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Blocked Account in Germany
Planning to study in Germany, then you might have heard about the need to open a blocked account, also called Sperrkonto which is a Geman blocked account for International students .
There are different types of bank accounts in Germany Girokonto (current account), Sperrkonto (blocked account) and Sparkonto (savings account). For a student in Germany, you need the Sperrkonto – blocked account for a Visa and a Girokonto for daily use. For information about normal Girokonto for students current account, please check best bank accounts for students and trainees in Germany.
In this article, is a complete guide to all the imformation you need to know about blocked account in Germany. Compare between different blocked account providers and the steps you need to take when opening a blocked account.
What is a blocked account?
If you are a foreign national (non-EU or non-OECD country) applying for a student’s Visa or a Blue Card Jobseeker Visa, chances are you might be required to open a blocked account.
The student should are reuired to show that they have enough funds for their duriation of study in Germany. You will need to open an account and deposit an amount (€ 8,640 in 2018) for a complete year and you are allowed to withdraw only a fixed sum each month (€720). This process is to ensure that the student has enough funds to meet the living costs of the student while studying in Germany.
If you are studying for a shorter period and need a blocked account for a German language course or Jobseeker Visa, then you need € 720 x the number of months.
Earlier some embassy/consulate asked the student to take a demand draft, but this practice has mostly ended. Now the students are required to open a blocked account from the home country prior to applying for the Visa.
Who needs a blocked account?
Not everyone requires a blocked account as it only one of the ways to show proof of funds. There are alternatives to opening a blocked account. For example, if you have family living in Germany who can sponsor you, or you are a scholarship holder you do not need to open the blocked account.
A signed undertaking from a German citizen living in resident with enough finanical record who can support you can act as a proof of funds.
Also, scholarship holders with a full tuition scholarship from a reputed government or Educational institution (e.g., DAAD, Max Planck) which also pays your living expenses do not not need to get a blocked account. Normally, providing the confirmation of scholarship is adequate. But if your scholarship does not pay your living expenses (€720 pm) or only a part scholarship, then you might need to provide proof for the rest of your expenses.
For others, if you a foreign national (non-EU or non-OECD country) planning to study in Germany, or applying for a Blue Card Jobseeker Visa, you might need to open a German blocked account.
Where to open a blocked account?
Depending on which country you are from, you might be required to open a blocked account even before you arrive in Germany. However, some nationals who can visit Visa-free to Germany can arrive in Germany and then open a blocked account once in Germany.
For example, citizens from countries like Indian, Pakistan, China, etc, who do not have visa free entry to Germany would be required to open an account before coming to Germany to get your Visa.
On the other hand, citizens from Austraila, USA, Canada, etc., who can visit Germany on a 90 day visa free period can come to Germany and then open an account when in Germany, before converting their tourist visa to a student visa.
Which German banks offer blocked account?
Many banks offer a blocked account, but it depends on where you are opening the account from: Are you already in Germany, or or example, if you have family living in Germany who can sponsor you, or you are a scholarship holder you do not need to open the blocked account.
If you are opening a blocked account after arriving in Germany, you have many options. For example, most of the banks around the university will offer this service. Just ask you international students service center in your university and they will tell you which bank to approach.
Some common banks such as Sparkasse, HypoVeriensbank, Volksbank, and Commenzbank provide blocked account, but it depends on the bank brances. Just approach the bank and ask them for a Sperrkonto (warning: not Sparkonto). For example, you might need to open a normal bank account at Hypoverienbank and then approach the bank and ask them to convert it into a blocked account. Please check with the branch closest to your university if they offer this service before you open the account. Commerzbank offers a sperrkonto, but the information about a Commerzbank blocked account or a Postbank blocked account are not readily available on the website. Similarly, Postbank blocked account information are not available on their website. But you can always click on the link and find the closest brances contact the branches close to the university and ask them if offer this service.
Sparkasse offers blocked account service for students, but note that Sparkasse is a common name which is used by different regional banks. Each Sparkasse in different cities are different entities and act independent of each other, elg., Sparkasse Achen is different from Sparkasse Berlin or Sparkasse Munich. Contact your local Sparkasse and ask them. You can find out more information about Sparkasse Blocked account and how to open them here on their webpage.
If you are required to open a blocked account from your home country before coming to Germany, there are not many options. The main banks offering blocked account from foriegn coutry are Deutchebank, Fintiba (Sutor Bank), and X-Patrio
Duetsche bank and Fintiba is mostly mentioned by various German Embassy and in this article further, we explains the pro and cons of Fintiba and Deutchebank blocked the account and how to open such account.
Open a German Blocked account from a foreign country
Until last year there was the only Deutsche bank who provided blocked account for students in Germany, but there a new service provider Fintiba (Sutor bank). Both, Deutsche bank and Fintiba (Sutor Bank) are legal banks approved by the German government with your deposit protection and also accepted by the German consulates (e.g., India (PDF), Pakistan)
DeutscheBank or Fintiba Blocked Account?
We have been asked what is the best option for opening a german blocked account, Fintiba or DeutscheBank. While both of them offer blocked account services from recognized banks in Germany, there are some differences between the two of them. Below, we list the main difference between the blocked accounts by Deutschebank and Fintiba.
1. Additional Checking Account
As a foreign student in Germany, you will need a Sperrkonto (blocked account) to get your German student visa, but you wil also need a normal account when in Germany called a Girokonto (current account) for your daily use in Germany.
Deutsche Bank is one of the biggest banks in Germany. The application for a blocked account (Sperrkonto) comes together with a Girokonto (Checking Account). As a student, you will need both for living in Germany. You would need a checking account to do the regular transaction from your bank, like pay the rent, use ATM card etc. So you don’t have to worry about opening another account.
Fintiba provides a blocked account from Sutor Bank. There are very few branches of Sutor bank in Germany. So the chances are you might need to open a Girokonto (checking account) from another bank once you come to Germany. You will then have to inform Fintiba (Sutor Bank) of this new bank account (Girokonto) and they will transfer the monthly amount to that Girokonto account. This might take an additional effort once you come to Germany.
Tip: When you arrive in Germany, go to a bank nearest to your university (ask the International students centre) and open a Girokonto with them, as they have experience dealing with student bank accounts. Check out other bank account for students
2. Ease of Opening/ Customer Service:
It also important to see how much time it takes to open the account as some students are in a hurry to get the visa before the university starts and would like to know how long it takes to open the blocked account to see if they can wait longer or want to open the account fast.
Deutsche Bank requires that you fill the form, print it, get it certified from German Embassy/consulate in your home country along with the other documents, and then send it to them to by post. So this will require some time. After they get your form and your deposit, they will send you the confirmation. While Deutsche Bank claims it takes about 1 week, a 4 to 6-week delay during the University admission periods are normal. Unfortunately, since you are not yet a customer, you will have to use the online contact form for making any queries and the response make take some time depending on the period.
Fintiba claims to provide the fastest and easiest account opening service. The entire process is online, and there is no need for getting any certified copy or send any post. The blocked account opening takes one week, and the blocking confirmation is issued automatically once the deposit is confirmed by the bank. It also provides a very good customer service and prompt reply through email and phonecalls.
So, if you have time to apply for a Visa, then you wont mind the wait for opening a Deutschebank accout. But if you are already under time pressure and have a short time then try Fintiba.
Deutsche Bank: Account Opening Charges EUR 150. No Monthly charges for Bank account for Students.If you have to extend the blocked account for longer than the duration you mentioned in your form, then an additional EUR 150 applies each time you make a change.
However, there are additional charges not charged by the bank, such as EUR 20 for certification by the German Consulate and EUR 10 – 20 for Courier/Post.
Fintiba: Account Opening Charges are EUR 89. Monthly charges of Eur 4.90 from the time a deposit is confirmed. The blocked account can only be opened for one year and every additional year costs EUR 89.
Here is a rough comparison of how much a Deutsche Bank Blocked account and a Fintiba Blocked account would cost for a 3-month German course, 6 month Job search Visa, or a 1 or 2-year University program.
|3 months||~ €180||~ €105|
|6 months||~ €180||~ €120|
|1 Year||~ €180||~ €150|
|2 Years||~ €180 or €330*||~ €300|
* Deutsche Bank cost depends on if you have made a blocked account for two years from the start, or first for one year and then extended it to the second year.
** Fintiba charges a monthly fee from the time money is deposited into the account. Calculations do not include monthly charges incurred between the duration of deposit to arriving in Germany.
Comparison between DeutscheBank and Fintiba Blocked Account
Here is a quick reference chart of the differences between the DeutscheBank and Fintiba Blocked Account
|Accounts||Blocked Account + Checking Account||Blocked Account|
|Initial Fee||€150||€89 (every 12 months)|
|Other Costs||€40 (Certification, Post)||None|
|Mode||Physical application||Fully Online|
|Processing time||4-6 weeks||1-2 weeks|
|Customer Service||Online contact form / Post||Email / App / Phone|
|Additional Service||–||Student Health Insurance|
|More Information||Apply Here Online|
Below the complete step by step process for getting a Fintiba Blocked Account for an account
How to apply for Fintiba Blocked Account
To fully use the Fintiba bank account, you can apply for the bank account, and once you reach Germany, you will have to acivate it in order to access funds from your blocked account.
The two below figures illustrates the process for Fintiba blocked account opening in your home country and the process activating the account when arriving in Germany.
Opening Process in your home country:
Click here for Fintiba Website
Fintiba Account Activating Process in Germany
How to apply for Deutsche bank Blocked Account
For applying with Deutsche Bank, here are the steps:
- Step 1 : Download the application form from the Deutsche-bank website. Make sure to download the appropriate form based on your age.
- Step 2: Fill the online application form electronically and print them out. Sign the application form and take a copy.
- Step 3: Take the original signed application form along with a copy of the passport and the acceptance letter from the German University to the German Embassy/Consulate where you are applying for the Visa. The embassy will then certify your signature, the application form and other documents.
- Step 4: Send the certified and attested application forms along with the documents to Deutsche bank in Germany.
Transferring money to the student blocked account (Sperrkonto) in Deutsche bank
- Step 1: Deutsche bank will then send you an email with your new account number of the blocked account (Sperrkonto) and IBAN code. Use these details to transfer the money from your bank account in your country to the new blocked Deutsche bank account. Make sure that enough money is transferred to take into account the € 150 administration fee (as of Aug. 2018) charged by Deutsche bank for this service.
- Step 2: The bank will then provide you with a document confirming credit of your account with the necessary mandatory minimum amount as required by the Embassy/Consulate. Use this document while submitting your visa application at the German Embassy in your country.
Activating the student blocked account (Sperrkonto) in Germany
- Once you’re in Germany visit a Deutsche bank branch nearest you with all the available documents and request the staff to complete this service order and activate the blocked account (Sperrkonto).
- You will need to provide your local address while providing the service order to activate your account. Therefore, you may need to register your address with the city administration and have a copy of the registration (Anmeldung) with you. Make sure to take your passport and along with the letter from the consulate with you.
Best Options to transfer money to German Blocked account
So now you have opened a blocked account either using Fintiba or Deutschebank, you will need to transfer money to the bank account. The easiest way is to ask you bank to do a Swift money transfer. This will be costly as not only the transfer fees are involved you will also get a unfavorable exchange rate. But using this is normally fast and easy option .
You can also use money transfer portals. Transferwise is one of the recommended services which is well know and reliable services which offers cheaper transfer.
Normally you can have anyone, such as your family or loan bank, transfer to the blocked account. But the person from whose account it is transfered will also have to provide their details, usually to meet anti-money laundering laws in Germany and your home country.
Blocked account for students from Iran and Syria
Unfortunately, since Germany has put financial sanctions on certain countries (Sudan, Syria, Iran and North Korea), German banks are not allowed to open an account for citizens from these countries. Sadly, this is also affecting students who wish to study here and open students blocked the account.
Fintiba allows students from Syria and Sudan to open an account. Iranian passport holders not residing in Iran can also open a blocked account with Fintiba.
For other Iranian students, here are the options. An article in the German magazine Zeit magazine (in German) discusses the problems faced by a Syrian student to open a students account. The reporter in the article contacted some banks and found that it is possible for a student from Syria (or Iran) to open a blocked account (sperrkonto) in the local Sparkasse bank or Volksbank in the city where you wish to study. Sparkasse banks were the state-run banks which are now privatized, however, each city sparkasse is different from the other and there is no central head office. So you will have to contact the local sparkasse bank in the city of the university in order to open the account. Volksbanks is the co-operative banks which are service oriented banks and also allow opening the bank account for students from Iran and Syria. However, there has been a problem since some of these banks do not open an account when you are not in Germany and refuse to open a bank account when you are still in Iran or Syria, as it was witnessed by some students.
To overcome this problem, the FAQ (in German) in Study-in-Germany – The link has been removed by the website so a web-archive link is provided- (official German government website for studying in Germany) provides the following solution (translated to English from German).
Q : I'm from Iran and I have been admitted to a master's degree in Germany. However, because of sanctions against Iranian it is not possible to set up a blocked account (Sperrkonnto) with a German bank, and transfer money from Iran. Is there an alternative way to still get a students visa? Can a student, for example, bring the money in a cash? A. Yes, for Iranian citizens, it is possible to bring the money in cash upon entry, as long as the total does not exceed EUR 10,000.
According to the above answer, it says that an Iranian student (or student from Syria, Sudan or North Korea) may be able to bring up to €10,000 (Ten thousand Euros) in cash when they come to Germany (on a 3 month Visa). This cash can be deposited to a bank in Germany, in the city where you are going to study, and then open a student blocked account. Once you get the students blocked account, you can apply for extending the Students Visa in Germany. As already informed, this information though available in a German government aided website, is not certain and the information from the embassy in Iran or Syria is the final. I would like to hear from students who have been successful in opening such an account so that I can update this page and can help other students also.
Updated information: Some embassies were not accepting this. So here is a legal source of such information. The requirements for getting a Student Visa as published by the German Embassy at Tehran (PDF document).
In page two it says
“ein Finanzierungsnachweis zu Ihrem Studienaufenthalt in Deutschland, wie z.B.einen Nachweis über den Gegenwert von mindestens 7.908,- € *Bankguthaben in Iran (Sie sind verpflichtet, diesen Euro-Betrag in bar bei der Einreise mit sich zu führen, um in Deutschland ein Sperrkonto einzurichten, bitte beachten Sie bei der Einfuhr von Barmitteln die Zollvorschriften der Europäischen Gemeinschaft, nähere Informationen zu diesem Thema finden Sie in der Rubrik Rechts- und Konsularangelegenheiten >Zollvorschriften > Anmeldepflicht für Barmittel von 10.000,- Euro oder mehr bei Reisen in oder aus der Europäischen Union)”
Roughly translated it means,
“A proof of financing for your studies in Germany, such as proof of the equivalent of at least 7,908, € as cash in a bank in Iran (You are obliged to take this Euro amount in cash when entering and with it set up a blocked account in Germany. Please note the limit on imports of cash the customs rules of the European Community, further information on this topic can be found in section “Rechts- und Konsularangelegenheiten” …notification for Cash of 10.000, – Euro or more when traveling to or from the European Union).”
So it is clear that you just need to show proof that you have the money, you can then take it as cash and open a bank account when you arrive in Germany. Please note, this is applicable only for citizens of countries (e.g. Iran, Syria, North Korea, South Sudan) who cannot open a bank account in Germany due to sanctions.
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