What are the requirements to receive a visa for research?
You have concluded a hosting agreement or a work contract with a research institute in Germany.
The research institute commits itself in writing to cover your living and travel costs back to your country of origin, which otherwise have to be covered by public funds. This commitment applies for up to 6 months after the research position has ended. This clause is not applicable if your research position is primarily funded by public funds.
Doctoral students from third countries can obtain a residence permit for research. As a requirement, they must complete their doctoral thesis as part of a work contract with a research facility in Germany. If the research position is a component of the PhD program as a full-time program, only a visa for studying can be issued.
Mobility arrangements for international researchers
International researchers from non-EU member states who are legally residing in EU Member States may perform part of their research in Germany. In such cases, there are two options that allow you to stay in Germany:
A residence permit for short-term research stays is not required: if you already hold a residence title from another EU Member State for the purpose of research, and you would like to stay in Germany for a maximum of 180 days within 360 days as part of a research project, you do not need to apply for a German visa or residence permit. The only requirement to fulfil is that the research institute in Germany for which you will be conducting research must inform the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) about the planned research. Go to the website of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) to find out what your research institute needs to inform the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees about, in addition to the procedure for doing so.
Residence permit for mobile researchers: Are you planning a stay for research purposes that will last longer than 180 days and no longer than a year? If so, you require a residence permit for mobile researchers in accordance with Section 18f AufenthG (Germany Residence Act). The following requirements must be fulfilled:
You must hold a valid residence title of another EU Member State for research purposes. This permit must be valid for the duration of your planned stay in Germany for research purposes.
You must submit a copy of a valid passport or travel document issued in lieu of a passport.
You have a concluded a hosting agreement or a contract with a research facility in Germany.
You must apply for the residence permit at your local Foreigners' Authority at least 30 days prior to starting your stay in Germany. The application can also be submitted to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).
Further information on career opportunities for international scientists and researchers can be obtained in the Research section.
At a glance: Visa for research
From the preparations to the application forms: This step-by-step guide shows you how to get a visa for research.
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A hosting agreement is concluded between a recognised research institution and an international researcher. It serves as the basis for granting a residence title for research purposes.
The Immigration Act provides for two titles which govern entry and residence in Germany: the settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) and the residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis). The residence permit is temporary and is granted for a specific reason, such as gainful employment, training or family reunification, or else for humanitarian, legal or political reasons.
The settlement permit has permanent validity and entitles holders to exercise gainful employment. People applying for a settlement permit have to satisfy specific requirements which are laid down in the Residence Act.
A residence title entitles people from abroad to enter and reside in Germany. Residence titels may be granted in the form of a visa, residence permit, an EU Blue Card, a settlement permit, or a permanent EC residence permit.