Entry Visa and Residence Permit

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Usually, citizens of other countries will need a visa to travel to Germany. Thus, please take care to apply for your visa at a German embassy or consulate in your current country of residence. Depending on the type of visa you need and the country you are from, you will need to present different kinds of documentation to apply for a visa. Therefore please have a close look at the requirements on the website of the German diplomatic mission which is responsible for your visa.

With the help of the list of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Auswärtiges Amt) you can check if you need a visa. On the list you will find several countries whose citizens do not need a visa when coming to Germany as tourists but definitely need one when coming for the purpose of work. Mind the foot notes!

We will give you a short summary of the most important categories:

On August 1, 2017, changes in German immigration law came into effect to conform with the EU directive on entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research and studies (REST guideline, Directive (EU) 2016/801). These changes are not yet implemented uniformly in all German embassies and consulates.

This means the following will change for internationally mobile researchers from third countries coming to Germany:

Residence permits for the purpose of employment according to Section 18 of the German Residence Act (AufentG) together with Section 5 of the German Employment Regulation (BeschV) will no longer be granted to researchers. Instead, only the following residence permits will be possible: Section 19a EU Blue Card or Section 20 Research.

Depending on their employment status, doctoral candidates may be granted residence permits according to Section 16 Studies or Section 20 Research.

For more details, please see the EURAXESS website: https://www.euraxess.de/germany/information-assistance/entry-conditions-and-visas. Note that the English-language version of the website has not yet been updated to reflect the legal changes.

Long-Term Stays and Working as a researcher

Do you want to stay longer than 90 days? Or do you plan to work in Germany? Then you will generally need a visa if you are not a citizen of one of these nations/areas: EU, EEA, Switzerland, Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Korea and USA.

Generally speaking, there are two different types of visa:

Type C: valid for short stays up to 90 days within half a year, also known as "Schengen visa" or tourist visa. Note: It is not possible to extend the visa in Germany!

Type D: so-called national visa, valid for stays longer than 90 days or if you want to work in Germany.

Residence Permit

After your arrival in Germany you might need a residence permit (Aufenthaltsgenehmigung). Please note: Even if you are a non-EU citizen who is not required to have a visa to travel to Germany, you will need to apply for a residence permit after your arrival if you are staying in Tuebingen for more than three months.

You can find further information on the website of EURAXESS Germany or at the website of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Overview: Residence Permit and Visa


For whom


Money needed

Other prerequisites

Work permit

§ 16

study applicants, students, doctoral students

min. 1 year, max. 2 years, extendable

minimum € 720/month, calculation depending on individual needs

German language proficiency (depending on university admission procedure)

allowed for 120 days/year (part time 240 days/year) and as a student assistant at the university

§ 18

international employees in general; also applicable for employment in science and research (including those with research scholarships); for doctoral students with a work contract > 49 %

temporary, extendable

calculation depending on individual needs

concrete job offer;
no knowledge of German required

usually limited to the concrete job offer; scientific personnel and researchers do not need consent of the employment agency

§ 19

top personnel in research, science and teaching with outstanding professional qualifications

permanent residency


concrete job offer;
no knowledge of German required

no consent of the employment agency needed

§ 19 a (blue Card EU)

international employees with a university degree

max. 4 years, extendable

depending on the job offer: 39,624  - 50,800 €/year (2017)

concrete job offer
university degree;
actual pursuit of highly qualified employment

no consent of the employment agency needed;
actual pursuit of highly qualified imployment commensurate with qualification;
for each job change in the first two years a written permission of the foreigners' authority is required.

§ 20

foreign researchers who want to carry out a research project;
where applicable: doctoral candidates

limited to the duration of the research project, extendable

calculation depending on individual needs

approval of research institution by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees;
hosting agreement between researcher and research institution;
no knowledge of German required

no consent of the employment agency needed while working for the research institution.


A detailed overview is given on the website of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK).

Please note: If you travel with your spouse and/or children you might need a certified translation of your documents (marriage certificate, birth certificates, diplomas, etc.). Depending on your home country you might be in need of an apostille to legalize your documents. The apostille must be attached by the respective responsible authority in your home country.

In case you could not organize this at home already you can find a search engine to look for certified translators in your region on the website Justice Translator (Justiz-Dolmetscher).

Please contact your personal support for further support whenever you have further questions concerning visa issues.

Updated 13/09/2019 2:28pm


A visa is not the same thing as a residence permit.

IMPORTANT: A Schengen visa only allows you to enter Germany as a tourist. It is generally not extendable! You are not allowed to work!