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Academics and Research

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Why is there a distinction between visiting academics and researchers?
In German immigration context a researcher is an academic with a specific hosting agreement called an “Aufnahmevereinbarung” as defined by the EU REST Directive 2016/801. All other applicants are classed as “visiting academics”.

Visa-free travel

British nationals do not require visas or residence permits for self-funded or scholarship-funded research not exceeding 90 days within a 180-day period. This privilege also applies to all other nationals who do not require visas for visits not exceeding 90 days.

For any stay exceeding the time limit above or funded through employment, British citizens may apply to the local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) for their residence permit after arrival in Germany and without having obtained a visa prior to travelling to Germany. Please note that any application for a residence permit needs to be filed within the first 90 days of your stay in Germany. This privilege is also extended to citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Korea (Republic) and the United States of America. It is important to note that you may only take up employment once you have been issued a residence permit explicitly authorising such employment.

All other nationalities require a visa prior to travelling to Germany.

General information

Why is there a distinction between visiting academics and researchers?
In the German immigration context a researcher is an academic with a specific hosting agreement called an “Aufnahmevereinbarung” as defined by the EU REST Directive 2016/801. All other applicants are classed as “visiting academics”.

How to apply for your visa:

1. Complete the online application form, print two copies of the form including the barcodes and sign both copies (separate application forms are required for each applicant; all children require separate forms).

2. Compile your supporting documentation:

  • Two printouts of the online application form including barcodes
  • Valid passport signed by the holder, issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least 3 months beyond the validity of the visa applied for. The passport needs to have at least 2 subsequent blank pages.
  • 2 photocopies of the passport biodata page
  • Current UK residence permit (BRP)/ visa (foreign residents only).
  • 2 photocopies of the permit/ visa
  • 2 fully biometric passport photos, 35 x 45 mm, no older than three months. Digitally altered passport photos cannot be accepted.
  • Researchers: Original of the hosting agreement (“Aufnahmevereinbarung”), needs to be signed. Any salary paid must be indicated clearly.
  • 2 photocopies of the hosting agreement
  • Visiting academics funded through employment: 2 copies of the Employer’s declaration (“Erklärung zum Beschäftigungsverhältnis”) completed by the hosting Institution (download form here)
  • Visiting academics funded through scholarship: 2 copies of the Confirmation of scholarship
  • Self-funded visiting academics: Other evidence of sufficient funds to cover your living expenses:
  • German or UK bank statements for an account in your name for a minimum of three months showing that you hold a continuous and sustainable balance equalling EUR 947/month of stay.
  • OR blocked account holding minimum EUR 947 for each month of stay (2021 requirement, subject to change)
  • OR formal commitment (“Verpflichtungserklärung”) by sponsor resident in Germany
  • OR combination of the above
  • Confirmation of health insurance cover in line with the level of statutory German public health insurance (“gesetzliche Kankenversicherung”).
  • 2 copies of your professional/ academic curriculum vitae
  • Researcher visas are issued free of charge, in all other cases visa fees apply.
  • Processing time: For some visa categories, we will require approval from other German government agencies, such as the Federal Employment Agency (“Bundesagentur für Arbeit”) or the local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”). If you have previously lived in Germany this will add to processing times, as the immigration office may need to look into your previous immigration record. Once a decision has been made on your application, we will contact you.

    In this visa category, most applications are typically processed within 2 weeks.

    Although we will provide you with a file number, please understand that we cannot respond to questions regarding the status of your visa application. Should we have any questions or should we require additional documentation to process your application, we will contact you.

3. Book an appointment to apply for your visa.

Where to book your appointment/ apply for your visa:

Please apply directly to the German Mission having jurisdiction for your place of residence

Additional information

If your application is successful, you will be issued with a limited-validity entry visa - similar to a UK entry clearance. Once you have arrived in Germany please register your new residence with the local authorities (“Meldebehörde”) within 2 weeks of having moved in and apply to your local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) for your Electronic Residence Permit.

Further information on living and working in Germany is available here.

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