Info Service Center: Frequently Asked QuestionsCopyright: Stanislava Petkova
Below we have collected frequently asked questions about the following topics:
*** Survival Guide ***
We have compiled a survival guide with all the important information about studying and living in Aachen in a compact form for you.
- Application and Admission to RWTH
- Studies and Life in Aachen
- Planning a Stay Abroad
- International Office
Wichtiger Hinweis zur Außenstelle der Ausländerbehörde im SuperC
- Please note that due to the CoViD-19 pandemic, the immigration office’s branch in the Super C building on Templergraben 57 currently accepts requests for appointments by email only. To make an appointment, please send an email to Städteregion Aachen providing your first name, last name, birth date, and purpose of the appointment (e.g. application for a residence permit or extension of a residence permit) and attach a scan of your passport and visa or residence permit. If you have multiple first and/or last names, remember to mention all of them in your email!
You should apply for a residence permit around 8 weeks before your visa or current residence permit expires.
Please note that the immigration office is currently dealing with many requests so it may take up to a few weeks until they get back to you. Please wait for their response and refrain from sending any further emails or calling them by phone. As soon as you have applied for an appointment, your case is considered pending and there are no negative repercussions if your visa/residence permit expires before you have had your appointment.
Online Programmes and information about the current Corona Crisis Situation
Below you can find a list of various links to online offerings and information on the coronavirus situation provided by RWTH and other Aachen institutions.
For links to free online German courses, please refer to the FAQ section "Questions about application and admission to RWTH (Bachelor/Master) for International Students" (Question: "How can I learn German?")
- RWTH Website: current information
- RWTH Blog: Corona-News
- Fiancial aid for students in need due to Corona Pandemic
- Welcome-to-Aachen – the clickable Aachen map to find your support services
- City of Aachen
- Student Advice Center: scheduled Advising
- Psychological Counceling
- Career Center – Project career@home
- List of departmental advisors – please use email only
- INCAS Aachen – Facebook page
- AEGEE – Erasmus Aachen Discord Server
- Campus Tour Map
Which restrictions have to be followed in Aachen due to the pandemic?
- Contacts are restricted to one household and one additional person (not counting children up to the age of 14). This applies for public spaces as well as private spaces.
- There is a night curfew from 10pm to 5am. From 10pm to midnight "sole outdoor physical activities", like jogging or walking, are allowed.
- Collection of ordered goods (named Click & Collect) in stores is still possible. Stores such as drugstores, pharmacies, bookstores, flower stores, garden markets, et cetera remain open.
- If shopping in retail stores with an appointment (named Click & Meet) is possible a negative test result, which is not older than 24 hours, has to be provided.
- Sport is allowed only as non-contact practice of individual sports alone, in pairs or with members from the own household.
- Hairdressers and medical, therapeutic services remain open. Customers have to provide a confirmed negative test result that is not older than 24 hours.
- If you use public transport, you have to wear FFP2 Masks or similar models. OP masks are no longer sufficient.
What rules apply to people entering NRW from so-called virus variant areas?
Anyone entering North Rhine-Westphalia from a so-called virus variant area must report to the public health office. These persons must immediately go into quarantine for fourteen days. The fourteen days are counted from the day of departure from the countries concerned. In addition, the persons concerned must be tested for the coronavirus immediately before entering the country. The quarantine period cannot be shortened by a voluntary test on the fifth day. However, it ends when the person leaves North Rhine-Westphalia.
Exempted from the quarantine obligation are, among others:
- transients (they are also exempt from the testing obligation under federal law)
- Inland waterway boatmen
- Transport of goods and persons
- Urgently required activities for the maintenance of public health.
In the event that Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands or an area of these states is classified as a virus variant area, cross-border commuters and border commuters will also be exempt from the quarantine obligation under certain conditions.
What rules apply in North Rhine-Westphalia for entries from other risk areas?
For people entering North Rhine-Westphalia from all other risk and high-incidence areas listed by the Robert Koch Institute (with the exception of the virus variant areas), there is only an obligation to quarantine if, contrary to the obligation under federal law, they have not had an entry test carried out. Entry testing must be fulfilled by rapid or PCR testing within a maximum of 48 hours before entry or immediately after entry. Travellers from a high incidence area have to present a negative test result already at the time of entry according to the federal entry regulation. A quarantine that must initially be observed due to a lack of entry testing can be terminated at any time by a negative test.
The following are exempt from this quarantine obligation, among others
- Persons in transit,
- inland waterway boatmen,
- small border traffic for stays of less than 24 hours,
- visiting relatives, transport of goods and diplomats/deputies for stays of less than 72 hours,
- daily or weekly border commuters and cross-border commuters.
In addition, the Quarantine Ordinance of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia stipulates that those who fulfil the testing requirement not by a rapid test but by a PCR test must go into quarantine until the result is received.
It should be noted that the federal government has also issued regulations on entry from risk areas. According to these, entrants from risk areas are in particular obliged to register digitally at this form prior to entry. Exceptions to the obligation to register apply, for example, to "local border traffic" - for a stay of less than 24 hours for example.
Entry regulations of the Aachen city region
Travellers who enter from abroad and have stayed in a risk area within the last ten days before entry are obliged to be tested no more than 24 hours before entry or immediately after entry.
If there is no testing facility immediately at the point of entry, the test must be carried out within 24 hours.
Until the test is carried out, contact with other persons outside one's own household must be avoided as far as possible.
- transient travellers (by direct route without overnight stay)
- any travel activity in border traffic with the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg for up to 24 hours
- Border commuters: persons who have their residence in NRW, travel to a risk area for the purpose of exercising their profession, studying or training and return to their residence regularly (at least once a week).
- Cross-border commuters: Persons who have their residence in a risk area, enter NRW for the purpose of exercising their profession, studying or training and return to their place of residence on a regular basis (at least once a week).
- Stays of up to 48 hours for urgent family reasons (visiting first-degree relatives and cohabitants, rights of access and custody)
- Stays of up to 48 hours for persons who transport persons, goods or merchandise across borders by road, rail, ship or air for work-related reasons.
The complete ordinance of the state government can be read in this ordinance.
An up-to-date overview of which countries are classified as risk areas can be found at the Robert Koch Institute.
Is a self-test sufficient for detection on entry?
No. According to the regulation, only PCR tests and PoC rapid tests are permitted for the detection of an infection with the coronavirus.
PCR tests must be carried out by medically trained personnel and evaluated by a recognised laboratory. PoC rapid tests must be performed by a medical service provider who is authorised to perform a PoC rapid test and must issue a test certificate.
The Robert Koch Institute lists the necessary conditions and requirements for such testing on its website.
Corona rapid test: free citizen testing
All citizens are entitled to a free rapid test, the so-called citizen test, at least once a week within the limits of the available testing capacities. On the one hand, all people who live in Germany are entitled to the free test. The citizenship test is not linked to any preconditions, it is also possible regardless of residence in Germany, for example for border commuters from Belgium or the Netherlands.
Important: Rapid tests are only for people without covid symptoms. If you have typical symptoms of the disease, a PCR test (laboratory test) is necessary.
There are now more than 220 places in the StädteRegion Aachen where you can take a rapid test. On the one hand, there are about 70 classified test centres and, on the other hand, more than 150 doctors' practices that also carry out tests (for their patients). In order to ensure a local supply of test capacities, rapid test buses are also used.
A list of all currently active test centres can be found on the website of the Aachen city region.
CORONAVIRUS citizens' hotline in the district of NRW
Tel.: +49 211 91191001
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 6pm
There is no medical advice on coronavirus. Please contact your doctor in case of a possible infection. You should announce your visit to the doctor's office or hospital by telephone.
Corona-Info-Hotline of the Städteregion Aachen
Tel: +49 241 510051
Although the information on this website is updated regularly and we do our best to ensure that the information is correct, it may sometimes take a few days for the latest updates and changes to be implemented. For this reason, we always advise additionally referring to the following websites:
Questions About Application and Admission to RWTH (Bachelor/Master) for International Students
Where can I find information about courses of study/courses currently offered at RWTH?
You can find all of RWTH Aachen’s courses of study and detailed information about individual programs and admissions requirements on the page Courses of Study.
Information on the application process for full courses of study:
What is the average cost of study at RWTH?
There are no tuition fees at RWTH Aachen, with the exception of the programs from RWTH Academy. However each student, including exchange students, must pay a student body and social contribution fee, which include the cost of the Semester Ticket. The exact amount varies each year, but on average it is about 300 Euros per semester. The entire cost of studies and life in Aachen, including rent, insurance, livelihood, etc, are on average at least 1100 Euros per month or 13,200 Euros per year.
You can find additional information on our page Costs and Finances.
How do I apply for Bachelor’s studies as an international student?
Everything you need to know as an international student at RWTH is explained on Division 2.1 Admissions and Social Affairs‘ webpages.
You can always find the current application deadlines on the webpage Application to First Semester for Internationals.
Please note that all international applicants who are not legally equivalent to German citizens, such as non-EU students, must complete a TestAS aptitude test before applying to RWTH. The test is offered four times a year only, so please make sure to register for the test in time! For further information please visit the TestAS website.
As a prospective international student, can I apply directly to RWTH with my secondary school certificate?
You first need to check and see if your secondary school certificate is equal to the German Abitur, which would grant you direct university access. You can use the website anabin, where you can look for your secondary degree under "Schulabschlüsse mit Hochschulzugang." If your secondary school certificate does not grant you direct access to a German university, you must either first attend a Studienkolleg, a preparatory college, in Germany or have successfully studied for one to three years in your home country.
You can find detailed information about the application process and contact information for some of the preparatory colleges in Germany on the website Studienkollegs. If you have additional questions about this topic, please contact the preparatory college of your choosing.
What language skills do I need for Bachelor’s or Master’s studies as an international student?
Please note that all Bachelor courses of study at RWTH Aachen are taught in German. For this reason you must provide documentation of the necessary German skills. You usually have to provide proof of your language skills when it is time for you to enroll. You can therefore first apply without submitting the valid language certificate. You will however be refused the opportunity to enroll if you cannot provide proof of the required skills during the usual enrollment period. Please note that there are some Master courses for which both English and German language certificates are required! You can read which certificates are accepted on the page Language Skills for Bachelor, Staatsexamen and Master.
How can I learn German?
German Language Courses
The RWTH Language Center offers German courses that prepare you for University studies. Please refer to the Language Center website for current information about courses and the registration process. Under certain conditions participants in the German courses can be enrolled at RWTH Aachen while taking the German course. You can find additional information on the page Application German Language Course.
Online German Courses by External Providers
- Levels A1, A2 and B1, as well as B2 for vocational/professional language courses
- In 19 languages
- With a "literacy component," as a so-called ABC German course
- Free-of-charge online tutoring
- Available via web browser and , for levela A1, cell phone app (Android and iOS)
- Approved as a full language/integration course
- Language levels A1, A2, B1
- Telenovela-based learning
- Available in six languages: English, Arabic, Russin, Persian, Spanish, and Portuguese
- Available as cell phone app for Android and via web browser
- Language level A1
- Available as cell phone app for Android and iOS
Language learning for professional purposes:
- Language Level B2
- Available as cell phone app for Android and via web browser
For care and nursing professionals learning German (B1 and higher)
- Educational game for individuals who (aspire to) work in the nursing professions and want to improve their job-related German language skills
- Available as smartphone app for Android and iOS and via web browser
How do I apply for Master’s studies as an international student?
Everything you need to know about application and admission to RWTH Aachen is explained in detail on the webpages of Application Master for Internationals.
Please note the application deadlines.
Please check the webpages for your chosen course(s) of study carefully to find out if you need to submit any additional documents required by the Examination Board of your Master's course of study (for example Graduate Record of Examination (GRE) result, TestAS) have to be submitted in your application.
If you have questions about your formal eligibility, please contact the Admissions Office of the RWTH International Office. If you have any questions regarding imposed additional requirements or reasons for refusal, please contact the respective examination board directly.
Where can I have my documents/certificates translated?
If your documents, certificates, etc. are not in English or German, you must have them translated by a sworn translator in your home country or in Germany. You can find a list of sworn translators in Germany and their contact information in the Translator and Interpretor Database.
Questions About Studies and Life in Aachen
Where can I live in Aachen? Are there student dorms?
Start your apartment search as early as possible. The housing market in Aachen is fairly tight due to the high number of students in Aachen. Unfortunately, your acceptance letter does not include a housing offer and does not guarantee you a room in the student dorms.
Do I have to officially register and deregister with the city administration/Bürgerservice?
You must officially register with the city administration/Bürgerservice within 14 days after your arrival, even if you do not yet have a permanent place to live. You can find all of the necessary information about registration in our City Registration and Deregistration Information Sheet.
Do I need German health insurance?
Proof of valid health insurance is mandatory to enroll at RWTH Aachen. You can either get German health insurance or, if you are completely insured in your home country, you can have a German health insurance company confirm that you are exempt from German health insurance.
In both cases you must contact a public health insurance company before in enrollment. You can find additional information on the webpages Enrollment in Bachelor Studies or Enrollment in Master Studies as well as in the information sheets Health Insurance Degree Students and Health Insurance Exchange Students and private insurance.
What documents do I need to enroll as an international student?
A complete list of the documents required (for example proof of health insurance, language certificate, school transcripts, etc.) can be found on the admissions division’s webpage about Enrollment in Bachelor Studies and Enrollment for Master Studies for international students. The documents are also listed in your acceptance letter.
If you have additional questions, please contact the Division of Admissions.
Where can I get more information about RWTHonline?
How do I get my BlueCard (student ID)
In order for your BlueCard to be issued, you must transfer the semester fee after enrolling, activate your IT services, and then upload a photo via your RWTH self-service account. After a few days you will receive an email and can then pick up the card from the BlueCard Service Point. You can also find detailed and up to date information on the BlueCard info page.
I have not received my Semester Ticket yet.
It can take one to two weeks to get your Semester Ticket at the beginning of your studies after transferring the semester fee. After one to two weeks please check to make sure that you entered the correct address in RWTHonline and contact the ASEAG Customer Service Center at Schumacherstraße 14, on the corner of Peterstraße, if you have not received the ticket.
When and how do I apply for a residence permit?
If you are not from an EU country (with the exception of Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Norway) and arrived in Germany on a student visa, you must apply for residence permit no later than one month before your visa’s date of expiration. The Immigration Office of the Aachen city region is responsible for this. You can find all the necessary information (contact information, documents, opening hours) in our Residence Permit Information Sheet and on the page Applying for and Extending Your Residence Permit. Please contact us if you have problems extending your permit or have a difficult case.
Sometimes the Immigration Office requires an academic progress certificate in order to extend the residence permit. You can find additional information about requesting this certificate as well as general information about right of residence on the page Residence Permit.
How do I effectively study for my exams?
Watch the video series "Learning How to Learn" for plenty of tips on how to optimize your study time. The video series was created by the Student Advice Centre at RWTH. You are encouraged to contact them if you have any questions concerning your studies. Their service offering includes talks and workshops on various different topics, such as questioning your choice of degree, changing your degree program, and reorientation. In addition, students can briefly talk about any concerns and questions during open office hours or alternatively arrange an individual appointment with staff at the Student Advice Centre.
What advising offices are available if I have questions/problems?
There are experts in advising offices for all problems and questions pertaining to studies or life in Aachen. These experts are happy to provide advice and assist you. We have collected the contact information of the most important offices in our Information Services Information Sheet. On the portal page, you will find all advice centers at RWTH. If you do not know who the appropriate contact is, ask the International Office’s Info Service Center.
Are there scholarships for international students?
The International Office offers two special scholarships for international students: a Scholarship for Particularly Involved International Students and the Scholarship for Completing Studies.
International students can also apply for the Germany Scholarship from the Education Fund. Detailed information is available on the page Education Fund.
You can find additional scholarship programs on the RWTH website Scholarships & Funding.
Can I work while studying and how do I find a job?
Each student can work up to 19 hours per week without a job permit during the semester. We have collected additional information about the legalities as well as useful tips for searching for a job in our Job Information Sheet.
How do I open a bank account?
You can find detailed information about bank accounts in the pdf Basic Information on Bank Accounts.
Do I have to pay the broadcasting fee (fee for tv, radio, internet)?
Every household in Germany must pay the broadcasting fee to the Fee Collection Center or Gebühreneinzugszentrale, GEZ, to use the radio, tv, and internet.
If you are sharing an apartment with other students, you can split the cost among yourselves. The main renter is formally responsible for paying the fee to the GEZ.
Further information in different languages is available here.
Is Aachen safe?
Aachen is considered a safe city. Nevertheless, we want to provide you with information and tips about safety and ask that you read them: Safety Information Sheet
We explain what to do in the event of loss or theft of important documents in the Theft/Loss of Important Documents Information Sheet.
What can I do in my free time?
A number of international student organizations and initiatives ensure for colorful and intercultural recreational offers. You can find a current list of the organizations and their contact information on the page Extracurricular and Leisure Activities.
The Humboldt-House as a meeting place for the international and local university members offers rooms for events, seminars, and exhibitions on different topics.
The University Sports Center offers a wide range of sport courses and regularly organizes events and exhibitions on different topics.
You can find other ideas for recreational activities on the city of Aachen website.
These apps can make everyday life a little easier for you.
Last but not least – follow our Facebook page for the International Office’s current events and other information and tips about life and studies in Aachen.
I'm looking for an English-speaking doctor.
The website of the Ärztekammer Nordrhein has a search option for doctors with foreign language skills.
I need a certificate.
There are number of certificates that have to be requested from various RWTH offices. In general, the following applies:
- You can print certificates about your academic performance via the RWTHonline portal or have them signed and stamped by your assigned administrative assistant in the Central Examination Office.
- Certificates about your current student status (certificates of enrollment/termination of studies certificate) can be requested from the Registrar’s Office. If you don’t need an official signature, you can print them out yourself from CampusOffice.
- If your embassy requires a certificate about the estimated cost of study, please contact the International Office’s Info Service Center.
I need a notarization or apostille.
You can find detailed information about notarizations and apostilles on the RWTH page Notarizations and Apostilles.
I feel I am being treated unfairly or discriminated against.
Fairness, equal treatment, and appreciation for others are of great importance to RWTH. The RWTH Equal Opportunities Office is available to answer any questions about these topics. Info flyers on topics such as antidiscrimination, equal treatment, sexual harassment, bullying, and much more are available to download from the Equal Opportunities Office website. An official complaint office will take your written complaint and help find a solution.
How can I terminate my enrollment?
All students must contact the Registrar’s Office to terminate their enrollment.
Questions About A Stay Abroad
How do I organize a stay abroad?
The first step we highly recommend taking is to attend a country- or topic-specific or general group advising session. You can find the current dates on the event page and on our Facebook page. The general course of events and the application process are explained and the different funding options are presented. The advisor can also answer your specific questions.
Internships and research stays abroad are funded by different scholarship programs. You can find an initial overview of programs and well as current offers here.
In what countries and at what universities can I spend a semester abroad?
On the following pages you can find current exchange opportunities and the partner universities of your faculty worldwide as well as the exchange opportunities offered as part of the Erasmus+ programs. Experience reports from students are available in the MoveOn online database. It also offers information about the contact person in the faculties and links to the partner universities.
Whom should I contact if I have questions?
If you have general questions we recommend first having a look at the websites of Division 2.3 Mobility as well as taking part in the Group advising sessions. Each November you can also take part in the Go Abroad Week.
In case you have questions about specific countries, forms of stay abroad or scholarship programmes, we recommend contacting the respective advisor in Division 2.3 – Mobility.
If you have questions about course content and getting credit for your academic performance abroad, we recommend contacting the responsible study abroad coordinator in your faculty. The International Office cannot provide any assistance on this topic.
- DAAD Guide: Destination Germany
- DAAD Student Residence Hall Finder
- DAAD Information on Finding Accommodation
- DAAD – Student Journey
- Krankenkassen-Zentrale: Comparing German Health Insurers (de)
- National Code of Conduct for German Universities Regarding International Students
- Website Evangelische Studierendengemeinde Aachen, ESG (de)
- Webseite Katholische Hochschulgemeinde, KHG (de)
- STUBE Rheinland – Supporting Program for Students From Asia, Africa, and Latin America (de)
- youRegion – Living and working in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine