Blocked account: How it works
Important questions and answers regarding a blocked account
If you come from a non-EU country and would like to study in Germany, you will probably need a blocked account. Here you can find out more about a blocked account and how to open it.
What is a blocked account?
As a foreign student who is not from an EU Member State, you must furnish proof that you have the financial means to pay for your course of studies and for supporting yourself during your studies. Proof of financial resources must usually be provided when you apply for an entry visa and is a precondition when you apply for a residence permit in Germany.
Documentation of adequate means often requires a blocked account. This is a special account that is not freely accessible to the account holder. Students have to pay a minimum amount as required by law into the blocked account: Currently, a minimum of 720 euros has to be paid into the account for each month the student plans to stay in Germany. This amount will be blocked until the account holder arrives in Germany. Another particularity of blocked accounts is that there are limitations on the amount that can be withdrawn or transferred by the account holders within a defined period of time. Currently, account holders may withdraw a maximum of 720 euros per month from their account, unless they have paid in more than the prescribed minimum amount.
Do students have a right to a blocked account?
At present, there is no legal requirement for German savings banks or other banks to offer blocked accounts to foreign students. You may find that the local savings bank in the city where you will attend university does not offer a blocked account because each of the more than 400 savings banks in Germany is a separate enterprise that defines its product range independently. For this reason, your best option is to enquire at your local savings bank about opening an account.
How do I open a blocked account?
Step 1: Gathering documents
You can open a blocked account from home. To do so, you will need to fill in the necessary account application form of the savings bank or private bank concerned. You can download the form from their website or have it sent to you by email. The form is usually also available in English. In addition, you will need a copy of your valid passport and a confirmation of your admission to study.
Step 2: Having documents certified
Do you have all the necessary documents? Then it’s time to visit the German Consulate or the German Embassy in your home country to have all the necessary documents certified. The consulate or embassy will then send your documents by mail to your savings bank or private bank.
Step 3: Transferring money
Once your documents have arrived in Germany, the savings bank or other bank will proceed to open your account. This will take about one week. It may also be that one-off fees will be charged for setting up the account. Once your account has been opened, you will receive your account details (IBAN and BIC numbers) by email. You will then have to deposit the amount required by means of an international credit transfer. For one academic year, for instance, you will have to deposit 8,640 euros – a pretty large sum. That’s why you don’t have to pay everything at once; you can also pay the amount in several instalments. Maybe your family or friends can also help out and transfer money to the account.
Step 4: Withdrawing money in Germany
Have you arrived safely in Germany? Then you are welcome! All you need to do now is to visit your branch. When you do, don't forget your passport and your visa. Once you have presented both, your account will be activated. You will be given your giro card and – if you like – your online banking access data. From now on, you will be able to withdraw cash and transfer funds from your blocked account. However, be aware that only the prescribed 720 euros will be available to you per month. The remainder of the money in your account will remain blocked. Do you need more money per month? Then you can deposit more than the required minimum amount into your account.
What can I do if my savings bank does not offer blocked accounts?
Have you contacted the savings bank in the city where you attend university and found out that this savings bank does not offer any blocked accounts? We are sorry. Usually, it is not possible to open a blocked account with another savings at a remote location. In other words: you cannot live and study in Berlin and have your account in Aachen because each savings bank serves customers in a defined territory. In addition, you will have to personally visit your branch at least once to activate your account. And if you have any questions with regard to your account or if you want to have an appointment with one of our customer relationship managers, it is good to have an account with a savings bank that is very close.
Is there any alternative to a blocked account?
A blocked account is not necessarily required as proof of financial resources. A scholarship, proof of parental income or a guarantee may also be sufficient. Check with the German consulate or the German embassy.
By the way, if you would like to open a current account in addition to, or instead of, the blocked account, we would be pleased to help.
We hope that you will enjoy your stay in Germany, and we wish you all the best for your studies!