How to open a bank account in Germany

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Selecting and Opening a bank in a foreign country more complicated if the information is not available in English. Though it is generally not too difficult to open a German bank account if you have the required documents,  the application form and information is always provided in German.

First, you need to select which is the best bank account for you. The article on how to select a bank account in Germany provides you with a list of things you should consider when you are looking for a German bank account (e.g, Maintenance Charge, Cards and Withdrawal charges, English Service and Interest rates). Students are provided with added benefits.

Documents Required

To open a bank account in Germany, you require the following documents:

  • A valid ID such as a Passport, or a National ID for EU citizen
  • Address Proof, such as Residence Registration (Meldebescheinigung).
  • Proof of income (e.g payslip or employment contract), if you are applying for a credit card or an overdraft facility.

Additional Document required for Student Bank account

  • Student registration (immatrikulationsbescheinigung). You can provide it later after opening the bank account.

Take the original and at least one copy of the above documents.

How to Open a Bank Account in Germany – Online

  1. Select the best bank for you

    Based on your requirements, select the best bank for you. Read more on how to select a bank account in Germany

  2. Fill the online application

    Complete the online application form available on the bank website.
    This forms will be in German, therefore you will need an English translation of the German banking terms in hand. You can also check the step-by-step guide with screenshots and English translation for certain bank (e.g. DKB, Commerzbank, Postbank, ComDirect). 

  3. Submit the application and print the forms

    After completing the application online, you can submit the details online and a PDF copy of the application, along with a form for verification is generated.

    You may need to print this out.

  4. Complete the Verification

    You can either perform a PostIdent or VideoIdent process, as described below, depending on if your document is accepted.

How to Open a German Bank Account in Person

Select the best bankWith the above documents, just walk into a branch nearest to you. The bank clerk will then guide you and fill out the application for you. Most banks will requires you to make an appointment before you come. Some banks may also require that you open a bank account a branch closest to your residence or specific student branches in the university which will can service you. Therefore, dont be suprised if you are asked to come back again or make a trip to a different branch. You can avoid this by opening the bank account online even for the banks with branches (e.g. Commerzbank, Postbank, HypoVerinsbank) and not just for the Direct internet banks (banks without branches). Sometime, opening an account online may give you added benefits, for example Postbank has bonus offer for customers opening online, or Commerzbank during weekends.


In order to verify the user, most of the banks follow a PostIdent process where the verification is performed by a clerk at the Post office.

You do not need to make an appointment for this. Take the above documents along with the printed application form which was filled online to the nearest post office (All post offices in Germany) in person. To find out the center which is closest to you, click on Postoffice Finder.  Type in the city, postal code or the name of the street and under the option”alle speziellem service” select the option for “PostIdent”. You will be showed on the map the Postoffice branches closest to you.

The clerk at the post office will verify if you are the person as mentioned in the application form and on your passport. Once the documents are checked by the clerk at the post office, you have to sign the application form at the necessary place in front of the clerk. This signature is verified with your signature in your identity documents. After verification of the documents and signature, the forms are then put in an envelope and sent to the Bank free of charge.

A new process called Video-Ident is now possible with some banks where you can complete the identification process through video conferencing. However, even those banks  allow PostIdent possibility and for someone with little or no knowledge of German, PostIdent is simpler than Video-Ident.

Operating the account

Mostly, you will now receive a confirmation from the bank account was opened. However, sometimes you may be asked by the bank to provide further details by email if required. This may include student certificate (for student bank account) or work contract (for salary account) in case they were not required to be sent while applying.

The bank will then send you the confirmation documents by post. This includes the cards, PINs etc as separate letters. It takes about a week or two to receive all the documents. However, you may be able to already access the account through the bank branch or online provided you received the necessary passwords.

FAQ on Opening a Bank account in Germany

What if I do not have an appartment yet?

You will need to have an local address. This can also be a C/O address of your friend or some other place where you can receive the documents by post (Card/PIN etc will be sent by post only).

What if I do not have the Students registration

If you have not yet registered at the university and need to open a bank account, banks will accept the admission letter or other confirmation letter from university or the Student Visa depending on the bank.

26 thoughts on “How to open a bank account in Germany”

  1. Dear Sir,

    I am a Malaysia , Non resident of Germany. Am I eligible to open a CORPORATE ACCOUNT at Post Bank on EURO Currency

    If yes, then what will be the Terms and Requirement to be submitted to the bank.

    Looking forward for your clarification and confirmation.

    Thank you



    • Hi SIB, you have a good blog and I do follow it. Thanks for stopping by here. I do not have a blogroll, but as a courtesy I will leave the backlink to your website on this comment. Cheers.

      For those reading the post, if you are planning to move to Berlin, his website settle-in-berlin gives you general information about Berlin.

  2. hi there.
    I am living in IRAN, do i have any opportunities to get one your account by sending scan copy of any documents you ask for trough the email.
    I have passport and seaman book .
    I really appreciate to reply my question.
    with best regards.

  3. Hello
    I am from Argentina, but I have also a Polish citizenship. My purpose is buying a property in Berlin for living there when I retire, in 3 or 4 years. I would like to open a girokonto or another account for transfering the money for buying the flat and maybe to receive incomes if I decide to rent it until I will live there. I´ve read that it’s almost impossible to open an account if I don’t live in Germany. Iss it real? Can I get it?
    Thank you


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