The Winter Semester 2020/2021 under Pandemic Conditions: Information for International Students

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic will continue to shape our lives, international travel and studying at the University of Göttingen in the winter semester 2020/2021. Furthermore, the pandemic also leads to ongoing and dynamic changes in the legal and regulatory situation. Here we try to give you an up-to-date overview of regulations that affect you as international students in particular. Beyond, please find this handout for summarizing information on how to get to Göttingen.

In addition, you can use the central information services that the University of Göttingen provides for its students in the form of an FAQ list: Make active use of the resources linked there, inform yourself carefully and stay up-to-date!

These can still change at short notice. Please note, therefore, that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the following.


I. Application and Admission, Semester Fee, Enrolment, Lecture Period, Teaching

Application for the winter semester 2020/2021 is only possible for undergraduate subjects without admission restrictions. Please click here for information on the range of courses offered and here for information on the application procedure.

Notifications of admission for the winter semester 2020/2021 are sent out in July and August, for the courses of study Medicine and Dentistry/State Examination/1st semester only in September.

It is not possible to transfer an admission received for the winter semester 2020/2021 to a later semester. If you are unable to accept the place offered or if you withdraw your enrolment, you must reapply.

As of today, the application period for the summer semester 2021 begins on September 01, 2020 and ends on 31 October 2020. Applications for higher semesters are possible from 01 December 2020 to 15 January 2021. Different application deadlines apply for Master's programmes, for which you can find information here.

Doctoral students who have received a letter of admission from their Academic Department can be enroled continuously.

Semester fees are mostly solidarity contributions that help to finance infrastructure and services that are available to all students. A reduction for pandemic reasons (for example, if you are studying online from abroad) is not possible.

Different regulations may apply to courses of study financed by fees. If necessary, please contact the programme coordination at the Academic Department.

Enrolment at the University of Göttingen is a digital, location-independent process. Only in exceptional cases do original documents have to be submitted for enrolment. You will receive detailed information by e-mail during the enrolment process.

The winter semester 2020/2021 will see an important change for students who cannot enter Germany but want to study online from abroad. These students are not required to have health insurance in Germany, so they do not have to provide proof of health insurance when enrolling. Instead, they upload a declaration at the appropriate place, which the International Student Office provides as a template. Please contact international.study@uni-goettingen.de if you want to enrol for online studies from abroad.

Withdrawal of enrolment with refund of the semester fees paid is possible until 02 December 2020.

The majority of newly enrolled students have the opportunity to log in at https://ecampus.uni-goettingen.de/account with the registration data received during the application process and to set a password for the regular student account. From this moment on, it can be used for all eCampus functions (registration for courses etc.).

The portal also allows a portrait photo to be taken, which is used for the chip card. The production of the chip card will also be initiated for internationals who cannot enter the country at first, since a SUB user account will only be created and activated when the card is produced. This also allows the use of digital library resources.

The chip card will be stored until you can come in to pick it up. Storage time is not limited.

For some newly enrolled students the portal is not available for technical reasons. If you receive an error message when attempting to log on to the portal, please contact campussupport@uni-goettingen.de, stating your full name, date of birth and matriculation number, and request that your account data be communicated. You will then receive this information in an encrypted pdf document.

Attach a suitable photo to your e-mail to also trigger the production of the chip card. You can then use digital library resources. The card will be stored until you can pick it up on site.

The winter semester 2020/2021 starts as planned on 01 October 2020 and ends on 31 March 2021. The start of the lecture period has been postponed to 02 November 2020 due to the pandemic. The lecture period ends as planned on 12 February 2021.

Teaching in the winter semester 2020/2021 will take place in a 'hybrid' form: Some of the courses, especially those with a high number of participants, will continue to be held online. Smaller courses with a more discursive character, courses for the acquisition of skills or with an experimental character can be offered in attendance, provided that the infection prevention guidelines are observed.

The proportions of online teaching and teaching in attendance vary according to subject culture, Academic Department and degree programme. For information on the implementation of your degree programme in particular, please contact the Dean of Studies of the Academic Department offering the programme, or, if applicable, the programme coordinator.

Courses that take place in attendance are held under infection control conditions. Further information can be found in the catalogue of measures that the university has developed as part of its infection control and hygiene concept.

II. Visa, Entry, Quarantine and Self-Isolation, Situation on Site

The situation at German embassies and consulates remains uneven and depends on the local pandemic situation. The procedures for applying for visas, for taking part in interviews and for collecting visas that have been granted vary greatly. Find out more about the current situation on the website of the respective mission abroad.

Since 02 July 2020, a certificate is required for entry from non-EU countries that the physical presence in Germany is necessary to achieve the purpose of the stay. Due to the 'hybrid' teaching in the winter semester 2020/2021 we consider this necessity as given. You can obtain the necessary certificate from the International Student Office at international.study@uni-goettingen.de. Please provide us with your full name, date of birth and matriculation or application number and enclose your letter of admission when you write to us.

Visas that would have allowed entry after 25 March but were not used due to travel restrictions can be re-applied for and issued through a simplified procedure. The relevant application must be submitted within one month of notification of the possibility to apply on the diplomatic mission's website. Please consult the website for the deadline applicable to you.

There are no additional costs for the reissue of the visa. As a rule, you do not have to arrange a new interview date either. In individual cases, however, it may be necessary to submit additional documents.

Currently, entry to Germany is possible from all countries of the world, even from risk areas. There are differences in detail depending on the country from which you enter Germany:

Unlimited entry is possible from states of the European Union, the European Economic Area, Australia, Georgia, Canada, Montenegro, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. In the short term, this list is to be extended to include Japan, South Korea and the People's Republic of China.

Entry from other countries is possible if presence on site in Germany is necessary to complete your studies. The International Student Office will provide you with a corresponding certificate. Please contact us at international.study@uni-goettingen.de. Please state your full name, date of birth and your matriculation or application number and attach your letter of admission to your e-mail.

When entering Germany, make sure that you have all the documents that prove the purpose of your stay with you, in particular your visa, your letter of admission and the certificate that your presence on site in Germany is necessary for your studies. They will be checked again by the Federal Police upon entry. You can find further information on the homepages of German airports, such as Frankfurt am Main Airport or Hanover Airport.

Since 08 August 2020, testing is compulsory for all international travellers entering from a designated risk area. The molecular biological test (PCR test) must have been carried out within 48 hours before entry in a country of the European Union or a country listed by the Robert Koch Institute. Alternatively, it must be taken within 72 hours of entry, for example directly at Frankfurt Airport or Hanover Airport.

You can also have this test performed by a general practitioner in Göttingen. To do so, please contact a doctor in advance by telephone and tell him/her that you would like to have such a test performed. Please also state whether you show symptoms that indicate an infection. Until the appointment with the doctor, you must remain in self-isolation (see Self-isolation and quarantine). When you go to the doctor, make sure that you wear a mouth-nose cover, keep your distance and do not use public transport to get to the doctor.

The costs of tests carried out in Germany are borne by the German state. You do not have to contribute to the costs.

Until a negative test result is obtained, you must isolate yourself at home for up to 14 days (see Self Isolation and Quarantine). After receiving a negative test result, there is no longer a requirement for self-isolation or quarantine.

If you entered the country from a risk area, you are also obliged to register with the Göttingen Health Office upon arrival, regardless of the test result: gesundheitsamt@goettingen.de. Please provide the following information:

First and last name, gender, date of birth, country from which you entered the country, date of entry, contact details (telephone/e-mail) and future address, as well as in the attachment of the e-mail: laboratory findings/test results. If you have a negative test result, a signed statement from a doctor is also required to confirm that you are currently symptom-free.

Please find additional information on compulsory testing here.

In Göttingen there is a 14-day obligation for self-isolation only for travellers who enter Germany from a risk area and cannot present a negative test result. It is irrelevant whether you first arrive at the airport in another federal state and from there travel on to Lower Saxony.

If you are required to self-isolate, you must go to your own home or other usual place of residence immediately after arrival and stay there for 14 days. Please report to the responsible Health Office immediately after arrival: write an e-mail to gesundheitsamt@goettingen.de stating your first and last name, gender, date of birth, country of entry, date of entry, contact details (phone/e-mail) and future address. The health office in Göttingen communicates in German or English.

During self-isolation you are not allowed to leave your apartment; the Health Office can give permission for a visit to the doctor on request. You are also not allowed to receive visits from people with whom you do not live anyway.

The Health Office must also be notified if you are in self-isolation and develop symptoms of illness that indicate the novel corona virus. Please use the same e-mail address for this purpose.

If you can present a negative test result and a certificate of freedom from symptoms, contact the Health Office as described above. Include the negative laboratory findings/test results and the doctor's statement in your e-mail with the above data.

If an infection is detected, the health authorities will impose a domestic quarantine. This continues until the symptoms are cleared and usually two successive tests are negative. The quarantine must be strictly adhered to and is strictly controlled. Depending on the severity of your illness, medical treatment at home or admission to hospital may be necessary. These measures will be organised for you by the health authorities. If you fall ill with COVID-19, all costs for treatment are usually covered by your health insurance.

For supply during self-isolation or quarantine, delivery services are available that deliver durable food and drugstore items to you by postal mail. Within limits, fresh food can also be obtained from delivery services.

Corresponding addresses and further resources can be found in a handout that we have compiled for you.

Starting in September, volunteers will be available to assist you during quarantine or self-isolation. Corresponding information can be found here.

You do not have to have drinking water supplied: Tap water in Germany is generally of better quality than many products from the supermarket and can be drunk without hesitation.

Registration with the city of Göttingen is currently only possible by prior appointment via online form. The usual 14-day deadline for registration with the city is suspended, but you should try to make an appointment as soon as possible. To register, you will need your passport and a Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung, a confirmation of residence to be filled out by your landlord.

The Foreigners‘ Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) Göttingen is reachable and accessible and, as usual, accepts applications for the initial granting or extension of a residence permit in person after making an appointment by telephone.

The Robert Koch Institute provides up-to-date information on the situation in Germany. You will also find detailed information for individual districts, including the district of Göttingen. With 1,315 confirmed infections, 78 deceased and an average of 2,1 newly infected during the past seven days as of 06 August 2020, everyday life is largely going its usual course.

Detailed information in English on protection against infections in everyday situations can be found here. Check out WHO’s ‘Mythbusters’ section, too. The most important basic rules remain:

  • Keep contact with people who are not part of your household to a minimum
  • Keep a minimum distance of 1.5 metres from people in public and 2 metres for physical activity and outdoor sports.
  • Observe general rules of hygiene: Sneeze and cough consistently in the crook of your arm, wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wear a mouth-nose cover in public places (including shops and markets) and on public transport. In addition to protective masks, this can be a scarf, a cloth, a buff, a homemade fabric mask or similar.
  • Meetings in public are only allowed with up to 10 people.

There are exceptions and restrictions to these regulations, which are explained here.

The University of Göttingen has set up its own hygiene concept for infection control, which is implemented in the University's facilities and at events. It provides for a multitude of individual measures, in particular the following:

  • Persons infected with the novel corona virus or suffering from COVID-19 or showing symptoms that may indicate illness are not allowed to enter the university’s buildings and facilities.
  • In all university facilities, the above-mentioned general rules of conduct must be observed, in particular the rules on distance. These also apply to courses, examination situations and laboratory work. All rooms used are prepared accordingly.
  • Excursions and field exercises can be carried out. A minimum distance of 2m between participants must be strictly observed.
  • Regular, careful hand washing with soap and water is recommended. Hand disinfection is only offered in selected situations where water and soap are not available and is then mandatory. Surface disinfection is carried out as part of regular cleaning; work equipment is cleaned and disinfected more frequently as required.
  • If distance regulations cannot be observed safely and consistently, a mouth-nose cover must be worn. This applies in particular to access and exit situations for courses or examinations in attendance, for catering facilities on campus and for all traffic areas. Organisational measures ensure that the distance regulations are observed.
  • Learning and workstations at the university are equipped in accordance with the requirements of infection control. The university's information and counselling facilities are available to you by telephone, e-mail, and in some cases also in chat rooms and video conferences. You cannot visit us in person at the moment - university staff work mainly from home in order to reduce the risk of infection as much as possible.