Research can be done directly in the German universities or institutions or may be conducted internally by the companies and for relevant field of industry. Grant of residency for research purposes are verified in Section 20 of the Residence Act Germany.

Who is eligible?


Applicants of EU/EEA (including Switzerland) and citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the United States of America shall not be subject to entry visa requirement to come to Germany for research study, however within 3 months as of the date of arrival in Germany should refer to the local immigration office in order to make an application for residency under the title of research study in Germany. This request should be made during or before laps of three months as of the date of arrival in Germany.  

Other citizens that are considered as third country citizens should apply for the entrance visa before the local German Embassy or Consulate under the title of research study in Germany. Upon entering to Germany, application to getting the residency permit under the named title should be made before the local immigration office in the city of your location in Germany.  

Research Work

The Excellence Initiative (Exzellenzeinitiative) run by the federal government and Länder, support top-level research in German universities. This will make Germany more attractive location for research activity. Along with universities, the institutes funded by the government play also a major role in leading research in Germany. Some of these institutions include Frauenhofer-Gesellschaft, Max-Planck Society, Helmholtz Association and the Leibniz Association. The research bodies conduct the research in multitude of different domains including the environment and energy sector, biomedicine and humanities and public, political and industrial sectors.

This type of residency authorise employment as laid down in the hosting agreement. Getting consent of the German Federal Employment Agency is not required for grant of residence title. Article 20 subsection 6 Residence Act authorise lecturing for the applicant. 

What are advantages?

Family Reunion

Family Reunion of spouse and minor children for the person who gains residency visa for research activity is possible. The applicant should prove that adequate financial resources for supporting the family is available in Germany. The accommodation facility for the family based on number of family members should also be prepared. Getting health insurance for the family and having basic German knowledge (A1) for the spouse are of other requirements. The spouse shall have right of work in German market however finding a job will depend on her personal qualifications on one side and acceptance of the Federal Employment Agency on the other hand. 

Mobility in the EU

Researchers granted a residence permit per Article 20 Residence Act can carry out part of their research in other EU member states except for the United Kingdom and Denmark.

Researchers holding residence title in other EU member states can carry out part of their studies in Germany. However for residency more than 3 months under this title providing a hosting agreement and liability declaration letter with the accredited German institution is needed. 

What are requirements?

1.Hosting Agreement

Hosting Agreement with the University or Institution in Germany is required. The Applicant should conclude a hosting agreement with recognised universities and research institutions and organisations in Germany. The hosting agreement is a private contract that should cover minimum requirements for grant of residency visa including to cover financial matters and also residence title. The research organisation should also be an accredited institution in the Federal Republic of Germany. For further information in this regard you can refer to BAMF link.  

Furthermore, a written declaration by the accredited institution is needed to accept thorough liability for the costs which might arise to any public sector entity for the period of up to 6 months after expiry of the hosting agreement.

2.Letter of Your Local University

In case you have an agreement with your local university to spend the research period in a German university, you should provide a letter from your university confirming that you will return to your home land after ending the research study. If the university at your home land is also your sponsor, you should provide this as approval for your maintenance in Germany during term of your residency. Under this conditions, approval of the German university or institution for your acceptance as researcher is needed.  

3.Academic records

Presenting your educational and academic records including language proficiency certificate as support for gaining the research visa is required. 

4.Financial Maintenance

Bank statement or guarantee that prove you are capable to cover your charges and expenses for the period of your stay in Germany is needed. In case you are getting employed in Germany, showing the employment agreement with amount of salary prove your financial stability. If you are employed in your home land and will continue receiving salary during your presence time in Germany, you can present relevant agreement. Otherwise, in case that financial expenses are covered by a sponsor or personally as a freelancer, relevant supporting documents should be provided.   

5.Health Insurance

You should provide an insurance that cover you for your stay in Germany. It can be a travel insurance or insurance in your home land that also provide coverage for Germany. Upon arrival in Germany you can change your insurance to a private or public German insurance depending on the type of job and employment agreement you will have.   

6. Accommodation

Having accommodation in Germany could be proved by a hotel reservation (only for short time to be changed into a rental agreement) or invitation by a friend or family or university accommodation and rental agreement of a flat or house. However upon your arrival in Germany you should get registered in the place of your residency based on the rental agreement or approval letter of the landlord.

7.Common Needed Documents

CV and Motivation Letter

Valid Passport

Filled out application form

Biometric photo

Proof of Civil Status such as Marriage certificate and birth certificate of children


It is recommended that needed documents would be checked with the local consulate of Germany at your country. Furthermore, you should prepare yourself for an interview at the German Consulate upon your visa application. It may be very time consuming to get an appointment from local Consulate or until the application is processed. Therefore you need to plan in advance and check for the appointment and processing timing with the local Consulate. 

What should I do after entering Germany?

Address Registration (Anmeldung)

Upon your arrival in the city of your residency and at the place of your stay, you should take an appointment from the local immigration office to register your address and getting approval of your residency address. This action can be taken in the first two weeks as of the date of your arrival. 

Residency Permit

Normally the local German Consulate issue an entry visa verifying the purpose of your stay and residency. The visa is valid for 3 months during which time you should travel to Germany. Upon your arrival in Germany, you should apply by the local immigration office to get the residency permit. Grant of residency permit at the local immigration office shall be subject to submitting of required documents including the application form and payment of the fee. Upon consideration and its approval the residency card shall be issued for you.