COVID-19: Financial aid for international students in Germany


Updated on Nov 26 • 4 minute read

Financial aid for international students in Germany reached unprecedented levels during the coronavirus. With the arrival of the pandemic in our lives, our vision of our future has become hazy in light of the COVID virus, and our life plans have begun to falter. (International) students rely more than ever on the state to give them financial support and get them through their studies.

First things first, what financial aid can international students claim? Just when your student job has slipped under your feet during the pandemic, where can you get financial backing from? And how about student loans? Let's walk together through the financial aid for international students during the pandemic.

COVID has shaken the financial situation of international students

The coronavirus pandemic has countries locked in a tight grip: with security measures in place, everyone strives to keep the spread of the virus at bay and safeguard the health - and lives - of their fellow citizens. The economic shutdown is forcing companies to let their employees work from home, send them on short-time work or even lay them off. And with the collapse of the economy, it puts many international students in financial difficulties.

It's no secret that international students need to give their pocket money (or scholarships) a boost with a part-time job: as waiters, babysitters or tutors. All within the scope of the 120 full-time days or 240 half-time working hours allowed; although this won't allow students to take big leaps financially, it will at least help to reduce their living costs noticeably.

However, with coronavirus moving into our living space, many students had to give up their waitressing jobs due to the closed restaurants, tutoring has been cancelled due to the social distance, and companies have cut their budgets on working student jobs to secure full-time positions. In short, the loss of student jobs has put international students financially on the rocks.

No upper limit on working hours for working students during the pandemic

International students usually need to present proof of financing to the Aliens' Registration Office: either through your work or through funding from your parents. Yet in the middle of the pandemic, everyone is aware that proof of financing is more difficult than ever to obtain. Lucky you! Currently, the Aliens Department waives the requirement for proof of financing in case your employment or your parents who financially support you are affected by the pandemic.

So no need to stress yourself about being able to provide a proof of financing. Best is to get in touch with your local foreigners authority!

Here's even better news: to cover your day-to-day costs, you are allowed to work more than the 120 full days or 240 half days in times of a pandemic. The only thing you need is permission from the aliens' registration office.

Financial aid for student loan holders in Germany

For those who hold their student loan in their bank account on a monthly basis, but also for those who have not yet got their hands on a student loan, there are more and more questions. When, where and how do I receive my student loan as an international student in times of a pandemic? DAAD truly has an idea of how challenging and uncertain the situation is for international students. For this reason, DAAD has come up with flexible solutions for all programmes:

  • You can postpone the start and end of your scholarship
  • You can move your scholarship to another country if you contact DAAD beforehand
  • You can take up your scholarship from Germany online if your chosen university currently offers digital study options
  • The three points mentioned above also applied to those who are in Germany but would like to return to their home country.

Do you hold your scholarship in your hands? Needless to say, the DAAD also gave some thought to your case: Those who have already received their scholarship and are not able to return to their home country through the corona measures will receive extended support.

The ERASMUS grant also covers financial aid for international students:

  • The costs of returning home or cancelling tickets are reimbursed up to the amount of the full scholarship
  • If you want to cancel your Erasmus+ semester, you can do so without any problems during the current pandemic. However, please contact your host university/ home university beforehand

Student loans for international students in Germany

One thing the pandemic has taught us is: solidarity. And that's a lesson taken to heart by the KFW, a loan organisation that brings international students out of the financial plight of the pandemic.

As an international student, you can apply for an interest-free, but repayable, KfW student loan from 1 June 2020 to 31 March 2021. In this way you will receive a maximum of 650.00 euros per month from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020! Sounds too good, but it' s true! Check out the interest-free KfW for international students here.

Interim financial aid for international students

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) seeks to aid all students who find themselves in a financial emergency as a result of the pandemic by providing interim aid for the winter semester 2020/2021 (November 2020 until the end of March 2021).

To do so, you must prove that you are in acute financial need as a result of the pandemic - and then you will receive financial support as a German or international student. Depending on your level of need, between 100 and 500 euros can be paid to you as a non-repayable grant. The grant is awarded roughly as follows:

Account balanceInterim Aid
Less than €100.00€500.00
Between €100.00 and €199.99€400.00
Between €200.00 and €299.99€300.00
Between €300.00 and €399.99€200.00
Between €400.00 and €499.99€100.00

Keep in mind: at the time of application you can't have more than 500 euros in your account!

  • You have to submit these documents online:
  • Certificate of enrolment for the winter semester 2020/2021
  • Identity card (or passport with certificate of residence)
  • Bank account in Germany
  • Declaration that you have not applied for any further pandemic-related subsistence support for the month in which you apply for the interim aid
  • Explanation of why you are in a pandemic emergency (e.g. dismissal)
  • Account statements of all accounts (incl. Paypal)
  • For all other accounts to which you do not have temporary access, a statement assuring that there are no funds on them
  • Self-declaration that a successful completion of the studies can be expected


Related Articles

Start your search now

Find accommodation in cities across Germany, start a conversation with our advertisers and book the place of your dreams!

start my search