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Opening a Blocked Account in Germany – Complete Guide

When you apply for a German student visa or job-seeker visa, you have to submit a document to the German Embassy/Consulate which serves as your financial proof (Finanzierungsnachweis). In most cases, this will have to be a Blocked Bank Account (Sperrkonto).

What Is a Blocked Bank Account?

A blocked bank account is proof you can sustain yourself financially as an international student or job-seeker. Before you move to Germany, you have to deposit €10,332 in a German-registered bank account. This money will be frozen and after you arrive, you can only withdraw €861 every month to use for your day-to-day expenses – which is why it is called a “blocked” account. 

Who Needs to Open a Blocked Bank Account?

You need a blocked account for Germany if you are from a country other than an European Union or Schengen Member State, and you are applying for one of the following German visas:

  • Student visa
  • Job-seeker visa
  • Training or apprenticeship visa
  • Visa for the recognition of foreign qualifications
  • Visa for language acquisition

Countries whose citizens don’t need a blocked account

countries that don't need a blocked account for germany
European Union and Schengen states whose citizens can study/train in Germany without a blocked bank account are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

What Is the Amount Required For a Blocked Account In 2022?

As of January 2021, you will have to deposit at least €10,332 in a blocked account in Germany, which means you will be able to withdraw €861 per month.

For the following visa types, you may be asked to deposit 10% more than the minimum required amount:

  • Training or apprenticeship visa
  • Language acquisition visa

So, instead of €861/month, you will have to deposit €948/month, which is €11,376 in total.

Can I Deposit More Than The Required Minimum?

Yes, you can. The required €10,332 is the minimum amount that will be accepted by German authorities when applying for a study visa or a residence permit. You can deposit more, but not less than that. However, most providers do not recommend you deposit more than the minimum required amount, except for the money that’s needed to cover the international money transfer and the fees for the account opening and maintenance. 

If you think you will need more than €861 per month, you could keep them in a separate current account, and you will have easier access to them.

Where Can I Open a German Blocked Account?

You have to open a blocked account with a bank that is registered in Germany. The providers listed below have been approved by the German Federal Government:

  • Deutsche Bank
  • Fintiba
  • Expatrio
  • Studely
  • Coracle
  • Drop Money
  • ICICI Bank

Although you can open a bank account directly with a bank, not all the branches of a German bank will offer blocked accounts, which may complicate matters. Some German banks which offer blocked bank accounts include:

  • Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB)
  • Targobank
  • Postbank
  • Sparkasse
  • HypoVereinsbank
  • Volksbank
  • Commerzbank

Kotak Mahindra is an Indian-based bank, which Indian students often use to transfer the funds for a blocked account. However, because it is not registered in Germany, the Embassy may not accept it. In the best-case scenario, you get the student visa but when you travel to Germany, you still have to transfer the money from Kotak Mahindra to a German bank before getting the residence permit. To avoid the extra steps and prolonged wait times, it is best if you open an account directly with an approved provider or with a German bank.

Intermediaries vs Banks for Blocked Bank Accounts

Private companies which provide blocked accounts, like Fintiba, Expatrio, Studely, Coracle, or Drop Money are only intermediaries between you (the client) and a bank. They are partnered with German banks, and you pay them to open the blocked account on your behalf. Because these companies have a lot of experience with international blocked bank accounts, it is worth working with them, especially if you are opening the account from your home country, since the process is entirely online.

You can also open your blocked account directly with a German bank, such as Deutsche Bank, Postbank, or Sparkasse. This option is best only if you are already in Germany because you can personally go to the bank, talk to someone in the staff who will open your account for you and then you can transfer your money. If you are abroad, dealing with a bank directly can be more of a hassle, because it involves sending the documents via mail, which naturally takes longer.

Additionally, other than Deutsche Bank, other German banks do not have any process available specifically for blocked accounts for German visa holders.

Comparison Between Providers

ProvidersFeesAccepted by the Embassy?Processing timeOnline applicationDocument submissionHealth insurance add-on
Deutsche Bank€150 processing fee €6.90 monthly fee.YesOne week in Germany. Several weeks via the German Embassy.No. You must apply via the German Embassy in your country.Via post and the German Embassy.No
Fintiba€89 processing fee €4.90 monthly feeYes10 minutes to open the account. 3-5 days to transfer the money and get the confirmation.YesOnlineYes
Expatrio€49 processing fee €5 monthly feeYesLess than 24 hours to open the account. 3-5 days for the money transfer.YesOnlineYes
StudelyYes24 hours to open the account.
2-5 days for the money to transfer.
Coracle€59 processing fee No monthly feeYesAbout 24 hours to open the account. 3-5 days for the money transfer.YesOnlineYes
Drop MoneyProcessing fee starting from €45 Monthly fee €5 (paid annually)Yes24 hours to open the account. 3-5 days for the money to transfer.YesOnlineYes
ICICI Bank (India)€150 processing fees No monthly fees.Yes2-3 days to open the account. 3-5 days for the money to transfer.YesOnlineNo 
Kotak Mahindra (India)MaybeOverall processing time is 15 to 25 days. You will have to request to transfer the money from Kotak Mahindra to a German bank account after you enter.NoIn person at the local branch of the bank in India.No
Table of comparison between providers of blocked accounts

How to Open a Blocked Bank Account?

You must open a blocked account before you apply for your German visa or residence permit, so in most cases, it means you have to be in your home country. The process of opening a blocked account changes depending on which provider you choose, but generally, you have to:

  1. Check with the German Embassy or Consulate about how much money exactly you need to transfer. Although the minimum required amount is usually the same for everyone, don’t transfer any money before checking with the Embassy beforehand.
  2. Open a blocked account with the provider of your choice. Remember that if you are working with an intermediary, such as Fintiba or Expatrio, you can open the account online. If you are working directly with a bank, you have to submit a paper application, likely by mail via the German Embassy if you are not in Germany.
  3. Wait for the application to process.
  4. Transfer the money. Your provider will send you the blocked account’s IBAN and give you the necessary instructions on how you can make the transfer. You can make the transfer through a bank or an international money transfer service/app. This will take approximately 3-5 days.
  5. Get the confirmation letter from the bank. Once your transfer is complete, your provider will send you the Confirmation Document for a Blocked Bank Account. This is the document that you need to submit to the German Embassy.
  6. Wait to receive the visa. Once you submit the confirmation and the rest of the documents, you have to wait for the visa to process. You will receive a National D Visa, which lets you gain entry to Germany.

When you arrive in Germany

After you arrive in Germany, you have to:

  1. Submit an application for a German residence permit. Within three months of entering Germany, you must apply for a residence permit at the Ausländerbehörde.
  2. Once you have the residence permit, you can activate your blocked account. The process for activating your blocked account changes depending on the provider, but you either have to go to the bank directly with a set of documents or upload them to the provider’s website (if working with an intermediary company).
  3. Once activated, you will receive a monthly transfer from the blocked account to your current account. This means you also have to open a current account in a German bank – you could use the same bank or another one.

Since you do not have access to the funds in the blocked account until you have a residence permit, you should take extra money to cover the first few weeks of your stay in Germany. This is also why you should submit the residence permit application as soon as possible.

When Should I Apply for a Blocked Bank Account?

It can take anywhere between one to six weeks for the application for a blocked account to be processed. So make sure you start the process well in advance, since you cannot apply for your German Visa until you have your confirmation from the bank. The exact processing time mostly depends on the provider you choose and the bank they work with.

Can I Open a Blocked Account from Inside Germany?

If you are from the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, or South Korea, then you can open a blocked  account after you enter Germany. That’s because you do not need an entry visa – you can enter as a tourist, open the account online or physically visit a bank in Germany, and then submit the application for a residence permit at the Ausländerbehörde.

Either way, regardless of where you are when you open a blocked account, you need the confirmation letter when you submit the residence permit application.

However, because it can take a few weeks to open a blocked account and a few other weeks to receive your residence permit (and you need the residence permit to access the money) you may not be able to use the money in your blocked account for well over a month, maybe two, after you arrive. This means that you need to take extra money to cover that initial period in Germany.

Can I Open a Blocked Account With a Foreign Bank?

No, you cannot. The bank in which you deposit the money for your blocked account has to be registered in Germany. If you deposit the money in a blocked account in your home country, the Embassy or Immigration Office will either ask you to transfer them to a German account (leading to more work and a delayed process), or they will simply refuse your visa application.

What Supporting Documents Do I Need?

For a German blocked bank account, you have to submit the following documents:

  • Your passport.
  • Proof of the origin of the money. Some providers may ask you to submit bank statements, showing how you got access to the funds.
  • The application form. You will have to complete an application with your personal information, either online or on paper, depending on your provider.
  • Proof of admission in the German university (if applicable).
  • Your ID card.

Note: The exact documents may differ between providers. Some may only ask for your passport and nothing else, whereas others will have a more extensive list of requirements.

How to Activate My Blocked Bank Account in Germany?

To activate your blocked bank account, you have to open a current account in Germany – which means you need to register your address and get the Registration Certificate beforehand. You will only have access to your money after you open a current account. The documents you need to submit to activate your blocked bank account are:

  • Proof of having registered your residence in Germany, such as a lease agreement or the certificate of registration from the city hall (Anmeldung).
  • Proof of your current account.
  • Your passport with the entry stamp.
  • Your German residence permit (some banks may ask for it).

If you worked directly with a bank, you may have to personally go to the bank with your residence permit and address registration and activate it. If you worked with a third party company, such as Fintiba, Expatrio, etc., you can activate your account online.

Why Do I Also Need a Current Account?

You need a current account (also known as a transaction or checking account) so that the monthly installments of €861 can be transferred there, since you cannot withdraw directly from a blocked account. With a current account, you will get a debit/credit card which you can use to withdraw money from ATMs or to make payments. You can open both accounts in the same bank or in different ones. 

Some providers, such as Deutsche Bank, will open your current account at the same time as your blocked one, or at the very least, they will help you set it up.

Is it Possible to Study In Germany Without a Blocked Bank Account?

Studying in Germany without a blocked bank account is possible if you fulfill one of the requirements listed below:

  • A scholarship from an established educational institution in Germany.
  • Confirmation you will receive government funding or have an approved student loan in Germany.
  • Proof of sponsorship from a friend or relative living in Germany. Your sponsor has to make a formal request at the Ausländerbehörde to sponsor you.

You must receive enough support or a scholarship large enough to cover your daily living expenses in Germany, the same way a blocked account would.

How to Transfer the Funds to My Blocked Account?

When your blocked account is open, your provider will send you the account’s IBAN (International Bank Account Number), which is where you have to send the money. You can make the transfer through a bank (using your local bank account) or through an international money transfer app or service.

Your provider will also give you information about how to transfer the money to your account. Sometimes, they have their own money transfer service.

How Much Does it Cost to Open a Blocked Bank Account?

The cost of opening a blocked account for a German visa ranges from €50 to €150, depending on the provider you work with. If you are applying by post, you should also take into account any postage costs and any other certificates.

Certain providers will also ask you to pay a “buffer” amount – which is about €100 or less – to cover any fees charged from the bank. This amount is returned to you when you close the account.

What If I Need to Close the Blocked Account Early?

If you need to close your account early, for example if your visa is rejected or you have to return home and cancel your visa, then you have to contact your provider and ask them to close it. You will need some sort of proof from the Embassy for why you need to do so. Once you submit the relevant documents to the provider, they will send you back the money within two to four weeks.

You might not get back the processing fees if you choose to close the account by your own volition.

Can I Get My Money Back if My Visa Application Is Rejected?

Yes, if your German visa is rejected, you will get the money in your blocked account back. You will have to send the Visa Rejection document you received from the German Embassy/Consulate along with your personal bank account details to your provider, and they will close your account and return the money within a few weeks. Some providers will also return the money you paid to open the account.

How to Withdraw Money From My Blocked Bank Account?

You cannot withdraw your money directly from the blocked account. Instead, the monthly sum is directly deposited into your current account, and you can withdraw from there. You can only withdraw directly from the blocked account if you have deposited more than the minimum required amount of €10,332, but only until you spend the excess amount.

Do I Need a Blocked Account for the Second Year of Studies?

The official requirement for a German student visa is that you need a blocked account only for the first year of studies. If your course of study is longer than one year, and you need to extend your residence permit, you usually have to show proof that you can finance your stay, but the proof of finances does not have to be a blocked account necessarily. It could be a personal bank account with enough funds or maybe your parents’ or sponsor’s bank account.

However, there have been cases when the Ausländerbehörde (Immigration Office) has asked students to show they have extended their blocked account. As most things, it is up to the Immigration officers to evaluate your situation and decide how you should provide the proof of finances.

If they decide that it is not enough to show your personal bank statements, then you might need to transfer funds for another to your blocked account.

If you immediately receive a residence permit that’s longer than one year, then you likely don’t have to extend your blocked account either.

How Do I Extend a Blocked Bank Account?

To extend your blocked account for another year, you have to contact your provider. If your account is with Deutsche Bank, then you have to complete a form and submit it. If you opened the account via an intermediary (Fintiba, Expatrio, Coracle, etc.) you can extend the account online. You will have to pay a fee, but it is usually less than the initial start-up fee. Make sure you receive confirmation of the extension or reactivation of the account before you submit any money.

Should I Close My Blocked Account After My Studies?

With some providers, your account will close immediately after the one-year period is up. If it is not automatically and immediately closed, you can choose to close it if you wish or you can leave it in case you need it for a later residence permit application. Eventually, however, after a certain period of inactivity, the account will close and if you need it again, you either need to reopen it or open another account.

Can I Combine the Blocked Account for Germany With a Health Insurance Policy?

Yes, many blocked account providers have packages which include both the bank account as well as a travel insurance policy along and long-term student health insurance.

Providers who offer health insurance along with their blocked accounts include:

  • Fintiba: Travel insurance plus student health insurance with DAK-Gesundheit or private insurance.
  • Expatrio: Travel insurance along with student health insurance with TK (Techniker Krankenkasse) or private insurance.
  • Coracle: Travel insurance and your choice of public student health insurance (Techniker Krankenkasse, Barmer Krankenkasse or IKK Gesund Plus Krankenkasse) or private insurance.
  • Drop Money: Public health insurance with Barmer Krankenkasse or Techniker Krankenkasse.

Is the €861 per Month Enough to Live In Germany?

The money you need for a blocked account is based on the minimum amount of money required to live in Germany for a year – in 2021, that is €861 per month or €10,332 per year. As such, the monthly allowance from the blocked account should be enough to cover basic day to day expenses for a student, such as food, accommodation, and transport.

Normally, whether or not this money is enough for you will depend on your lifestyle, but the area or city you are settled in also plays an important role. For example, Berlin (despite being the capital) is one of the least expensive of the major cities, whereas Munich is considered the most expensive.

Living Costs in Germany

Here’s a short list of the average prices for some of the daily necessities in a few of the major cities in Germany:

Rent (for one-bedroom apartment in the center)€930.48€1,311.84€928.26€1,049.29
Transportation€2.90 for a one-way ticket €81 for a monthly pass€3.30 for a one-way ticket €60 for a monthly pass€2.73 for a one-way ticket €67.80 for a monthly pass€2.75 for a one-way ticket €91.70 for a monthly pass
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant€10/person€14/person€12/person€10
Utilities per month€218.37€264.29€234€277.42
1 loaf of bread€1.25€1.70€1.77€1.24
1 liter of milk€0.93€1.01€0.91€0.94
1 kg rice€1.84€2.01€2.05€1.77
1.5 liter of water€0.55€0.59€0.35€0.54
1 kg chicken fillets€6.87€7.55€6.86€6.11
1 kg apples€2.41€2.86€2.03€2.53
1 kg tomatoes€2.51€2.96€2.72€2.53
Cost of living in the major cities of Germany

With that said, emergencies can occur and if you need extra money at a short notice, the blocked account may not be of much use, since you cannot withdraw more than what is deposited in your current account each month.

Because of this, you should keep an emergency fund on your current account, which you can withdraw from anytime – especially because you will be in a foreign country.