked bank account, or a scholarship confirmation (listing the monthly amount of your scholarship)
Please write an email to email@example.com to receive more details and make an appointment with the incoming students advisor. Please note that requesting a residence permit costs about 115 euros.
Typically, there are is a collective appointments each semester, where we will fill in the necessary forms together, one is in May/June, the other one is in November/December, but it’s also possible to make an appointment outside of these.
To sign up for classes and exams, go to:
Enroll in our Moodle course
Enroll in our Moodle course to find out more about the deadlines to sign up for classes and exams.
QIS / OBS / Moodle log-in credentials:
You will not receive your final h_da log-in credentials for QIS (or OBS for Computer Science) - our university's information system - and Moodle before paying the semester administrative fee.
However, if necessary, you will receive temporary log-in credentials (which will expire after a maximum of 2 weeks) before your arrival.