Visa and Entry

In order to enter Germany you need a visa if you are coming from a country with visa requirements for Germany. You should apply for it at the German Embassy or a German Consulate in your own country or current country of residence at the earliest possible opportunity.

Depending on the duration and purpose of your stay you will need a: Schengen Visa (research visit lasting up to three months within Europe, which cannot be extended), or a National Visa (research visit lasting more than three months or, if you will be working at the university).

The Schengen Visa entitles you to move freely between and stay in any of the so called Schengen States, i.e. the states that have signed the Schengen Agreement.

The Schengen States are:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

Nationals of some countries are allowed to enter Germany for visits of up to three months without a visa. You can find a list of these states (table of countries whose citizens require/do not require visas to enter Germany) on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

If you intend to stay in Germany for more than three months you must register at the Einwohnermeldeamt (Residents Registration Office) and obtain an Aufenthaltstitel (residence permit or visa extension) at the Foreigners Office.

If your marital partner or children are intending to accompany you it is recommended that everyone should apply for a visa at the same time even if they are going to join you in Germany at a later date.

Please note that many consular offices only accept applications if you have made an appointment in advance, and that processing applications can take several weeks. So do make an appointment as soon as possible and enquire about which documents you have to bring with you.

To apply for a National or D-Visa you will usually require the following documents:

  • Passport (valid for the entire duration of your stay)

  • Proof of your intended activity (e.g. fellowship, employment contract, letter of invitation, or hosting agreement from the University)

  • Proof that you will be able to support yourself financially if this is not evidenced by the documentation above

  • Adequate health insurance cover

  • Details of proposed accommodation in Germany

  • Marriage and birth certificates of family members

  • Application form (available from diplomatic missions)

Depending on the individual Embassy the documents required may differ. Please contact the relevant diplomatic mission at the earliest opportunity in order to ascertain which documents you will need for your visa application.

National Visas are usually issued for a period of three months. Once you have entered Germany you must present this visa to your local Ausländerbehörde (Foreigners’ Office) to apply for a residence permit.

Residence Act - Section 20

A researcher may be granted a residence permit on grounds of section 20 Residence Act for the purpose of academic research if a hosting agreement with a research organization accredited by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has been orderly signed.

When applying for a residence permit, the applicant has to submit a hosting agreement signed with the accredited research organization. The residence permit granted to the researcher entitles him or her to pursue research activities at the organization mentioned in the hosting agreement as well as to lecture.

Please contact us, the Welcome Centre, for further information of how to get a hosting agreement according to §20.