VISA, housing, health insurance, bank account

Studying at a university involves taking care of important (legal) issues in-time such as a health insurance, a bank account, housing and if applicable, a VISA.


VISA applications take a lot of time and cost money. The costs are however negligible considering that a late VISA application may withhold you from arriving in time i.e. early October (program starts middle of October)! Students that arrive really late have a hard time catching up and often do not manage to finish the IB program within the regular 4 semesters of studying, which may result in financial problems.

So, if you plan to apply for the IB studies in Lübeck, you are well advised to make an appointment for the second week of August (as we send out confirmations the first week of August), meaning in several countries you will need to contact the German embassy several months in advance!

Do not arrive in Germany with a so-called tourist visa. As a non-EU foreigner, you cannot apply for a full VISA while in Germany. The tourist VISA is mostly valid for 3 months only and after that, you must leave and start the VISA application all over in your home country (really bad scenario for students).

For your VISA application, you will also have to open a so-called blocked bank account.



Housing is a problem, especially in October and November, but in the end, all IB students so far found a place to stay.

Contact the “Studentenwerk SH” for help (do not wait until you get the letter of acceptance). They for example offer to help international students to find a place to stay and may advice you concerning insurance, bank accounts and a lot of other issues as well.

Landlords often ask for your bank account details.


Health insurance

Under German law, every student is obliged to hold a (European) health insurance contract. You can only start your studies at Lübeck University if you submit such a health insurance certificate. Accordingly, EU citizens/students have to hand in their EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) issued by your health insurance company in your home country. For non-EU citizens, do not confuse a classic travel insurance with the social health insurance system (travel insurances are not accepted as an equivalent). Joining the health insurance system can be cumbersome as you will need to supply a German bank account from which the money for the insurance is automatically withdrawn by debit authorization. To open a bank account, you will need an official address in Germany! “Catch 22” type of situation. The chain can be broken by first joining a Krankenkasse (for example, TK Krankenkasse can be highly recommended). You can supply the bank information to the TKK later.


External Links (provided as are, without liability) worthwhile reading