Germany, the land of invention and innovation, has become an attractive opportunity for researchers of different fields, among other professionals. The Western European country is an opened gateway for all those who wish to carry researches and have all types of means to do so.
Because of visa restrictions, entrance policies and regulations of the Federal Republic of Germany, depending on the country you come from, you might or might not need a visa, in order to enter the country and develop your research. Depending on the country of origin researchers wishing to carry a research in Germany are separated into three different categories, which show whether they need a visa, a residence permit, none or both, as follows:
- Applicants who are citizens of one of the member countries of the European Union, the European Economic area or the European Free Trade Area, do not need any type of visa or residence permit in order to enter the country and carry their research. Nonetheless, if one intends to stay in Germany for more than three months, even if he or she is a citizen of the above mentioned category, a registration at the local authorities is a must.
- Applicants who are nationals of Australia, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of South Korea, United States of America do not need to obtain any type of visa in order to enter the Federal Republic of Germany and carry out their research.all they need is a valid passport. Regardless of that, they still need to register at the local authorities the Resident Registration Office or Citizen Service upon their arrival in Germany, and cannot work until they receive the work permit.
- As per applicants who are nationals of other countries, not part of the categories mentioned above, they must obtain a visa in order to be able to enter Germany and develop their research. The Immigration Authorities in Germany have established the so called Germany long stay Researcher Visa, for researchers of these countries who wish to come to Germany and work for a period longer than 3 months. Those who wish to carry a research for a period shorter than three months, they can take a Short Stay Researcher Visa (C Visa).
There are some specific requirements regarding this type of visa, which is under the National Visa category, else known as D Visa. You have to apply for a D Visa even if you are staying in another European Country, because it is the country of origin that is taken into account when applying.
When you apply for this type of visa, and you are planning to visit other countries during your stay in Germany for work purposes as per example to attend a conference or training, you should mention this in your visa application in order to be able to obtain the so-called hybrid visa, which is a combination of C Visa and D Visa categories.
In order for a researcher to be eligible for this type of visa, there is a perquisite for a hosting agreement to be drawn up and signed by the international researcher and a research institute in Germany.
Germany long stay Researcher Visa Requirements
The Germany long stay Researcher Visa aside from the common required documents for a visa, as the application form, passport and photographs, also has some specific requirements as it is an invitation letter from German university / research institute confirming conditions of your stay in Germany. The required documents for this type of visa are as follows:
- Application form – fulfill the application form, print it twice and sign both copies at the end.
- Two passport photographs according to the strict requirements – 35mm x 45mm, frontal shot with neutral facial expression and closed mouth, looking straight into the camera, light background and contrast-color clothing.
- Valid national passport which has been issued within the last 10 years, but not older, and with at least 12 months validity left after the scheduled return.
- A copy of your passport’s data page (A4 size copy)
- A confirmation letter from your health insurance stating coverage for emergency medical or hospitalization with a minimum of 30,000 Euros.
- Flight reservation, rail tickets or tickets for other means of travel, which show the dates you plan to enter and leave the Federal Republic of Germany.
- Proof of accommodation – you must show proof that you have your accomodation organized during your whole planned stay in Germany. That could be hotel booking, or rent contract if you have rented a room or a flat. If you are staying over at friends or relatives, then they should submit proof that they have enough room for you.
- Means of subsistence – which show that you are able to financially maintain yourself during your whole stay in Germany. That could be a bank statement not older than three days, which shows you have enough money in your bank account. A contract or letter from the hosting university / institution confirming your monthly payment or scholarship you are going to receive.
- Personal covering letter explaining the purpose of your stay in Germany, period of stay and other details. Must be very convincing.
- No-objection letter of your local university / research institute which states that you have contractual obligations in your home country which you have to and will return to.
- Invitation letter from German university / research institute confirming conditions of your stay in Germany, including payment (scholarship).
- Proof of academic qualification (academic Degree Certificate, or mark sheets) – in original.
- Proof of civil status: Marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, death certificate of spouse
- Proof of paid visa fee – 60 Euro (Since 14 May 2008, the fee for all types of visas has been EUR 60). In case of your visa gets rejected you will not get reimbursed.
*Note that each original document has to be offered with 2 (two) photocopies. Do not staple any of the documents!
The German embassy or consulate or your country of residence, may also ask you to provide proof that you do not have any criminal record. You shall obtain the document at the authorities in your country of residence.
Please keep in mind that your passport will remain at the German Embassy / Consulate where you have applied during the entire process of visa proceeding. If you need to withdraw your passport for any reason, whether it be traveling or else, your application will be canceled. You then will have to schedule another appointment for when you can leave your passport at the embassy during the time your appointment is being reviewed.
Extra documents may be required by the visa officer upon the visa interview. Take care to submit them all.
Germany long stay Researcher Visa Application Process
- After you have collected all the required documents, including the application form, take care to photocopy each original twice. The application form should be filled online, then printed twice. Sign both copies at the end.
- Make an appointment through the website of the German mission in your country, embassy or consulate.
- On the day of the appointment, be there on time with all of the required documents. Do not be late since if you are late even for a few minutes they will probably cancel your appointment.
- In general the submission process takes around 10 minutes to complete. Please make sure that the official person at the application center will check and verify all of your documents.
- After you pay the visa fee, you will be issued a receipt which you have to keep in order to collect your processed application.
After you receive your visa check visa data for possible mistakes. Pay particular attention to the visa start and end dates, the correct spelling of your name, as well as the number of entries you were granted.
Extending Your Researcher Visa
The extension of the Long Term Researcher Visa is possible, but you must make an appointment with the foreigners’ registration office of the city you are staying in Germany, at least two months before your visa expiration. On the day of the appointment brig all the documents you have with you. A cover letter why you wish to extend your stay and also a letter from the research university / institution stating that they would like you to carry on for a few more months with your research would a huge plus. The renewal fee is about 80 euro.
Bringing Spouses and Children to Germany
After you obtain your Researcher Long Term Visa and come to Germany, you have the possibility to bring your children and spouse with you. You should note that it is a condition for your children to be underage and not married. You also must fulfill other requirements as:
- You have to prove that you have enough living space for the family members you want to bring in Germany (as judged by the German authorities)
- You have to show you can financially support yourself and the family members that are going to join you.
- You should submit proof that these family members have at least basic German knowledge.
Your spouse is also eligible to work in Germany during his or her stay. But the approval of the Federal Employment Agency to take up employment, is a must.