Basic information about visa requirements:
German regulations concerning the entry and residence of foreign nationals in Germany vary depending on the nationality of the foreign guests.
From these countries no visa is required:
Nationals of a member state of the European Union (EU), Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland may enter Germany without a visa. All steps required for taking up a job and/or staying for more than 3 months can be carried out shortly after your arrival in Germany.
From these countries no visa is required, but once here a residence permit is needed:
Nationals of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and the USA do not need a visa to enter Germany. For visits lasting longer than three months a residence permit is required. We will discuss all issues concerning the application process as soon as you have arrived.
If you are a national of all other Non-EU-States and plan not to stay longer in Germany than 90 days in a three month period a Schengen Visa will be appropriate to enter Germany (C-Visa). The Schengen Visa entitles you to move freely between all member states of the `Schengen Agreement´ (Current member states: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland). Please state `research´ or `scientific work´ as the purpose of your stay. Note that the Schengen Visa does not allow for an extension beyond the three month period. At the end of the three month period you will have to leave the country. To apply for a Schengen Visa you will have to prove to the German diplomatic mission that you are able to support yourself financially during your stay and that your travel health insurance covers amounts to at least 30.000 Euros.
Nationals of some states are allowed to enter Germany without a visa if they do not plan to stay longer than three months. The German Federal Foreign Office provides more detailed information about your nationality´s visa requirements.
Category D-visa for more than 3 months:
If you plan to stay in Germany for a research stay lasting longer than three months you have to apply for a National Visa for Germany (D-Visa). Please bear in mind that this applies even to those persons who are already staying in another state of the European Union. This type of visa entitles the holder to enter the Schengen area and pass through all of its member states in transit to reach Germany.
To obtain a Category D-Visa you will usually have to present the following documents:
- Passport (valid for the entire duration of your stay)
- Letter of Invitation, hosting agreement, fellowship agreement, employment contract etc. or alternatively a proof that you are able to support your entire stay financially
- Sufficient health insurance coverage
- Details of proposed accommodation in Germany
- Marriage and birth certificates of family members
- Filled in application form
Special Procedural Regulations for Scientists
During the visa procedure the German Embassy is legally bound to obtain the consent of the Alien Authority in which the applicant is planning to stay. This applies to applications of foreigners that include a prospective duration longer than three months and if the applicant intends to pick up an employment in Germany.
However, applicants planning to work as a scientist in Germany are completely exempted from this procedural regulation. In these cases, the German embassy working on your visa can decide on your application without having to obtain the consent of the Alien Authority in which the applicant is planning to stay. This legal exemption is very beneficial since it speeds up the application process drastically. Unfortunately, it may occur that in practice German agencies abroad do not take into account the procedural exemption for scientists. In these cases we strongly recommend to point out that according to § 34 of the so-called `Aufenthaltsverordnung´ it is legally not necessary to obtain the consent of the Alien Authority responsible for the area in which you are planning to stay. If you need further support in these cases, please do not hesitate to contact IScO.