Visa Information

As a general rule, foreigners require a visa to enter the country and a residence permit ("Aufenthaltserlaubnis") for stays of a longer duration. The following guidelines are intended to inform you about the paper work necessary to enable you to stay in Germany. They are extracted from the "MPG Guidelines for Scientists New to Germany" published on January 2nd, 2002.


1. Visa Application for the Federal Republic of Germany

In order to be eligible for a Aufenthaltsgenehmigung , you must apply for a visa from the German consular representative with jurisdiction over your place of residence in your home country.

The Max Planck Institute (MPI) will send you a letter of invitation which includes a mention of the duration of your stay in Germany, confirmation of the fellowship received from the Max Planck Institute verifying that it covers your living costs; and finally confirmation that the fellowship is from public funds for the purpose of performing scientific research in Germany.
(This corresponds to Art. 11 para. 2 point 2 of the law on non-German nationals [ DVAus1G ] regarding visas).

Once you have submitted the letter of invitation to the local German consular representative, you will receive a visa in your passport. The visa includes your name, expiry date and mention that it is only valid for your work as a scientist at the MPI.

Usually, the first Aufenthaltsgenehmigung is valid for as long as the duration of your scholarship/fellowship, and can be extended at the local foreign registration office, provided you are registered at the residents’ registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt).
It is important to note that this visa does not permit you to travel to other European countries because it is not an Aufenthaltsgenehmigung according to the Schengen Agreement. However, once you receive a residence authorisation from the local foreign registration office ( Ausländerbehörde ) in Germany, you are allowed to travel to other EU countries.

If your spouse and/or children plan to travel with you, their full names, birth place and date of birth must be included in the written confirmation you receive from the Max Planck Institute. If they plan to travel at a later date, a similar form must be filled out. Family members must always apply for a visa to visit Germany. If family members wish to stay longer than the expiry date in their visa, they must go to the local foreign registration office and apply for an extension. When the visa expires, the family members have to return to their home country and apply for a new visa should they wish to return to Germany.


2. Registration in Germany

As soon as you have a fixed address in Germany, you are obliged to register yourself at the local residents’ registration office. Here you receive a copy of your registration (Meldebescheinigung).
The next step involves going to the foreign registration office to apply for an Aufenthaltsgenehmigung. This involves presenting the authorities the copy of registration mentioned above and filling out an additional form which is available at information booths or in the waiting areas at the foreign registration office. Finally, you are required to submit everything including a passport photo.

The first Aufenthaltsgenehmigung is valid for 3 months. When you are issued this, you will also be told which documents you have to bring with you the next time you visit the foreign registration office. Normally, the officials require documentation of your health insurance, written confirmation of your fellowship status at the Max Planck Institute.

After 3 months have lapsed, you will receive an Aufenthaltsgenehmigung which is valid for one year.


3. Work Permit Applications

Foreign fellowship holders do not require a work permit because they are not employees. The same goes for students as long as they work no more than 90 days or 3 months a year.


Administrative Contact:

Please contact Elfriede Stangl from the administrative office for more information:

Phone: +49 (89) 24246 - 306
E-Mail: stangl@vw.intellecprop.mpg.de