Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find the most frequent questions asked by international exchange students. If you do not find a reply to your query in this section, do not hesitate to write an e-mail to We are always happy to help.

Accommodation (general)

The International Office does not own any student dorms but we will contact the local student dorms (run by the Studierendenwerk) for you. While we will do our best to find a place for you to stay, we cannot guarantee that you will receive an offer for a room in one of the student dorms as the places there are limited. If there are no rooms available in the student dorms, we will try and find private accommodation for you. As the housing situation in Bielefeld is very difficult, please understand that we can only provide you with one accommodation offer. If you reject this offer, we cannot make you another one, meaning that you will need to find a room on your own. We strongly advise you to start looking for accommodation as soon as possible. Websites such as, and can help you in your search. Tip: It is a good idea to not only look for apartments/rooms in Bielefeld, but also in the surrounding areas (Herford, Bad Salzuflen, Borgholzhausen).

Accommodation (student dorm)

Should you receive an offer for an available student dorm room from us, you still need to officially apply for the room with the Studierendenwerk, which owns the dorms. When we offer you a room, we will send you information about the room itself as well as instructions on how to apply.

Accommodation (private landlord/landlady)

If we send you an offer for a room provided by a private landlord/landlady, you will need to address all further questions to him/her. The contract will be made between you and your future landlord/landlady. If you need help communicating with them, please ask your buddy to assist you. Before you come to Germany, you can also ask the International Office to mediate.

Application process

Q: I have completed my online application and uploaded all the required documents. What do I do next?

A: We will let you know whether your application was accepted about four weeks after the deadline. If your application was successful, you can log on to Mobility Online (online application tool for HSBI) and print out your Letter of Acceptance.


Q: I noticed that there is a mistake in one of the documents that I submitted. What can I do?

A: If the deadline has not passed, you can make the changes yourself by logging on to Mobility Online (online application tool for HSBI). In any case, please notify us about changes or errors in your application immediately.


Q: I will come to Germany in two months and my buddy has not contacted me yet. What can I do?

A: Generally, your buddy will write you an e-mail shortly before you arrive in Germany. Just be patient. If your Buddy has not contacted you 3–4 days before your departure, kindly turn to the International Office and we will help.


Q: My home university requires an official document that confirms that I have started studying at HSBI. Can you help?

A: If your university needs a Certificate of Arrival, they have provided you with a form to use. If you do not have the form, contact your exchange coordinator. Fill out the form and bring it to the contact person for international exchange students at the International Office, A227. We will then sign the document for you.


Q: I have received a Certificate of Attendance. What should I do with it and where do I hand it in?

A: The Certificate of Attendance is only relevant for students who study Design (FB1) and Engineering/Mathematics (FB3). Please put down all the courses you have attended on this form. The Certificate of Attendance makes it easier and faster for us to prepare your Transcript of Records. At the end of your semester, your professors need to confirm your attendance on this form with their personal signature. They will also fill in your grades. Once you have collected all signatures, kindly hand in your certificate at the International Office, room A227.  


Q: I need my Transcript of Records. Where can I get it?

A: The International Office will receive your Transcript of Records from the relevant faculty representative once all your exams have been graded. As soon as we have it, we will inform you by e-mail and attach the document in PDF format. Additionally, we will send your original Transcript of Records to your home university by post.


Q: I need a Certificate of De-registration. Where can I get it?

A: First of all, kindly make sure that you really need this certificate. Unless you have a specific reason, e.g. wanting to cancel your health insurance before the end of the semester, you do not need to de-register; it will happen automatically after you leave. If you do need this certificate, you need to apply for de-registration (Exmatrikulation). The International Office can provide you with the necessary form. You will also find this form on this website or in our ILIAS Group. Please fill it in and bring it to the member of staff responsible for your course of studies in the Registrar’s Office (main building, section A, 2nd floor). The International Office will send you confirmation of your de-registration once it has been processed.


Q: Can you send me confirmation about the German classes that I took while I was at HSBI?

A: When your time in Bielefeld is coming to an end, we will provide you with a Transcript of Records. On this document, the German classes that you took are indicated.


Q: Some of my courses take place at the same time. How can I rearrange my schedule?

A: Please discuss potential course changes with your academic advisors during your first meeting.


Q: I stated in my Learning Agreement that I would like to take some courses in German. Is that possible?

A: As long as you have stated the courses you would like to take in your Learning Agreement and talked about attending courses in German with your Academic Advisors, this should be no problem. To find out which courses HSBI offers in your studies, simply have a look at the course catalogue available on the website of HSBI. Here you will find all courses relevant to your faculty. 

E-mail account at HSBI

Q: I need my user name and password to access my e-mail account at HSBI but I have not received any such data yet. Where can I get it?

A: Once you pay the semester contribution, you will be issued a user name and password. These are delivered to the International Office in a letter; you will receive an e-mail reminding you to pick it up.  If you need your internet access data very urgently, you may go directly to the IT service desk at B107 and kindly ask for your HSBI credentials. Bring your matriculation number and ID card.


Q: I failed an exam. Is there a way to see the exam form and my mistakes?

A:  You can check your written exam but it is not allowed to make a copy of the document. You have to be present in person to view your exam; we cannot send you a copy by e-mail. It is also possible to retake your exam at a later date. Please let your lecturers know as soon as possible if you want to make use of this option.

Extending your stay

Q: I would like to extend my stay at HSBI for one more semester. How can I do this?

A: You can apply for an extension of your stay at the International Office. If you are at HSBI as part of an established exchange programme (e.g. Erasmus+), you will also need confirmation for your prolongation from your home university as well as a new Learning Agreement for the next semester. You also have to pay the semester contribution for the upcoming semester by the deadline stated at


Q: My old semester ticket expires today. I registered for another semester at HSBI and have already paid the semester contribution. How do I receive a new ticket?

A: You can print your new semester ticket yourself. First of all, check in the LSF whether you have re-registered successfully. You can then get your new semester ticket at the Deutsche Bahn portal.


Q: I have re-registered and need confirmation of my enrolment for my home university. Where can I find it?

A: If you have re-registered successfully, you can print your matriculation confirmation from your LSF account.
Freshers’ Weeks

Q: Do I have to attend the Freshers’ Weeks activities?

A: Only the activities marked “mandatory” are compulsory, but the Freshers’ Weeks are a good way to find your way around HSBI and get acquainted with your fellow students so we recommend taking part in all activities.


Q: If I am staying in private accommodation, what furniture can I expect?

A: This is a question that you will have to ask your landlord/landlady. When the International Office forwards you an offer for a private accommodation, we usually give you as much information as possible about the furniture and amenities.


Q: Are the student dorm rooms furnished?

A: Yes, the student dorm rooms are furnished with a bed, a desk, a chair and a wardrobe.

Health insurance

Q: Can I use my private health insurance or can I use the public insurance available in Germany?

A1: If you have public health insurance in an EU country, you will need the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). This is valid proof that you are insured as a European student. You can still get German public health insurance once you have arrived in Germany, if you like, but you do not have to.

A2: As a non-EU student, you have to register for German public health insurance. You will have an opportunity to do this on the first day of the Freshers’ Weeks. Turkish citizens may take advantage of the AT/11, a German/Turkish health insurance agreement that allows you to use your own insurance in Germany.


Q: Is there a (wireless) internet connection in the student dorm rooms?

A: You can get access to the internet via the university network from the dorms in Morgenbreede and Universitätsstraße. In the dorm at Am Hallenbad, internet access is not provided. You can either get your own contract or – which is a lot cheaper – ask to share with your flatmates or neighbours.

Key for my room

Q: I have found an accommodation. How and where can I pick up a key for the room/flat?

A: If you are staying in a student dorm, your buddy will give you the key when they pick you up at the train station. If you are staying in private accommodation, you need to make arrangements with your landlord/landlady. If your buddy has already contacted you, you can also ask them for help.

Learning Agreement

Q: I have made changes to my Learning Agreement. Is this acceptable? Where can I submit the amended document?

A: If you make any changes to your Learning Agreement before the application deadline ends, you can upload the LA with the changes as a PDF file via Mobility Online (online application tool for HSBI). If the deadline has passed, please send the document to the International Office by e-mail. All changes need to be approved by the relevant faculty. We will contact the responsible person for you and give you their answer as soon as possible.

Leaving Germany

Q: Are there any things to consider before I leave?

A: We will have a mandatory pre-departure meeting near the end of the semester to let you know all of the formalities you need to take care of before leaving. You will also receive a Pre-Departure Check List which contains that information. You can also find this list in our ILIAS group.

Letter of Acceptance

Q: When will I know whether I was accepted or not?

A: In general, we will contact you four weeks after the deadline for applications is over. If you study design and have submitted a portfolio as part of your application, it may take a little longer until you receive an e-mail from us.


Q: How long does it usually take for my Letter of Acceptance to arrive?

A: Once your application is accepted, you will be able to download your Letter of Acceptance via Mobility Online (online application tool for HSBI) and then print out the document yourself. We will notify you via e-mail.

Money transfer (from banks outside the EU)
Q: Do I have to pay an extra fee for money transfers from my bank (which is outside the EU) to a German bank?
A: The charges that you will have to pay for your money transfer to a German bank depends on the contractual agreements that your bank has with its German partner banks. If the receiving bank in Germany is a partner of your bank, the transfer will not require an additional fee. However, if the German bank is not one of your bank’s partners, the transfer will  go via another German bank – which is a partner – and this bank may charge an additional sum. Please ask a financial advisor at your bank about this. They will be able to assist you.
Passport or ID card

Q: My passport may expire while I am in Germany. Is that a problem?

A: Please make sure that you have a valid passport or ID card with you during your stay in Bielefeld. It is mandatory to carry a document of identification with you at all times. If you notice that your passport may expire, please go to your local registrations office and apply for a valid document in advance.

Rental contracts

Q: I saw that my rental contract is valid until a specific date. How can I prolong it so I can stay longer?

A1: For private accommodation, please talk to your landlord/landlady about the issue. It may be that you will have to look for another place to stay if you have signed a short-term contract that is valid until a specific date.

A2: If you are staying in a student dorm room, please inform the International Office as soon as possible about your extended stay and we will contact the Studierendenwerk for you. You will then need to sign an extended rental agreement.

Security deposit

Q: Do I have to pay a security deposit for my accommodation?

A1: If you move into a student dorm, there will always be a security deposit that you will have to pay in advance. When the time comes, we will send you an e-mail with instructions and a deadline until which you have to make the payment.

A2: If you rent a room from a private landlord/landlady he or she will decide whether to take a security deposit or not. Generally, it is normal to ask for 1–2 months’ rent to be transferred in advance.


Q: I have transferred the security deposit for my room yesterday but did not hear anything back.

A1: The money transfer can take up to five working days. If you are moving into a student dorm room, we will send you a reminder if the money has not arrived. Should you not hear anything from us, you can assume that your money has arrived and that your application has been accepted.

A2: To make sure that the deposit for your private accommodation has arrived, you will need to contact your landlord/landlady.


Q: I have not yet received my security deposit back for the room I rented during my stay in Germany. Can you help me?

A1: For (deposit) questions regarding a room at the student dorm, please send an e-mail to

A2: If you have made a private contract with a landlord/landlady, kindly contact them at the end of your stay in Bielefeld.  

Semester contribution & semester ticket

The semester contribution is a mandatory fee that you have to pay in order to be able to study at HSBI. About two thirds of the contribution are used to pay for your semester ticket; the rest goes towards the student service (Studierendenwerk) and the student union (AStA). 3–4 working days after you have paid the semester contribution, you can download the semester ticket, which enables you to use local public transportation in the region free of charge. We will provide you with instructions on how to pay the semester contribution several weeks before your arrival in Bielefeld. For more information, you can also go to


Q: To download the semester ticket, I need to enter a matriculation number. Where can I find that?

A: Your matriculation number is a student ID number that you receive for your time at HSBI. You can find this number in the PDF file that we will send to you along with the instructions on how to pay the semester contribution. As you will need this student ID number for many things in your student life at the university, please remember it or write it down somewhere. 


Q: Which student ID do I need to show when I travel with my semester ticket?

A: When you are asked to show your semester ticket on public transportation such as buses or trains, please show it to the ticket inspector along with your CampusCard and your passport.


Q: I have transferred the semester contribution today. Can you confirm the receipt?

A: We cannot confirm whether the money has arrived or not. Please try downloading the semester ticket after 3–4 working days. If your money has been transferred successfully, you will be able to do so.


Q: Where do I find the IBAN that I should use for the transfer of the semester contribution?

A: The IBAN is printed on the transfer form that you will receive from the International Office together with the instruction sheet about the semester ticket. You will also find the IBAN at Please bear in mind: You need to use the reference number printed on the transfer form when you make the money transaction for the semester contribution.


Q: Is it possible to simply show my mobile phone with a PDF version of the semester ticket?

A: Yes! After you have transferred the semester contribution, you can enter your matriculation number (student ID number) at the Deutsche Bahn portal and download a PDF with your semester ticket. Make sure that the QR code is visible when you show this version of the ticket. 


Q: Which means of transport may I use with the semester ticket?

A: Your semester ticket will allow you to use all local public transportation (Nahverkehr) in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) free of additional charges, including buses, trams, city railways and local trains (e.g. Regionalbahn (RB), S-Bahn and Regionalexpress (RE)).

Please note: The faster long-distance trains, such as the InterCity (IC), the EuroCity (EC) or the InterCityExpress (ICE), are exempt from this and need to be paid for separately.


Q: The information printed on my semester ticket is incorrect. Will this be a problem?

A: If you notice any errors in your personal details on your semester ticket, kindly contact the International Office as soon as possible. We will be able to correct the information.


Q: I do not have a bank account. Can somebody else pay my semester contribution for me?

A: As long as the person paying for you enters the correct reference number, a third party can transfer the money for you.


Q: I will come to Bielefeld early. Can I pay the semester contribution in person?

A: It is not possible to pay the money in cash. Kindly transfer the semester contribution to the bank account mentioned in the enrolment e-mail you received. Bear in mind that there is a deadline also stated in our message to you und that you will be able to use the ticket 3–4 days after your money transfer at the earliest.


Q: I have tried to print my semester ticket but I am receiving an error message regarding my name. I have entered my correct, full name. What can I do?

A: It may be that your name contains special characters that the system cannot work with or that a typing error has occurred during the registration process. Please make sure that the name you enter into the relevant field is spelled exactly the way it is spelled on the transfer form that you received with your enrolment e-mail – even if it is slightly different from the correct spelling.


Q:  Can I transfer the fee for the semester ticket after I arrive in Germany or is this too late?

A: The advantage of paying the semester contribution early on is that you can use your semester ticket immediately after you arrive in North Rhine-Westphalia (the region of which Bielefeld is a part). As public transport is rather expensive in Germany, this is a great opportunity for students to save money during their arrival. If you would like to benefit from this, kindly transfer the amount until the date that is specified in the enrolment e-mail you received. If you do not want to transfer the money in advance, you can do it when you are here in Bielefeld and have opened your German bank account. Please note: You will only be able to access the wireless network at HSBI when you have paid the semester contribution.