Below, you will find the key steps that you will need to take once you receive confirmation of your acceptance to the course. This might seem overwhelming at first, but this guide will help you stay on track!
1. Visa and residence permit
If you are arriving from a country where there is a visa requirement to study in Germany, we recommend that you get this sorted as soon as possible. Embassies in some countries can have long waiting lists, so we recommend requesting a via appointment directly after receiving your acceptance email. Please expect this process to take a considerable amount of time. You can find more information on the central FAU pages here
Finding a place to stay is a very important step. FAU has some general information and advice for students here. Here you can find information about the most important terms used in rental contracts and about your rights and obligations as a tenant.
Studentenwerk provides low-cost services to students, including housing, childcare, and cultural activities. You can use their online services in English to find an apartment in Erlangen. You can also search for accommodation on your own, for example through the website WG-gesucht.de, which lists shared accommodation.
Once you have secured accommodation, you will need to request a letter from your landlord that says you live at that address (called a Wohnungsgeberbestätigung). You will need this letter to register at the citizen office (Bürgeramt), which can be found at the City Hall (Rathaus).
3. Registration at the town hall (Anmeldung)
4. Opening a bank account
Opening a bank account is relatively painless, but you will need to make an appointment in advance. Be sure to check the bank’s webpage ahead of this appointment to make sure you have all of the necessary documents (e.g. your passport, confirmation of your student status). Most people have accounts at the Sparkasse.
5. Health insurance (Krankenversicherung)
Health insurance is obligatory for students. If you have to obtain a visa, you will need to sign up for public health insurance prior to your arrival. The most popular public health insurers are AOK and Techniker (TK), and you can normally register online.
6. Enrolling at the university (Immatrikulation)
You will need to provide the university with certain documents before you can be fully enrolled on your course. You can do this via post or online - see here for further details. After your have successfully enrolled, you will be able to activate your university account and email. Once you have provided all of the necessary details on the system and your account is activated, you will receive a letter in the post with your student ID (FAUcard).
7. The German language
Most Germans speak English (especially the younger generation in bigger cities), which makes it possible to get by in Germany with good English skills. However, learning even basic German can really enrich your experience of living here! The Volkshochschule (VHS) in Erlangen offers a wide range of German classes at reasonable prices. There are also lots of online options, such as Duolingo and Lingoda. There are also some great translation tools available for German, such as DeepL and the Google Translate app (especially for the live-translation function).