International Students Stefan Malzkorn

Welcome to Hamburg


Plan Your Stay

Coming to Hamburg

You have been accepted as Exchange Student or Free Mover at HSBA Hamburg School of Business Administration? Congrats - we are very much looking forward to welcoming you to the most beautiful city in the world soon.

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg has around 1,8 Mio citizens and is proud, to host over 100,000 students at more than 20 higher education institutions. Hamburg is a dynamic and international city with an open-mind and we know that you will feel right at home here.
HSBA is located right in the center of Hamburg and you are able to walk to many famous landmarks from here. Most of our students live in the centre and cycle to campus or take the subway, S-train or the bus.

Below you will find important information to help you plan your stay in Germany, in Hamburg and at HSBA. More detailed information on all topics and additional links can be found in our Inbound Student Guide.

Entry into Germany

Visa Application and Health Insurance

Visa Application

You may need to apply for a visa to enter Germany. This depends on your nationality.

The visa navigator helps to find out if a visa is required and provides information on how to go about obtaining one.
Applying for a visa can take several months. Please start as soon as you have received the HSBA Letter of Acceptance or your Study Contract!

Find your German representative offices abroad, and information on the visa process as well as application forms.

Exchange Students and Free Mover: You may need a visa even if you only attend HSBA for a term or two. In order to obtain a visa you need an official acceptance letter from HSBA. This will be sent to you once you have been accepted as a guest student at HSBA. 

Degree Seeking Students: You must apply for a visa for study purposes, as your status in Germany will be that of a student. Even if you are working part-time, it is important to obtain a student visa, as the academic part is the main focus of your stay. You will receive an invitation letter as soon as your study contract has been signed and the registration fees have been paid.


Health Insurance

To study in Germany, you must have sufficient health insurance. 

For information on health insurance for students please visit the website of the Hamburg Welcome Portal and the DAAD. Students from an EU/EEA country might be sufficiently insured with their EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). Students from a country outside the EU must acquire German health insurance.

There are two options to obtain a German health insurance:

  1. Statutory insurance
    If you are under 30 years of age, you should opt for statutory health insurance. A list of health insurance providers can be found on the Hamburg Welcome Portal website mentioned above.
  2. Private insurance
    If you are 30 years old or older at the beginning of your studies, you cannot opt for statutory health insurance. You must take out private German health insurance. It is very important to pay close attention to the health insurance packages and benefits of the provider that you choose. HSBA is not officially allowed to recommend a health insurance company, but will support you if necessary in clarifying questions regarding this topic.

Living in Hamburg

Residence Permit, Accomodation & Living Expenses

Register as a Hamburg Citizen and obtain a Residence Permit

Once you have moved to Hamburg and you plan to stay longer than 90 days, you must register your new address within two weeks. Please check the Hamburg authority’s websitebook your appointment online and find out which documents you must submit.

After arriving in Germany and registering in Hamburg, students from countries outside the EU/EEA have to exchange their visa with a residence permit for study purposes. This is done at the respective immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) in your council/city district. Please note that a tourist visa caannot be converted into a residence permit. Please check the Hamburg authority’s website, book an appointment online and find out which documents you must submit.

Make sure that your letter box clearly displays your full name, as most authorities communicate only by mail - that is, by letter (hard copy paper).



Start looking for accommodation as soon as you know that you are going to study in Hamburg. Hamburg is very popular with students and even Germans often have trouble finding accommodation.

Our recommendation is that you search for room in a shared apartment. These are known in Germany as a Wohngemeinschaft – or "WG". Two or more people share a flat in which usually everyone has their own room, while the kitchen and bathroom are shared. Rent and bills for telephone, internet, electricity, gas and water are shared. This makes living in a shared flat more affordable than living by yourself.

Please also check Facebook Groups for expats in Hamburg.


Bank account

Ask your bank about the conditions during your stay abroad. In some cases, it will be necessary to open a checking account in Germany, as salary payments and transfers such as rent, health insurance and telephone bills must be processed through a local account.

There are branches of Deutsche Bank, Hamburger Sparkasse and Commerzbank located near the HSBA.


Living Expenses

Hamburg is a great city to live in but living expenses are quite high compared to other cities in Germany and especially compared to costs in many other countries.  The cost of living depends very much on your needs, so the following should only be considered as a guideline;

  • rent: EUR 400-900 per month (including utilities)
  • health insurance: EUR 110
  • public transport: EUR 40-75
  • telephone, internet, radio and television: EUR 50
  • food and drink: EUR 200
  • clothes: EUR 60

Further information on Finding Accommodation can also be found on the website of the German Academic Exchange Service's.

Students who show their student ID card often receive discounts on public transport, tickets to movies, museums or theaters and occasionally even on lunch deals. Asking for student discounts is definitely worthwhile.


We are happy to help!

Iris Heine, HSBA
Iris Heine

Senior Manager International Office

+49 40 822160-959
Questions?Iris Heine, HSBA
Iris Heine, HSBA

Iris Heine

Senior Manager International Office
+49 40 822160-959

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All times are specified in CEST

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