Plan Your Stay

Coming to Hamburg

Stefan Malzkorn

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg has some 1,8 Mio inhabitants and more than 100,000 students are registered to one of more than 20 universities. HSBA is located in the very heart of Hamburg. The lively city has lots of green spaces, water and places to be. Most students live near the centre and commute by bicycle, subway, fast train or bus to HSBA. 

Here on this website, you can find important information to plan your stay at HSBA. More detailed information on all topics and additional links can be found in our Incoming Student Guide.

Visa Application

In general: Please be aware that you may have to apply for a visa to enter Germany. This depends on your nationality. The visa navigator will help you to find out if a visa is required and will give you information on the first steps. The visa application process might take several months, so please start as soon as you received your HSBA Letter of Acceptance or Study Contract!  

Degree Seeking Students: You will have to apply for a student visa when studying at HSBA as your status will be that of a student. Even if you work part-time, it is important to get a student visa as the focus of your degree programme at HSBA is the academic part. 

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

HSBA will provide you with an official invitation letter with your Letter of Acceptance (exchange students) or have signed your study contract and paid your enrolment fees (degree seeking students).

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 general information from DAAD. Students from an EU country might be covered with their EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) and students from a NON-EU country will have to take out a German health insurance.

There are two options to get health insurance in Germany:  

  1. Statutory insurance
    If you are under 30 years of age, you should opt for statutory health insurance. A list of health insurance providers you will find on the above-mentioned website of the Hamburg Welcome Portal.  
  2. Private insurance
    If you are 30 years or older when you start your studies, you cannot opt for statutory health insurance, and have to take out private German health insurance. However, it is very important to pay attention to the health insurance package that you will choose. HSBA is not allowed to officially recommend any health insurance company to you, however, you can ask the International Office to help you to navigate the health insurance requirements.

Living in Hamburg

Register as a Hamburg Citizen and Residence Permit

Once you have moved to Hamburg and you plan to stay longer than 90 days, you will have to register your new address within two weeks. Please check the Hamburg authority’s website and book your appointment online and check what documents you need to bring. 

After arriving in Germany and having registered as a Hamburg citizen, Non-EU students must go to the relevant authority for non-residents (Ausländerbehörde) in their municipal district to convert the visa into a residence permit (“Aufenthaltstitel”) for the purpose of studying. Please note that a tourist visa can NOT be converted into a residence permit. Please check the Hamburg authority’s website and book your appointment online and check what documents you need to bring.

Make sure that your name is on your letterbox because most official offices communicate only by post.


Start looking for accommodation as soon as you know that you are going! Hamburg is hugely popular, including with students and even Germans often struggle quite a bit to find a place to stay. 

The internet is a great way to find a room in a shared flat, known in Germany as a Wohngemeinschaft – or WG for short. Several people live together in a flat they have rented privately. Usually everyone has their own room, while the kitchen and bathroom are shared. The rent and the bills for telephone, internet, electricity, gas and water are shared. This makes living in a shared flat cheaper than living alone. You can find WG rooms and private student housing options online at:

Please also check Facebook Groups for expats in Hamburg.

Living Expenses

Hamburg is a great city to live in but living expenses are quite high compared to other cities in Germany, and to many other countries. Obviously, your living expenses will depend very much on your expectations. The following is a rule of thumb:

  • rent: very much depends on your demands. You should calculate around EUR 400-650 per month (bills included)
  • health insurance: EUR 110.00
  • public transport: EUR 40.00 - EUR 75.00
  • telephone, internet, radio and television: EUR 50.00
  • food and drink: EUR 170.00
  • clothes: EUR 60.00

You may also want to have a look at the German Academic Exchange Service's website for more information.

Students who present their student ID cards frequently get discounts on public transportation and tickets for the cinema, museum, or theatre or even for lunch specials at some places. Asking for student discounts is definitely worthwhile.

Bank Account

You should check with your local bank its conditions while you are abroad. In most cases it will be necessary to open a current bank account (“Girokonto”) in Germany because salary payments and transactions such as rent, health insurance and phone bills are handled via a local account.

Near HSBA you will find branches of Deutsche Bank, Hamburger Sparkasse, and Commerzbank.

Questions?Iris Heine, HSBA
Iris Heine, HSBA

Iris Heine

Senior Manager International Office
+49 40 822160-959

Contact Box: Callback

All times are specified in CEST

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