Preparing Your Stay

At a glance

Before you come to Tübingen, there are some things you can already do. And should you have to leave again, it's time to consider a few more things.

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Have you been invited to Tübingen for a research visit? Are you about to start doctoral work? Have you been offered a position as a postdoc? To be able to come to Tübingen well-prepared, your stay needs to be planned properly. 

The information on these pages will guide you through the process of planning your stay and getting started in Tübingen. If you have to leave later, there are also a few things which need to be considered.

Personal Support

Depending on your host institution, there may be personal support available. See our list Personal Support to find out if your host institution offers Welcome Services.

First steps before your stay in Tübingen

Step 1: Register with the Welcome Center

Immediately after being sure that you will come to Tübingen, please register with your Welcome Center/personal support. They will make sure you get all the information necessary for you. They will provide you, for example, with a hosting agreement for a research visa.

Step 2: Apply for a visa

Read more on our Entry Visa and Residence Permit page.

Step 3: Secure accommodation in Tübingen

Start looking for accommodation immediately after you and your host have established the dates for your arrival, as housing is in very short supply in Tübingen. Be sure to check the information we have compiled under Accommodation.

Step 4: Family and children

If you are planning to bring children along, please prepare to arrange school / childcare for them. For more information see: Family.

Step 5: Apply for a German police record

If you will have a work contract, check with your respective HR department if you need to apply for a German police record before you travel to Germany. More information here:

Step 6: Keep in touch with your host department

Make sure to always stay in touch with your contact persons (supervisor, secretary,..) at your host department. Any changes in your arrival date, dates of your contract or scholarship, etc. must be directly communicated to them.

Documents to bring along

Find out early which documents you need to collect and have translated. Both city and university offices can accept original documents in German or English, but need certified translations into German if the original is in a different language. These may include:

  • Passports for you and any family members accompanying you. They should be valid for the duration of your planned stay.
  • A visa for you and any family members accompanying you. Note that some countries such as EU member states, the USA and Japan are exempt from the entry visa requirement in Germany. Check the information on our Visa and Residence Permit page and contact your personal support for any further questions related to your visa.
  • Confirmation of health insurance. You should enter the country with at least basic travel health insurance, although in many cases the main policy can be purchased after your arrival. Be sure to read more detailed information under Health Insurance and speak to your personal support.
  • Confirmation of your funding with start and end dates and the amount of money that will be paid to you each month. This could be a scholarship letter, a written salary confirmation from the administration at your home university if you are on a paid sabbatical, or a letter from your host institute's administration offering you a work contract.
  • Certified copies in German or English of your university and/or doctoral degree(s). Bachelor's and Master's certificates should be accompanied by an official transcript showing the credits awarded for each of your classes. Please note that you will be required to prove that you meet the prerequisites for doctoral work in Germany in order to meet the immigration requirements for status as a researcher. This generally means a degree involving at least four years of coursework in your major subject. Also, while it is a good idea to email ahead a scanned copy so that your host administration can do the necessary equivalency checks, you will be required to show the original or notarized copy on arrival.
  • Vaccination records: If you have an international certificate of vaccination (WHO carte jaune), be sure to bring it along. If you will work at the university hospital, you will have to prove that you have a double measles vaccination, otherwise you won’t be allowed to work.
  • Insurance documents: If you have personal liability insurance at home, check your policy to see if it will also cover you in Germany. If so, please bring your insurance documents along. In some cases, private health insurance policies are available in a package with private liability insurance. You can find more information under Banks and Insurance.
  • Tax ID number from home country: In order to be able to open a bank account, you should bring your tax ID number (TIN) from your home country/current country of residence, because it may take several weeks before you are issued a German tax ID number. Of course, if you have already been given a German tax ID, please bring that along. If you are not sure where to find your TIN, please check the overview on the OECD homepage. For more information about opening a bank account, please see the page Banks and Insurance.
  • Marriage certificate:  Be sure to bring your marriage certificate, even if your family will not be accompanying you. If your family will be accompanying you, please also bring your children's birth certificates. Again, these should be in German or English or accompanied by a certified translation and should have an apostille. If you have school-age children, check with your personal support about bringing recent report cards.
  • Proof of enrollment at home university: If you are a visiting doctoral student, seeking degree at your home university, and plan to register as a visiting doctoral student in Tübingen, you will need an official confirmation of your enrollment as a doctoral student at your home university for the semester(s) of your stay in Tübingen. Enrollment as a visiting doctoral student has certain benefits: As an enrolled visiting doctoral student, you are eligible for the subsidized semester ticket for public transportation. Furthermore, you can have a student email account and can use university Wifi or the electronic journals. Find out more here
  • Driver’s license: Make sure to bring an international driver's license or your home country driver's license if you plan on driving while in Germany. You can read more under Mobility - By Car.
After your arrival in Tübingen

Step 1: Sign your lease agreement and move in

First, sign your lease agreement with your landlord/landlady. Make sure they sign your confirmation of residence form (Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung) which you need for your official registration with the city (see Step 3). You can find the form here:

Step 2: Check in with your host department

Make sure they are aware that you have arrived and make an appointment with them for your first meeting/start date.

Step 3: Official registration with the city 

By law, you must register your address in the central municipal offices (Bürgeramt) of the city where you live within two weeks of your arrival. Take along the confirmation of residence form (Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung) your landlord/landlady has signed for you. Read more about how to register with the city on our page Official Registration.

Step 4: Open a bank account

For this step, you need an address in Tübingen. Most banks also ask for the registration confirmation with the city (see Step 3), so you should first register with the city. If you will be signing a work contract, you will need to open a bank account for your paycheck. Even if you are here with a fellowship or with private funds, longer stays will be easier with a German bank account. For more information on opening a bank account and banks in Germany, please see the page Banks and Insurance.

Step 5: Finalize health insurance

If you have not already done so, finalize your health insurance coverage. Read more on our Health Insurance page.

Step 6: Sign your work contract

If you will have a work contract, make an appointment to visit the Human Resources department at your institution to sign your contract.

Step 7: Apply for a German police record

If you did not already apply for a German police record while still in your home country, you might have to apply for one now. See here:

Step 8: Get biometric passport pictures

If you do not already have passport pictures fulfilling the requirements for German IDs (see here), you can have them made while you wait at any photo shop in Tübingen. You will need them to apply for your residence permit.

Step 9: Make an appointment to extend your visa/apply for a residence permit

If your visa is not valid for the entire duration of your stay or if you entered Germany without a visa, you will need to apply for a residence permit in Tübingen.

Due to the high workload of the immigration office, it is recommended to apply for your residence permit about three months before your current visa expires. If you entered Germany without a visa, you will have to apply for your residence within 90 days of entering the Schengen area. To do so, please apply for your residence permit online here:

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".

Step 10: Get in touch with the Office of Doctoral Affairs

If you will be pursuing your doctoral degree here, be sure to visit the Office of Doctoral Affairs of the Faculty that administers your degree program.

Other important steps to consider

Utilities: Arrange for any utilities (such as electricity) that are not included in your rent. You can find out more under At Home.

Mobile phone service is relatively inexpensive in Germany. For example, a basic mix of outgoing call minutes or text messages plus fast internet access is often available starting at only 10 EUR per month with a prepaid card or contract. Starter packs and refill cards are available at most grocery stores, mobile phone storefronts and gas stations.

Certified translations: For several aspects of your registrations and paperwork, certified translations of your non-German documents may be required. You can find the contact details of certified translators in the official Database of translators and interpreters.

German tax ID: A few weeks after you register your address, you will receive your German tax ID in the mail. The same applies to your German social security number, which is generated when you register with the statutory health insurance system. Keep these letters in a safe place. If you have a work contract, be sure to send a copy of both to your Human Resources caseworker.

Public Broadcast Fees: Register for Public Broadcast Fees, which are mandatory in Germany.

German classes: Consider taking German classes. Although you can get by with English in most situations, for longer stays your experience will be richer if you know at least a few words of German.

German driver's permit: Many foreign driver's licenses are valid for your first six months in Germany. If you want to get a German driver's permit, it will be much easier if you do this during the six-month grace period. You can read more under Mobility - By Car.

Getting ready to leave Tübingen

We hate to see you go, but you can make your departure as smooth as possible by planning ahead.

Talk to your host

Make an appointment to talk to your host or supervisor about how to follow up on your collaboration. According to the rules of good scientific practice, primary research data must always stay in the laboratory where it was generated. Speak with your lab supervisor about archiving your data and about what copies you will be allowed to take with you.

De-register your address

De-register your address at the municipal offices (Bürgeramt). The earliest this can be done is one week before moving out, so plan ahead to fit it into your schedule. Please bring your passport and passports of any accompanying family members that are registered with you. 

You can also deregister online via the city’s service page for deregistration (German only).

Cancel your contracts

Cancel your utilities, broadcast fees or any other charges that are deducted automatically.

Notify your health insurance provider

If you have a work contract and are covered by statutory health insurance, notify your health insurance provider that you are leaving the country. Your membership is not automatically canceled when your work contract ends.

Ensure your availability

Make sure that everyone who might need to contact you later has your new address: The University, your host department or institute, your Human Resources office, your Office of Doctoral Affairs, etc. If you have a work contract, ask your HR office what needs to be done if you will receive a final paycheck after your official departure date (see below, Closing your bank account).

Closing your bank account

Talk to your bank about closing your account. If you have an employment contract and will be receiving your final paycheck after you leave, be sure to let Human Resources at your workplace know of this well before you leave. They might require you to keep your German bank account active until your final paycheck has cleared. If that is the case, find out the date when the account can be closed and then ask your bank about what you need to do to have the balance transferred to a bank account back home or at your new destination.

Give back ID cards

Turn in any institute ID cards and talk to your host institution about any special procedures that they have before you leave.

Final inspection of your room/apartment

Arrange for a final inspection of your room or apartment with your landlord/landlady, and make sure you know what needs to be done to get your damage deposit back.

Arrange for a partial pension refund

If you are leaving Germany permanently after paying into the statutory pension system, it may be possible to arrange for a partial refund. You can find more information about this under Social Security.

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