Visa regulations/ residence permit
If you are a EU citizen you do not need a visa to enter Germany. Additionally you do not need a residence permit.
Non-EU citizens of EEA (Europaen Economic Area) countries and Switzerland
Citizens of EEA countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway) and Switzerland do neither need a visa nor a residence permit to enter and work in Germany.
Please check the website of the German Federal Foreign Office, whether or not you need a visa to enter Germany.
Non-EU citizens of all other countries
Prior to entering Germany you need to apply for a visa at an embassy or consulate in your home country. Please take into consideration that processing your visa application can take up to three months. You also need to make sure that you apply for the correct visa. There are different types of visa. Applying for the appropriate visa is essential. The visa type always depends on the purpose of the stay in Germany, e.g.
- Student visa (§16),
- Permanent settlement permit for graduates of German universities (§18b),
- Permanent settlement permit for highly qualified foreigners (§19a),
- Research visa (§20).
When you apply for a visa, please indicate clearly the purpose of your stay.
- As a PhD student you should not enter the country with a tourist visa because this cannot be converted into a residence permit after your arrival.
- We strongly advise against entering Germany with a Schengen Visa. Once in Germany you will not be able to apply for a residence permit allowing for employment.
- If you have spouse and he/she wishes to work in Germany, you should state this in your visa application. Once in Germany it is not possible to apply for a work permit.