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I have a degree from a university in Germany, which I'm now trying to get evaluated by an institution in another country. This institution requires that the transcripts be sent directly from the university in a sealed envelope. Unfortunately, it seems this isn't something that German universities are wont to do (or at least not my former one): I have been told that presenting my original Urkunde (diploma) is enough, which is completely false in this case. Is it possible to get a sealed copy of my degree certificate and transcripts from a German university, and, if so, how/where do I do it?

Attempted solutions

  1. I have been in contact with the Prüfungssekretariat (something like an "exam office"), and they told me two weeks after I first asked them upon me asking them again that they "currently don't have access to" these records and that I probably should have a copy of my records be "beglaubigt" ("notarized").

  2. I then contacted someone at the university in charge of Beglaubigungen, who offered to do so if I send them a copy. However, they have not responded directly to my request to have them sent in a sealed envelope directly to the institution in question.

  3. I called the Zentrale (central hotline) and asked what I should do in this situation. I was then told I should contact the Studierendensekretariat ("registrar").

  4. I have literally spent the entire afternoon trying to call multiple different numbers for the Studierendensekretariat and they do not answer the phone. I have sent them an e-mail, but, based on my previous experiences with them, I do not expect them to answer timely or even at all. I am currently over 1,500km away from the German institution in question, so dealing with this in-person is not possible. While I was at the university, the only way things could actually get done is by going to the office you need during their opening hours (which are only a few hours and only on certain days) and then waiting for an extremely long time. Sometimes, the office would close before you get a chance to talk to anyone.


Yes, this is a lot of circumstantial information, but this is, according to my experiences, fairly normal for German bureaucracy. Hopefully, however, these details will at least be useful to show at least what I've tried which hasn't worked.

  • Just to make sure: Is the issue that you need a sealed transcript (i.e., a copy of your transcript with an officially notarized seal) or a sealed envelope (i.e., one that has provably not been opened by anyone except the sender and the recipient, in particular you)? If it's the latter, the university is under no obligation to do that (and it seems like an unreasonable thing to insist on). It might also help if you stated which country the other institution is in. – Christian Clason Nov 27 '17 at 16:56
  • @ChristianClason the institution in question is in Canada, but I've had similar requests in the UK as well. In fact, I got sealed envelopes containing transcripts very easily from said British university. I have been in contact with the Canadian institution and they have confirmed that they have gotten what they need from German universities before, so this isn't entirely unheard of. – errantlinguist Nov 27 '17 at 17:01
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    That might be something to mention, then -- "this is the way it's being done" is a strong argument in any bureaucracy... (It'll help if you can name the universities, sometimes that'll appeal to local pride.) In any case, the international office (meaning the actual person) is indeed your best bet. – Christian Clason Nov 27 '17 at 17:11
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    Another thing that might help is contacting your former Masters advisor and explaining the situation to them. Professors are usually quite keen on getting their former students placed in foreign institutions, and they a) are on site and b) may have more leverage over the administration. (Or may not; but possibly could ask their secretary to send the envelope.) – Christian Clason Nov 27 '17 at 17:17
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    If the Prüfungssekretariat does not have access to your transcripts, something sounds off. They were the right people to ask. Next step I would take is to contact the head of the Prüfungskommission. In case they are unhelpful, there are students in that commission as well, which are there to make sure the rights of students are protected and their needs are met. If the head of commision is unwilling to help, contact one of those student members and let them present your case. – skymningen Nov 28 '17 at 10:37
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Have you tried contacting the International Office at the university? They probably have to deal with this sort of thing fairly frequently for visiting or international students, and may be able to help you sort through the bureaucracy. (They should at least be able to tell you who exactly you need to call to get the transcript issued!)

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    Unfortunately, the responsibilities of the "international office" seem to be held by the Studierendensekretariat... so you can see my problem here... – errantlinguist Nov 27 '17 at 16:20
  • Yes, the Studierendensekretariat may be the one who actually has to issue things, but the International Office may be able to tell you what you need to do. You might be missing out on some alternative method (maybe there's a web form somewhere, etc.). – aeismail Nov 27 '17 at 16:28
  • Okay, I will try to find the persons directly responsible for international studies and try that... thanks for the tip in the meantime. – errantlinguist Nov 27 '17 at 16:38
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    @errantlinguist Do try -- the Studierendensekretariat is a huge department of the administration, and even though the internation office is part of it, the people working there can have completely different ways of helping. – Christian Clason Nov 27 '17 at 17:14
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If you can contact your academic advisor or director of undergraduate studies, you could ask them to mail the transcript themselves with a sealed university envelope.

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    "your academic advisor" - I don't think such a thing exists in German universities. Or maybe I'm not seeing the analogy to something that does exist here? Likewise, I'm not sure a "director of undergraduate studies" would have access to any student's transcript - that's usually something only the exam office is priviledged to. Of course, the student might be able to fetch the transcript from the exam office themselves and then bring it to that "director of undergraduate studies" (or whatever is equivalent) and ask them to send it. – O. R. Mapper Nov 28 '17 at 8:44

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