Ketu Majumdar, an international student from India, has shared his experience of coming to Germany and getting a student residence permit. Check out his story to be better informed about the process and the requirements one has to face after arrival.
Moving abroad for studies or work had always been high up in my bucket list.
In 2018, I finally gathered enough courage and money to pursue it. After months of preparations, I submitted my applications to several Universities in Europe for a Masters’ Degree. And finally, on a Tuesday evening in early August, I was accepted at the University of Applied Sciences, Fulda. I was happy beyond words can express. One of my dreams was about to become a reality. But then it hit me that the semester was starting in less than 3 months from then and I needed to process all my paperwork in that short amount of time.
One of the pre-requisites for the application for a Students’ Visa to Germany was (and still is) a proof of available funds to cover personal expenses for at least one year.
In 2018, this amount was 8640€ and it could be covered through either a scholarship, or the money deposited in a blocked account in my name. And this account could be opened directly at a German Bank, at an Indian Bank that had an agreement with the German Embassy in India, or with Fintiba.
Since time was of the essence to me, I thought that going to a German bank directly would be the fastest and the most convenient. But that was the farthest from the truth. I went to a local branch of a very famous German Bank in India and requested details of the procedure. To my surprise, they asked that I open a local account with them and maintain an additional 1300€ in that account for at least a year. This was obviously not a good option for me because I needed every penny for my move to a country where I would be completely on my own (at least for the first few weeks or months). And to add to that, they told me that the entire process could take upwards of a month because they needed to send my documents to Germany.
Up next, I thought that I should explore Fintiba. That seemed like a great option because it is a German company, and so the money would have been easily available to me when I moved here. Fintiba’s web interface was very intuitive, and the process seemed very simple. But even after signing up, I did not feel confident enough to transfer money to the account, and I regretted that in the coming months.
So, I went with the remaining option – an Indian Bank that had an agreement with the German Embassy in India. I felt more confident with them because I could walk to a branch and speak face to face with a human being and explain my situation. They helped me speed up the process to get a confirmation letter from them, which I needed for my visa application.
From then on, everything went smoothly – that is until I arrived in Germany.
The visa that I received from the German Embassy in India was valid only for 6 months. Upon arrival in Germany, I learnt that to get a residence permit for a longer period of time (obviously required to continue my studies here), I needed to open another blocked account (a “Sperrkonto”) at a local German Bank and get the money from my blocked account in India transferred to this account.
This was a mandatory requirement from the immigration office.
This process of getting a blocked account took about two weeks, after which I requested the Indian Bank to transfer the money. The rest of the process, with additional authentication via phone, and lead time for international fund transfer, took about 4 more weeks. So, for about a month and a half, I lived off the limited cash that I had brought with me. Whereas some of my batchmates who had opted Fintiba already had money in their accounts. And not to mention that I had to opening fee twice.
Like they say, all’s well that ends well. But looking back, I should have put a little more trust on the online forums and posts that I read at the time and should have proceeded with Fintiba. That way, I could have enjoyed my first few weeks in a foreign country a little better.