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Visa and residence permit

International doctoral candidates from a country within the European Union, the EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and Switzerland

You do not need a visa to enter Germany. After arriving and obtaining housing, you simply have to register your residence in Germany with one of the residence offices (in German) in the City of Cologne within one week.

You are expected to bring the following documents:

  • Personal identity card / passport

  • Signed registration form (which you can either download and fill in beforehand or have a staff member complete at the registration office)

  • Name and adress of your landlord

  • If you are married / in a partnership: marriage / life partnership certificate as well as birth certificates of minors living with you, and certified translations of all documents. Original documents and translations have to be presented for registration.

After your registration, you will receive a registration confirmation. Keep this registration certificate in a safe place; it is an important document necessary for opening a bank account, applying for a residence permit, etc.

International doctoral candidates from a country outside the European Union, the EEA, and Switzerland

Nationals of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United States

You will need a residence permit, but you may obtain it within three months after entry into Germany. After arrival and obtaining housing, you should first register your residence in Germany with a local residence office (please see the list of necessary documents above). Thereafter, you have to apply for a residence permit for study purposes at the immigration office (the local office closest to the university is in Lindenthal).

For this, you need the following documents:

  • Valid national passport (including copies of all printed pages / pages containing information)

  • Current biometric picture
  • Health insurance policy or health insurance identification card. If you do not have health insurance that covers your stay in Germany, please see Health Insurance or contact the AMGC. 
  • Proof of sufficient financial resources during your stay
  • Certificate of enrollment at the university
  • In case of an extension of your residence permit: current study progress certificate (Studienverlaufsbescheinigung)

  • Copy of your lease (or residence registration)

All other nationalities

You will require a visa before entering Germany. Therefore, you must submit an application for a national visa for study purposes (student visa) to the respective German mission in your home country.

As a rule, you will have to present the following papers and documents to the relevant German mission abroad (e.g. embassy or consulate in your country):

  • Document proving your acceptance as a doctoral student by the relevant faculty at the University of Cologne
  • Health insurance policy or health insurance identification card. If you do not have health insurance that covers your stay in Germany, please see Health Insurance or contact the AMGC.
  • Proof of sufficient financial resources during your stay (scholarship, employment or other resources covering a minimum of currently 8.040 Euros per semester)
  • Proof of German language skills (usually level B1) you may have or of your plans to take a language course in Germany
  • University degree certificates

  • an administrative fee of about 60 Euros

  • Please check with the German mission in your country of origin for additional requirements.

Please note: Your visa-application may take several months to process; you should therefore submit the required paperwork well in advance. Make absolutely sure that you are applying for the appropriate visa (visa for study purposes/student visa). A "tourist visa" or "language course visa" cannot be subsequently changed into a "student visa". If you have the wrong visa, you will unfortunately have to leave the country again. Please also take care to ensure that your passport is still valid. If your identity documents have expired, you will have to travel back to your home country to have them extended there.