Living in Hamburg
We recommend that you start looking for a place to live early on. If possible, you should begin your search from where you currently live or in your home country. Finding a place to live in Hamburg is not just difficult and expensive, it is also time-consuming. One option for your first few weeks in Hamburg is to stay in a room or apartment available for short-term rent short-term rent until you can find suitable accommodation.
Tips and additional information on finding housing are available from the Hamburg Welcome Center after arranging an appointment in advance.
How do I find a place to live in Hamburg?
- Online portals
- Classified ads
Various newspapers (e.g. Hamburger Abendblatt) and websites (e.g. Ebay Kleinanzeigen) publish local classified ads for aparments. You can use this glossary for an overview of German housing terms and abbreviations.
- Studierendenwerk halls of residence for doctoral students
The Counselling Centre Accommodation offers doctoral students support and general information on housing. In some cases, the Studierendenwerk may offer international doctoral students furnished rooms in its student dormitories for approximately 233 EURO (or more) per month. Applications are not accepted from students over the age of 35. You will need to apply online for a dorm room.
Be sure to apply for a dorm room early on, as you are not guaranteed a place. We therefore recommend that you contact a few private dormitories as well.
Universität Hamburg (UHH) also offers rooms in international housing for short-term stays. For temporary accommodation, we recommend you contact the Universität Hamburg (UHH) Guest House directly as soon as possible.
- Hotels and hostels
If you would prefer to spend the first few nights in an affordable hotel or hostel, you will find more information on hotels or hostels in Hamburg on the City of Hamburg website. International Housing has compiled further links for temporary accommodation.
In order to rent a room or apartment, you must conclude a binding rental agreement. Before you move in, your landlord will usually request a security deposit. Your landlord can keep this if the property is damaged. Please note that in addition to rent, you will also incur other expenses (Betriebskosten) for utilities such as electricity, water, heat, phone service, etc.
A rental contract or confirmation of residence from a student dormitory is required to register at the Hamburg Welcome Center and to apply for a residence permit after arrival. Please email the Hamburg Welcome Center for details if you are requested to submit any additional information or documents.
Radio and television broadcast fee (Rundfunkbeitrag)
Every household must pay a monthly radio and television broadcast fee to cover usage of all devices. This fee is currently 18.36 EURO per household (as of August 2023) and is charged regardless of actual usage and usage possibilities.
Housing benefit (Wohngeld)
If your income is low, you may be eligible to apply for a housing benefit to receive state subsidies for accommodation. Use the German-language online housing subsidy tool to find out what possible housing subsidies might be available to you and in what amount.
Opening a bank account
Opening a bank account is usually easy. In order to open a checking account, you must provide the following documents:
- Registration certificate
- Identity card
- Student ID or proof of admission to doctoral studies
- Proof of income will make it easier to open a bank account (pay slips, bank statements, or proof that you hold a scholarship)
You can find the addresses and telephone numbers of banks and branch offices in the Gelbe Seiten (German Yellow Pages).
You should always ask about possible costs before actually opening an account. These costs vary from bank to bank and can be charged for services such as opening an account, annual processing, credit cards, making withdrawals, obtaining printouts of account statements, etc.
Depending on the bank and the account features you choose, you will usually receive your bank card in the mail within a few days.