The Orangerie (photo by: Laura Albers)

First steps

You’ve just secured your place on our program, congratulations! Below, you will find the key steps that you will need to take prior to beginning your studies at FAU. This might seem overwhelming at first, but this guide is here to help with the basics!

1. Visa and residence permit

If you are arriving from a country where there is a visa requirement to study in Germany, we recommend beginning your visa application process as soon as possible after you receive confirmation of your acceptance. Embassies in some countries can have long waiting lists, so please expect this process to take a considerable amount of time. You can find general information on the central FAU webpages here and in many articles online (for example here), but more specific questions (e.g. regarding dual citizenship) should be directed towards your local embassy or consulate.

2. Enrolling at FAU (Immatrikulation)

The next step after being accepted into the program is to officially enrol at the university. This process begins on, where you began your online application. The system will trigger an online enrolment request (Onlineantrag auf Einschreibung) and you can then begin to follow the instructions to enrol online. See here for further details. You will also need to pay your semester fee (currently €67 per semester), which can be completed by bank transfer via the instructions provided.

Next, you will need to provide the university with certain documents before you can be fully enrolled in your program. In many cases these will need to be original copies. You can do this via post or online - see here for further details.

When you 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).

Student Records Office

The Student Records Office will be on hand to help you with any queries related to the enrolment process. They can be contacted via email and in person once you arrive in Erlangen.

International Students Office

FAU’s International Service is your first point of call for international student matters, so do not hesitate to reach out to them online or in person once you arrive in Erlangen.

3. Moving to Erlangen

There are lots of great resources online for general information on moving to Germany. We recommend familiarising yourself with any many of these as possible in order to make your own move as smooth as possible! Below, we outline some of the most common steps, but you might also find these websites and articles useful:


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, which lists shared accommodation.

Once you have secured accommodation (even if this is temporary 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).

Registration at the town hall (Anmeldung)

Within 2 weeks of arriving in Erlangen, you will need to register your address at the City Hall (Rathaus). You can see an overview of the services available to you as Erlangen resident in this video. Once you have registered at the town hall, your details will automatically be passed along to the broadcasting service, so that you can pay the mandatory Germany’s TV radio tax (Rundfunkbeitrag), if applicable to your living situation.

Health insurance (Krankenversicherung)

Health insurance is obligatory for all German residents, including students. If you need a visa to come to Germany, you will be required to sign up for public health insurance prior to your arrival. The most popular public health insurers are Techniker (TK) (which has excellent English-language support) and AOK, and you can normally register easily online. Once you are set up with health insurance, be sure to do a little research before you navigate the German healthcare system.

Opening a bank account

Opening a bank account is relatively painless, but you will need to make an appointment in advance, especially if you arrive close to the beginning of the winter semester. Be sure to check the bank’s webpage ahead of this appointment to help you gather all of the necessary documents (e.g. your passport, confirmation of your student status, etc.). Most people have accounts at the Sparkasse. Also, check out our page on financing your studies to get some ideas for how you could work part-time during your program.

The German language

Many 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! Several places, such as the Volkshochschule (VHS) in Erlangen, offer 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).