Demystifying Blocked Accounts in Germany
Your Comprehensive Guide
When navigating life in Germany as an international student or expatriate involves various essential elements, one quickly encounters the mysterious “Blocked Account.” In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of Blocked Accounts in Germany, exploring what they are, why they’re necessary as well as where and how to open one successfully.
1. Understanding Blocked Accounts in Germany
What is a Blocked Account?
The “Sperrkonto” or Blocked Account in Germany serves as a proof that you have sufficient financial resources to cover your living expenses during the stay in Germany. It is demanded by German authorities for visa applicants, primarily students and job-seekers.
Why Are Blocked Accounts Necessary?
As a Visa or residence permit requirement, applicants must demonstrate financial independence. The funds on a Blocked Account are intended to cover living expenses such as rent, food and health insurance.
2. How to Open a Blocked Account in Germany
What is required to open a Blocked Account?
Usually with most banks only a valid passport is the required. In rare cases, some operators may ask for further documents such as a proof of residency (Meldebescheinigung), Visa or university admission. As a non-EU citizen, you will usually have to open the account prior to coming to Germany. In case you can enter without a Visa (e.g. as a US citizen), you will have to get it latest upon arrival to obtain you residence permit. After the account opening, you will receive a confirmation “Sperrbestätigung”, that serves as a proof towards authorities.
How to deposit money to a Blocked Account?
Since winter semester 2022/2023, an amount of €934.00 for each month you want to stay in Germany needs to be blocked in advance. In addition, there are certain types of visas that require an increase of the monthly blocked amount by 10% (e.g. recognition of foreign qualifications, language acquisition, application for studies or training). Therefore, it is recommended checking the required amount on the website of your local embassy.
How to select a bank for your Blocked Account?
The amount of providers offering Blocked Accounts is extremely limited. Choosing the right one is key to a hassle-free experience. When choosing your bank for a Blocked Account, you should have a close look at the following factors:
- The provider should be officially recognized by the German Foreign Ministry
- The balance should be denominated in Euro, the conversion from your local currency should be easy and cheap
- The account should be opened in your own name
- The opening should and easily possible from your home country with a mostly digital process
- Your funds should be secured up to €100,000 under the German deposit insurance scheme
- The remaining balance can be easily reimbursed in case of a denied Visa application or early return to your home country
How much does a Blocked Account cost? Which banks do offer Blocked Accounts?
One of the most established providers fulfilling all these conditions is Fintiba. The account opening involves a one-time fee of €89 and a monthly fee of €4.90. Check out their blocked accounts here (promotional link).
3. Managing Your Blocked Account
One important and costly aspect of depositing funds on the blocked account is the currency exchange. In International transactions high fees can incur easily. Some providers cooperate with local banks in your country, so that you can deposit money in your local currency which is then converted into Euro for an advantageous exchange rate. One great option for international transfers is Wise. They offer low fees for international transactions and very advantageous currency conversion rates.
Find out more here on the Wise website.
Although the money is entirely yours and the account is in your name, you cannot access the entire amount at once. Instead, you will receive a monthly payout to your regular current account at a German bank of your choice. Hence, you will also have to open a regular current account in Germany. Check out our comparison of best bank accounts in Germany here.
If you need to close your blocked account before completing your stay, you will receive your remaining funds back. This may be the case if you decide to leave Germany earlier than expected or your visa application is rejected.
4. Alternatives to Blocked Accounts
In some cases, you may not need a Blocked Account, e.g. if you have financial guarantees from sponsors, a scholarship or prolong your stay in Germany exceeding the duration of 1 year. Also, it is not mandatory for all types of Visas or if you do not need a Visa at all (e.g. as a EU citizen). Just stay informed, plan ahead, and embrace your journey in Germany with confidence.
Do you need help? Just use the comment function on the bottom to get support on selecting the right plan.