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Opening bank accounts

For international students coming to Germany, opening a bank account is an important step. The procedure differs depending on your nationality. The general steps that need to be followed are listed below.

EU/EEA citizens

EU/EEA citizens can usually open a bank account in Germany with little effort. The required documents are

  • A valid passport or identity card
  • Student ID card, certificate of enrolment or letter of admission from the university

EU/EEA citizens benefit from the same conditions for a current account as German citizens.

Non-EU/EEA citizens

For non-EU/EEA citizens coming to Germany, special accounts are required to fulfill the requirements for the visa. There are two forms of accounts that are required: the blocked account for living expenses and the checking account for daily use. Below are the step-by-step instructions for opening a blocked account and a checking account:

Blocked Account (for Visa):

  1. Bank Selection: Choose a bank that offers blocked accounts.
  2. Collect documents: Complete the account opening form and collect the required documents such as your valid passport and student admission letter.
  3. Notarize the documents: Have the documents notarized by the German embassy or consulate in your home country.
  4. Transfer the amount: Transfer the required amount (currently 11,208 euros as of January 2023) to the blocked account.
  5. Withdrawals in Germany: After entering Germany, you can withdraw up to 934 euros per month from your blocked account.

Checking account:

  1. Bank selection: Choose a bank that offers checking accounts for non-EU/EEA citizens. Please note that not all banks offer this service.
  2. Collect documents: Gather the necessary documents, including a valid passport and a registration certificate from the residents' registration office. Some banks may require additional documents such as a residence permit or proof of study place.
  3. Open an account: The exact process may vary, but typically you will need to fill out an account opening form and provide the required documents, in person, online or by mail.
  4. Check terms and conditions: Make sure you understand the terms of the account, including possible fees and restrictions. Some banks may only offer basic accounts.

It's important to note that any German bank has the right to reject an account opening application without giving a reason. In the event of a rejection, you can apply for an administrative procedure with the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).

Good to know

A basic account is an option that is available to all consumers in the EU, regardless of their place of residence or financial situation. It enables basic banking transactions such as deposits, withdrawals and transfers. When you open a bank account in Germany, you will usually receive a debit card (EC card) that you can use to withdraw money and pay in stores. It is advisable to find out about the conditions of various banks before opening an account in order to find the most favorable conditions for you.

Please note that the information provided is of a general nature and that conditions may vary from bank to bank. It is always advisable to contact the bank of your choice directly to find out about the specific requirements and the account opening process.