Researcher Visa

Residence permit for researchers

International scientists and researchers often need a visa to enter Germany. A residence permit is also occasionally required. Whether you need the documents depends on which country you come from and how long you want to stay.

  • § Sections 18 d, 18e, 18c of the Residence Act contain regulations on the immigration of researchers for a research stay in Germany.

Pursuant to § 18d (1) of the Residence Act, a foreigner (so-called third-country national) is granted a residence permit pursuant to Directive (EU) 2016/801 for the purpose of research under special circumstances without the approval of the Federal Employment Agency.

General and special conditions for granting the permit:

Since the Skilled Workers’ Immigration Act systematically assigns researchers to the regulations on skilled workers, the general conditions as well as the specific conditions for granting a residence permit under § 18d Residence Act must be examined. Contrary to § 18 (2) sentence 1 no. 1, however, no employment relationship must be established; research stays by scholarship holders, for example, are enough. What is required here is the submission of an effective Hosting Agreement or a corresponding research contract between the applicant and a research institution for the purpose of carrying out a specific research project.

For the granting of a residence permit in accordance with § 18d (1) in conjunction with (2) and (3) or (6) of the Residence Act, the general prerequisites of § 5 apply without restriction. According to these, the coveted title must be granted.

A distinction must be made between recognized and non-recognized research institutions with which the researcher concludes corresponding contracts or agreements.

– Recognized research institutions within the meaning of § 18d in conjunction with § Section 38 a (1) of the Residence Regulation can also be companies that conduct research.

– Research at a non-recognized research institution also falls within the scope of § 18d Residence Act A non-recognized institution nevertheless conducts research within the meaning of section 18d(1) sentence 1 no. 1b if it is systematically carried out creative work with the aim of expanding the body of knowledge, including knowledge of applicant, culture and society, and if this knowledge is used with the aim of finding new applications.

 Since recognition as a research institution by the BAMF is only granted for a limited period of time (section 38 a (4) AufenthV) and is also withdrawn or revoked if certain conditions are met (section 38 b AufenthV), it must be determined on the Internet prior to each granting of a residence permit pursuant to section 18d (1) or (6) on the basis of the list of recognized research institutions and the general declarations of cost absorption whether the research institution is still recognized (cf. section 38 e AufenthV) or whether it is a non-recognized research institution within the meaning of no. 1b.

Here you will find a list of the recognized research institutions and the general BAMF cost coverage statements:

Livelihood security:

There is no minimum wage limit. For a researcher as a specialist with an academic education, the salary must be adequate to cover the cost of living.

Declaration of assumption of costs / waiver of submission of the assumption of costs

As a rule, the applicant must submit a written cost assumption statement from the research institution (exceptions see § 18d paras. 2 and 3 Residence Act). In this declaration, the institution must undertake to bear the costs incurred by the public authorities for up to six months after the termination of the Hosting Agreement or the contract by the alien’s subsistence during an unauthorized stay in a Member State of the European Union and deportation of the alien.

As a rule, the requirement of a written declaration of assumption of costs is to be waived in accordance with § 18d, paragraph 2, sentence 1 of the Residence Act in the case of publicly funded research institutions.

The research institution may also submit the declaration pursuant to subsection 1 sentence 1 no. 2 to the BAMF in general for all foreigners who are granted a residence permit on the basis of a hosting agreement concluded with it (submission of general assumption of costs declaration).

How can the researchers apply for a visa?

To apply for a visa, please contact the German embassy or consulate in your home country. You can find the addresses of the German authorities abroad on the website of the Federal Foreign Office. There you can also find out exactly which documents you need. The applications and all necessary documents can usually be downloaded directly from the websites of the missions abroad.

Usually following documents are required:

– valid passport

– proof of a contract or approval from a college, university or recognized research center for the purpose of research

– Proof of health insurance

– Proof of financing

– Proof of previous academic achievements and language skills (English or German)

– A recognized university degree (Master’s or Doctorate)

– possibly a health certificate

For how long I get the residence permit:

If the duration is indefinite, the permit is usually issued for three years. This does not apply to cases pursuant to § 18d para. 1 sentence 1 no. 1b at non-recognized research institutions. Here, the residence permit is to be granted and extended for 1 year in each case.

Privileged regulations apply to family members of the researchers who are entitled to join them:

– Pursuant to § 30, Subsection 1, Sentence 3, No. 5 of the Residence Act, the requirement of German language proficiency is waived in a simple manner for the spouses of the researchers to join their spouses.

– Pursuant to § 32, Subsection 2, Sentence 2, No. 2, Residence Act, the unmarried minor child of a researcher who is willing to join the family and has already reached the age of 16 may receive a residence permit even if he or she does not speak German.

For more details please contact us.

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