Getting started in Oldenburg
Advisor for international doctoral candidates and researchers
Service for international researchers
Getting started in Oldenburg
At the beginning of your stay in Oldenburg, there are some important formalities you need to take care of. The following information will help you with the first steps in this new environment abroad. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
In case you did not apply for insurance prior to your departure and arrived in Germany without health insurance coverage, you (and all family members) need to apply for it as soon as possible. You have to have valid health insurance coverage in Germany.
Within two weeks of your arrival, you must register in person at the Citizens' Office ("Bürgerbüro") of the City of Oldenburg (if you will be staying in Germany for longer than three months). If you live in the surrounding area of Oldenburg, please contact the local registration office. Family members travelling with you must also register in person!
To register with the city, you need to make an appointment in advance, either online (Bürgerbüro Mitte, Bürgerbüro Nord) or by phone at +49 441 235 4444. The website of the City of Oldenburg provides further information on making appointments.
You will need the following documents:
- registration form
- Valid passport or ID card
- written confirmation from your landlord in Oldenburg ("Wohnungsgeberbestätigung" (Information from the City of Oldenburg regarding the "Wohnungsgeberbestätigung"; in German)
- When registering with family: marriage certificate, birth certificate of children
- Proof of residential address ("Wohnungsgeberbestätigung")This form must be filled in by your landlord or your landlord's representative (e.g. the property manager, Hausverwalter) and serves as proof of your current residential address in Oldenburg.
- Upon registration, you will receive a Certificate of Residency ("Meldebescheinigung"). Please keep it, it is important (e.g. for opening a bank account).
- Tax Identification Number (Steueridentifikationsnummer): will usually be mailed to your registered address if you register in Germany for the first time.
- “Rundfunkbeitrag” (broadcasting fee): usually needs to be paid by every registered household (currently EUR 17.50/month).
If you move to a new place in Oldenburg or to a new city in Germany, you have to report your new address again to the Citizens' Office in the city you moved to. At the end of your stay in Germany, when you are about to return to leave the country, you need to de-register with the Citizens' Office.
If you need to apply for a residence permit and/ or extend your visa, you should also do this within the first few days or in good time at the Foreigner's Office of the City of Oldenburg.
We strongly recommend opening a bank account with a local German bank if you stay in Germany for a longer period of time. Set up a current account ("Girokonto") with a bank or savings bank ("Sparkasse"). Your salary, wages or fellowship/scholarship money can be directly transferred to your account, and living expenses such as rent, bills or insurance can be debited from it by standing order or direct debit.
When you open an account with a local bank, you will receive an Electronic Cash card ("EC-Karte") that allows you to withdraw cash from any cash machine (note that withdrawal fees may apply if it is a cash machine from a different bank). You can also pay for your purchases in most supermarkets and shops with an EC card. To open an account with a local bank, you will need your passport or identification document and the confirmation of residence you received upon registration at the "Bürgerbüro". Since account maintenance charges may vary, it is worthwhile to compare terms and charges.
If you plan to make transactions to and from an account in your home country, it is a good idea to check with your home bank to find out whether it cooperates with a German bank. This may shorten the time required for international transactions, and in some cases reduce or even eliminate transaction fees.
You will be able to use cash, travellers' cheques and credit cards for payments. Although credit cards are becoming more and more common in Germany, everyday purchases and payments of small amounts are still typically made using cash or an EC card.