After your Arrival

Nach der Ankunft (Image: ilbusca /

You have finally made it to Germany – but what’s next? Registering with the city? Opening up a bank account? Where and how do I do these things? Upon your arrival in Germany, there are quite a number of organizational steps to take and things to bear in mind. On this webpage, we have compiled all essential information and addresses for your first days in Germany.

Information on the Corona-Virus

The Office for the Equal Treatment of EU Workers has compiled information on the Corona-Virus in several languages.

You will find information on

  • Travelling/Entry into Germany
  • Health and tips on conduct
  • Coronavirus protective vaccine

Information on how to deal with the Corona-Virus at TH Köln

Vaccination against the Corona-virus

The vaccination is voluntary and free of charge.

Persons are entitled to the vaccination who

  • are insured in the Federal Republic of Germany in a statutory or private health insurance,
  • have their domicile or usual place of residence in the Federal Republic of Germany,
  • are treated, nursed or cared for in nursing facilities or who are active in such facilities.

Where can I get vaccincated today in Cologne?

Where can I get vaccinated today in Gummersbach?

If you have already been vaccinated in your home country, please check that the vaccine is licensed in the EU on the website of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute.

+ What happens if I have been vaccinated with a vaccine that is not licensed in the EU?

Please get in contact with a general practitioner to find out about how to update your vaccination with a licensed vaccine.

+ What happens if I have recovered from a Corona infection and am therefore not vaccinated yet?

When you travel to Germany, please bring with you the positive PCR-Test that proved that you were infected with the Corona-Virus.

When you are in Germany, please show this test in a pharmacy. They can issue you a digital certificate.

It is recommended to get vaccinated approximately 3 months after you have recovered from the infection. Please get in contact with a general practitioner to talk about your options.

Registering your place of residence

If you intend to stay in Germany for more than three months, you are required to register your new place of residence with the residents’ registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) in the city where your new place of residence is located. You are required to register your address within two weeks after your arrival in Germany. Should you change places during your stay, please make sure to inform the registration office as well.
You are required to present the following documents when registering with the city:

If you do not have a fixed accommodation after your arrival and are staying in a hotel/hostel for the first few weeks, it may also be possible to obtain the confirmation (Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung) from the hotel/hostel. However, not all hotels/hostels issue this confirmation. Please check with your hotel/hostel in advance.

As Cologne has a number of residents’ registration offices, you are free to choose which one to visit. If you have taken up residency outside of Cologne, please visit the respective residents' registration office within your municipality. The addresses of the most centrally located registration offices in Cologne, Gummersbach, Hürth and Leverkusen are listed here:

Residence permit from the Immigration Office

All international students and guest scholars who are not EU/EEA or Swiss nationals and who did not enter via the European directive EU2016/801, must apply for a residence permit at the Immigration Office after their arrival in Germany if they wish to stay in Germany for longer than three months.

International students and guest scholars who do not have EU/EEA citizenship and were allowed to enter without a visa must also apply for a residence permit at the Immigration Office if they wish to stay in Germany for longer than three months.

You can find the most important information on this topic as well as the addresses of the surrounding immigration offices on the page Visa and Residence Permit.

Bank account

We recommend that you open a bank account with a German bank. This is particularly convenient for having your rent debited directly, for receiving scholarship payments and for transferring the student semester fee. It is generally possible for you to open up a bank account with any bank in your city of residence.

Before opening an account, please consult your bank on which documents you will need to bring, as this tends to vary from one bank to another. Most banks usually require you to present the following documents:

  • valid passport
  • for international students: certificate of enrollment of TH Köln
  • certificate of registration with the city authorities
  • Tax Identification Number (IdNr)

The IdNr is sent to you automatically by the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt) after your registration with the city. Further information is available on the BZSt website.

Please make sure that you bring sufficient funds (cash/credit card) for the first six weeks, as opening a bank account sometimes takes some time.