British nationals do not require visas or residence permits for self-funded or scholarship-funded research stays not exceeding 90 days within a 180-day period.
British nationals also do not require visas or residence permits for research stays funded through employment provided that the employment does not exceed 90 days within a 12-month period and each individual stay does not exceed 90 days within a 180-day period.
These privileges also applies to all other nationals who do not require visas for visits not exceeding 90 days.
For any stay exceeding the time limits 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. We strongly recommend contacting the local immigration office as soon as possible after your arrival in Germany in order to secure a timely appointment. The visa-free privilege is also extended to citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Korea (Republic), New Zealand and the United States of America.
Please note that you may only take up employment once you have been issued a residence permit explicitly authorising such employment. You may also choose to apply for a visa prior to travel, effectively permitting employment from the first day of visa validity.
All other nationalities require a visa prior to travelling to Germany.
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”.
Under German law, all residents must have sufficient health insurance cover. Please read our additional information on health insurance requirements.
How to apply for your visa:
1. Complete the VIDEX online application form, print one copy of the form including the barcode page (page 7) and sign the form on pages 5 and 6. Separate application forms are required for each applicant; all children also require separate forms.
2. Compile your supporting documentation to bring to your appointment:
- Printout of the online application form including barcodes (as under #1)
- Valid passport signed by the holder, issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least six months. The passport needs to have at least 2 consecutive blank pages (i.e. a blank double page spread).
Plus 1 photocopy of the passport biodata page
- Current UK residence permit (BRP)/ visa (non-British applicants only).
Plus 1 photocopy of the permit/visa
- 2 fully biometric passport photos, size 35 x 45 mm. Consult our FAQs for detailed requirements.
Hosting agreement (Aufnahmevereinbarung), signed by both parties. For any salary paid the actual amount must be indicated. Self-funded researchers and researchers funded through a scholarship must have sufficient funds, minimum EUR 1.027 for each month of stay (2023 requirement, subject to change).
- Visiting academics funded through employment:
Employer’s declaration (Erklärung zum Beschäftigungsverhältnis) completed by the hosting institution (download form here)
- Visiting academics funded through scholarship:
Confirmation by hosting institution and confirmation of scholarship
Self-funded visiting academics:
Confirmation by hosting institution
Evidence of sufficient funds minimum EUR 1.027 for each month of stay (2023 requirement, subject to change). Options below may be combined, provided that the total requirement is being met:
- 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,
- OR blocked account,
- OR formal commitment (Verpflichtungserklärung) by sponsor resident in Germany
- Confirmation of health insurance cover in line with the level of statutory German public health insurance (gesetzliche Kankenversicherung).
- Professional/ academic curriculum vitae
Prepaid, self-addressed Royal Mail Special Delivery return envelope (up to 500g) in order to return your passport after processing (not applicable for applications submitted to a Visa Application Centre run by our external service provider, TLScontact).
- 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:
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. We strongly recommend contacting the local immigration office as soon as possible after your arrival in Germany in order to secure a timely appointment.
Further information on living and working in Germany is available here.