Planning to study in Germany or want a blue card Job-seeking Visa, 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 student current accounts, please check best bank accounts for students and trainees in Germany.
This article is a complete guide to all the information you need to know about a blocked account in Germany. Compare between different blocked account providers and the steps you need to take when opening a blocked account.
Basics of Blocked account
What is a blocked account?
A blocked account (Sperrkonto) is a special account for international students or Jobseekers, which is required to get a German Visa as proof for sufficient funds. It is called a blocked account because the money in the account is blocked and you can only withdraw a fixed sum each month.
So, if you are a foreign national (non-EU or non-OECD country) applying for a student Visa or a Blue Card Jobseeker Visa, chances are you might be required to open a blocked account.
The student should be required to prove sufficient funds for their study duration in Germany. From January 1, 2023, you will need to open an account and deposit an amount of €11,208 for a complete year, and you are allowed to withdraw a fixed sum each month (€934). 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 €853 times 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?
Students applying for a student’s Visa or a Blue Card Jobseeker Visa need a German Blocked account. Blocked account as it only one of the ways to show proof of funds. The alternatives to requiring a blocked account are:
- A family member living in Germany who can sponsor you.
- Scholarship document from a reputed government or Educational institution (e.g., DAAD, Max Planck) which also pays your living expenses.
- A signed undertaking from a German citizen living in Germany who can support you.
For scholarship holders, normally, providing the confirmation of scholarship is adequate. But if your scholarship does not pay your living expenses or only a partial 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.
When 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. In such a case, it is recommended to open as soon as you have decided on your university to make sure you get a Visa appointment on time.
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.
Some nationals who can visit Visa-free to Germany can arrive in Germany and then open a blocked account once you are in Germany.
On the other hand, citizens from Australia, 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. They can then convert their tourist visa to a student resident permit.
Which bank for a blocked account?
If you are not yet in Germany and you are required to open a blocked account from your home country before coming to Germany, there are not many options.
The options for Opening a blocked account are:
Already in Germany?
If you are opening a blocked account after arriving in Germany, you have many options. Most of the banks around the university will offer this service, otherwise, just ask your international student’s service centre at your university.
Some common banks such as Sparkasse, HypoVeriensbank, Volksbank, and Commerzbank provide blocked account, but it depends on the bank branches. Look for the branch near your university and visit them:
- 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, e.g., 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 here.
Compare Fintiba vs Expatrio vs Coracle vs DeutscheBank
Which is the best blocked account for Germany: DeutscheBank, Fintiba, Expatrio or Coracle? Our summary is:
- Expatrio: Easy Process; cheapest option for Value package (blocked account+ travel/health insurance+bank account).
- Coracle: Easy Process; the cheapest option for only a blocked account.
- DeutscheBank: Complicated process; Most Expensive; but easier process once you get to Germany.
- Fintiba: Easy Process; less expensive but additional process required once you get to Germany.
We have been asked what is the best option for opening a German blocked account, Fintiba, Expatrio, Coracle or DeutscheBank. While all of them offer blocked account services, there are some differences between them. Here is a quick comparison table of the main features of the different blocked accounts, especially Fintiba vs Expatrio vs Coracle.
|€89 (Setup Fees)|
|€4.90 (Monthly Fees)|
|€89 (Extension Fees)|
|Overall cost (for)|
|€64 (3 Months)|
|€79 (6 Months)|
|€109 (1 Year)|
|€218 (2 Years)|
Until recently, only Deutsche bank provided blocked accounts for students in Germany. But new service providers such as Fintiba, Expatrio and Coracle, all now provide a similar product with a good service at a competitive. All three service providers are normally approved and accepted by the German consulates (e.g., India (PDF), Pakistan). However, check with your German Embassy prior to opening the account.
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 will also need a normal account when in Germany called a Girokonto (current account) for your daily use in Germany. There are pros and cons to having both the account in the same bank. For example, having both the accounts in the same bank gives a simpler procedure for opening the Girokonto. This might be especially useful for newcomers, as you don’t have to worry about opening a new bank account when having to deal with other issues. However, you are limited to the same bank and can’t shop around for better bank services and benefits like a free credit card.
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.
Expatrio now offers two types of packages. The normal blocked account package provides only a blocked account and no current account. To receive your monthly amount, you should open a separate bank account once arrive in Germany. While this might take an additional effort once you come to Germany, you are free to open a bank account in any bank.
However, Expatrio also provides a new all-inclusive “VALUE PACKAGE” which provides all that you need as a student in Germany, including a free bank account. Learn more about Expatio VALUE PACKAGE
Fintiba provides a blocked account from Sutor Bank, which is a German government approved bank. However, 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. While this might take an additional effort once you come to Germany, you are free to open a bank account in any bank. Click here to open a Fintiba account.
Coracle provides only a blocked account and you are required to open a current account (Girokonto) in any of the German banks of your choice. Many offer them for free for students. Commerzbank and Sparkasse are popular choices among students.
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 another bank account for students.
2. Ease of Opening/ Customer Service
It is 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.
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.
The entire account opening process is online, and there is no need for getting any certified copy or sending them by post. The entire blocked account opening takes one week, and the blocking confirmation is issued automatically once the deposit is confirmed by the bank. It also provides very good customer service in English and German and prompt reply through email and phone calls. Once in Germany, you can legitimize through PostIdent, or for those who cannot use PostIdent an alternate method of verifying is using the branch offices of DAK insurance company in your city. Click here to open a Fintiba account.
Expatio also provides fast service and provides account opening confirmation within 24 hrs. It also provides customer service in English, German, Chinese, Korean, Russian, and not just on phone or Email, they can also be contacted using other social media channels (e.g., WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, KakaoTalk, Telegram). They do not require you to legitimize once in Germany and merely submitting your German bank account is enough. Check out the Expatio account
The complete process is online, and you will get a confirmation within 24hrs. Once the money is deposited, you will get a blocked account confirmation within 24 hours. Check out the coracle bank account.
So, if you have time to apply for a Visa, then you won’t mind the wait for opening a Deutschebank account. But if you are already under time pressure and have a short time then try Fintiba, Coracle or Expatrio.
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.
Account Opening Charges are EUR 89 and a monthly charges of EUR 4.90 pm from the time a deposit is confirmed. The blocked account can only be opened for one year and every additional year costs EUR 89. You might be eligible for a EUR 110 cashback if you open a Fintiba Plus account (blocked account + health insurance), more on this below. Click here to open a Fintiba account
The account opening charges are €49, and the monthly charges are EUR 5 pm for an Expatrio blocked the account. However, if you opt for a Value Package (with health insurance), the opening charges are waived with code FREEBA19. Check out the Expatio account.
Coracle provides the cheapest option if you are going for a pure blocked account option with a one time cost of €99, and no monthly charges to maintain the bank account. Check out the coracle account.
Here is a rough comparison of how much a Deutsche Bank Blocked account, Fintiba Blocked account or Expatrio blocked account would cost for a 3-month German course, 6-month Job search Visa, or a 1 or 2-year university program. In this calculation, only the basic blocked account package is included, and cashback or coupon codes are not included.
* 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.
** Cashback not included in the calculation. 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.
+ Expatrio Value Package
4. Health Insurance
All residents in Germany are mandated by law to have proper government-approved health insurance. Therefore, once you arrive in Germany, you will be required to get health insurance to extend your temporary visa to a residence permit. There are public health insurance (also called statutory health insurance) or a private health insurance. If you are a student under 30, you will qualify for a public health insurance. Health insurance is a vast topic in itself, but the main difference between public and private health insurance is: public insurance is cashless. This means the public insurance company will directly pay the doctor/hospital, but under private insurance, you have to pay the doctor and then claim from the insurance company.
You might also be required to have proper travel insurance (also called incoming insurance) which provides temporary insurance for the duration between you arrive in Germany and until you get your German health insurance after enrolment in the university. Even if you are not required by the German Embassy to have one, travel insurance is always recommended.
Deutsche Bank does not provide service for health insurance. So you are supposed to get travel insurance before leaving and a proper health insurance one yourself once you arrive in Germany.
Fintiba provides a package called Fintiba Plus which also provides insurance. Currently, they offer a €110 cashback if you use Fintiba plus service and qualify for public insurance. With Fintiba plus, you will get a blocked account + health insurance + travel insurance. The health insurance is provided by DAK (public insurance) or MAWISTA (private insurance), depending on which you qualify. Click here to open a Fintiba account
Expatrio’s VALUE PACKAGE provides all that you need for relocation as a student, which including a blocked account + free bank account with MONESE + temporary insurance + German health insurance. The health insurance is provided by TK (public insurance) or EDUCARE (private insurance). Check out the Expatio account
With Coracle you can apply for the Health Insurance independent from the Blocked Account or, within the 3-in-1 PRIME offer you receive the Blocked Account + free Incoming Travel Insurance + a Public Health Insurance of your choice.
In both cases, you only pay the student tariff and no fees to Coracle. Also, in both cases, you are always free to choose the insurance company you prefer. Coracle offers a brief comparison between TK, Barmer and IKK on their homepage. If you prefer a different health insurer, you can write the customer support team to take care of it. Check out the coracle account.
Compare Blocked Account Opening Process
Each blocked account provider has a slightly different process for account opening and activation process as explained below:
[table “13” not found /]
How to Open a 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 activate 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 Expatrio Blocked Account
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.
Deutsche Bank Privat und Geschäftskunden AG Service Center Hamburg / Ausländische Studenten
Alter Wall 53 20457 Hamburg
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 DeutscheBank 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the 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 your bank to do a Swift money transfer. This will be costly as not only the transfer fees are involved you will also get an unfavourable 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 known and reliable services which offers a 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 transferred will also have to provide their details, usually to meet anti-money laundering laws in Germany and your home country.
How to open 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.
From 1 January 2023, the blocked account amount for Germany is 11,208 euros. Note that there might be other administrative costs for opening the bank account.
It depends on the bank. For Fintiba, Coracle and Expatrio it takes less than a week. Deutschebank take about 3 to 5 weeks to open a blocked account
Unfortunately, it is not possible to make the process of opening the blocked account faster. If you do not receive your blocked account confirmation within the promised time, you can write to them asking to speed up the process.
If you have already opened a blocked account, you can only close it with an official confirmation. For example, a letter from your Embassy that your Visa is rejected, or if the local Foreign office (in the German city) gives you a letter stating you don’t have to maintain a blocked account
Don’t worry, you can close your blocked account and get the money back to your account if your visa is rejected by the German embassy.
Contact the bank and inform them that your visa was rejected and they will close the account and refund your deposit (minus transfer and opening costs) back into the bank you used to transfer your deposit.
Yes, your money in the blocked account is safe. All German banks are part of the Deposit Protection scheme which guarantees all your deposits up to €100,000.
Not all bank branches provide the service, so you will have to check different branches. Try these options:
1. Go to a bank branch close to the university. Usually, they will have more international students and will provide blocked account service.
2. Visit the International Students office of the University. The student advisers will be able to recommend the bank branch to you.
3. Visit the Students Visa office at Rathaus (Auslanderbüro) and ask them, they will know which bank provides such a service. Sometimes they also give you an official letter instructing banks to allow you to open a saving account and physically put a limit on it. The bank then does that and will complete the form so you can use that as proof of blocked account. This used to be an old process (before 2010), but maybe some still use it.
4. You can always open blocked account online through one of the above services (e.g., Fintiba, X-patrio or Coracle)
Monthly transfer from blocked account to Checking account (Girokonto) is free.