Visa and Entry

Entry without a Visa

Nationals of EU member states, the EEA and Switzerland are not required to obtain a visa to enter Germany. A valid identity card or passport is sufficient for entry. However, they must register at the Residents’ Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt) within two weeks of arrival in Göttingen.

Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, and the USA do not need a visa to enter Germany. However, if you want to stay or work in Germany for longer than 90 days, you will need a residence permit. You can apply for a residence permit after arriving in Germany at the Immigration Office in Göttingen. This can be time-consuming and delay your start of work. If you want to start working immediately upon your arrival, we recommend that you apply for a visa (National Visa / D-Visa) before entering Germany, which will allow you to work. This also applies if you intend to stay in the country for less than 90 days but want to be gainfully employed during this time (for instance, receive fees for lecturing or teaching).

Entry with Visa

Nationals of countries other than those stated above generally require a visa to enter Germany. For short stays of up to 90 days without gainful employment, there are exceptions for some countries. The Federal Foreign Office provides information on these exceptions.

A visa is typically issued only for a specific purpose of stay. A change of purpose can be very difficult and only possible in some specific instances.

Stay of up to 90 Days without gainful employment

The Schengen visa (C visa) permits short stays of up to 90 days. During this time, you can move about freely in any of the signatory states of the Schengen Agreement (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland).

For a Schengen visa, you must prove that you are financially secure. You also need travel health insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000. When applying, you may state “scientific work” or “research” as the purpose of your stay. Be sure to inform the embassy or consulate if you plan to do some fee-based work.

If you are accompanied by family members, we recommend that you apply for your visas together – even if your family members will be joining you at a later date. This will simplify the application procedure considerably.

Please note: Visa applications must be submitted in person at the responsible embassy or consulate. There may be long waiting periods for the necessary appointments. Make an appointment as early as possible and check the website of the embassy or consulate to find out which documents to submit with your application.

For nationals of certain countries, it is possible to enter Germany without a visa for short stays of up to 90 days. Information on this can be found in the overview of visa requirements provided by the Federal Foreign Office.

Please note: As a rule, gainful employment is not permitted during visa-free entry. If you earn income during your stay, such as from fee-based work (e.g. lectures fees, etc), you should apply for a visa that permits gainful employment during your stay.

Stays over 90 days, gainful employment

A national visa (D visa) is issued for long-term stays. When applying, you will be required to present at least the following documents:

  • Application form (available at the embassies and consulates, in most languages)
  • Passport (valid for the entire period of the planned stay, sometimes longer)
  • Proof of the purpose of your stay (e.g. employment contract, letter of invitation/intent, hosting agreement, scholarship notification)
  • Proof that you will be able to support yourself financially (financial status, proof of grant or scholarship, or employment contract, for instance)
  • Sufficient health insurance coverage (travel health insurance)
  • Details of planned accommodation in Germany
  • Marriage and birth certificates for any accompanying family members

Embassies and consulates may require additional documents. Please contact the embassy or consulate well in advance to find out which additional documents must be submitted with your visa application.

National visas are usually issued for a period of three to six months. Within this period, you must enter the country and apply for a residence permit on location.

For long-term stays at the University of Göttingen, visas in accordance with §18b of the Residence Act (Skilled workers holding a university degree) or §18d (research) are typically issued.

Visa in accordance to §18b of the Residence Act are issued to academically qualified specialists for the purpose of gainful employment. The requirements are:

  • A recognized university degree or equivalent
  • A contract of employment or a promise of employment
  • The job must suit the qualification (university degree)
  • A gross annual salary of more than €56,800 (or more than €44,304 in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, IT and medicine).

With a visa in accordance with §18b paragraph 2 of the Residence Act (“EU Blue Card”) you can get a settlement permit (permanent residence) faster, with proven German language skills of at least the B1 CEFR level after only 21 months. You can get more information on the EU Blue Card at your local Immigration Office or here.

After you have arrived in Germany, you must present your visa to the local Immigration Office and apply for a residence permit.

Visas in accordance with §18d of the Residence Act are issued to researchers who will be working in a scholarly or scientific capacity at a research institution in Germany. The requirements are:

  • A hosting agreement issued by the University of Göttingen, which must be presented at the time of application. The Welcome Centre will provide you with a hosting agreement if need be.
  • Proof of your means of financial support, such as verifiable employment at the University, scholarships, or independent means

The visa according to §18d of the Residence Act allows you to work in research and teach at the host institution.

After you have arrived in Germany, you must present your visa to the local Immigration Office and apply for a residence permit.


The International Office
Welcome Centre

Von-Siebold-Straße 4
37075 Göttingen


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The Welcome Centre is not barrier-free. Please contact us if you need assistance.