Frequently asked Questions (FAQ)

Accommodation in Kiel

Does the university have furnished rooms to rent?

The university has three guesthouses for international researchers. More information here .

Are there other possibilities to rent a furnished room?

Shared apartments and sublets are sometimes furnished. Take a look here (German only website).

Can the university help me to find a room/apartment?

The Kiel University Welcome Service posts adverts for rooms/apartments. More information here. Or you can contact the Welcome Center welcomecenter@uv.uni-kiel.de

I don't understand the apartment adverts. What does Kaltmiete (KM)/Warmmiete (WM) mean?

Here is a list of common abbreviations used in housing advertisements.

Arrival in Kiel

Where is Kiel? How can I get to Kiel?

Kiel is the capital of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state (Bundesland) in Germany.

You can get to Kiel by train, boat, bus or plane.

  • Arrival by train: The Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) has an app, the DB Navigator, to help you find routes to Kiel.
  • Arrival by boat: There are two daily ferries to Kiel, the Stena Line from Gothenburg/Sweden and the Color Line from Oslo/Norway. There are other ferries, Pique Ferry Agency from St. Petersburg/Russia and DFDS Seaways from Klaipeda/Lithuania.
  • Arrival by bus: There are many bus connections to Kiel with, for example, Meinfernbus or Flixbus.
  • Arrival by plane: From Hamburg Airport you can take the airport shuttle Kielius. The bus runs at least once an hour and stops at a clearly marked location outside of the airport terminal. The schedule and prices can be found here.

 

Where is the university?

Kiel University has several locations throughout the city. The main campus is located about 2.5 kilometers north of the city center.

Where is the International Center?

The International Center is located at Westring 400. You can find a campus map with the International Center marked in red here.

Do I need to register my residence? Where and how can I register my residence?

Yes, you need to register your residence. As soon as you know your address, you can do this at the registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) in the town where you live.

If you are living in Kiel: The registration office address is Fleethorn 9, 24103, Kiel. You can make an appointment online here (appointment tool only in German) or by phone +49 (0)431 901 904.  

If you are living in a town outside of Kiel, you can find the registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) on the homepage of the town or google “Einwohnermeldeamt” and the name of your town.

Do I need to reregister if I move?

If you move within Kiel, you need to reregister. If you move within Germany, you need to register at your new address.

I am leaving Kiel. Do I need to "unregister"? If so, where can I do this?

If you are leaving Germany you need to unregister at the registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt). You do not need an appointment to unregister, you can go during the opening hours. If you are moving within Germany, you do not need to unregister, just register at your new address.

Bank accounts

Do I need to open a German bank account?

Employees of the university who do not have a bank account in a Eurozone country will need to open a bank account to get their pay. Employees with a bank account in a Eurozone country can have their payments deposited to this account. If you are staying for a longer time and renting an apartment, it will probably be necessary to open a German bank account to pay for things like electricity, internet, heating, etc.

How can I open a German bank account?

You can open a bank account in person at any bank. You can also open a bank account online. You will need the following documents: passport, certificate of residency, pay statement, and - for some banks - your residence permit/work permit.

To open an online account you will need to document your identity using the “Postident” procedure. The bank will provide you with the necessary documents online. Fill them out and take them to a post office, show your identification and the post office employee will send the documents to the bank. The “Make it in Germany” website has more information on banking: www.make-it-in-germany.com/en/for-qualified-professionals/living/money-and-banking.

Which type of account is best for me – Giro (current account), savings, online (Direktbank)?

With either a giro account or an online account, you can make payments (rent, electricity, internet, etc.) by wire transfer and, with the accompanying Eurocard, you can withdraw cash from bank machines and pay at stores and restaurants, etc. This is the normal way to make all payments in Germany. You cannot make payments with a savings account.

I am leaving Germany – do I need to/how can I close my bank account?

Unless you plan to come back sometime soon, it is advisable to close your bank account, especially if you are paying monthly fees for the account.

You can close your bank account either in person at your bank or by mail. By mail, you must specify the account number and account owner(s) of the account to be closed as well as the bank information (IBAN, BIC, SWIFT etc) and account number of the account to which any remaining balance or interest should be paid out. In addition, the date and the signature(s) of the account holder(s) are required. In the case of a termination in the bank, all joint owners of an account must be present and the remaining balance is usually paid in cash.

End of your stay, before leaving Germany

Do I need to cancel my insurance(s)?

Most liability and accident insurance policies are issued for a set time period. However, it is advisable to check that they do not automatically renew at the end of this period.

If you are employed at the university, your health insurance will be cancelled automatically when your work contract ends. Other health insurance policies are usually issued for a set period of time and there is no need to cancel them. However, it is advisable to check that they will not be automatically renewed.

What do I need to do when I give up my apartment?

If you are living in one of the guesthouses, you need to tell Mrs. Isolda Ritter when you will be moving out of your apartment/room.

If you are renting a private apartment/room you need to tell your landlord/landlady at least three months ahead of time that you will be moving out of your apartment. You may be required to paint the apartment/room before you leave. Ask your landlord/landlady about this.

Do I need to "unregister"? If so, where can I do this?

If you are leaving Germany you should unregister at the residence registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt). You do not need an appointment to unregister.

If you are moving within Germany, you only need to register at your new address.

Do I need to close my bank account? If so, how do I do this?

Unless you plan to come back sometime soon, it is advisable to close your bank account, especially if you are paying monthly fees for the account.

You can close your bank account either in person at your bank or by mail. By mail, you must specify the account number and account owner(s) of the account to be closed as well as the bank information (IBAN, BIC, SWIFT etc) and account number of the account to which any remaining balance or interest should be paid out. In addition, the date and the signature(s) of the account holder(s) are required. In the case of a termination in the bank, all joint owners of an account must be present and the remaining balance is usually paid in cash.

Family

The Kiel University Family Service helps in all questions regarding family and children, daycare and schools in Germany.

How does daycare work in Germany? What kinds of daycare are available?

Information about the daycare system in Germany can be found here.

Where can I register my child/children for daycare?

The Kiel University Family Service can help with registering children for daycare.

How much does daycare normally cost?

The costs can vary greatly and partly depend on your income. You can find more information about the price of daycare in the city of Kiel here.

What are the usual hours for daycare?

The hours vary greatly, but most places offer daycare between 7:30 and 16:00 with lunch. Some also have early and late care options, but rarely earlier than 7:00 or later than 17:00.

Does my child have to attend school in Germany?

All children ages 6 to 15 living in Germany are required by law to attend school.

How can I register my child/ren for school?

The Kiel University Family Service can help you register your child/ren for school.

What kinds of schools are there?

You can find information about schools in Germany here .

Is there an international school/English language school in Kiel?

There is no international school in Kiel. The closest international schools are in Louisenlund and Hamburg.

There are some bi-lingual schools in Kiel. More information about them can be found here.

My spouse would like to work in Germany. How can s/he get a work permit?

If your spouse wishes to work as a regular employee in Germany, he or she will need a work permit from the German Employment Office (unless he or she is a citizen of another EU country or of Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway). Spouses of foreign academic visitors wishing to pursue gainful employment should indicate this when applying for a visa so that they can apply for a corresponding residence permit (one with the designation Erwerbstätigkeit gestattet ‘employment allowed’) once in Germany.

German courses

How/where can I/my spouse learn German?

At Kiel University German language courses are available at different levels from the "Lektorat Deutsch als Fremdsprache (DAF)” (German as a foreign language). 

The DAF also offers a conversational German class for visiting researchers and their spouses. Here the focus is more on speaking and pronunciation than on grammar. This class meets on Saturdays, 10:15 to 11:45 and 12:00 to 13:30 in the DAF, Leibnizstr. 2, Room 011/012. For more information and to sign up for the course, contact the tutor, John Tiede.

The International Center in cooperation with DAF offers two summer courses each year. Read more: Summer courses at Kiel University.

How can I sign up for German courses?

You can sign up for German classes at the Lektorat Deutsch als Fremdsprache (German as a foreign language).

For the conversational German class you can contact the tutor, John Tiede, by e-mail.

Healthcare/Illness/Injury/Doctor

More information about the healthcare system can be found here..

How does the health care system in Germany work?

Germany has a dense network of hospitals, physicians and pharmacies. Thanks to compulsory health insurance, necessary treatments are affordable for all. If you or your family need a physician, you will find that help is available quickly and at a reasonable cost.

What if I get ill/injure myself/need a doctor?

You can go to any doctor if you are ill. You can find a general practitioner in the local telephone book (under “Ärzte – allgemein”) or online at the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Weisse Liste (White List).

Can I go to any doctor?

In Germany, you have free choice of doctors. If you are ill you normally go first to a general practitioner (Allgemeinarzt or Hausarzt). S/he can refer you to a specialist or admit you to the hospital.

What does an office visit cost? Do I have to pay at the doctor’s office?

There is no cash fee for an office visit. You do not have to pay directly at the doctor’s office. If you have statutory health insurance (from the "Krankenkasse"), your physician will submit a bill directly to your health insurance.
If you are privately insured, the doctor will send you a bill, which you pay and then submit to your private insurer.

What if I need a doctor after hours?

You can call 116 117 for an on-call physician. This is a free call and valid all over Germany.

In case of an emergency – a life-threatening situation – dial the emergency number 112.

I am injured/ill. Can I be treated in the hospital?

In general, your doctor will arrange to have you admitted to the hospital, if necessary. In an emergency, you should go there directly.
Your health insurance will normally cover the costs of your hospital stay, however, it is advisable to find out in advance which treatment costs are covered.

Will my insurance pay for vaccinations and preventative care?

Recommended vaccinations and health screenings are covered by your health insurance. The list of recommended vaccinations is updated frequently. Your doctor can tell you which vaccinations are recommended.

Where can I buy medications?

In Germany you can buy medications at the pharmacy or "Apotheke". You will not usually be given medicines at the doctor’s office. The doctor will write a prescription which you take to a pharmacy where you may have to pay towards the cost of the item. Some medicines can be purchased at the pharmacy without a prescription.

If you need medicines at night or on the weekend there is an “Apotheken-Notdienst” (emergency pharmacy service). You can find out which pharmacy is open all night on which specific day in the local daily newspaper, online or on lists posted visibly at every pharmacy.

Insurance

Do I need to buy health insurance before coming to Germany?

All people residing in Germany – Germans and non-Germans alike - are required by law to have valid health insurance from the first day they enter Germany.

If you have statutory health insurance in your home country, this may be recognized in Germany. Here is a list of the countries with which Germany has concluded Social Security Agreements, the basis for the reciprocal recognition of health insurance coverage.

If your current health insurance is valid in Germany, you will need some proof of adequate coverage (e.g. notarized health insurance documents in English or German or a European Health Insurance Card EHIC).

If your current health insurance does not cover your stay in Germany or if you have no health insurance, you will need to buy health insurance for your stay. University employees choose and pay for their health insurance through the university. It is advisable, however, to buy travel health insurance for the time between when you arrive and when you sign your employment contract.

Fellowship/scholarship holders will need to buy health insurance unless their current health insurance policy covers them during their stay in Germany. If it does not, before travelling to Germany they will need to buy health insurance coverage for the entire length of their stay. Please check this before leaving for Germany.

I will have a work contract at the university. How can I get health insurance?

As an employee of the university, your health insurance premiums will be paid for through the university. The university contributes to the total cost of your health insurance.

If you earn more than a certain amount (in 2018 – 4,950 Euro gross /month), you can choose to buy private health insurance. If you earn less than this amount, you must buy statutory health insurance from one of the so-called “Krankenkassen”. When you sign your contract, you will be asked which insurance provider you have selected. If you choose a private insurance provider, you must show proof of insurance. This will be provided by the private health insurance provider. The university will inform the insurance provider and insurance premiums will be automatically deducted from your pay.

Please note that it is necessary to have valid health insurance from the day you enter Germany, thus it is advisable to buy travel health insurance for the first days you are in Germany before you sign your contract, unless your current insurance covers you while travelling abroad.

I will have a fellowship/scholarship at Kiel University. How can I get health insurance?

As a fellowship/scholarship holder you will need to buy private health insurance.

If you have a fellowship from the DAAD or through some EU funding programs you can buy health insurance through the DAAD.

If you have a fellowship to do your doctorate and will be registered as a student in Kiel you can buy inexpensive health insurance from the Union Versicherungsdienst. The "Module Optimal" offers comprehensive insurance coverage including vaccinations and preventive check-ups. The "Module Basis" offers only limited services.

If your fellowship is from another source there are many private health insurance providers that provide temporary health insurance for the duration of your stay in Germany. There are many companies offering this insurance. Some offer packages with health insurance, accident insurance and liability insurance. Here is a sampling:

 

What are “Krankenkassen”?

“Krankenkassen” are statutory health insurance providers for people who are employed in Germany. All “Krankenkassen” charge about the same amount for health insurance – namely 14.6% of your income – of which you and your employer each pay half (7.3%). Some “Krankenkassen” have an additional fee (approx. 1-2%) which is paid solely by the employee. You can see a list of all “Krankenkassen” and their fees for 2017/18 here.

Can I cover  my family through the "Krankenkasse"?

Your insurance with the "Krankenkasse" can cover for your spouse, as long as s/he does not work/or works and earns less than a certain amount (in 2018 435€/month). You can also cover your children up to the age of 18 (or older if they are studying or in an apprentice program).

What is private health insurance (PKV), am I eligible for it, and how can I buy it?

Private health insurance is the alternative to statutory insurance. If you earn more than a certain amount (in 2018 – 4,950 Euro gross /month), you can choose to buy private health insurance instead of statutory health insurance.

If you are eligible, you can contact any private health insurance provider operating in Germany and buy a health insurance plan. You can insure yourself and your family (under certain conditions). Here is a list of private health insurers in Germany.

Will my employer pay a supplement to my premiums if I choose private health insurance?

Your employer will pay half of your insurance premium as a supplement, but not more than the maximum employer contribution for statutory insurance (2018: € 323.03).

Your insurer will provide you with the proof that you need to present to your employer in order to receive the supplement.

Can I cover  my family with my private health insurance?

You can buy private health insurance for your spouse, as long as s/he does not work/or works and earns less than a certain amount (in 2018 435€/month), and for children up to the age of 18 (or older if they are studying or in an apprentice program).

Is there an employer supplement for private health insurance for my family?

You are eligible for an employer supplement for the private health insurance premium for your family members. There are limitations. Ask your health insurance provider about details.

Do I need other types of insurance (other than health insurance) for my stay in Germany? How can I buy this insurance?

Two types of insurance (in addition to statutory health insurance) are recommended for visiting researchers in Germany. These are liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) and accident insurance (Unfallversicherung).

  • Private liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung)
    Whether you are in Germany with a fellowship/scholarship, as a visiting scientist or employed, it is advisable to buy private liability insurance. Private liability insurance covers the cost of damages to other people’s property caused by you, your spouse and your children up to a specified amount.
  • Accident insurance (Unfallversicherung)
    If you are in Germany with a fellowship/scholarship, as a visiting scientist (not a university employee), or otherwise self-funded it is advisable to buy accident insurance. Accident insurance covers accidents on your way to and from the university, and if you become disabled as a result of an accident and are no longer able to work, the insurer will pay disability benefits. Employees of the university have statutory accident insurance through the university.

 

Living in Kiel

Where/when can I shop for food in Kiel?

There are several open markets in Kiel which sell fresh meat, fish, fruits and vegetables.

Weekly open markets

  • Blücherplatz Monday & Thursday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Exerzierplatz Wednesday & Saturday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Vinetaplatz (Gaarden) Tuesday & Saturday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Andreas-Hofer-Platz (Elmschenhagen) Tuesday & Saturday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Ende Bergenring (Mettenhof) Friday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Holtenauer Straße / Elendsredder (Wik) Tuesday & Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Leuchtturmplatz (Friedrichsort) Wednesday & Saturday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Helmut-Hänsler-Platz (Dietrichsdorf) Saturday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Am Eckenerplatz (Holtenau) Friday 14 – 5 p.m.
  • Langenfelde (Schilksee) Friday 14 – 6 p.m.
  • Rungholtplatz (Suchsdorf) Thursday 14 - 6p.m.

There are also many supermarkets in Kiel. Full service supermarkets, usually with service counters for meat and poultry, sausages and cold meats, cheeses and salads and an in house bakery: e.g. Sky, Rewe, Famila, Kaufland, Real. Discounters –self-service supermarkets: e.g. Aldi, Penny, Netto, Lidl. In addition there is one warehouse supermarket in Kiel: Citti located in the Citti Park.

Stores selling Asian foods: e.g. Sultanmarkt, Asia-Laden-Kiel, My Asia Kiel

When are stores open?

Most stores selling food and household goods (grocery stores) are open Monday to Saturday between 8 am and 8 pm. Some food stores open earlier (at 7:00) or close later (11 pm). Most grocery stores stay closed on Sundays and on holidays, except at the train station and in some resort areas (e.g. Kiel-Schilksee, Laboe).

Department stores and shops selling clothing, electronics, sports equipment, furniture, music/videos, etc. usually open at 9:30 or 10:00 am and close at 7:00 or 8:00 pm. Smaller shops may close at 6 pm. All department stores and other shops mentioned here stay closed on Sundays and holidays.

Pharmacies usually stay open only until 6 pm. There is always a 24 hour emergency pharmacy service (Apotheken-Notdienst). You can find out which pharmacy is open in the local paper, online or on the list posted at every pharmacy.

Do all stores stay closed on Sundays/German holidays?

Almost all stores, shops and bakeries stay closed on German holidays. Gas stations and some train station shops are the exception and may have limited hours on Sundays and holidays. Some bakeries are open in the morning on Sundays.

Is there sales tax on goods and services?

Sales tax, often referred to as “Mehrwertsteuer” (value added tax), has to be paid to the financial authorities on the sale of goods and services. In Germany, the rate is 19 percent. There is a reduced rate of 7 percent on foodstuffs, magazines and books as well as artistic services. Value added tax (MWSt.) is included in all stated prices and invoices.

What days are federal holidays in Germany?

Below is a list of federal holidays in Schleswig-Holstein for 2018/2019. The university is closed on all federal holidays. You can find more information about German federal holidays here.

Holiday

Date 2018

Day 2018

Date 2019

Day 2019

New Year's Day

1 Jan

Mon

1 Jan

Tue

Good Friday

30 Mar

Fri

19 Apr

Fri

Easter Monday

2 Apr

Mon

22 Apr

Mon

Labour Day

1 May

Tue

1 May

Wed

Ascension Day

10 May

Thu

30 May

Thu

Whit Monday

21 May

Mon

10 Jun

Mon

Day of German Unity

3 Oct

Wed

3 Oct

Thu

Reformation Day

31 Oct

Wed

31 Oct

Thu

Christmas Day

25 Dec

Tue

25 Dec

Wed

2nd Day of Christmas

26 Dec

Wed

26 Dec

Thu

 

What is the Rundfunkbebühr? Do I have to pay it?

The Rundfunkgebühr is a TV and radio licensing fee that the federal government charges for the use of radios and televisions. This fee goes to financing public broadcasting services.

Currently, the monthly fee is 17.98 euro per household irrespective of the number of people and pieces of equipment in the household. If you are living in a student dorm, a university guesthouse the fee is paid by the university. If you live in a shared apartment you share the fee with the others in the apartment. If you live in an apartment or a house by yourself, you need to register (in German) and pay the monthly fee.

You can find more information online here.(in German)

What can be recycled? How can I separate my waste?

Environmental consciousness in Germany is comparatively strong, an attitude that is reflected in the separation and recycling of waste. In most towns you have individual, colour-coded dustbins/garbage cans/sacks for landfill (grey/black), paper (blue), plastics/composites (yellow sack) and compost/garden waste (green/brown or paper sack). In addition, there are also public bottle containers for glass and collection points for batteries and electrical waste ("Recyclinghof"). Many empty bottles and cans are returnable: if you take them back to the supermarket you will be given a refund. Non-refundable glass bottles, like wine bottles, belong in the bottle container. Non-returnable plastic bottles belong in the yellow sack.

Is smoking allowed in public buildings?

In Germany, smoking is prohibited in all public buildings under the authority of the state, such as stations, airports and public transport, as well as cultural, leisure and sports facilities. An exception is made for separate areas and rooms which are specifically designated. As gastronomy is not regulated by the central authorities in Germany, no-smoking rules are applied differently in the various Federal States. You are not usually allowed to smoke in restaurants and bars.

When should I give a tip? How much should I tip?

It is usual to give a tip in restaurants and cafés and for certain other services (e.g. taxi) in recognition of good service. The standard sum is about 10 percent; usually you round up the amount to be paid. If you pay in cash and do not have the right amount plus tip it is quite normal to ask the waiter or taxi driver to round the sum up to the amount you wish to pay. You can either state the amount or say how much change you want back.

When you go out to restaurants or cafés with friends or acquaintances it is quite usual in Germany to ask for separate bills and pay separately.

What kind of electric power does Germany use?

German electrical power points use 220 V and 50 Hz alternating current. Euronorm plugs fit all power outlets. Depending on where you come from you may have to use an adapter or transformer.

How can I meet other people, especially Germans?

If you would like to meet some Germans here are some opportunities for that:

The International Café meets once a month at the Guesthouse of the university in Dusternbrooker Weg. Join us for Kaffeetrinken (coffee and cake) on the second Wednesday of every month. More information here.

Mobility in and around Kiel

Where can I buy tickets for the bus?

Bus tickets for the Kiel transit company (KVG) can be bought at most kiosks/tobacco stores, some supermarkets, train stations and at the “Umsteiger” (website in German) bike station at the main station. You can also buy a single ride ticket on the bus.

Here is a list of all the places you can buy tickets.

How much do bus tickets cost? Day tickets? Weekly tickets? Monthly tickets?

Single ride tickets within Kiel can be bought on the bus and cost 2.60€ for adults, 1.50€ for children up to age 14.

A multi-ride ticket (4 rides) costs 9.20€ adult/5.40€ child.

Day tickets cost 7.80€, a weekly pass 20.50€, and a monthly pass 59.40€.

Students enrolled at the university will get a campus card. After activating the card, students can use the bus system in Kiel free of charge.

Where can I rent/buy a bike?

At the main train station in Kiel there is a bicycle station “Umsteiger” (website in German) which rents bikes (day rentals), has a repair shop and a 24 hour guarded bike parking garage.

On the main campus at Westring 393 there is a bike shop, which sells new and used bikes.

Used bikes to buy can also be found through ebaykleinanzeigen .

Visas and Residence Permits

Do I need a visa to enter Germany?

 As a rule, all foreigners require visas for stays of more than three months or stays leading to gainful employment. Exemptions apply to European Union and EEA (European Economic Area) citizens and Swiss nationals. 

In addition, citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and the United States of America can enter Germany with out a visa and subsequently apply for a residence permit.

Citizens of all other countries planning a stay of longer than three months must apply for a visa before arriving in Germany. The procedure can take up to three months, in some cases longer, so it is advisable to apply early.

For more information take a look here.

Where can I apply for a visa?

At a German consulate or embassy in your home country or current country of residence.

What type of visa do I need?

If you will be working in Germany it is advisable to get a visa which qualifies you for gainful employment (Erwerbstätigkeit). Because this type of visa often does not require the approval of the foreigners authority, the application process is usually quicker.

If you will be in Germany with as a researcher and/or with a fellowship/scholarship or otherwise self-funded, you should apply for a national visa, allowing a long-term stay.

If you plan to be in Germany for more than 90 days or if you wish to work in Germany do NOT apply for a 90 day Schengen visa since this type of visa cannot be extended.

Here you can find more information on different types of visas.

Can family members come with me to Germany?

In general, yes. If your spouse or children will join you during your research stay it is advisable to apply for their visas together with your own, even if they will be traveling to Germany later than you.

What is the best type of residence permit for me?

There are many types of residence permits for researchers coming to Germany. An overview of the types including the benefits (child benefits, unemployment benefits, extension of stay) afforded by each one can be found here and on the website of “Make it in Germany”. (Some of the information on the website is available in many languages.)

Kiel University, Kiel and S-H

Research profil

International scientists

Further information