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Faculty of InternationalSample Institute


In order to enter Germany you usually require a visa and, for longer stays, a residence permit. You should apply to the German Embassy or Consulate in your own country for your visa as early as possible. Depending on the duration and purpose of your stay you will require a Schengen visa (for research visits lasting up to three months), or a National visa (for research visits with a duration of longer than three months).

If your marital partner or children intend to accompany you, it is recommendable to apply for everyone’s visa at the same time, even if they will be joining you in Germany at a later date. It is important to remember that many visa application offices only accept applications if you have made an appointment in advance, and that processing these applications may take several weeks. With this kept in mind, please make your appointment as soon as possible and ínquire as to which documents you will have to bring with you.

Depending on your country of origin and the length of your stay the entry regulations will differ. Be sure to approach your local German diplomatic representation to find out whether you need a visa or not. This is the only place you will be able to obtain legally binding information.

EU, European Economic Area and Swiss Nationals

If you are an EU national or come from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you usually won’t require a visa and may enter Germany with your national identity card. Since the 29th of January 2013 there is no need for the  “Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung” (Freedom of Movement Certificate) anymore.

Australian, Canadian, Israeli, Japanese, New Zealand, Korean and USA Nationals

If you are a national of one of these states, you do not require a visa to enter Germany. However, for visits lasting longer than three months, you will require a residence permit which can be applied for once you have arrived in Germany.

All other non-EU Nationals

Short visits lasting up to three months:

If your research stay in Germany is not scheduled to last longer than 90 days within a sixth month period, a Schengen Visa will usually be all you need to enter the country (C-Visa). You should, however, bear in mind that a Schengen Visa cannot be extended beyond the three month period, nor can it be altered for other purposes. You will have to leave Germany by the end of those three months at the latest.

In order to obtain a Schengen Visa, you will have to prove that you will be able to support yourself financially during your stay in Germany. For all Schengen States, you will also be obliged to provide evidence of travel health insurance coverage amounting to a total of at least 30,000 Euros. When filling in the application form for the Schengen Visa, please be sure to state “scientific work” or “research” as the purpose of your stay. 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.

Visa exemptions for short visits

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. Please note, however, that you will not be able to apply for a residence title for a longer stay once you have entered Germany, and that you will have to leave the country after three months at the latest. If you are planning a longer stay you must apply for a German visa that will allow you to remain in the country for a longer period of time while you are still in your own country or current country of residence.

Visits lasting more than three months

If you are planning to stay in Germany for more than three months you must apply for a National Visa for Germany (D-Visa) while you are still in your own country or current country of residence. Please note that this applies even if you are already staying in another European Union country. Do not under any circumstances enter Germany on a “Visitor’s or Tourist Visa” (Schengen Visa). This type of visa cannot be extended and only entitles you to stay in Germany for a maximum of three months. You would then have to return to your own country at your own expense and apply for the right visa there. The same is true for members of your family. The National Visa only entitles you to stay in Germany. If you intend to travel to other Schengen States during the first three months of your stay, to attend a conference for example, you should state this in your visa application. In this case you may be issued with a so-called hybrid visa (Category C+D Visa).

Visit the website of the Federal Foreign Office for the addresses of diplomatic missions and information of entry requirements:

Please note that if you are in receipt of a publicly-funded fellowship from a German funding organisation, such as the Alexander von Humbold Foundation or the DAAD, you are exempt from paying fees both for your visa and your residence permit.

To apply for a 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” (Immigration or Foreigners’ Office) to apply for a residence permit.