Can I come to Germany and work as a researcher?
Germany has numerous significant research institutes. If you want to come to Germany to work as a researcher from outside the EU, you need a visa or a residence permit for the purpose of research according to §18d Residence Act.
On July 7th, 2023, a new skilled worker immigration law was passed. It includes numerous changes and amendments to facilitate the immigration of skilled workers and make Germany more attractive to them. It is unclear when exactly these changes and amendments will be enforced. When the time comes, we will update our website– we encourage you to visit us regularly to stay well informed. If you have any further questions, you can always visit our community platform, “Together in Germany”– our community managers will be happy to help!
What do I need to know?
You can obtain a visa as a researcher if you meet the following requirements:
- You have a hosting agreement with a research institution recognised by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). A list of currently recognised research institutions is available at bamf.de.
- The research project must actually be carried out.
- Your specific knowledge or skills can be proven by certificates, etc.
- In principle, the research institute must also pledge (in writing) to secure your livelihood and to cover any costs that may arise from possible further unauthorised residence or deportation.
If you need a visa to enter Germany, the first step is to apply for one at the German embassy/consulate in your home country or a neighbouring country and present the required documents.
Please note that your visa application can take several months to process.
If you do not need a visa to enter Germany, visit the Immigration Office at your new place of residence after your entry and present the required documents.
Whether you need a visa depends on your country of origin. On auswaertiges-amt.de, you will find a list of countries whose citizens need an entry visa to come to Germany.
In our chapter "National Visa", you will find a list of all documents third-country nationals need for a national visa.
For a research visa, you will also need the following documents:
- A hosting agreement from a research institution recognised by the BAMF. A list of currently recognised research institutes is available at bamf.de.
- A confirmation from the research institute that the research project has actually been carried out
- Evidence of your specific knowledge and skills
- A declaration of commitment by the research institute to cover all costs
After entering the country, you must report to the Immigration Office at your new place of residence within three months and apply for a residence permit. To do so, you must submit the documents mentioned above as well as, in principle, a police registration certificate and a rental agreement. The authorities will check your papers and then decide whether you can obtain a residence permit.
You can then stay in Germany for at least one year and do your research work. If the requirements are still met, the residence permit can be extended.
After you have finished your work at the research institute, you can apply for a residence permit to look for another job. For researchers, this residence permit is valid for nine months. You can apply for a residence permit directly at the Immigration Office responsible for you.