Guide for prospective and new international students
You would like to study at the Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences (MIN) or to embark on a study-related stay abroad at MIN?
It is our pleasure to extend a warm welcome to you on behalf of everyone at the Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences (MIN), Universität Hamburg. It is possible to take a degree in the following disciplines: Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Informatics, Mathematics and Physics.
Overview of all degree programs, including International Master's and further programs.
Admissions database: You can use the admissions database to check if you meet the requirements for your desired degree program in Germany.
We wish to help you create a positive study experience, which we hope will be one of the best experiences of your life! To this end we have compiled some helpful services and information on the subjects "Prior to your stay in Hamburg", “New in Hamburg” with practical tips on living in Hamburg and “Studying in Hamburg” below.
1. General Information on the City of Hamburg
Contact point for information on the topic "New in Hamburg"
Hamburg Welcome Center (HWC): You may contact service advisors by telephone or e-mail prior to or upon your arrival in Hamburg if you need any information on the topic “New in Hamburg”. HWC offers various free services for newcomers to Hamburg.
UHH Welcome Service for International Researchers : Main contact point for visiting scholars and their families at Universität Hamburg
To avoid hours of online searching, check out the following sites for information on the City of Hamburg and for a list of event highlights in Hamburg:
City of Hamburg
City map of Hamburg
Do not forget to ask a service advisor at Hamburg Welcome Center for a free "Welcome to Hamburg bag" which you will can collect from the HWC:
Getting around in Hamburg
If you live in Hamburg or in the Hamburg area, you are better off if you avoid the roads and take the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, AKN, rapid transit or regional rail lines for fast, direct rail connections within the Hamburg region, all leading into the city center.
Hamburg Public Transport AssociationGmbH (HVV): If you are enrolled as a PhD candidate at Universität Hamburg you will receive a HVV Semesterticket. The price of the semester ticket is included in your semester fees. With this ticket you can travel the entire HVV area.
Get to know the HVV: Within 3 months after you have moved to Hamburg according to your registration confirmation, you can use the AB areas for one week free of charge.
Stadtrad Hamburg / Lüneburg
StadtRAD Hamburg (City Bike Hamburg): There are about 2600 city bikes in Hamburg. You can find them at almost every U- and S-Bahn station, as well as near sights and university buildings. You can register online or via StadtRAD Hamburg-App.
For direct download click here:
Download from Google Playstore
The entry fee is 5 euro per year. In the first year, this entry fee can also be used as credit to rent bikes. The first 30 minutes of each ride are free, each additional minute is charged according to the booked rate.
The different rates can be found here: StadtRAD Hamburg Prices There are also discounts for HVV card and BahnCard holders.
By registering with StadtRAD Hamburg, you get access to the entire Call a Bike (Deutsche Bahn) bike-sharing fleet in Germany.
The on-demand transport hvv hop is integrated into the hvv fare system. Valid hvv tickets are recognized by showing them to the driver, an additional surcharge is added per person per trip. For trips with hvv hop within the different service areas, you can conveniently pay the surcharge via the app of hvv hop (powered by ioki). If you don't have an hvv ticket yet, you can also buy a ticket in the app, which then entitles you to use the hvv buses and trains.
For direct download click here:
Download from Google Playstore
- HVV hop in Osdorf, Lurup and Billbrook
- HVV hop Kreis Stormarn
- HVV hop Kreis Segeberg
- HVV hop in Harburg
Rufmobil (Rufbus & ASM) Lüneburg
The RufMobil is an additional offer to the regular service and offers you mobility on demand. The Rufmobil includes the Rufbus and the ASM (Anruf Sammel-Mobil).
The Rufbus only travels the route of the timetable that is actually needed, depending on demand. Bookings can be made by telephone or online.
Booking by telephone : 04131 880777 or online
The ASM runs according to the timetable and is on the road for you when regular buses and call buses are no longer or not yet running. Bookings can only be made by telephone. Due to the system, there may be waiting times of up to 15 minutes at the pick-up stop.
Booking by telephone: 04131 53344
Tips for every day
Tips for daily life: To get started in Germany, this website provides information about doctors and pharmacies, shopping, saving money, telephone, internet, postal service, safety, and transportation.
Cost of living
Restaurants, markets, transportation, utilities, sports and leisure, child care, clothing and shoes, rent, buy appartment prices, salaries and financing: To get an overview of the costs of living in Germany, this website provides information on the costs.
2. Services for international Students
- Info service for prospective international students: the pages offer information on mobility, counseling services, and more for international students at the University of Hamburg.
- First Steps for New Students (PDF) helps all new students to get started in Hamburg.
- Academic offices of the MIN Faculty: Advising and contacts for international students.
- Advice and contact for prospective international students at the University of Hamburg.
- Welcome Service of the MIN Buddy Program matches newly arrived international students (Incoming Buddies) at the MIN faculty with domestic students (Welcome Buddies), who greet them at their arrival in Hamburg and help them to settle in.
- #UHHhilft - University to help refugees contains information for people forced to flee their homelands and discontinue their studies by paving their way towards regular university study.
- The application process at Universität Hamburg: here you can find out if you can study in English, if Universität Hamburg offers scholarships, and how to find a supervisor as a freemover.
The Infoservice for prospective internaitonal students provides an overview of the most important contact points at the University of Hamburg for questions that are not directly related to studying.
Online information on the City of Hamburg
Getting around in Hamburg
- Hamburg Public Transport Association (HVV): On enrolling as a student at Universität Hamburg you will automatically receive a HVV Semester Ticket valid in the entire HVV Network, “Gesamtbereich” together with your matriculation.
- StadtRAD Hamburg: The CityBike Hamburg, the bike system
This Lecture2Go video gives you a virtual tour across campus and introduces you to the most relevant buildings and places you need to know.
Activities for students
- PIASTA activities
- CIC: Certificate Intercultural Competence
Scholarships: International students can apply to numerous organisations for a scholarship, for example to the DAAD. You can use the DAAD scholarship data base for your search. There are also party-related foundations or business-affiliated institutions.
Living expenses: International students need to find out about how to cover their living expenses. Studying at Universität Hamburg is tuition-free but you need to pay low semester contributions. Please note that your monthly rent is your largest expense.
Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG, German only): In some cases international students may be eligible for the Federal Training Assistance Act. The Hamburg Welcome Portal offers more information about financial support for international students.
4. Visa regulations
Visa information: If you are from abroad or do not hold a German passport, then you may need a visa before entering Germany.
List of countries: Check this list of countries to find out whether you need a visa to enter Germany. You can find detailed information about the application process on the German foreign office’s homepage.
Proof of financial resources: If you need a visa to enter Germany, you must submit a proof of financial resources known as “Finanzierungsnachweis” when applying for a visa at the German embassy.
Student visa: You will have to submit an application for a student visa. The issuance of your visa depends on the acceptance letter of Universität Hamburg (“Zulassungsbescheid”). The admission procedure of your visa application may take two to three months and the admission process of Universität Hamburg may take several weeks.
Residence permit: Once you are in Germany, you will apply for a residence permit with your student visa. Should you experience problems with that, please directly contact the advisor for international students( international.student.support"AT"uni-hamburg.de) at the Department of International Affairs.
Renting in Hamburg: We recommend that you start looking for a place to live in good time, if possible from your home town, as finding accommodation in Hamburg is not only difficult and pricey but also time-consuming. You may choose short-term rentals for the first weeks of your stay in Hamburg until you find a suitable accommodation.
How to find an apartment for rent?
'How to find an apartment in Hamburg': This info sheet provides some general information and useful links about renting in Hamburg.
The Hamburg Welcome Center: As a central point of arrival for newcomers to Hamburg, this center offers further information on apartment hunting if you schedule an appointment with them.
1. Housing Offers for ERASMUS and Central Exchange Students
As an ERASMUS or Central Exchange student, please contact your program coordinator in Hamburg and request a housing application form. The deadline is three to four months before the semester starts.
2. Dormitories administrated by the "Studierendenwerk" (Student Union)
Studierendenwerk Hamburg: The Accommodation Information Center offers assistance with general housing information for students. It also offers furnished rooms in student residences at an affordable price. To be eligible for a room at a student residence, you must be under the age of 35 and enrolled as a student. The DAAD provides a list of all student residences in Hamburg as well.
Applications: We recommend you to submit an application for a room online and in good time as you should expect a waiting time between 3 and 6 months for a room.
3. Shared flats
"WG-Gesucht": Shared flats are the most common way of living for German students. Check the platform "WG gesucht" for offers. You can also post your profile and your own ad there. "Zwischenmiete" is a good way to find a room spontaneously, e.g. for one semester.
Caution: Never transfer money before you have visited the flat and signed the rental contract.
4. Classified ads
You can also find rental apartments via classified ads. We would advise you to contact a few Student Residences administered by the private operators. Here you can find an overview of the most important abbreviations in German apartment ads.
5. University run apartment houses
Universität Hamburg also offers furnished apartments and houses for international housing.
6. Hotels and hostels
If you prefer to stay at hotels or hostels at a favorable price for the first few days in Hamburg, check out the Hamburg Booking website, their hostel overview, or other platforms such as Jugendherberge.
Rental contract: You will have to conclude a binding rental contract to rent a room or an apartment. You also have to pay a deposit worth a maximum of three months net rent, "Kaution", before moving in which is a security payment the landlord can retain in case you cause damage to the rented room or apartment. Note that aside from the net rent, further costs called "Betriebskosten" (e.g. for trash removal, water and heating) and "Nebenkosten" (including electricity, TV, telephone and internet) are incurred.
Broadcasting contribution fees: Each household has to pay one basic flat rate to cover all devices. Each residence pays €17.50 monthly (as of February 2020), regardless of which devices the resident uses, and whether or not any devices are even present in the residence.
You will need a rental agreement or a confirmation of student residence hall to register with the Hamburg Welcome Center and apply for a resident permit after arrival.
6. Residence Registration (Anmeldung)
Hamburg Welcome Center (HWC): You have to register your address in Hamburg within the first week of arrival to obtain a residence registration certificate, “Meldebescheinigung”. For any questions regarding your residence registration and for a successful application, we recommend that you contact an English speaking advisor at the HWC by phone or e-mail.
Required documents for an application for a residence registration:
- Registration form: completed and signed registration form (English completion help)
- A valid passport or ID for every certifying person
- "Wohnungsgeberbestätigung": confirmation from the landlord (in German only)
- Rental contract (if available)
- Administrative fee: 11 € (subject to change)
Where to register?
- At your neareast Hamburg registration office (please make an appointment online) OR
- at the Hamburg Welcome Center/HWC (please make an appointment online)
Please make sure to keep the confirmation of registration ("Anmeldebestätigung") and make copies. You will need the confirmation at banks, libraries etc. If you are entitled to receive one, you will also get a tax card at the HWC.
7. Residence permit ("Aufenthaltserlaubnis")
A residence permit allows you to live in a country.
Students from EU-countries enjoy freedom of movement and can enter Germany without a visa.
Electronic residence permit: All students from non-EU countries must apply for and obtain a residence permit. You should first register your residence with the Hamburg Welcome Center before you apply for a residence permit. As of 1st September 2011 an electronic residence permit (eAT) in credit card format replaces the paper form.
How to apply for a residence permit
Residence permit for students: To apply for a residence permit, you will need several documents. If any documents are missing during the application process, they will be requested within a certain period of time. You will submit the application for a residence permit online. If you have any questions or experience difficulties, please directly contact the international student advisor( international.student.support"AT"uni-hamburg.de) of the UHH International Office.
8. Health care and emergency service
Make sure your health insurance covers sufficient treatment in case of sickness or an emergency. Health insurance is mandatory for every student or employee in Germany.
There are two health insurance systems in Germany: A public health insurance which is governed by the state. For most people (citizens and foreigners) this public health insurance is mandatory. The private health insurance can only be taken out in special cases.
Eligibility: Please check beforehand whether you are eligible to choose between the two systems.
Yellow Pages (Gelbe Seiten): They provide a list of various health insurance companies as well as contact information of doctors (in German). You just need to enter the type of doctor or specialist (for example "Hausarzt") you are looking for in the search field “Arzt" (doctor) and your postal code in the search field "Wo" (where).
Counselling Centre for Social & International Affairs (BeSI): The Counselling Centre assists students with questions regarding social, personal and economic issues and also advises on health insurance.
Make sure you obtain a confirmation of health insurance, “Krankenversicherungsnachweis” from the health insurance provider. You will also receive a health insurance card, “Krankenversicherungskarte” which you always need to carry with you. If you become ill, you can directly go to a doctor.
List of a few types of doctors
|Hausarzt||general practitioner (GP)||Orthopäde||orthopaedist|
Counseling (German only): Universität Hamburg's Campus Center offers various counseling services (website in German only). You can also reach out to the German crisis hotline: Telefonseelsorge (0800 / 1110111 und 0800 / 1110222).
If you need urgent medical care at the weekend or at night, report to the outpatient department, „Ambulanz“ or Accident and Emergency, „Notaufnahme“ in hospital or call a doctor. Emergency doctors are listed in local newspapers under the heading of “Ärztlicher Notdienst” (Medical Emergency Service) or „Notdienst“ (Emergency Service).
Emergency call numbers
Fire Brigade / Ambulance
Medical emergency service
Pharmacy emergency service
0800 00 22833
Medical emergency practice
In Altona: Stresemannstraße 54, 22769 Hamburg
Opening time: Mon, Tue, Thurs, Fri 19:00-24:00, Wed 13:00-24:00, Sat, Sun & official holidays 7:00-24:00.
|We do not accept any responsibility for the correctness and completeness of the listed emergency numbers.No liability for damage resulting from the usage of these information is assumed.
We do not make claim that the information given is accurate or exhaustive, and shall accept no liability for the accuracy or completeness of the content of the websites referred to. The information provided is for general informational purposes only. In no event shall any reference to any third party product or service be construed as a recommendation of that third party’s product or service.
9. Family Matters
The Family Office puts together useful material such as flyers on family support services and coordinates information about the compatibility of work and family. You can also contact the Office of Family Affairs for any queries regarding your family.
Work permit for spouses
Spouses accompanying guest-researchers who want to work during their stay in Germany need a work permit, except nationals from countries of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Your spouse must inform the German consulate or embassy in your country of this prior to departure for Germany and apply for the respective residence permit that indicates "employment permitted". The processing of a work permit application takes several weeks, so it must be applied for in good time.
Day care institutions are rare and eligibility generally depends on the employment status of both parents.
Child care services by Universität Hamburg: Universität Hamburg offers various child care services such as Daycare Centers by Studierendenwerk Hamburg, the Casper - Campus Playgroups, or the Weekend care at the Kita KinderCampus for flexible care on weekends. The MIN faculty furthermore offers the Zwischenspeicher childcare at the Informatics Campus in Stellingen.
International Schooling in Hamburg
10. Opening a bank account
An everyday bank account in Germany is called a "Girokonto". Usually, you do not pay any account fees.
Opening a bank account in Germany is straightforward. To obtain a current account, you need to supply the following documents: Required documents:
- Registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung)
- Confirmation of enrollment at Universität Hamburg
- If available, a proof of income (pay slip, bank statement or proof of scholarship).
Take the documents to your chosen bank or branch. Ask at the bank or the branch if you could get information from an English speaking customer adviser. Addresses and telephone numbers of banks or branches are available at Yellow Pages . “Bank und Sparkassen” (banks and saving banks) has already been entered in the search field „was" (what), then enter the place name or postcode in the search field „wo" (where). Click on „suchen" (search) to look for addresses of a bank near your place.
Once at the local branch, always ask for any potential service charges as they may differ from bank to bank. You may be charged for: opening an account, yearly administrative costs, credit card costs, withdrawal costs from other banks, bank statements printouts. Depending on the bank and the account details bank card should normally be sent by post within a few days.
Bank Terminology Guide
|Account number||Kontonummer||Current account||Girokonto|
|Bank account||Bankkonto||Direct debit||Lastschrift, Abbuchung|
|Bank balance||Kontostand||Exchange Bureau||Wechselstube|
|Bank charges||Bankgebühren||Exchange Rate||Wechselkurs|
|Bank manager||Filialleiter||Fiscal/tax code||Abgabenordung|
|Bank note||Geldschein||Fixed rate||feste Rate|
|Bank statement||Bankauszug||Interest rate||Zinssatz|
|Credit balance||Guthaben||Paying-in slip||Einzahlungsbeleg|
|Credit card||Kreditkarte||Payment slip||Einzahlungsschein|
|Standing order||Dauerauftrag||Sort code||Bankleitzahl|
11. Language courses
A lot of people speak English here but in your daily life, being able to speak German is valuable, when shopping, when dealing with the authorities, when talking with your neighbors, landlord or future employer. Check out for German language courses in the language institutions named below.
Language courses are generally offered at six different levels from A1 to C2, following the Common European Reference Framework for Languages. The six levels A1 and A2 for basic users, B1 and B2 for independent users and C1 and C2 for proficient users are an interpretation of the classic division into basic (A), intermediate (B) and advanced (C).
|German courses for students enrolled at Universität Hamburg||
For international students who have moved to Hamburg to study at Universität Hamburg.
Most of the programs require you to have a good command of the German language so that you can follow classes, give oral presentations, and write term papers. In the winter semester Universität Hamburg offers various opportunities for you to learn or brush up on your German.
|German courses for Erasmus students as well as international students in other programs||Intensive pre-semester German courses (A1) and semester courses (A1-A2) offered by the Hamburger Volkshochschule (VHS). These courses are free of charge for students of Universität Hamburg able to provide current and valid student ID.|
|Hamburg Kursportal WISY||
A range of available German courses, seminars or German courses covering all aspects of further education and of all types, e.g. full-time , part-time and distance learning (in German)
|Language Tandem (PIASTA)||PIASTA's Tandem Service mediates language partnerships in which two students with different native languages work together to learn with and from each other.|
|Free online course “German Steps” for beginners. If you want to learn German basics in your own time, you could sign up for the course. Once you have completed this course, you should be able to use and understand frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate needs for your stay in Germany. You will receive weekly email tips.|
|DW German Course||Courses offered by “Deutsche Welle” is an interactive German self-study course. It covers levels A1 to C2. Select the level that suits you best by answering a few assessment questions. Then choose from e-learning at the computer, with short videos, audio courses or podcasts, or with texts and worksheets. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher / Firefox 1.5 or higher are recommended. You must log in with your own password to be able to use this website.|
12. Organizing Your Studies
There are a few IDs and documents that you will need to organize your studies at MIN faculty.
- STiNE: It is the Student Information Network. You will receive your STiNE ID together with your provisional semester documents by mail. You will need it to organize your studies, register for classes and exams and to gain access to course materials. It also provides the detailed course catalogue of your subject which will be the basis for your course plan. During the orientation module, you will learn how to prepare your course plan according to the academic regulations.
- RRZ: In case you have questions or problems, please turn to Universität Hamburg's IT services Regionales Rechenzentrum (RRZ) at Schlüterstraße. They offer personal support.
- Surfmail: Additionally, there is the so-called Universität Hamburg ID, UHH ID. It is linked to your personal email address. Moreover, you can use it to gain WiFi (WLAN) access on campus, to use computers and printers and to login into library research computers. Please note that you have to choose a password yourself. Tip: Set up your account to automatically forward messages to your private email address.
- Academic regulations: They contain key regulations about program structures and content.
The inforservice for prospective international students provides information about the individual phases of studying abroad.
13. After earning a degree
EU nationals who have completed their studies can look for and accept employment in Germany without any restrictions.
They can apply for an 18-month residence permit from the local foreign nationals’ registration office to look for a job that corresponds to their qualifications after earning their bachelor's degree.
Rights of residence applicable for graduates and postgraduates: Non-EU nationals can apply for an 18-month residence permit from the local foreign nationals’ registration office to look for a job that corresponds to their qualifications. During these 18 months, they may take up any kind of employment to support themselves and fund their job search. If they already found a job that corresponds to their qualifications, they can apply for their residence permit as soon as they have passed their exam.