What is the German Blocked Bank Account? Why Do I Need It?
International students that want to study in Germany would need to find a program and the needed funds and of course, apply for a visa. Regarding visa applications, international students need to have a blocked bank account to prove to the German government that they have the financial means to live during their educational journey. Because not everyone knows what a blocked bank account is, Educatly is here to tell you all about it.
What's a blocked bank account in Germany?
When applying for a visa to Germany, a blocked bank account (Sperrkonto) is required by international students and job employers as evidence of sufficient financial resources to cover their cost of living.
It's called a “ blocked” account because the total year’s tuition fees are added to it and it’s blocked with restrictions to withdrawal. Only one-twelfth of the amount, which equates to a month’s fees, can be paid out. A blocked account is basically a limited-withdrawal bank account.
In 2023, visa-seeking students must pay 11,208 euros into the blocked bank account, which equals 934 euros per month. However, there are some types of visas that require a 10% higher amount.
Who needs a blocked account?
If you need a visa or residence permit to study in Germany, then you will likely need a blocked account to prove your financial resources. Citizens of other countries in the European Union and European Economic Area don't need a blocked bank account to study in Germany.
How does it work?
It’s simple, international students open the blocked account online without even being in Germany and deposit their yearly tuition fees, and then every month, one-twelfth of the amount will be paid out and used for living expenses. Usually, the monthly withdrawal will have to be transferred to another “normal” bank account with a German bank. The amount deposited is currently around €11,208 to open the account.
Where can I open a blocked account?
Blocked accounts are not abundantly available and there aren’t a lot of banks that offer it. A few of the available providers include Coracle, Expatrio, Studely, ICICI and Fintiba. These blocked account providers charge a fee for their service, so make sure you research thoroughly.
How to open a blocked account step-by-step
1. Talk to your local German embassy or get a consultation to determine which type of blocked account you can get and what the required amount is needed of you.
2. Choose a provider to open the blocked account with, and start your application.
3. Once your account application has been approved, you will receive an email with your bank account number 24 hours after your account is completed and information such as IBAN/BIC, and then you can transfer the money into the account.
4. After receiving a confirmation statement from the provider, you will need to present it to the German embassy in your country and then wait for the finalization of your visa application.
What are the living expenses of an international student in Germany?
According to the German Federal Foreign Office(Auswärtiges Amt) estimation, the amount considered necessary to cover typical living charges as an international student is 900+ euros per month.
This amount is enough to get by in most university cities across the country, but of course, this is subjective to every place and your lifestyle. For example, accommodation is kind of costly in Munich or Hamburg. However, your university in Germany should provide you with some guidance on the actual cost of living to expect.
Are blocked accounts safe?
Blocked bank accounts offered by private financial providers are regulated by the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) and considered extremely safe. With that said, there are always risks and there has been one case where a lesser-known account provider failed to pay out all funds to students in time.
That is why it’s important to do your own research and explore different providers and do your own calculations. You can use Trustpilot and Google reviews to read some customer reviews and make your own conclusion. You can also ask your university if there are any recommended providers, or if they have experience with the one you prefer. Do not underestimate the power of asking other international students in Germany.
Alternatives to a blocked account
In some cases, a blocked account wouldn’t be needed and there are other ways to prove your financially capable.
- • Scholarship: If you receive a scholarship from an institution in Germany or your home country, it can cover financial expenses or at least a small amount of it and the required amount for the blocked account would be less.
- • Letter of obligation (“Verpflichtungserklärung”): If you have a family member or a friend who already lives in Germany, they can invite you and declare that they would be financially responsible for you while you study in Germany.
- • You can get a financial guarantee from your parents or a bank.
You can check all your options to prepare yourself before you resort to a blocked account.
This might seem like a lot of work, but trust me when I say that the rewards way outweigh the price. With an internationally accredited degree from Germany, you can guarantee higher demand in employment, higher salary, and better professional prospects.
Start your journey and study abroad in Germany this year. The process with Educatly is simple. Educatly's educational counsellors will support you every step of the way, from finding the most suitable program to the visa application