Blocked Funds, Open Doors: Demystifying Blocked Accounts in Germany


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You're all set to dive into a university experience in Germany – super exciting! But hold up, as you’re preparing your documents to start your journey as an international student, you notice that you are required to have a blocked bank account for your visa and/or residence permit application. What is a blocked bank account? Who is blocking what? How on earth do you even set one up? That’s where KLU comes in – we’ve got your back. We know figuring this stuff out can be a maze, but after you read this article, you’ll be a pro at setting up a blocked bank account and you’ll be one step closer to becoming a student at KLU!

So, what is a blocked bank account anyway?

Simply put, a blocked bank account (Sperrkonto in German) is a way for German authorities to ensure that you can support yourself in Germany. It is required of all students who are not EU passport holders and do not have any other proof of sufficient funds, such as a scholarship or someone vouching to support them financially.

Ok, that makes sense… but I’m still confused. What is a blocked bank account??

Don’t worry, we’re getting down to the details. A blocked bank account is an account that you make a deposit into to show proof of financial self-sufficiency. The amount of money that you will need to deposit depends on the amount of money that the government has deemed necessary for students to live in Germany for a year. This can vary from year to year, but you can refer to the website of the Federal Foreign Office or our Tuition and Financing page for updated requirements. Once this money is deposited, you essentially set it and forget it, as you won’t have access to it until you arrive in Germany. Once you arrive, a fixed sum will be deposited into your account each month (i.e.- if you deposit 11.208€, 934€ will be deposited into your personal account each month for a year).

Got it! But I still have no idea how to open a blocked account…I’m panicking a little…

Don’t panic, opening a blocked bank account is much simpler than you’d think, and you have many options to choose from.

One option is to apply directly with a German bank. Some banks, such as Sparkasse, Commerzbank and Volksbank offer blocked bank accounts. You will need to apply for this kind of blocked account with a paper application that is either submitted in person or by mail through the German Embassy in your home country if you are not already in Germany.

This is the best option if you are already in Germany, as, otherwise you will not have the convenience of being able to submit documents online.

Wait, so is there a more convenient option for people who are not already in Germany?

Of course! Many international students opt for third-party financial institutions that offer them the opportunity to comfortably apply online for a blocked bank account from their home country. Providers such as Expatrio, Coracle and Fintiba are just a few of the popular options for online blocked accounts.

You will be able to upload all of the necessary documents, such as your application form, passport, and university acceptance letter using a website or an app!

Phew, that’s a relief! What’s next?

Once your account is approved (usually within 1-6 weeks), you will receive instructions on how to transfer the money to your bank or third-party institution. The money is typically received within 3-5 days and once it is received, you will then receive instructions on how to access the money! They will either deposit the money directly into your private account each month or issue you a bank card, which you can use to withdraw the money that is deposited into your account.

Almost there! Just a few things to note before you are a blocked account expert:

  • You will be charged a one-time fee when you deposit money into your account, which can range from about 50€ to 150€. Some also require a monthly fee of 5-10€.
  • You will likely need to deposit money into this account each time you apply for an extension of your residence permit unless you provide acceptable proof of another source of funds. Already working in Germany? You may have a lower required amount! Your required monthly amount would simply be reduced by your monthly wages.
  • You cannot access the money until you are both in Germany and have been issued a residence permit. You should have some extra funds handy in the meantime, as this process can take more than a month.

And there you have it! You have all the tools you need to open a blocked bank account. We told you that you would be ready :) Still looking for options to finance your degree? Don’t forget to check out this article about Brain Capital financing.

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