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Visa & Entry Requirements

visa

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Quick Facts:
  • Your visa needs to be issued before you enter Germany
  • You have to apply in person at the German mission (embassy or consulate) responsible for your place of residence
  • There are different visa types, depending on the purpose of your stay (with/without work permit)
  • The exact visa requirements should be ascertained from the responsible German diplomatic mission, as they can differ from country to country

Do I Need a Visa for Germany?

EU citizens and citizens of Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein:

  • You do not need a visa to enter Germany
  • You do not have to apply for a residence permit after entering the country

Citizens of Switzerland, the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea:

  • You do not need a visa to enter Germany
  • You have to apply for a residence permit after entering the country

Citizens of Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco, and San Marino:

  • If you do not plan to work in Germany, you do not need a visa (for example, if you have a scholarship)
  • If you plan to work in Germany, then you have to apply for a national visa
  • You have to apply for a residence permit after entering the country

Citizens of all other countries:

  • You need a visa to enter Germany
  • You have to apply for a residence permit after entering the country

If you are not sure whether you need a visa, the German Federal Foreign Office has compiled a comprehensive list of all countries’ visa requirements.top

Which Type of Visa Do I Need?

If you want to do your doctorate in Germany as a third-country national, you generally need to apply for a Type D visa, also called a national visa.
As a doctoral candidate, your visa can be issued for different purposes, depending on your individual situation. Therefore, it is important to give the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country specific information on your doctorate, so that they can issue the right visa. Each purpose is bound to certain rights and limitations:

  • Studies: suitable if you have a scholarship or private funds, since you are only allowed to work for a maximum of 120 days/240 half days or as a student assistant at the university. You will need to include a letter of acceptance as a doctoral candidate from your faculty’s doctoral committee in your visa application.
  • Employment: suitable if your doctorate is bound to a position as a research associate at the university. You will need to include a confirmation of the intended employment from your employer in your visa application.
  • Research: suitable if you are doing a research stay of more than 90 days. You will need to include a hosting agreement from the university in your visa application.

NOTE: A national visa needs to be converted into a residence permit after you enter Germany, which allows you to stay in the country for a prolonged period of time

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Where Can I Apply for a Visa and Which Documents Do I Need?

You need to apply for a visa in person at the responsible German mission in your country of residence. It is highly recommended to apply as early as possible, ideally at least two to three months before you plan to enter Germany, as there can be a waiting period for the visa. Also, visa fees may apply.

The website of your diplomatic mission usually offers detailed information on the visa procedures and the documents required for the application.

In general, you will have to submit the following:

  • Visa application form (can be downloaded from the website of your German mission or the German Federal Foreign Office)
  • Valid passport and biometric photograph(s)
  • Proof of admission as a doctoral candidate by the doctoral committee
  • Proof of sufficient funds (e.g. through a scholarship or employment)
  • Proof of adequate health insurance
  • CV and copies of your university degree(s)
  • confirmation from your employer or scholarship organization

It is highly recommended that you provide German translations of all original foreign documents.

 

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Information for Visiting Doctoral Students

If you are doing a research stay of less than 90 days and will not be gainfully employed in Germany, a tourist visa (also called Schengen visa) may be sufficient. The German Embassy or Consulate in your home country can provide you with further information. Please note that a tourist visa generally cannot be extended, which means that you have to return to your home country under any circumstances after 90 days. Therefore, if you are considering to extend your research stay, you should apply for a national visa.

Information for Families

Doctoral candidates can bring their spouse/life partner and children to Germany for the duration of their doctorate for purposes of family reunification. As a third-country national, you should inquire at the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country which additional documents are required (such as marriage and birth certificates). In general, you also need to have sufficient financial resources to provide for your family, as well as ensure adequate living space. Moreover, all family members need adequate health insurance for the duration of their stay.

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