The application process step by step
In order for your university application to be successful, great care should go into the researching and compiling of your application documents. Make sure you take sufficient time for your application and proceed step by step:
First of all, please contact all universities that you wish to apply to and find out which courses they offer, the admission criteria and the application deadlines. Generally all this information can be found on the universities’ websites. You can also use the universities’ Student Advisory Services.
Each university has different admission criteria and application deadlines. These differ not only from university to university but sometimes from degree course to degree course as well. Therefore, please inform yourself of the exact criteria and application deadlines for each of your chosen study courses before you apply.
uni-assist is not a Student Advisory Service, and can only answer questions in direct relation to the pre-check of your application documents.
We recommend that you apply at least eight weeks before the end of the application period. Applying early has the advantage that we can inform you in plenty of time of the result of our check, and you will then have the chance to add any missing documents to your application before the deadline. Please regard, the processing starts after uni-assist received both your application in paper form and the processing fee.
You can send us your application at any time before the end of the application period, even if the university’s official application period has not yet begun.
Please go directly to the universities’ websites to find out when the application deadlines are. Please always bear in mind that different application deadlines may apply to different groups of applicants.
Please ask each university that you wish to apply to about which documents you need to submit, and in which format.
Each university sets out different requirements. These differ not only from university to university, but sometimes from degree course to degree course as well. Therefore, please inform yourself of the exact criteria for each of your chosen study courses.
Copies of authenticated documents – regardless of whether they are submitted electronically or in paper form – are mere copies and are not authenticated themselves. A copy only counts as authenticated if it bears an original seal of authentication.
On our website, you may find general information on school and university certificates, language proficiency certificates, translations and official authentications.
uni-assist is not always responsible for all foreign study applications to our member universities. It is up to each university to determine which applicant groups and which degree courses uni-assist is responsible for or not responsible for. If you belong to an applicant group or are applying for a degree course that uni-assist is not responisble for, then you cannot send your application to uni-assist.
Which applicant groups do exist?
There is a variety as each university can define applicant groups on its own. However, here is an overview on the main criteria which often apply:
- the country of your prior education (Germany/ EU member countries/ non-EU member countries),
- the citizenship (sometimes also being married to a German citizen),
- applying for Studienkolleg,
- applying for a bachelor degree course after completing the Studienkolleg,
- an application for a German language course or a DSH course,
- an application of a person who already has a degree from a German university,
- an application for a certain degree course,
- an application for a higher semester.
If you ask at the university for advise on responsibilities then please indicate the criteria that pertain in order to get correct information.
Please note: if you send us an application that we are not responsible for processing, then we cannot send it on to your chosen university. In such a case you will have to compile your application again from scratch and send it directly to the university. If you are applying very late, then the application deadline may have already passed by the time we contact you, meaning that you will not be able to re-apply until a later semester. We will not be able to refund the full amount of the handling fees to you either in such a case, since we must retain EUR 10,00 administrative fees per semester.
You can apply simultaneously to as many uni-assist universities as you like. For this, we only need one set of documents. These documents must fulfil all requirements set out by all the universities you have chosen. Please note that all documents need to be submitted in paper form. Certificates generally need to be authenticated.
Please do not send us any extra copies, authenticated or not. We only provide the universities with your documents in electronic form, your paper documents will be stored in uni-assist’s central archive. Excessive copies mean unnecessary work (for us) and costs (for you).
- uni-assist can only forward applications that reach us in the correct format and in full before the end of the application period. Even if just one required document is missing, sent in an incorrect format or arrives late, we will have to reject your application on behalf of the university.
- Your documents must be authenticated in a format that all universities you are applying to will actually accept.
- If additional documents are required by a university or for a certain degree course, just add these to your other application documents.
- Never send any originals in! uni-assist is obliged to archive all submitted documents for one year and cannot return any documents to you. Once the archiving period is over, we must destroy all submitted documents.
If you are applying to several universities, you need to fill in one application form per university in full and sign it.
There are different types of application form:
a) the online application via the uni-assist online portal for applicants:
The member universities of uni-assist have decided that an online application via the uni-assist online portal for applicants will be mandatory starting with summer semester 2014:
Register in our online portal, create your application form and submit it electronically to uni-assist. Then print the application form, sign it and send it together with your documents to uni-assist.
Please note: If you already have an applicant's number with uni-assist, then please register with exact this number. Please do not register twice and do not produce any other online account!
b) special application forms
Enquire at the university you would like to apply to whether you have to hand in the university's own specific application form. If this is the case, please have the application form sent to you or download it from the university's website. This application form must then be submitted additionally.
Notes on filling out application forms:
- On the INOBIS site you will find a filled-in sample form that will show you what to look out for when filling in your application form.
- Information and help can also be found on our Application Information Sheet.
- Please always provide your e-mail address legibly, so that we can get in touch with you quickly if we have any questions.
- Please provide a written address in Germany, if possible, in order to avoid long distance post. Do you perhaps have any friends or relatives living in Germany whose address you can have your post sent to?
- If you are applying to several universities, you must fill in an application form in full, and sign it, for each university.
In our online portal you can:
- fill in application forms and send them to uni-assist electronically,
- save your personal details permanently for use on subsequent application forms,
- choose your desired study courses directly from the current list of available courses,
- submit documents electronically and have them checked in advance,
- check the current status of your application(s),
- get in touch with uni-assist.
Please note the following:
Generally speaking, even if you are applying online, your fully-filled and signed application form and all required documents in authenticated form must reach uni-assist before the end of the application period. The electronic submission of your application and the postmark have no influence here. The handling fees must also reach us on time.
Submitting your application form via the uni-assist online portal for applicants is mandatory. However, it is not necessary to upload all application documents but you may upload those documents which don't have to be certified or don't need an original signature. This way you do not only save shipping costs but also time: Documents that have been uploaded via our online portal are immediately at our specialists' disposal and will automatically be factored in evaluation. If you send your documents via our contact form, it will take at least some days until they will be matched to your file.
If you plan to upload your documents initially so that we can check them, please leave enough time for this: the processing of your application takes up to six weeks after the upload and our receipt of your payment. You will then receive a message from us about the result, and you will then need to send us your application form and all required documents in authenticated paper form such that they reach us before the application deadline.
For the processing and formal check of your application documents, handling fees apply due to the administrative work that uni-assist incurs. The handling fees are calculated per semester and per university.
The deadline for payment is identical to the deadline for each individual application. We cannot process any applications whose payments arrive after this time period has elapsed. In such a case we will credit your payment to your applicant account and you can use the fees for a new application in a subsequent semester.
Also it does not matter whether you send us your application documents or your payment first, or whether you do both at the same time. We can only start processing your application once we have received and registered both.
Further information about handling fees at uni-assist can be found in our Regulation of Fees:
The official arrival day of your application is the day on which your application documents reach uni-assist in full, in paper form and fulfilling all requirements.
Please send us your documents and the handling fees as early as possible (we recommend eight weeks before the deadline): The advantage of applying early is to ensure an early reply from us regarding the result of our processing. You will then have the chance to submit any missing documents before the deadline expires. The processing duration for an application is up to eight weeks after its arrival at uni-assist and the respective payment.
Even if you already know that your application is not yet complete, for example because you have not yet received your leaving certificate or language certificate, you can still apply with the rest of your documents. We will of course reject your application initially after the first processing due to it being incomplete, but will then tell you exactly what is misssing or has been sent in the incorrect form, if anything. In this way you can react early on, add any missing documents and markedly increase your chances of your application being forwarded to the university.
In short, all required documents have to reach uni-assist in the correct format before the application deadline, generally it is not possible to add any documents after the deadline. Regardless of when we informed you that something was missing or had been submitted in the incorrect format, the university’s application deadline is what counts and uni-assist cannot make any exceptions.
If you cannot get your application to us until just before the end of the application period, please make sure that all documents really are sent to us in full and in the correct format and that you have asked the university in question about the exact requirements.
What needs to go in the envelope?
- a fully-filled and signed application form for each university,
- your education certificates (authenticated copies of originals and their translations – if applying several times, please only send one of each document!),
- a copy of your passport (a simple copy of the page with your personal information and photo),
- a signed original copy of the credit card payment form,
- your e-mail address, so we can contact you without delay,
- if possible, a contact address in Germany to avoid long mail deliveries,
A sheet of paper with your name, applicant number (if you already have one), date of birth, correspondence address and e-mail address on it (if possible please refrain from writing this by hand, please send a computer printout instead so that we can read and process all of your data easily).
How should I put everything in the envelope?
You don’t need to sort your documents, but it does help us if you put your transfer slip/ credit card form, your sheet with your personal information and all your application forms at the top. Even if you are applying to several universities, you can send all your documents in a single envelope.
Also you may not open any documents that your university has given you in a sealed envelope.
You can of course send documents for several applicants at the same time. However, please make sure that it is clear which documents belong together and which are from a different applicant. It is best if you use an individual envelope for each applicant with a name and an applicant number (if available) on it, and then put all the envelopes in a bigger envelope.
Please pay the correct postage for your envelope(s), since uni-assist cannot pay any postal surcharges for you.
Please do not add any self-adressed, stamped envelopes or international post coupons, since uni-assist will not return any documents to you.
Please send all your applications to the following address:
(name of the/a university)
c/o uni-assist e.V.
Write the name of the university/one of the universities you are applying for (no matter which one) in the top line and the address below.
As soon as we will have received your post, we will automatically send you a confirmation of receipt by e-mail. Since we register post manually, there will be a time delay between the actual arrival of your post and its registration in our system.
If you have still not received a confirmation of receipt two weeks after sending your documents, please contact us immediately.
Of course, you may also drop your application personally. Our mailbox is now accessible twenty for seven.
Please find a directory here. Attention! Drop your application in the mailbox labelled with uni-assist only.
Within the application period, you can send us any missing documents and/ or correct any information. You will not incur any handling fees for this.
- If you have already submitted a fully-filled and signed form, you can still change your chosen study course for the university in question before the end of the application period by contacting us informally by post, fax or sending us a message via our contact form. However, some universities may require a new filled-in and signed application form for your new choice of study.
- If we have already forwarded your application to the university, we cannot process any changes. In this case, please contact the university directly. But of course you may submit an additional application to the same university via uni-assist unless the maximum number of applications has been reached. Also for this, no extra charges apply.
- As long as the deadline has not yet expired, you may submit further documents or let them be sent to uni-assist directly by your school/ university or language institute until your application is complete and meets all requirements.
- If you do not complete your application(s) until after the application deadline, then we cannot forward it to the university/ies. In such a case you will have to re-apply next semester and pay the full handling fees again.
- Each time you send something to uni-assist or make a payment to us, you will automatically receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail. If you do not provide us with an e-mail address, we will send your confirmation of receipt by post.
- Each confirmation of receipt will have your applicant number on it. Always state your applicant number whenever you contact us or wish to send us something.
- In your online account you can inform yourself of the current processing status of your application. However, please note that the status of your application will not automatically change once we have confirmed receipt of your documents – this will only occur after processing by our team.
- Additionally, you can create and submit further applications in your online account and upload additional documents as well (if neither authentication nor original signature is required)
- Even if you do not have an online account yet, you can still register afterwards with your applicant number and take advantage of our online portal services.
- The processing time for your application generally takes up to six weeks after receipt of your documents and your payment. We will inform you by e-mail and post of the result of our pre-check subsequently.