If you’ve been asked to setup a blocked bank account for Germany, also called “Sperrkonto“, then you’re probably in the process of applying for a German student visa.

It is also sometimes required for a short-time visa for a language course or to look for a job. Think of it like a monthly allowance from your parents, but through a bank approved by the German government.

At the end of this post, you will be able to understand if you really need one, and which provider suits you best.

blocked account Germany guide

What is a blocked account for in Germany?

Blocked accounts (Sperrkonten) are bank accounts designed with the German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz) in mind, for foreign students coming to study in Germany.

  • Think of it like a monthly allowance from your parents, but through a bank. You hand over all of the money you put aside for your stay in Germany, but instead of being able to withdraw as much as you like from the bank, you only get a bit of it each month.
  • The exact amount depends on the conditions of your visa but most of them require at least 11 208€ for a year, or 934€/month. The rest of the money is frozen in the account until the next withdrawal. 

Why do you need one?

Proof of finances (Finanzierungsnachweis) is usually one of the first things you’ll need to take care of after selecting a study program.

  • The German government wants to make sure you have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Germany.
  • This is because most German short-term visas have strict limitations on how much you can work. For non-EU or EEA students the standard is 120 full days or 240 half days working per year (double check this during your appointment with the immigration office). This is mostly to ensure you focus on your studies and don’t use the student visa as a type of working visa.

Therefore, by requiring a blocked account for Germany to all students from non-EU countries, the government ensures you can cover basic living expenses.

Alternatives to blocked accounts

Even if a blocked bank account is one of the most popular options for students going to Germany, it’s not the only option in a lot of cases. Talk to the immigration office or embassy to know which alternatives can apply to you:

  • Verpflichtungserklärung (obligation statement) in accordance with German Immigration Act (§§ 66-68 AufenthG): this is a pledge made by a resident in Germany (private person or institution) to finance your expenses for the duration of your stay. This person must make an appointment in a local immigration office and bring enough proof with them. During this appointement, you pay a 29€ fee and receive this document, which must be then be sent to the visa applicant. More info here or here with the Berlin office.
  • Scholarship: if you have been awarded a scholarship from a recognized providers (e.g: DAAD), this can be used to support your case.
  • Proof of support from your parents/relatives: In some cases, the immigration office will accept a statement from family/parents that they are financing your expenses during your studies. They have show salary slips & tax return statements. Check with your local office if that is possible.
  • Bank guarantee: you can conclude a private bank guarantee with a reputable bank that states it will cover for any expenses you might not during your time in Germany. Check with your local German office if this is possible.

All those options do require more work & more time but they are cheaper in the long run.

Opening up a blocked account for Germany

Gather requirements & documents

First, check about the requirements for your visa application. The Foreigner’s Office or local embassy needs to tell you how much money you have to block for each month, and which documents they’ll need. With this information you can shop around for the different providers (explained below).

To apply for a blocked account, you’ll always need at least your passport and often confirmation from a university or language school that you’ve been accepted to attend.

Open account and transfer funds

  1. Fill out the account opening forms and wait for them to approve the application. 
  2. Next, transfer the required blocked amount to your new account (by using Wise for example, for cheaper fees). Some providers let you transfer the required funds in installments, but don’t panic if you don’t receive a confirmation for each partial transfer. Note that transfer times depend heavily on which country or bank the money is coming from. Plan to wait a week at least.
  3. Your account confirmation should be sent to you once they receive the full required funds.
  4. Bring the confirmation letter and your new International Bank Account Number (IBAN) to your student visa application appointment at the embassy or Immigration office (Ausländerbehörde). You can see what else, besides the blocked account, is usually required for the student visa application here.

Move to Germany and activate account

Once your visa is approved and you move to Germany, quickly sort out your housing, address registration (Anmeldung), university registration, and personal bank account (Girokonto). You’ll need these documents and sometimes your visa document to activate the blocked account.
In the meantime, your money stays as frozen as Siberia in January. Yes, this means you’ll need to bring
money with you or have access to alternate funds to pay for life until then.

Once your blocked account for Germany is activated, the allotted funds will be transferred each month to your personal account. This will usually happen around the 1st or 15th day of the month but check your contract if you’re worried about a delay. You can use the money however you like, but I recommend you budget carefully to cover rent, groceries, and other essentials.

The whole process TL;DR

  1. Check how much you need per month with the German mission and the documents you need to provide in return.
  2. Open an account with one of the providers below with a passport and the university acceptance letter.
  3. Transfer enough money to the new account.
  4. Bring the confirmation document and your IBAN number as proof to your visa application appointment.
  5. Move to Germany, get set up and activate your blocked account.
  6. Open another German bank account to support your daily expenses.

Who are the main providers of a blocked account for Germany?

While the “Sperrkonto” was a more common account back in the day for minors and students in Germany, nowadays it’s only offered by a few financial institutions. I’ve looked at the four most popular government-approved providers. Here’s an comparison table for blocked accounts in Germany, more details are underneath.

How long does it take to get one?10 minutes to apply, 1-3 days to process24 hours to apply,
2-3 weeks to process
5 minutes to appy,
1-2 weeks to process
Can I apply for it online?YesYesYes
Is there a one-time setup fee?Yes – €89Yes – €49Yes – €99 or €59 with PRIME package
What does a blocked bank account for Germany cost?€4,90/month€5/month€0/month
Is an attestation of documents required?NoNoNo
Can I easily transfer more than the required blocked amount?YesNoYes
Who is their partner bank?Sutor BankMonesePostbank & Banco Sabadell
Can I get a blocked account for Germany as a minor?YesNoYes
Do they refund the setup fee if my visa is rejected?NoNoYes
Can I combine it with a checking/current account?NoYesNo
Can I combine the blocked account for Germany with a health insurance policy?YesYesYes
Can I change university/study programs after setup?YesYesYes
Can i transfer more than the required minimum?YesNoYes

What about Deutsche Bank’s blocked account?

It’s not possible to open new accounts with DB anymore.

For a long time, Deutsche Bank was the preferred options for most applicants. It was a brand trusted by all parties, it was the only bank willing to do things in English, and the service was accommodating a lot of nationalities. It was also available for underage applicants.

But it seems that DB progressively lost popularity in favor of digital-first solutions which entered the market more recently. It’s probably also to due a profitability vs. complexity issue. It decided to shut down its blocked account offer in 2022, although existing contracts will continue to be serviced.

Expatrio blocked account

This is currently the cheapest option on the market at only €49 for the setup and €5 per month. This option also includes health insurance, liability insurance, and a current bank account for just the €5 per month (€60 for one year) plus the cost of a public health insurance.

  • You can talk to customer service over social media, Telegram, and WhatsApp, in addition to over email or the phone.
  • You’re working with a 3rd party company, so while they’re insured up to the standard €100.000, you’re not working directly with a bank.
  • You can’t transfer additional funds through the blocked account, just the required amount.

This is how the application process looks:

  1. You apply using the online form.
  2. Upload a copy of your passport.
  3. You should get a confirmation within a day or so.
  4. Then you can transfer the required amount and wait for the account opening confirmation. 
  5. Once you’re in Germany you’ll need to send them your address confirmation, university/school registration, and personal bank account details. You’ll have your blocked account for Germany all set up!

Who should pick Expatrio: when you need things to be affordable and go fast with nice extras.

Expatrio blocked account reviews

With an average 4,3/5 on Trustpilot, a lot of users report an overall satisfying experience. Main issues seem to relate the unability from Expatrio to solve things when issues arise. When the service doesn’t work, it really doesn’t work and it is hard to recover: long account activation time, delay to get money back in some cases, unresponsive customer support. Some users question the reliability of a service like this.

Coracle blocked account

Coracle’s blocked account for Germany costs €99 to set up and there are no additional costs the first year (just €60 for the second year).

  • They also help you find health and travel insurance.
  • You’re working with a 3rd party company, so while they’re insured up to the standard €100.000, you’re not working directly with a bank.
  • Coracle claims their solution has a 100% acceptance rate with the foreigner’s office. So, if your visa is rejected, they’ll refund the €99 setup fee!

Sign up process:

  1. Apply for an account using the online form
  2. Provide a passport copy
  3. Provide a study program enrollment confirmation.
  4. You should receive the application approval in the next 24 hours.
  5. Transfer the required amounts, as well as enough for the transfer and setup fees. Note that Coracle doesn’t want you to transfer a buffer and will charge you additional fees if you do.
  6. Activation happens after you arrive in Germany by sending them your address confirmation, university/school registration, and personal bank account details. 

Who should pick Coracle: if you want a money back-guarantee if you application fails and no running costs every month.

Coracle blocked account reviews

With a 4,9/5 rating, Coracle has steadily built a trustworthy reputation in this small ecosystem. A lot of praise is placed on how smooth the application/activation process is. The support team seems to be really responsive & professional too.

Fintiba blocked account

The cost is €89 for setup plus €4,90 per month.

  • Getting a blocked account for Germany through Fintiba is very quick, with reviewers saying their account was opened in just a couple hours.
  • They also offer other relocation services, insurances, and accommodation assistance.
  • The whole sign up process is very smooth with a step by step guide.
  • Not every customer will be approved – the website states they don’t accept people with US Tax status, residents of Iran, or residents of North Korea.
  • You’re allowed to transfer more than the required amount, though Fintiba might require additional documentation showing the source of the funds.

Sign-up process:

  1. To apply for just the basic blocked account, fill out the online form
  2. Upload a copy of your passport.
  3. They’ll send you the application approval within the next few hours, a few days at most.
  4. Transfer the required amount
  5. Receive the confirmation letter you’ll need for the visa application process.
  6. Once you get to Germany, you’ll need to complete their additional legitimation process. Don’t worry, unlike with the DB, it is usually digital thanks to the PostIdent process.
  7. Provide your personal bank account details through their web app and your blocked account will be activated. The app also gives you easy access to your account details and customer support.

Who should pick Fintiba: if you don’t mind slower customer support sometimes but want your account opened very quickly with a modern app experience and nice value packages.

Fintiba blocked account reviews:

With a 4.5/5 rating, Fintiba does quite well with its users. On the downside, some reviews claim that support responses can take 3-5 days instead of the 24 hours they claim. There are some occasional complaints about failed activation attempts or transfer delays. For everyone else, you’ll quickly have the necessary blocked account for Germany.


Is the minimum required amount enough to live in Germany?

Just because you have a blocked bank account for Germany doesn’t mean all your expenses are covered! That’s why I highly recommend you choose an option that lets you transfer more than required and then access it easily through your personal account. You might also be able to request an account release approval from your local immigration office. Or use an alternate method for transferring more money to your German account, like Wise. Because there will always been unexpected costs when living abroad – so it’s best to be prepared.

What if I need to close the account?

But what if you need to close the account? This might happen because you changed your mind, ended your Germany stay early, or (worst case) your visa application was rejected. In this case, get in touch with your provider. They’ll usually ask you for confirmation from the embassy, consulate, or immigration office that you no longer need a blocked account. Once that is processed, they’ll transfer the remaining money on your account, minus the account fees. Be patient – this can take up to a couple months unfortunately.

I hope this introduction to vast topic of German blocked accounts has been insightful to you. Don’t hesitate to leave questions in the comments if something is still unclear. 🙂


Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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