Entry Visa and Residence Permit

At a glance

If you want to move to Germany, you may need a visa and residence permit. Please read the following page carefully to find out what you need to do.

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ENTRY Visa

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:

EU Citizens

Do not need a visa, neither for working nor for staying a longer period of time.

European Economic Area (EEA)

Citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway are treated like members of the European Union.

Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, Republic of Korea, NewZealand, Switzerland and the United States

Citizens of these countries do not need a visa to enter Germany. If you are staying longer than three months, you will need to apply for a German residence permit at the local foreign nationals office (Ausländerbehörde)Note: In the list of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs these countries are marked with no. (3)

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has left the European Union on 31 January 2020. Visa information can be found at https://uk.diplo.de/uk-en/02/visa.

There is also a British website on this topic to be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-germany.

Andorra, Honduras, Monaco, and San Marino

Citizens of these countries do not need a visa as long as you will not be working. If you are staying longer than three months, you will need to apply for a German residence permit at the local foreign nationals office (Ausländerbehörde)Note: In the list of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs these countries are marked with no. (4)

Other Agreements for Visa Facilitation

Citizens of countries which are not marked in the list of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but show the entry NO (such as Argentina or Bosnia and Herzegovina) may travel to Germany without a visa, as long as the stay lasts less than three months and you will not be working. It is not possible, however, to extend these stays beyond the three month limit without a visa. You have to leave Germany at the end of the three month period. If you plan to stay longer or intend to get permission to work in Germany, you will need to enter the country with a national visa.

Visa needed

As a citizen of any other country that shows the entry YES in the list of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs you will need a visa to enter Germany. If you are required to have a visa to travel to Germany, it is illegal to enter the country without one.

Application and extension of the residence permit

All those who have found an apartment in Tübingen's suburbs or in the district must contact the responsible Immigration Office in matters related to their residence permit.

For all who live in Tübingen (including its city districts):

To apply for a residence permit, different documents are needed depending on your position at your institute. You will need to fill in the application form on the following website:

https://formulare.tuebingen.de/frontend-server/form/provide/155/  

Generally, the purpose of stay for applicants with an employment contract or researchers who aim for the §18d AufenthG ("researcher") residence permit will be “Aufenthalt zwecks Beschäftigung / Ausbildung / Freiwilligendienst”.

If you plan on staying at the University as an enrolled doctoral student on a §16b AufenthG ("student") residence permit, choose "Aufenthalt zwecks Studium"

After reviewing your application the immigration office will give you an appointment for a short in-person meeting to complete your application. Please note down or print out your ticket number. 

The immigration office requests that you apply for your residence permit no earlier than 3 months before your visa expires.

You will need the following documents for your residence permit application:

  • Proof of health insurance
  • Employment contract / employment certificate or scholarship/sabbatical confirmation or bank statement depending on your status
  • University degree
  • (only for researcher residence permit) Hosting agreement
  • (only for student residence permit) Enrollment documents
  • (only for Blue Card residence permit) Employment relationship declaration

Regarding the extension of a residence permit:

By law, your previous residence permit will continue to be valid until the immigration office decides on your application. The immigration office will send you a confirmation of receipt by e-mail.

  • If you want to travel abroad in the near future: Also apply for a formal provisional residence document (“Fiktionsbescheinigung”) in your e-mail (costs about 13 €). This is an official confirmation that your previous residence title is valid until the immigration office’s decision. You can only leave and re-enter Germany with a “Fiktionsbescheinigung”. The above-mentioned confirmation of receipt from the immigration office is not sufficient to re-enter Germany!

Picking up your residence title:

It is not possible to book an appointment to pick up your residence title!

After you have submitted your application, you will receive a pin letter from the immigration office. After that you can ask for an appointment to pick up your residence permit. To do so, write an e-mail to auslaenderamt@tuebingen.de or call 07071 204-2550.

Provisional residence documents (“Fiktionsbescheinigungen”) can either be picked up or will be sent to you by mail.

Settlement permit

What is a settlement permit?

settlement permit opens many doors. You can live in Germany with your family without any restrictions. You can also take up employment or be self-employed.

Are you already working and living in Germany on a temporary residence permit and would like to stay here permanently? As a skilled worker, you may, under certain conditions, be able to apply for a permanent residence title, also known as a settlement permit, under Section 18c of the Residence Act (AufenthG).

Settlement permit for skilled workers

According to the Residence Act (AufenthG), you are considered a “skilled worker” if you belong to one of the following groups of people:

What are the settlement permit requirements for skilled workers?

  • You have held a residence title under Sections 18a, 18b, 18d or 18g of the Residence Act (AufenthG) for three years.
  • You are able to cover your living costs without assistance from the state.
  • You have paid compulsory or voluntary contributions to the statutory pension insurance scheme for at least 36 months.
  • You have a job that your residence permit allows you to do.
  • You are able to demonstrate German language skills at level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
  • You have a basic knowledge of the legal and social system and way of life in Germany. This is usually proven by the “Living in Germany” test.
  • You have sufficient living space for yourself and any family members living with you.

If you meet these requirements, we recommend that you make an appointment to apply for a settlement permit at your local foreigners authority. The foreigners authority can also tell you what documents you need to submit.

Please beware: in some cases, a settlement permit can be issued under facilitated conditions. This is the case if you belong to one of the following groups of people:

  • EU Blue Card holders
  • People who have completed higher education or vocational training in Germany
  • Highly skilled workers
  • Self-employed persons

Settlement permit for EU Blue Card holders

If you are an EU Blue Card holder (Section 18g of the Residence Act [AufenthG]), you can request a settlement permit under the facilitated conditions set out in Section 18c (2) of the Residence Act (AufenthG). The following requirements apply to you:

  • You have been in qualified employment for at least 27 months and have paid into the statutory pension insurance scheme.
  • You are able to demonstrate German language skills at level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). If you can demonstrate knowledge of German at level B1 CEFR, the period is reduced from 27 to 21 months.
  • You have a basic knowledge of the legal and social system and way of life in Germany. This is usually proven by the “Living in Germany” test.
  • You can demonstrate that you have sufficient living space.
  • You can demonstrate that you are able to cover your living costs. 

Settlement permit for people who have completed higher education or vocational training in Germany

If you have successfully completed higher education or vocational training in Germany, special provisions also apply to you with regard to the settlement permit:

  • You have held a residence permit for employment as a “skilled worker” (residence permit under Sections 18a, 18b, 18d or 18g of the Residence Act [AufenthG]) for at least two years.
  • You have a job that your residence permit allows you to do.
  • You have paid into the statutory pension insurance scheme for 24 months.
  • You are able to demonstrate German language skills at level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and have a basic knowledge of the legal and social system and way of life in Germany. This is usually proven by the “Living in Germany” test.

You can demonstrate that you have sufficient living space.

Settlement permit for highly skilled workers

In special cases, highly skilled workers can obtain a settlement permit under Section 18c (3) of the Residence Act (AufenthG) immediately, without having to spend a certain period of time in Germany first. 

For example, if you are a scientist with special technical knowledge or a teacher in a prominent position with several years of professional experience, you can obtain a settlement permit immediately upon entering Germany. 

In this case, it is important that:

  • you can prove you have completed academic training and
  • there is reason to assume that you will be able to integrate into the way of life in Germany and cover your living costs without assistance from the state.

Ideally, you should have all the necessary documents ready before entering Germany so that you can obtain your settlement permit immediately.

Settlement permit for spouses of skilled workers

Have you moved to Germany to join your spouse (registered civil partner)? After a certain period of time, you will receive your own settlement permit if you meet the following requirements.

  • Your spouse (registered civil partner) has a settlement permit for skilled workers under Section 18c of the Residence Act (AufenthG).
  • You have had a residence permit for at least three years.
  • You work at least 20 hours per week and have the required work permit.
  • You and your spouse cohabit as partners.
  • You are able to demonstrate German language skills at level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
  • You have a basic knowledge of the legal and social system and way of life in Germany. This is usually proven by the “Living in Germany” test.

Costs

There is a fee for applying for a settlement permit, which varies according to status group. The fee, up to approximately €150, must be paid at the time of application. Please contact your local foreigners authority to find out the exact amount.

Permanent EU residence permit

The permanent EU Residence Permit (Section 9a AufenthG (German Residence Act)) is a permanent residence permit which is comparable to the settlement permit. Holders of the permanent EU Residence Permit can migrate to almost every EU country and get a residence permit on facilitated conditions. 

You get the permanent EU Residence Permit, if you meet the following requirements:

  • You have legally lived in Germany for at least five years;
  • you can financially support yourself and your family members;
  • you have a sufficient command of German and basic knowledge of the legal and social system and way of life in Germany;
  • you have enough living space for yourself and your family;
  • you have paid the compulsory or voluntary contributions to statutory pension insurance for at least 60 months.

For certain residence titles, it is not possible to obtain the permanent EU Residence Permit, e.g. those in possession of a residence permit for educational purposes or for certain humanitarian reasons.

 


For more details, please see the EURAXESS website: https://www.euraxess.de/germany/information-assistance/entry-conditions-and-visas or the information of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees: https://www.bamf.de/EN/Themen/MigrationAufenthalt/ZuwandererDrittstaaten/Arbeit/Wissenschaftler/wissenschaftler-node.html.

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 Tübingen for more than three months.

In case you will live in the city of Tübingen: On the last page of the Application for a residence permit ('Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels') you will find a note called 'Bearbeitungsvermerk' stating the documents you will need to bring for your application. Please find a translation of this note here.

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

Section

For whom

Limitation

Money needed

Other prerequisites

Work permit

§ 16b

study applicants, students, doctoral students

min. 1 year, max. 2 years, extendable

Please find information at https://www.study-in-germany.de/en/plan-your-studies/requirements/proof-of-financial-resources_27533.php, 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

§ 18c (3)

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

§ 18g (blue Card EU)

international employees with a university degree

The period of employment must be at least six months

max. 4 years, extendable

depending on the job offer: 41,041.80 EUR (2024) to 45,300 EUR/year (2024)

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

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

§ 18d

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 need 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.

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