Visa, Travel, and Health Information
Some of you may need to apply for a visa to enter Germany. Since you will not be enrolled as a student at RWTH Aachen University during your Winter School, we recommend applying for a so called "Schengen Visa", that allows you to travel in Germany and all European countries that are part of the Schengen Agreement.
The visa application process can vary from country to country. The following information is provided as a general guideline.
Get your visa in three steps (non-committal):
- Once you have successfully registered and secured a place on a course, we will send you an Admission Letter (in English), a Visa Letter (in German) and a Proof of Accommodation Letter (in German). The Visa Letter and the Proof of Accommodation Letter are addressed to the German Embassy/Consulate in your home country and state the circumstances of your planned stay in Germany.
- Fill in the Schengen visa application form. You can find the respective document in various languages and additional information on the Federal Foreign Office's website. (Application forms for short-term stays in Germany 'Schengen visa', category C).
- You should then book an appointment with the German Embassy in your country immediately. Please note that the visa can take up to three months to be granted, and it could take a few weeks to get an appointment.
Please note that the embassy requires several documents for a visa application:
The best course of action is to find information on the Federal Foreign Office's website or directly from the German embassy in your home country, but in general you will need the following documents:
- Valid passport
- Health insurance coverage
- Schengen visa application form
- Letter of Admission (Provided by RWTH International Academy after being admitted)
- Visa Letter (Provided by RWTH International Academy after being admitted)
- Proof of Accommodation (Provided by RWTH International Academy after being admitted)
With a Schengen visa you can travel and stay in Germany as well as all 26 countries that participate in the Schengen Agreement. As your Winter School program will take place in Aachen – the westernmost city in Germany – you might also visit some of Germany’s neighboring countries: Belgium and the Netherlands are almost in walking distance.
Some Visas can take up to three months to be granted and it can also take a few weeks to get an appointment at the German Embassy/Consulate in your home country.
To make your journey as convenient as possible, we want to give you our advice on how to travel to Aachen from the closest airports.
If you arrive at one of the airports below, we recommend you to take the train to Aachen Central Station (“Aachen Hauptbahnhof”). Tickets for the Deutsche Bahn (German National Railway) can be bought on their website.
Arrival at Cologne-Bonn Airport:
We recommend you to take the S-Bahn (S13 direction Köln-Ehrenfeld) for four stops until you reach Köln Hauptbahnhof (Cologne Central Station). From there, the regional train will take you directly to Aachen. These run every 30 minutes and take around an hour. Tickets can be bought on their website and also at the train station. They cost 16€ to 26€, including the ticket for the S-Bahn.
Arrival at Frankfurt International Airport:
There are many options to choose from, so the best option is booking your train ride beforehand. Some involve an overlay in Cologne or Mainz, but others can run directly to Aachen (e.g. taking the high-speed trains ICE or IC). Depending on which train you take, the travel time can be between two and four hours and cost 30€ to 80€.
Arrival at Düsseldorf International Airport:
You can take the direct regional train from Düsseldorf Airport to Aachen Hauptbahnhof. The train ride takes around one and a half hours and operates hourly. The tickets for these trains can also be bought at the ticket machine at the train station and cost 20€ to 22€.
Arrival at Brussels Airport:
The easiest option is taking the train to Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle). The train station is within the Airport and the travel time varies between two and three hours. There are timetable information available on the website of the Belgian National Railway.
Additionally, you can also have a look at RWTH Aachen University travel information site.
The Winter School team wishes you a pleasant journey.
Health Insurance Information
Health insurance is mandatory for students who want to participate in a RWTH International Academy Winter School. Please make sure to take an appropriate insurance for the entire Winter School period. We do recommend a private health insurance with an EU coverage.
Health Insurance Information
International students from Non-EU countries need to make sure to apply for insurance for the period of the Winter School.
Exemplary offers by health insurance companies can be found here:
In case of medical attention, expenditures usually have to be paid upfront by the patient. This is due to the fact that foreigners will be handled as private patients.
EU Students (European Union)
In case you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you will receive necessary medical attention in Germany. However, any services that go beyond necessary medical attention as well as additional costs (fees, drugs, additional payments) might not be covered.
The European Health Insurance Card is a free card that gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country.
Cards are issued by your national health insurance provider.
Important – the European Health Insurance Card:
- is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover any private healthcare or costs such as a return flight to your home country or lost/stolen property.
- does not cover your costs if you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment.
- does not guarantee free services. As each country’s healthcare system is different, services that cost nothing at home might not be free in another country.
Please read the terms and conditions of your health insurance policy carefully and consult with your insurance company in case you have further questions. It is strongly advised to have an additional travel insurance.