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In order to avoid bad surprises after your return home, we recommend that you acquire information on how to get your qualifications/doctoral degree recognized in your home country in time. There are several institutions you can contact.

Contacting the Embassy

The first address for obtaining more information would of course be the respective embassy or consulate of your home country in Germany. The department of the consul is responsible for passport and visa affairs, but they also accomplish certification and accreditation. Please ask your respective embassy or consulate which services are offered. See our list of embassies in Berlin here.

Zentralstelle für Ausländisches Bildungswesen

In Germany, the Zentralstelle für Ausländisches Bildungswesen called ZAB  is the Department for recognition of foreign degrees which is responsible for the evaluation and acknowledgement of foreign proof of education, usually when students and doctoral candidates from abroad come to Germany. More information on whom to contact and what the equivalent degree will be back home, can be found on the information system for acceptance of foreign educational achievements in Germany. They also can certify your German degree for your home country. Under the heading “Übersicht nach Ländern”, you will find the respective offices which are responsible for the acknowledgement of German or foreign qualifications in your home country.The issuing of the equivalent document is free of charge but will take several weeks.

In order to issue the certification, you need to bring:

  • All documents (as accredited copies or originals)
  • Information on the purpose of the equivalence certification
  • Information on the educational system for which the equivalence certification is required
  • Information on the language in which the equivalence certification is required (German, Spanish, French, English, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian)

We recommend you to first contact the institution by phone and then send your documents by mail to:

Zentralstelle für Ausländisches Bildungswesen im Sekretariat der Ständigen Konferenz der Kultusminister der Länder der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Address: Markgrafenstr. 37, 10117 Berlin

Phone: +49 (0)30 / 2541 8400

Fax:+49 (0)30 / 2541 8450



Other Institutions for Acceptance of Foreign Degrees

More information on whom to contact and what the equivalent degree will be back home, can be found on the information system for acceptance of foreign educational achievements in Germany ANABIN.

Under the heading “Übersicht nach Ländern”, you will find the respective offices which are responsible for the acknowledgement of German or foreign qualifications in your home country.

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Certainly, you have concluded contracts during your stay in Germany which have to be cancelled before you return to your home country. The following topics should be an orientation on what needs to be done.


Tenancy Contract

Cancel your rental contract in due time. Termination always requires a written letter. Normally, the period of notice is three months. If you want to leave earlier or you cancel a temporary rental contract before it expires, you have to find a new tenant which must be accepted by the landlord.

Accommodation Handover / Refurbishment / Bulky Waste

Come to an agreement with your landlord regarding the refurbishment of your flat. Normally, the refurbishment includes wall painting and wallpapering. Have the refurbishments you carried out taken down in a handover form, so the landlord confirms them and you will get your full security deposit back.

Basements, garages, and grounds have to be cleared out. Ask the municipality about the next date for bulky waste or order a transport yourself (

In case you cannot take all your furniture with you when moving, there might be a possibility that your landlord or next tenant take over your furniture for a reasonable price.

Refundable security deposit

In case you have paid a security deposit, manage the repayment with your landlord. He/she has to pay back the deposit including interest but will generally only do so after a final check of the empty flat together with you.

Utilities (Electricity / Gas / Water/ Heating / Waste)

If utilities were not included in your rent and you concluded separate contracts with the respective companies (in Berlin predominantly Vattenfall), you have to remember to cancel them. For electricity, gas, heating, and water, you read the meters on the last day of rent and forward the numbers to the companies. The meters are either situated in the flat or in the basement. Please also write the numbers down for yourself.


Radio / Television / Cable TV

Giving the Gebühreneinzugszentrale (GEZ) notice is only possible in written form. Forms can be downloaded at

If cable TV, telephone, and internet were not included in the additional expenses, you have to cancel your contract with the respective companies as well.

Telephone – Landline

You should not forget to cancel your landline. For termination, please consider the terms and conditions of your provider. You might need to present a proof that you are actually leaving the country before they let you cancel. The registration office of Freie Universität will hand out such a document when you give them notice of departure.

In your letter, state all personal data (name, your customer number, etc.). It is best to send it via registered mail, so you can prove that you sent the letter in time.

If your contract is set up for a limited period of time (24 or 12 months) and the expiry date coincides with your departure, you still have to cancel the contract at least three months before the expiry date, otherwise the contract is automatically extended to another twelve months. In case that no period of notice exists, the processing of cancellation takes six to eight days.

Your last telephone bill will be sent to the address stated on your written notice. It will not be mailed abroad though. Therefore, it is advisable to state an address of an acquaintance in Germany, who then forwards the last telephone bill abroad to you.

If you use a mail forwarding service (see below), you can state your old address when cancelling.

Telephone – Cell Phone

Normally, contracts with cell phone providers run 24 months and will automatically be extended to another 12 months if you do not cancel the contract three months in advance. Therefore, it is recommended to cancel the contract way in advance, so that you do not miss the period of notice. Cancellations can be revoked if necessary.

Again, please state all personal data (address, mobile phone number, and customer number) in your written notice and send it by registered mail. Only in this case, can you be sure that the cancellation will be processed.

Mail Forwarding Service

If you are returning to your home country, you have the option to have your letters forwarded to your new address for a certain period of time. The forwarding service lasts for six (€ 15.20) or twelve months (€ 25.20) and can be ordered at all post offices or online:

Please note:

You have to pay the difference between the postage within Germany (e.g. for standard letter in Germany = € 0.55) and the postage to your home country (e.g. for standard letter world = € 1.70  difference to pay = € 1.15) when the letters arrive. Parcels will not be forwarded by the Deutsche Post.

Banking Activities

Closing Your Bank Account

You should not forget to close your account. There is no period of notice, you simply visit your local branch to notify your bank. Yet, it is recommended to keep the German bank account for about six months after you leave until all final payments like the security deposit refund are made.

The banks have special forms where you can enter a date when the account is to be closed and to which account the remaining money is to be transferred (i.e. the account in your home country).

The following documents have to be brought along when you go to the branch:

  • Passport or other form of ID
  • EC card belonging to that account
  • If applicable, cheque book with all remaining cheques
  • If applicable, credit cards belonging to that account
  • If a savings account exists, savings certificate and the last account statements

Direct Debit Authorizations and Standing Orders

Direct debit authorizations have to be changed or cancelled at the responsible institutions like your insurance. Standing orders will be cancelled by the banks themselves.

Closing a Bank Account from Abroad

Either you have internet banking and might be able to close your account from home after your last payments. The other option is to take the cancellation form (do not forget to pick up the form while still in Germany!) home with you and submit the completed form later. Do not forget to state to which account remaining money should be transferred.


Periods of notice have to be considered if you intend to terminate your insurances. In general, the period of notice is 3 months before the end of the insurance period.

An extraordinary termination of the insurance contract is possible if you can provide evidence that you leave Germany permanently. This has to be supported by an official document.

The cancellation requires the written form which should be mailed per registered mail.

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Einwohnermeldeamt / Bürgeramt (Local Registration Office)

If you leave Germany for a longer period (e.g. returning to your home country), you have to sign off formally with the responsible registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) where you registered when you first arrived.You can download the form here

Do not forget to bring along your own passport as well as the passports of your family members.

Foreigners’ Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde)

If your residence permit has expired and you are about to return to your home country, you will have to get in contact with the foreigners’ registration office. Upon showing your passport and your plane ticket, you will get a so called “Border Crossing Certificate” (Grenzübertrittsbescheinigung, GÜB). A date will be given on the border crossing certificate until when you have to leave Germany at the latest. You have to hand in the border crossing certificate when crossing the border or at a German consulate in your home country. They will send it back to the respective foreigners’ registration office in Germany.

With the border crossing certificate, you prove to the Federal Border Guard that your stay in Germany is legal even if your residence permit has expired.

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Several organisations with special programs for professional integration can also support you in your return home.

  • AGEF GmbH

(Arbeitsgruppe Entwicklung und Fachkräfte im Bereich der Migration und der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit)

Address: Königswinterstr. 1, 10318 Berlin

Phone:+49 (0)30 / 5010 850



  • Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst e.V.

Address: Ulrich-von-Hassel-Str. 76, 53123 Bonn

Phone: +49 (0)228 / 81010



  • United Nations Volunteers (UNV) – UN Campus

Address: Hermann-Ehlers-Str. 10, 53113 Bonn

Phone: +49 (0)228 / 815 2000



  • World University Service (WUS)  – Deutsches Komitee e.V.

Address: Goebenstr. 35, 65195 Wiesbaden 

Phone:+49 (0)611 / 446 648



  • Centrum für internationale Migration und Entwicklung (CIM)

Address: Mendelssohnstr. 75-77, 60325 Frankfurt / Main

Phone:+49 (0)69 / 719 1210



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  • Alumni Office of Freie Universität Berlin

Address: Kaiserswerther Str. 16-18, 14195 Berlin

Phone: +49 (0)30 / 838 570 38



  • German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – DAAD)

Address: Kennedyallee 50, 53175 Bonn

Phone: +49 (0)228 / 8820



  • Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation

Address: Jean-Paul-Str. 12, 53173 Bonn

Phone: +49 (0)228 / 8330



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