Visa and Residence Permit
General visa information
Nationals of EU, EEA, Switzerland
Nationals of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Rep. Korea, USA
Nationals of all other non EU-States
Registration at the Resident Services Office (Bürgeramt)
As a general rule, foreigners require a visa to enter the country and a residence permit ("Aufenthaltserlaubnis") for stays of a longer duration (more than 90 days) usually be obtained from German Missions abroad.
Exceptions see here: (table of countries whose citizens do not/ do require visas to enter Germany)
Depending on the duration and purpose of the stay, you either need a Schengen visa (research stay lasting up to three months) or a national visa (research stay lasting more than three months). Please, note that it may take 8 to 12 weeks until you will get your visa. If your marital partner or children are intending to accompany you, it is recommended that you apply for everyone at the same time even if they are only going to join you in Germany several weeks later. Depending on your country of origin and the length of your stay, the entry regulations may vary. In the following sections, you will find information related to specific countries, to make it easier for you to follow. If you are in doubt, however, be sure to approach a German diplomatic mission to find out whether you need a visa or not. This is the only place you will be able to obtain legally binding information.
Requirements regarding visas for longer stays and/or stays entitling the holder to take up gainful employment (exception guest researcher contracts for max. 3 months)
As a rule, all foreigners require visas for stays of more than three months or stays leading to gainful employment. Exeptions apply to EU and EEA (European Economic Area, including e.g. Liechtenstein, Norway) citizens and Swiss nationals as well as guest researchers with working contracts up to 3 months who only need a Schengen-Visa (C Visa).
Nationals of EU States, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland
If you are an EU national or come from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you generally don't need a visa. You may enter Germany using your national identity card. If you intend to stay in Germany for more than three months or to work here, you must register at the “Einwohnermeldeamt” (Residents’ Registration Office) within the first 14 days of your stay in Leipzig.
Nationals of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea and the USA etc.
If you are a national of one of these states (table of countries whose citizens do not/ do require visas to enter Germany), you do not need a visa to enter Germany. However, for visits lasting more than three months, you will require a residence permit which you can apply for at the Immigration Office once you have entered Germany.
Nationals of all other non-EU States
If your research stay in Germany is not scheduled to last longer than 90 days in a six-month period, a Schengen Visa will usually be all you need to enter the country (C-Visa). However, you should bear in mind that Schengen Visas cannot be extended beyond the three-month period, nor can they be redesignated for other purposes. You will have to leave Germany at the end of three months.
In order to obtain a Schengen Visa, you will have to prove that you will be able to support yourself financially during your stay in Germany. For all Schengen States, you will also be obliged to provide evidence of travel health insurance coverage amounting to at least 30,000 euro. When completing the application for the Schengen Visa, please be sure to state “scientific work” or “research” as the purpose of your stay. The Schengen Visa entitles you to move freely between and stay in any of the so-called Schengen States, i.e. the states that have signed the Schengen Agreement.
Visa exemptions for short visits
Nationals of some countries are allowed to enter Germany for visits of up to three months without a visa. You can find a list of these states (table of countries whose citizens do not/ do require visas to enter Germany) on the website of the Federal Foreign Office. Please note, however, that you will not be able to apply for a residence title for a longer stay once you have entered Germany, and that you will have to leave the country after three months. If you are planning a longer stay you must apply for a German visa that will allow you to remain in the country for a longer period of time while you are still in your own country or current country of residence.
Visits lasting more than three months
If you plan to stay in Germany for longer than three months you have to apply for a National Visa for Germany (D-Visa) while you are still in your own country or current country of residence. Please note that this applies even if you are already staying in another European Union country. Do not under any circumstances enter Germany on a “Visitor’s or Tourist Visa” (Schengen Visa). This type of visa cannot be extended and only entitles you to stay in Germany for a maximum of three months. You would then have to return to your own country at your own expense and apply for the correct visa there. The same applies to members of your family.
Only the National Visa (D Visa) entitles you to stay in Germany. If you intend to travel to other Schengen States during the first three months of your stay, e. g. to attend a conference, you should state this in your visa application. In this case you may be issued with a so-called hybrid visa (Category C+D Visa).
To apply for a D-Visa you will usually require the following documents:
- Passport (valid for the entire duration of your stay)
- Proof of your intended activity (e.g. fellowship, employment contract, letter of invitation or hosting agreement from the university)
- Proof that you will be able to support yourself financially if this is not evidenced by the documentation above
- Sufficient health insurance coverage
- Details of proposed accommodation in Germany
- Marriage and birth certificates of family members
- Application form (available from diplomatic missions)
Registration at the Resident Services Office (Bürgeramt)
Everyone who moves into an accommodation in Germany is obliged to register their residence. Within two weeks of entering the country, you (and any family members accompanying you) will have to register at the "Bürgeramt" (Resident Services Office) situated in different parts of the city of Leipzig (list with addresses see here):
In order to avoid waiting time, you can also make an appointment for a fixed date and time online.
At the Resident Services Office you will receive a "Meldebescheinigung". This is a document confirming that you have registered. You will need official proof of registration if you wish to extend your visa, for example, or open a bank account. Within 2 weeks you will also receive your tax ID number english translation of this document by mail.
In order to register please bring along:
Before you leave Leipzig please do not forget to sign out (either at any registration office) or using this form (do not forget to include a passport copy). You can sign out 14 days prior to your departure. Please send your sign out form to this address:
Ordnungsamt, 04092 Leipzig.
Before your entry visa runs out, you must apply for a residence permit at your local “Ausländerbehörde” (Immigration or Foreigners’ Office) at Prager Straße 128, 04317 Leipzig. If you are a national of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea or the USA and not only entered the country without a visa but also intend to stay in Germany for a longer period of time, you also have to apply for a residence permit within three months of entering the country.
We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. You will usually have to present the following documents to the Immigration Office:
- Completed application for a residence permit (also available at the Immigration Office)
- Valid passport (please note that it must be valid for the entire duration of the proposed stay) and a copy of passport
- Biometric passport photo (please observe the requirements set out by the Federal Foreign Office: www.epass.de)
- Fellowship award letter, employment contract or hosting agreement with the university (stating the amount of the monthly fellowship or salary as proof that you can support yourself financially) copies of all documents
- housing contract (copy)
- “Anmeldebescheinigung” (proof of registration) from the Residents’ Registration Office
- Fees: 110 Euro
- Proof of health insurance valid in Germany (copy)
- For marital partners/children: certified German or English translation of marriage and birth certificate and original birth and marriage certificate
A virtual guide to possible residence permits you find here. For any specific information please contact the local immigration office.
If you wish to obtain a confirmation of the registration in Leipzig (Meldebescheinigung), please refer to the immigration office in the city district of Leipzig where you live. Here is a list of all the regional residence registration offices (Bürgerämter) in Leipzig as well as their opening hours:
Sources: EURAXESS, Foreigners Authority City of Leipzig