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Application procedure


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What does uni-assist stand for?

Uni-assist was originally called assist, which stands for: "Arbeits- und Servicestelle für Internationale Studienbewerbungen", or in English, "Processing service for international students' applications". This abbreviation points out what uni-assist really is: a reliable partner that makes the application procedure for international students easier and at the same time supports the universities using the uni-assist service.

Why was uni-assist founded?

The number of international students applying to study in Germany has continuously increased during the last few years. Every year universities have to process more and more applications from abroad. This initially made an extensive, qualitative selection of candidates very difficult. Moreover, the number of foreign students dropping out of university is proportionally rather high, for two reasons: there is often insufficient personal advice for foreign students; admission is often granted to applicants who do not have the required qualifications and are thus simply unable to keep up with the course requirements. This situation is rather frustrating for both universities and foreign students.
From now on, uni-assist will support universities, allowing them to take more time over the qualitative selection of their international students and offer more personal service to them during their studies. Furthermore, uni-assist should also become a contact point for international student applicants, helping them to apply correctly. In this way, applicants who are suitable are more likely to be accepted and to successfully complete their studies in Germany. An additional advantage for international applicants is the possibility of applying for admission to several universities with only one set of application documents.

Does my prior academic record qualify me to study in Germany?

There is an evaluation system in Germany for international educational systems which covers almost all education systems worldwide, recording and evaluating all certificates existing in a particular country. It defines, among other things, which secondary school certificates qualify a student to study in Germany and which do not. For holders of certain secondary school degrees, additional university courses or even a whole course of studies have to be completed in order to allow them to become qualified for admission to a German university. Even then, it is possible that they can only be admitted to study certain subjects, namely in the field of studies in which they were educated in their home country. This is called "fachgebundene Zulassung" (subject-restricted admission). The ANABIN data base is the basis for evaluating foreign school certificates in Germany. Additional criteria can be set by universities – each university decides itself whether further qualifications will be necessary for admission (in general or only for particular subjects). Such additional criteria could be, for example, specific language skills, practical training or a minimum average mark.


There are three different categories of entrance qualification for a German university. They determine whether one can study in Germany in general, that is all subjects at all universities, or with certain restrictions:

  1. To be eligible to study in Germany, you generally need a "Hochschulzugangsberechtigung" (HZB).  This basically means a school leaving qualification equivalent to the German Abitur (e.g. Matura, testat, baccalauréat, A-Levels), sometimes supplemented by a university degree prior to the one you are looking to take. You also have to demonstrate sufficient German language competence in order to gain eligibility to study in Germany. Please refer to your chosen university for their eligibility criteria.
  2. The "direkte Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB) für Fachhochschulen oder für alle Hochschultypen" (Eng. direct university entrance qualification for universities of applied sciences and for all other types of university) enables you to apply directly to a university. This "direkte HZB" can be of a subject-restricted or general nature. If it is subject-restricted, you may only choose a study course in the field in which you have been educated in your home country. If it is general, you may choose whichever study course you like.
  3. Thirdly, there is the "Zulassung zum Studienkolleg für Fachhochschulen oder für alle Hochschultypen" (Eng. Admittance to a preparatory course leading to admittance to universities of applied sciences and all other types of university). As with the "direkte HZB", the "Zulassung zum Studienkolleg" can be of a subject-restricted or of a general nature. The preparatory course takes one year to complete, prepares you academically and linguistically for your chosen degree course, and ends with an examination known as the "Feststellungsprüfung".  Only once you have passed this examination may you apply to take a university degree programme, and this degree can only be in the academic field in which you have completed the whole preparatory course.

Our certificate database (currently for 16 countries) will inform you of which foreign certificates lead to which form of eligibility to study in Germany. At www.anabin.de, you can also find information on the school leaving certificates of other countries: just click on "Land wählen" (Eng. choose a country) at the top-left of the page, find your country on the world map and click on it. Then click on "Zeugnisse", find the name of your certificate in the drop-down menu, and then you will see which form of eligibility to study in Germany that you have.


Do I have to apply through uni-assist?

International student applicants have to send their application to uni-assist if

  • their desired university is a member university of uni-assist
  • they have acquired a university entrance qualification abroad, e.g. High School Diploma, A-Levels, Baccalaureat or similar
  • they have only studied outside of Germany up until now
  • you have acquired a university qualification abroad (despite having completed the German Abitur) and are now applying to take a Masters degree in Germany
  • (for both German and foreign applicants) you are applying to take a particular [Master's] degree and uni-assist is essentially responsible for processing your application.


In general, the nationality of applicants is not important. However, some universities have special regulations for German citizens who have obtained a secondary school certificate or university degree abroad.

Uni-assist is NOT responsible for international student applicants who

  • have obtained their secondary school certificate (Abitur) in Germany
  • have obtained a German secondary school certificate at a German school abroad
  • have already successfully completed tertiary studies in Germany and on that basis are applying for eligibility to study their desired degree course*
  • would like to apply for exchange programmes between their home university and a partner university in Germany
  • are applying for special courses generally excluded from the uni-assist procedure, like PhD programmes or some master's courses. In this case, please apply directly to the university (detailed information on such exceptional courses can be found on university web sites)
  • are coming to Germany from an EU country (or from Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein) and applying for "ZVS-subjects" with restricted admission – in this case, your application should be sent to the Zentralstelle für die Vergabe von Studienplätzen (ZVS; the Central Admissions Office) in Dortmund.

* = If your secondary school certificate alone qualifies you for admission to a German university, you still have to apply through uni-assist, even if by now you are applying to take your second degree.  If, however, your first degree certificate is the certificate that qualifies you to begin another degree, you will be treated as a native German student for application purposes and therefore must apply directly to your chosen university.


Please note that some universities exclude certain courses and/or applicant groups from the uni-assist procedure. In this case, please send your application directly to the respective university! (Detailed information on such exceptions can be found on university web sites.)


Which application form should I use?

Some universities have developed application forms of their own ("Anträge auf Zulassung zum Studium"). Please use, if possible, the application form of the chosen university, which will be available on their Internet website. If you only have the application form from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), in the majority of cases you may use that.
You can use the uni-assist online application service to access an application form and fill it out, save it to disk, print it out and transfer it electronically. For some paths of study, just sending an electronic copy of the application form (i.e. as against an additional postal copy) is acceptable. For further information on this, contact your chosen university.


There are, however, universities that request that their own particular form be filled in, regardless of the degree course being applied for. If this is the case for you and you are not able to download a copy of the form, you must ask the university directly for a hard copy.
At our INOBIS information portal, you will find a filled-in sample application form showing you what to take care over when filling out your own form.

For each further application for admission to a uni-assist university, you will need a seperate application form "Antrag auf Zulassung zum Studium" and documents additionally required for the chosen course. When filling in your application form please include, if possible, your e-mail address, so that uni-assist can get in touch with you quickly to clarify any questions that might remain.

Can I use one single application form for applying to several universities at the same time?

No. You must hand in a separate application form for each university. With regard to all your other application documents, one set of authenticated copies will suffice.
Please make sure that you use the correct form for each university. Please also note that not every university permits you to name an alternative choice of degree program. For more information please contact the universities directly.

What do I have to do if I want to apply for admission to more than one university, but not all of these universities use the uni-assist procedure?

If you want to apply for admission to more than one university, please check which of those universities require you to send your application to uni-assist . A current list of members of uni-assist can be found here: universities. For admission to any universities not using the uni-assist procedure, you must collect all documents required by the particular university and send your application directly to the chosen university.

We instruct you in detail on how to apply for admission to a member university of uni-assist at: Step by Step.

You can send several applications for uni-assist member universities together in one envelope to uni-assist. The processing fees charged for the first and each additional uni-assist university can be transferred together to the uni-assist bank account. Details on payment can be found here: Fees and Payment.

Which documents do I need to attach? Do they need to be authenticated or translated?

When applying for admission through uni-assist, you always have to attach all certificates documenting the qualifications stated on your application form. These are, in general, all your school, university and language certificates. For some courses, universities may demand evidence of some additional qualifications, like practical training, GMAT or SAT results, degrees in tertiary studies, etc. Please make detailed enquiries at universities about documents required for application!

Incomplete applications cannot be processed!

In general, universities require officially authenticated copies of your original certificates, and officially authenticated translations of these. Regarding the form of authentication, requirements can differ from university to university: most universities accept copies of certificates and translations of them in English, and some accept them also in French or Spanish. In such cases, translations into German are not needed. Most universities require application documents to be translated by a state registered translator.


  • Only ever send us copies of your certificates and documents, never the originals!
  • All copies must be authenticated!
  • If you send us copies of translated documents, these copies must also be authenticated!
  • Very few universities allow their applicants for Master's degree programmes to hand in simple copies of all certificates (please ask about this option directly at your chosen university).

You must check with your chosen university as to which form of authentication they accept. An official authentication ("amtliche Beglaubigung") is often sufficient. 'Official' means that a public authority or the institution that originally issued the certificate confirms that copies of documents correspond to the originals. Some universities, however, request a 'public' authentication ("öffentliche Beglaubigung"). This means that the German Embassy, a German consulate or a notary in Germany has to carry out the authentication. Again, please check with your chosen university as to which form of authentication they accept!

In our application checklist database at our INOBIS information portal, you will find out which forms of translation and authentication are accepted by each individual university. Simply select the university you are applying to and the course you are applying for.

Additionally, we always require a photocopy of the photo page of your passport (the same page as the one bearing your name). This photocopy does not have to be authenticated! If you are paying your processing fee by credit card or by direct debit mandate, we need you to fill out the following form in legible block capitals: "Formular Kreditkartenzahlung/Einzugsermächtigung". In any case, it is important that you attach your bank transfer confirmation slip to your application, since this will help us to register your payment and begin processing your application more quickly.


Can I upload or hand in scanned copies of my authenticated documents?

No, authenticated documents are only valid holding the original seal and the original signature. Scanned copies, colour copies or uploads of authenticated documents will not be accepted as they count as simple copies.


Can I apply online?

Yes, and our online application service has many advantages to offer you:

  • You can fill out the application form on your computer (and this does not have to be done all in one go!), print it out and send it to us electronically. Don't forget to save the form to disk!
  • You will receive an application reference number that you can use to track the process of your application and also to send in further applications later on.
  • You can fill in as many application forms for uni-assist universities as you like and save them to disk. However, once you have sent any application forms electronically, you can no longer alter them.
  • You can choose a course from the list of courses currently on offer from the universities and in so doing avoid making mistakes when naming your course.
  • You can send us scanned copies of your certificates. If you send us the correct processing fee on time, we will use your scanned documents to determine whether or not you also need to send us paper copies of your authentiated certificates.
  • You can contact us easily and quickly.


Before you make your application, you should definitely gather thorough information from your chosen university. For our online application service, you will also need an e-mail address and a program that can read PDF files.

In order for your application to be processed, you have to send uni-assist all the necessary application documents in paper form, together with a printed and signed application form, before the application deadline. The correct processing fee must also be booked to our account on time!

For some programmes of study, just sending your application form electronically using uni-assist's online application service is enough. Ask your chosen university if this is sufficient for them.


To go to the online application service, click here.


Is it necessary to include an e-mail address?

Yes, please always include your e-mail address if possible! If you do not live close to Germany, a correspondence address in Germany would also be rather useful – long mail deliveries could be avoided and we can get in touch with you more quickly. Maybe you have friends or relatives living in Germany whose address you could use?


How much do I have to pay to use the uni-assist service?

As of 01 May 2011 the following application fees apply


For one or the first of several applications

75 euros
For every additional application for admission to a further university all applicants are charged per university 15 euros


You pay this processing fee for a single processing of your application(s) only!

More detailed information on processing fees.

When transferring money from abroad, what do I need to be careful of?

If you transfer the processing fee from a foreign bank, please take into account the international transaction fees charged by the bank. You have to pay the transaction fee in addition to the processing fee, since uni-assist can only process your application if the processing fee has been paid in its entire amount!
It would be easier for you if you could transfer the money from a German account, which would save you additional transfer costs. Your friends or relations with an account in Germany can also transfer the money for you.

For special information for applicants from Nigeria click here.


YOU CAN ALSO PAY BY CREDIT CARD (Visa or Master Card). The credit card can belong to a friend or relative who is paying for you. For payment by credit card, please use our Credit Card Payment Form, fill it in completely and legibly, attach it to your application documents and send it to uni-assist. Important: This form has to be filled in by the owner of the credit card. Please send the original payment form to uni-assist, do not send us a scanned or faxed copy!

IMPORTANT: We regret that credit cards issued in the following countries have recently been excluded from money transfers by the respective credit card companies:


Asia: Indonesia and the Philippines
Africa: Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt
Eastern Europe: Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and the Balkan States (former Yugoslavia)
Western Europe: Great Britain, the Netherlands



Please note in any case that the fee transfer can take a certain amount of time, so please leave enough time for the fee to be booked to our account by the application deadline.

Where do I transfer the processing fee to?

Please transfer the processing fee directly to the following uni-assist account:

Benificiary:                                                       uni-assist e.V.
Name of the bank:


Branch* Filiale Berlin-Charlottenburg
Leibnizstrasse 100
D-10625 Berlin

International bank code IBAN


* if your bank needs this information


In the payment description on the transfer form, please give the following information:

  • your first name
  • your family name
  • your date of birth
  • your country of origin


Do I have to meet application deadlines?

Yes, this is majorly important. Please send us your application as early on as possible in order to comply with application deadlines! In general, you can submit your application to uni-assist at any point during the year.
You can find information on application deadlines on university web sites. Please pay attention to different application deadlines for different universities. There are also different application deadlines for different courses at the same university!
Please note that the official date of receipt is the day on which your application documents have all been received and the processing fee has gone through. That means that any missing documents sent subsequently also need to arrive at uni-assist before the application deadline! Any applications or payments arriving after the application deadline cannot be forwarded to universities.

Where do I send my application to?

Regarding the application address, please check the information given by universities. Most universities ask you to send your applications directly ("c/o") to uni-assist:

Name of the university of your choice
c/o uni-assist e.V.
Helmholtzstr. 2-9
10587 Berlin

For some programmes of study, just sending your application form electronically using uni-assist's online application service is enough. Ask your chosen university if this is sufficient for them.

Can I make changes to my choice of degree program even after I have submitted an application form?

Yes, up until the end of the application period you can make changes to your choice of degree program. In order to do this please send us a new completed and signed application form with your new choice of degree program for the relevant university.

Please note:

  • If uni-assist has already processed your application and has forwarded it to the university, please send your new application form directly to the university of your choice. Before doing so, please check whether uni-assist may have already sent you a letter informing you that your application has been forwarded to the university.
  • If uni-assist has not yet processed your application or has not yet been able to forward it to the university, please send your new application form to uni-assist. Your new choice of degree program will automatically be taken into consideration for your application for the current application semester.
  • In any case, it is important that you hand in your new application form before the end of the application period!

What happens after I send my application to uni-assist?

As soon as your application documents arrive, uni-assist will send you an acknowledgment of receipt including information on whether your payment has been registered or not (balance of account). If you do not receive any message from uni-assist within two weeks, please get in touch with us by phone +49.(0)30.666.44345 or by e-mail: service@uni-assist.de.

As soon as your application documents and your payment have been registered, uni-assist will start processing your application for the current application term. It usually takes about a month to inform you about the result of processing:

  • If your application is complete and meets all requirements, uni-assist will inform you and forward your application to your chosen universities. IMPORTANT: Only then does the second and deciding stage of the application procedure start: the university of your choice checks your application and decides about admission. The university will then contact you giving you all further information. Please be patient, it can take a while until the whole application procedure is complete and the message from the university reaches you.
  • If you have applied for admission at several universities, uni-assist will forward your applications to those universities whose requirements you have met. Then your application will be subjected to the checking procedure of those universities. If you finally obtain admission to more than one university, you should promptly decide where you would like to study and, if possible, inform the other universities of your decision. In that way, your place at those universities can be given to other applicants. You are always free to decide which university you would like to study at. You are in no way obliged to study at the first university that you have applied to!
  • If your application is incomplete or does not meet all requirements, you will be informed by uni-assist. You can send the missing documents subsequently before the application deadline. Please take into account that in the peak months of January and July several thousand applications arrive at uni-assist – we cannot guarantee that information on missing documents will reach you in time. If it is not possible for you to send the missing documents before the deadline, you can apply again later – sending us a new application form and the missing documents. However, this is only possible if you reapply within a year – otherwise we need a whole new set of application documents again! In either case, the processing fee has to be paid again in its entirety, since your entire application documents will have to be checked again. Any new documents that you might have acquired in the meantime will have to be pre-checked completely by uni-assist. And even if the documents that you send us are the same as the ones sent before, uni-assist still has to determine whether or not your application meets the new requirements of your chosen university, since these requirements can differ from semester to semester.


Please note that uni-assist does not send back any application documents. Therefore, please do not send us envelopes with stamps or international post vouchers!

If uni-assist states that my documents fulfil all formal requirements for admission to university, will I then be automatically admitted?

No. When your application is forwarded to the university (or universities) of your choice, this does not yet constitute admission. The deciding phase of the application procedure still has to come, where your application undergoes the admittance procedure of the university (or universities) of your choice and then a decision is made about the allocation of study places. The universities will inform you of their decision, and of all further steps. Please be patient, it can take a while until the whole application procedure is complete and the message from the university reaches you.

What happens if I obtain admission to several universities?

If you obtain admission to more than one university, you should decide promptly where you would like to study and, if possible, inform the other universities of your decision. In this way, your place at those universities can be given to other applicants. You are always free to decide at which university you would like to study. You are in no way obliged to study at the first university that you have applied to!

What happens if my set of documents is incomplete?

We cannot process or forward applications that do not include all necessary documents. For incomplete applications, we are also unable to return processing fees. However, we try to inform you of any mistakes or missing documents (e.g. incorrect or missing authentications) as soon as possible, so that you can make the corrections. However, you can only send additional documents within the application deadlines! Please take into account that in the peak months of January and July several thousand applications arrive at uni-assist, and thus we cannot guarantee that information on missing documents will reach you in time. Therefore, it is best if you submit your documents as early on as possible.
Getting in touch with you, if any documents are found to be missing, will be facilitated enormously if you provide us with your e-mail address!

What happens if I send an application to uni-assist for something that uni-assist is not responsible for?

Every application that reaches uni-assist is first of all registered together with the applicant's personal data. During the course of processing the application, it may turn out that you have applied to a university or for a degree program that uni-assist is not responsible for, or that you belong to a certain group of applicants that is exempt from the uni-assist procedure due to a decision made by the university of your choice. This means that your application will have been processed at least partly, and this will have caused certain administrative expenses.


The following will happen if we find out that uni-assist is not responsible for your application:

  • You will be notified in a letter.
  • You will have to send a new application directly to the university. As a rule, applications that are sent to uni-assist e.V. by mistake cannot be forwarded to the universities. (Exceptions are only made for applications that have to be processed by the ZVS, Dortmund.)
  • If you send us your data for a bank account in Germany, we will transfer a part of your processing fee back to your account. Please note that we will have to keep 10€ for each semester you have applied for in order to cover the administrative expenses caused by your application.
  • Uni-assist cannot transfer money to foreign bank accounts. If you do not have a credit card account or regular bank account in Germany, we will keep your payment in our account for you. You can then use it for further applications or ask us to transfer it to a German bank account at a later point in time.


What happens to my personal data? What about the privacy of my data?

Your application documents will be kept at uni-assist for a period of one year. After that they will be destroyed.
Digital data will be stored for a period of four years and then deleted. During storage, all data privacy regulations will, of course, be respected: only uni-assist and the universities applied to can access the data. Your data will never be given to third parties and no statistics will be made which would allow any conclusions about individual applicants.
Universities also delete forwarded application data after a period of up to four years. However, after you have enrolled at a university, your data will be kept at least during the whole period of study – in most cases, even several decades.


If I apply again later on, do I have to pay the fee and submit all my documents again?

If you choose to apply again at a later point in time, you will have to pay the full processing fee again because your application will have to be pre-checked again. New certificates that you might have acquired in the meantime will have to be pre-checked anew. And even if you have not made any changes to your application documents, uni-assist has to determine whether or not you comply with the application requirements of the university of your choice - and these requirements can differ from semester to semester.

Uni-assist keeps your application documents for one year. If you choose to re-apply within this period, you will only need to submit a new application form and the missing documents. When doing this, please make sure that you fill out the application form completely and sign it. However, if more than one year passes since your last application, you will have to submit a whole set of application documents again!

Please quote your old application reference number. If you have had a change of address in the meantime, please give us your old address as well. This will help us to retrieve your documents and process your new application more quickly.


What do I do if I have any further questions?


We will gladly answer any other questions relative to uni-assist and its role. You can contact us from Monday to Friday, 9am - 3pm, on our hotline +49. (0)30. 66644345, or via our contact form.

Please provide us with your application reference number when you call with specific questions about your application.


Please also understand that we

  • cannot give any information on the courses and admission criteria of particular universities. Uni-assist is not allowed to act as a student advisory service; we can only answer questions concerning the application procedure. The International Offices (Akademische Auslandsämter/Studierendensekretariate) of the universities will gladly advise you on all questions concerning studying!
  • cannot reveal any information by e-mail about your eligibility to study.
  • must treat questions asked by prospective applicants (i.e. applicants who have not yet applied through uni-assist) as low priority.



Our web site is continuously under improvement, and we appreciate any ideas and criticisms that you might have.

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