Are you going to work at our university as an international visiting scholar? Our Welcome Centre offers advice and services covering all aspects of planning and managing your stay. It’s also a great way to make contact with colleagues at our university.
Welcome to our university
Our university’s Welcome Centre
The Welcome Centre acts as an interface between the university administration, the individual institutes as well as the city authorities and cultural institutions. You are welcome to contact us for a personal consultation.
- We will give you all the important information needed to prepare for and manage your stay in Leipzig.
- We can help you to get settled in Leipzig if your stay as a visiting scholar at our university is longer than 90 days and you have already received an invitation and/or hosting agreement from your institute.
International students and doctoral candidates will find the office hours and details of their contact persons on the Contact and advice page.
Organising Your Visit
From applying for a visa and taking out insurance to opening a bank account, there are a few things to take care of when planning a stay in Leipzig.
EU countries, European Economic Area and Switzerland
If you come from an EU member state, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you generally do not need an entry visa. Your valid identity card is sufficient. If you plan to stay in Germany longer than 90 days or to work here, please register at a Bürgeramt (Resident Services Office) in Leipzig.
Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Korea and the US
Nationals of these countries do not require an entry visa. They do, however, require a residence permit for stays of more than 90 days. You can apply for this after entering Germany. More information is available from the Federal Foreign Office.
Nationals of all other non-EU countries
As a visiting scholar with a doctorate, you will need a visa to enter the country and stay in Germany for more than 90 days. You can apply for a research visa under Section 18d of the Residence Act. The research visa can be issued if you have a scholarship or private funds of approximately 1600 euros per month (examined on a case-by-case basis and depending on your cost of living).
You will require a hosting agreement to apply for the visa. This is a contract concluded between you and your research institution and forms the basis for issuing the research visa.
Please also note the new rules for mobile researchers in the EU within the meaning of REST Directive 2016/801/EU.
Your stay in Germany will last longer than 90 days and you do not have a research visa
If you require a visa to stay longer (longer than 90 days), then you must apply for this visa at the German mission in your home country before you enter Germany. The German mission in your home country is then responsible for obtaining the consent of the Ausländerbehörde at your future place of residence in Germany (in Leipzig, the English name for the Ausländerbehörde is “Foreigners’ Authority”).
It may take eight to twelve weeks for a visa to be issued. If your family members are accompanying you, we recommend submitting your applications at the same time, even if your family will be arriving later.
- The visa application form for a long-term stay (longer than 90 days) is available free of charge from the German mission in your home country. Please enquire at your local German mission for more information. You may also use the application form provided by the Federal Foreign Office. Simply fill it in and hand it in at the German mission in your home country.
- Under Regulation (EU) 265/2010, if you hold a national visa (Type D visa) and a valid travel document you can move freely within the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
- You can apply for a national visa (Type D visa) for a stay of up to twelve months, in which case it may no longer be necessary to apply for a residence permit in Germany. The duration of your research must not exceed the period of your residence permit.
To apply for a national visa (Type D visa) you will need the following documents:
- passport (valid for the duration of the stay)
- proof of the intended activity (e.g. scholarship, employment contract, letter of invitation or hosting agreement with the relevant Leipzig University research institution)
- proof that you have sufficient financial resources to support yourself, unless this is apparent from the aforementioned documents
- proof of health insurance (the Foreigners’ Authority does not accept travel health insurance)
- information about your planned accommodation in Germany
- for family members: marriage and birth certificates with legalisation or apostille
- application form (available from the German mission in your home country).
Depending on the embassy, further documents may be required. Please check with the German mission in your home country to find out which documents you will need for your visa application.
The national visa (Type D visa) is usually issued for a period of three (up to a maximum of twelve) months. Based on the duration of your visa, please apply for a residence permit at the local Foreigners’ Authority.
A Schengen visitor or tourist visa entitles you to stay for no longer than three months and cannot be extended. For this reason, under no circumstances should you travel to Germany on a Schengen visitor or tourist visa for a longer research stay. The same applies to your family members.
If your research stay in Germany will not exceed 90 days within a 180-day period, then in most cases a Schengen visa (Type C) is sufficient to enter the country.
- One of the requirements for obtaining a Schengen visa is that you prove your ability to support yourself financially for the duration of your stay in Germany.
- In principle, travel health insurance with a minimum coverage of 30,000 euros (figure subject to change) is required for any country in the Schengen Area.
- When applying for a Schengen visa, make sure you specify “scientific work” or “research” as the main purpose of your journey.
- A Schengen visa entitles you to travel freely throughout the Schengen Area, which is made up of all the signatory countries to the Schengen Agreement.
The addresses of German missions abroad and information about entry requirements are available from the Federal Foreign Office.
A Schengen visa cannot be extended beyond a three-month period or converted for a different purpose. You must depart after three months at the latest.
Make sure you apply to the Foreigners’ Authority for a residence permit well before your entry visa expires. We will be happy to assist you with arranging an appointment and check which documents you need to take along with you.
If you have entered the country without a visa and are planning to stay longer in Germany, please first register at one of Leipzig’s Resident Services Offices. You must then apply for a residence permit within three months of entering the country. This will initially be valid for a maximum of two years and can then be extended.
The German Rectors’ Conference has compiled an overview of different rights of residence for researchers from non-EU countries in Germany.
Applying for a residence permit
To apply for a residence permit, you will need to submit the following documents to the Foreigners’ Authority:
- the completed residence permit application/application for renewal of residence permit (also available from the Foreigners’ Authority)
- passport or identity card, with a copy
- confirmation of registration from the Resident Services Office
- proof of the activity (e.g. employment contract, scholarship award letter, hosting agreement with the host institute), with a copy
- proof of health insurance (not travel health insurance!) indicating costs and scope (insurance conditions), with a copy
- biometric passport photo (please note the passport photo requirements of the Federal Foreign Office)
- for family members: marriage certificate, birth certificates of children with legalisation or apostille, with a translation and copy
- rental agreement stating the number of square metres, the rental period and the rental price.
If you are staying longer than six months in Leipzig, your residence permit will be issued in the form of a credit card-sized card with additional electronic functions. Infants and children also receive their own card.
More information about the electronic residence permit (fees, deadlines, requirements) is available from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees and the Free State of Saxony.
If you are a scholar collaborating with our university in research and teaching, it is possible to conclude a guest agreement. The guest agreement is tied to our university’s fee schedule and is also possible for guest professorships.
Guest agreements can be concluded for up to six months. If you are planning another guest agreement, there must be a gap of one month in between.
- Short-term guest agreements (up to 22 days) must be signed by the head of the host institution.
- Guest agreements for up to three months must be signed by the head of the host institution.
- Guest agreements for periods exceeding three months must be signed by the Rector. Your host institution submits the prepared guest agreement to Leipzig University’s Department of Human Resources, which in turn forwards it to the Rector.
- If you wish to give a lecture at our university, you will need to complete a guest lecture agreement. It is not possible to combine a guest lecture agreement with a guest agreement.
To ensure timely processing, please submit your guest agreement to the Department of Human Resources at least four weeks before your planned stay.
For more information please contact the General Human Resource Matters team.
Being recognised as a visiting scholar secures your legal status at our university despite the fact that you are not employed here:
- To apply, please complete the agreement on granting visiting scholar status.
- Please also fill in the visiting scholar status questionnaire in order to inform the relevant faculty about the aim and purpose of your stay as well as any intended use of university facilities.
- Send the form to the host institute. There it is signed by the dean of the faculty.
- You or the host institute should submit the application and the questionnaire in duplicate to the Department of Human Resources, which will forward it to the University’s Head of Administration and Finance..
If you require a visa for your stay, please have a copy of your visa certified by the assistant to the dean and enclose this with your application.
The assistant to the dean at the relevant faculty is responsible for ensuring that the administrative process regarding visiting scholar status is properly handled.
After approval by the Rectorate, the Head of Administration and Finance confirms the granting of visiting scholar status. The Department of Human Resources then notifies the faculty of the decision in writing.
The Department of Human Resources will require at least four weeks to process your application. You are advised to submit the agreement as early as possible so that the document is ready when you arrive.
Registering your place of residence
If you have not entered the country on a tourist visa and plan on staying longer than three months, you are required to register: no later than 14 days after arriving, you must register your place of residence personally at one of the City of Leipzig’s Resident Services Offices. Should you change your place of residence, please register again at the Resident Services Office within one week.
You will require the following documents when registering:
- the registration form
- landlord’s certificate (Vermieterbescheinigung) stating the name and address of the landlord
- passport (with visa if applicable)
- when registering spouses and children: marriage certificate, birth certificates with legalisation/apostille and official German translations.
The City of Leipzig website provides more information about the Resident Services Offices.
When registering you will receive a confirmation of registration, which you will require to extend your visa or open a bank account.
Approximately two weeks after registering, you will receive your tax identification number by post.
Deregistering your place of residence
Is your stay in Germany coming to an end? Before you leave Germany, please remember to deregister at the Resident Services Office. You can also deregister in writing. To do this, please send the deregistration form and a copy of your passport to:
You can deregister no earlier than 14 days before your departure.
If you are travelling with a partner or spouse, then it may be necessary to have their foreign professional qualifications recognised.
Federal Recognition Act
The Federal Recognition Act is intended to facilitate the integration of skilled foreign workers who hold foreign professional qualifications into the German labour market. It only concerns professions for which the Federal Government is responsible. Occupations for which the individual federal states are responsible (e.g. teaching) are not covered. The Federal Government has set up a portal to provide more information about the Federal Recognition Act.
AKZESS project – fast access to the labour market for non-EU citizens
The Free State of Saxony set up its AKZESS initiative in order to speed up the administrative processes for residence and work permits.
The project is a service for skilled workers from abroad who have found a job in Dresden, Chemnitz, Leipzig or the Freiburg region.
Further information and guidance
The Integration through Qualification programme provides information on the recognition process for foreign professional qualifications and can put you in touch with the authority responsible for you.
The Informations- und Beratungsstelle Arbeitsmarkt Sachsen (IBAS) is part of the IQ network for migrants, offering advice on having foreign qualifications recognised.
The Recognition in Germany website offers useful information on having foreign professional qualifications recognised in Germany, including German equivalents of qualifications, the necessary steps for recognition, and the competent authority.
If your time as a researcher in Germany is tied to a scholarship, then pursuant to the German Income Tax Act you are exempt from paying tax under certain conditions – for example, as a DAAD or Alexander von Humboldt Foundation scholar. Please contact us or your scholarship provider for more information on the tax rules applicable to your scholarship.
Staying in Germany with an employment contract
If your research stay is based on an employment contract with a German research institution lasting more than six months, you will generally be liable to pay tax in Germany. The basis is your total income and assets generated worldwide for the calendar year.
Unlimited and limited tax liability
Germany distinguishes between limited and unlimited tax liability. This depends on whether you are domiciled in Germany.
You are subject to unlimited tax liability if you are domiciled in Germany or are spending more than six months of the respective tax year here. Your employer deducts the tax from your salary and pays it on your behalf. You must list any income that you earn abroad after moving to Germany in your tax return (“worldwide income principle”).
If a double taxation agreement exists between Germany and your home country, you only have to pay tax on your income and capital investments in one country. The Federal Ministry of Finance website provides a list of countries with which Germany has concluded such an agreement.
You are subject to limited tax liability if you are not initially domiciled in Germany and do not spend more than six months in Germany. Assuming that you earn income from freelance work or as an employee or have other income in Germany, this is taxed at the source of the income (“place of work principle”). If you are employed at the University, for example, your salary will be taxed directly there. The standard tax rate is 15 per cent. You can apply for a reduction for all income-related expenses incurred in connection with the job. Only income earned in Germany is relevant for this limited tax liability.
When your salary is paid, you will receive a detailed payslip. Our example explains the different parts of the document.
When spending time in Germany, you will come across and need to organise various types of insurance:
- social security
- health insurance
- pension schemes
- unemployment benefit
- accident insurance
- long-term care insurance.
The EURAXESS service portal offers up-to-date information on regulations applicable throughout Germany.
If you are a scholarship holder from outside the EU/EEA, please see this document for information about health insurance.
If you plan to stay in Germany for a long time, receive a regular salary or scholarship and have to pay rent, you will need a current account with a bank.
If you are spending more than six months in Germany, you can open a current account at any branch of a bank or savings bank (Sparkasse). Please note the terms and conditions of the individual banks. To open an account you will require:
- your passport or identity card
- registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung) from the Resident Services Office
- some banks also require your residence permit from the Foreigners’ Authority.
You can also open a bank account online with a digital-only bank. Please see our document on bank accounts in Germany for more information.
Transferring money from abroad can be expensive. Check the relevant terms with your home bank beforehand and choose a bank in Germany that cooperates with your home bank.
Getting started at Leipzig University
Visiting scholars staying for at least 30 days may use Leipzig University’s facilities and services.
The electronic, multifunctional Leibniz Card is a new personalised instrument for improving the infrastructure for foreign visiting scholars and new international staff at Leipzig University:
- Pay guest or staff prices at the university refectories (you will need to be an employee of the Free State of Saxony or hold a valid International Student Identity Card to qualify for employee prices)
- University Library
- Guest access to the University’s wireless LAN network (registration via the IDM guest terminal).
To be eligible to receive a Leibniz Card, you must prove your affiliation with our university by means of a hosting agreement, an employment contract or a guest agreement. You can upload this proof in advance as a form in the database.
Life in Leipzig
The city of Leipzig boasts many cultural events and leisure activities for you to discover during your stay. We can help you to set yourself up in our beautiful city and give you tips on finding accommodation, healthcare, and cultural activities.
There are various options for arriving in Leipzig.
- Airlines offer daily worldwide connections from/to Leipzig/Halle. There are direct flights to Leipzig/Halle from airports such as Frankfurt am Main, Munich, Stuttgart, Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Zurich, Vienna and Istanbul.
- Leipzig/Halle Airport is a 30-minute drive from the city centre.
- Deutsche Bahn trains run regularly between the airport and Leipzig’s Central Station.
- The airports in Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hanover are also easily accessible from Leipzig. There are rail and coach services between these cities and Leipzig.
- Intercity and Intercity-Express (IC/ICE) services run by Deutsche Bahn connect Leipzig with most major European cities.
- Located in the heart of the city, Leipzig’s Central Station is among the largest and most awe-inspiring train stations in Germany. There are many regional and suburban railway connections linking Leipzig with the surrounding area.
- The coach terminal is right next to the Central Station in the middle of Leipzig.
- From here you can use coach links to other German and European cities, for example on services offered by FlixBus.
- You can reach Leipzig via the A9 (Berlin–Nuremberg) and A14 (Halle–Dresden) autobahns.
Further travel information can be found on the following websites:
Unlike other major German cities, housing in Leipzig is relatively inexpensive and there are plenty of vacant apartments. Nevertheless, as a visiting scholar it can be hard to find an affordable furnished or partly furnished apartment for short- or medium-term rent (between one month and one year). We strongly advise you to start looking for accommodation for yourself and your family several months before coming to Germany.
The University’s guest houses
Our university has apartments for international visiting scholars and their families at two locations:
This accommodation is in extremely high demand, so please make sure that you apply for an apartment in one of the guest houses as early as possible.
Private housing market
Most of the apartments offered on Leipzig’s housing market are unfurnished. Furnished accommodation is rare and therefore usually expensive. Furnished apartments have at least a bed, a table and a cupboard or bookcase.
Landlords often require what’s known as a Kaution when renting an apartment. A Kaution is a deposit, meaning you pay a certain amount of money (usually equivalent to one to two months’ rent, excluding ancillary costs) into a passbook account. The deposit is refunded to the tenant at the end of the rental agreement, provided that the apartment is returned undamaged.
In Leipzig there are a number of housing and room services with a large portfolio of furnished apartments. Some landlords require a scholarship letter or an employment contract as proof that you will be able to pay the rent. In some cases you will also be asked to present your identity card with a valid visa. When first contacting the estate agent or when visiting an apartment, ask them which documents you have to present.
We also advise you only to sign the rental agreement if you fully understand its contents.
These websites can help you find accommodation:
Under certain circumstances, you may receive financial support in the form of Kindergeld (child benefit) for children living with you in Germany:
- if you are registered in Germany and hold a residence title in accordance with Sections 18b, 18c, 18d of the Residence Act or
- if you are a citizen of an EU country, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Morocco, Serbia, Montenegro, Tunisia or Turkey.
Child benefit is paid for every child from birth until the age of 18, or until the age of 25 in the case of children who are still studying or in education. This is the responsibility of the Familienkasse (“Family Benefits Office”), and in some cases of the employer.
Childcare in Leipzig
Children over the age of three are legally entitled to a place at a kindergarten. The City of Leipzig is legally obliged to offer every child between the ages of three and six residing in Leipzig a place at a kindergarten. Children under the age of three are entitled to childcare if their parents are working, in education or if attending a facility is considered necessary for the child’s development.
Children usually start at day-care facilities at the start of the school year (late August/early September). Remaining places are often available from September to December. In the period from January to July, it is difficult to find a place at a children’s day-care facility close to where you live.
In principle, you are free to ask at the facilities in person or contact a local childminder (Tagesmutter or Tagesvater). You can search for a place using the online service at www.meinkitaplatz-leipzig.de. We or the City of Leipzig’s Family Information Office can assist you in searching for a place for your child.
Please find out about places in crèches or kindergartens well in advance and submit your application to the city’s Jugendamt (Department of Children and Family Services) as soon as possible.
- How to apply for a childcare place
- Ticket application for access authorisation to apply for a day-care place
- Bedarfsanmeldung (registration of requirement) for a day-care place
Applying for a childcare place
To apply for a place for your child, you must first notify the Jugendamt (Department of Children and Family Services) by filling in a so-called Bedarfsanmeldung. To do this, you and your child must have already registered at one of Leipzig’s Resident Services Offices. In exceptional urgent cases, it is possible to ask the Jugendamt for a childcare contract for your child up to three months in advance.
If you are not yet registered in Leipzig and urgently need a place after your arrival, please fill in the “ticket application for access authorisation” and send it to the Jugendamt in Leipzig. You will then receive an access code by post, which you can use to search for a place in advance via the parents’ portal.
Should you require further assistance, please complete the request form and send it to Dr Fabricius.
Schools in Leipzig
Regardless of their residence status, all children and adolescents in the Free State of Saxony are required to attend school. In order to facilitate integration in schools, it is vital that children learn German and constantly develop their language skills. With the aim of teaching and promoting German as an educational language, German as a second language (DaZ) has been established as a regular subject and is taught by trained teachers who follow a curriculum. There are also preparatory classes at selected primary schools and secondary schools.
The City of Leipzig provides information on its website about schools in Leipzig offering preparatory classes.
Please refer to this document for comprehensive information about the school system in Saxony.
You do not have to pay fees at these schools. However, parents are required to pay for afternoon supervision if their children participate in after-school activities (known as a Schulhort).
In these classes, language learning takes place in three stages:
- Stage one: German as a second language is taught in the preparatory class. The aim is to establish the general and educational language foundations for participation in regular classes.
- Stage two: German as a second language is taught in the preparatory class and also gradually in regular classes.
- Stage three: Lessons take place in regular classes. It is also possible to receive tailored support for language skills. Lessons in the third stage are possible at all schools.
- If you are coming to Leipzig with school-age children, please contact us at the Welcome Centre for individual advice.
- All children and adolescents arriving in Leipzig also receive initial educational counselling at the Leipzig branch of the state education office.
- The City of Leipzig’s booklet for parents contains more information about the education system.
Schools with foreign language teaching in Leipzig
Leipzig International School (LIS) has approximately 700 pupils from 50 countries. Most pupils come from the United Kingdom, the US, Russia, France, the Netherlands and Germany. The language of instruction is English, but the pupils can also learn German. The school’s fees amount to between 500 and 800 euros per month. Children can learn at Leipzig International School from the age of three (“Early Years”) to grades 11–12.
The Deutsch-Französisches Bildungszentrum Leipzig comprises five institutions that offer education and childcare in German and French – from day care to secondary school. They work according to a consistent, uniform and integrated concept across all institutions. This creates a pedagogical educational complex for bilingual education in German and French, which children can begin at different times: in the day-care centre, at the start of primary school, or when commencing secondary education.
The five institutions of the Deutsch-Französisches Bildungszentrum Leipzig:
- Integrative Kindertagesstätte „Kleiner Muck“
- After-school programme at the Pablo-Neruda-Grundschule
Germany has a sophisticated public transport system. You can reach most destinations with Deutsche Bahn, suburban railway (S-Bahn) services, buses, trams and, in some cities, underground trains.
Cycling is a practical alternative to public transport in Leipzig. The city has an extensive network of cycle paths.
Leipzig has a very good public transport system. It includes buses, trams and S-Bahn trains. If you are spending a long time in Leipzig and often travel by public transport, it may be worth investing in a weekly or monthly ticket.
For more information, fares and timetables, please refer to the Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe website.
Make sure that you have a valid ticket with you every time you travel by public transport. You must buy tickets before departure. Ticket inspectors patrol buses and trams, and you may face a large fine if you are caught travelling without a valid ticket (known in German as Schwarzfahren).
Taxis are expensive in Germany, which is why many people only use them in special situations – for example at night or when travelling with a lot of luggage.
Ride-sharing services (Mitfahrzentralen) can be an alternative to the public transport system, especially for travelling long distances. Car owners use these services to offer spaces to passengers, usually when they are planning a long drive. More information is available from Mitfahrzentrale Leipzig
You can take German courses at various establishments in our city:
- The interDaF association at Leipzig University’s Herder Institute offers courses for international scholars and doctoral researchers.
- The Adult Education Centre (VHS) Leipzig offers a variety of German language courses.
- International doctoral candidates who are enrolled at our university may apply to take German classes at the Studienkolleg Sachsen alongside their research activities.
- Wordcraft Leipzig offers German language courses for groups and individuals.
- The City of Leipzig also provides dedicated integration and language learning services. This includes integration courses for family members.
A brochure published by the Federal Employment Agency contains comprehensive information about learning German.
There are several public holidays in Germany. Make the most of these and discover the extensive range of cultural and leisure activities available in Leipzig and the wider region:
- New Year’s Day: 1 January
- Good Friday: Friday before Easter
- Easter Sunday/Easter Monday: dates change every year; usually late March or early April
- May Day: 1 May
- Ascension Thursday: changes every year, 10 days before Whitsun
- Whit Sunday/Whit Monday: dates change every year; late May or early June
- Day of German Unity: 3 October
- Reformation Day (in Saxony): 31 October
- Buß- und Bettag (in Saxony): 3rd Wednesday in November
- Christmas Eve: 24 December (after 2pm)
- Christmas Day/ Boxing Day: 25 and 26 December
- New Year’s Eve: 31 December (after 2pm)
Leipzig New Lakeland
Famous for its many lakes, the area around Leipzig is often referred to as Leipzig New Lakeland. From the train station you can reach most of the surrounding lakes in about half an hour by bus or tram.
You can find all the information you need for your trip to Leipzig’s New Lakeland Area at LeipzigSeen.
The City of Leipzig’s guide to the healthcare system is published in several languages and offers information about various aspects of healthcare and prevention:
- public health service of the City of Leipzig
- health insurance
- special regulations on medical care in accordance with Book XII of the Social Code and the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act (AsylbLG)
- general medical and dental care
- staying in hospital
- emergency situations
- directory with the most important emergency numbers, addresses and telephone numbers of health services, hospitals, emergency services and advice centres in Leipzig.
Doctors who speak foreign languages
Details of registered doctors and therapists who speak another language in addition to German can be found in a List published by the City of Leipzig.
In the database of the Saxon Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KVS) you can search for specialist doctors near you.
Leipzig Student Services has compiled an illustrated Health Dictionary in German and English.