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Germany increases deposit requirement for foreign students

Short on time? Here are the highlights:
    • Most international students deposit money into what’s known as a “blocked” bank account when applying to study in Germany as a way of demonstrating they have the financial means to carry out their planned programme of study
    • The amount they will need to deposit increases by 20% as of September 2019 – the new minimum deposit amount will be €10,236
    • Students cannot access money from their blocked account until they arrive in Germany, but once they arrive, they can make monthly withdrawals of up to €853

In Germany, there are three ways that non-EU international students can show proof of financial means for their first year of study as part of their visa application. The most common way is depositing a minimum amount of money into a “blocked account,” which is a bank account designed precisely for international students and offered by German banks, including Deutsche Bank and Fintiba. The account is considered “blocked” because students cannot access it until they arrive in Germany, and then may only withdraw funds up to a specified monthly limit.

As of 1 September 2019, the amount of money that international students using the blocked account option in their visa application will rise from €8,640 to €10,236. Once students arrive in Germany, they will be permitted to withdraw a maximum of €853 per month.

Such proof of financial means is one of the main requirements to obtain a student visa for Germany. The other ways international students can show proof of financial means are by showing that they have received a scholarship or by providing a letter to confirm that they have an approved sponsor for their study programme.

Why the increase?

The increase, which is the first in years, is meant to keep up with inflation and intended to reduce incidences in which students jeopardise their academic performance by taking on too much paid work during their studies.

The minimum deposit required by the German government reflects the estimated funds required for a foreign student to cover his/her living expenses in Germany for a full year.

How to get a blocked account

The German government advises,

“Many countries have providers that offer blocked accounts. Information is available from the respective competent German mission abroad. Furthermore, certain banks in Germany offer special blocked accounts for students/language students for educational institutions located at their place of business.”

For additional detail on blocked accounts, including step-by-step instructions on opening an account at a participating bank, please see this excellent overview from the German Federal Foreign Office.

For additional background, please see:

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