Visas and Entrance Formalities
The requirement of a visa to enter Germany depends on the citizenship as well as the planned length of stay of the visitor. The following is an overview of the most important German visa and entrance regulations.
New immigration law in force since 01.03.2020. Please note that among others a lot of paragraph numbers have changed.
Information for British citizens regarding Brexit
Information of the Federal Ministry of the Interior for British citizens living in Germany after Brexit
Booking appointments online at immigration office Heidelberg
The immigration office Heidelberg offers booking of appointments online.
Online application for residence permits in Heidelberg
From now on the immigration office Heidelberg offers an online application for residence permits.
Apply for Residence Permits
Since 1.August 2017 residence permits for scholars (Postdoc) from Non-EU counties have been limited to two types: Residence permit for researcher (§18d (former §20) Residence Act) and Blue Card EU (§18b (former §19a) Residence Act). The Blue Card is only available for researcher with employment and minimun salary. [More...]
Blue Card EU (§18b (former §19a) Residence Act)
A new residence permit, the so-called Blue Card EU (§18b Aufenthaltsgesetz), was introduced in August 2012 with the new law on guidelines for highly qualified applicants. Scientists and scholars from countries outside of the EU can apply for the Blue Card EU as a temporary work permit. [More...]
Visa / residence permit for researcher (§18d (former §20) Residence Act)
Since Mai 2011 non-EU nationals intending to do research at Heidelberg University can apply for a "researcher visa" and residence permit for the purpose of research (§18d AufenthG or EU researcher regulations). [More...]
Citizens of EU countries and those of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland do not need a visa. A personal identification card is sufficient to enter Germany. Swiss citizens still have to apply for a residence permit, if they stay longer than 3 month in Germany. Please remember to register your place of residence within one week after arriving in Heidelberg at one of the local Residents’ Offices.
Citizens of the above countries can also enter German without a visa. For a stay longer than three months you will, however, need a residence permit. You can apply for this after your arrival at the Foreigners' Registration Office of the city of Heidelberg. Please remember to also register your place of residence within one week after arriving in Heidelberg at one of the local Residents’ Offices.
Please note: In case you will receive an employment agreement by Heidelberg University it can be nevertheless useful to apply for a visa. Since the electronic residence permit (eAT) has been introduced in September 2011 the duration of the application procedure can be lengthened significantly. And if you are planning to work for more than 3 months you will only be able to do so with a valid visa or residence permit. If you have any questions regarding the matter we will be happy to advise you.
Short stays of less than three months
If your stay in Germany will not be longer than 90 days per half year, a so-called Schengen visa (C Visa) is generally sufficient. You must apply for this at a German consulate or embassy in your home country before coming to Germany.
Please note: A Schengen visa can not be extended or changed to cover a different purpose. You must leave Germany at the latest when the three months are over.
Stays of longer than three months
If you are planning to stay in Germany for more than three months, you will need a national visa (D-Visa). You must apply for this at a German consulate or embassy in your home country before coming to Germany.
In this case, do not enter Germany with a Schengen Visa (C Visa)! The Schengen visa is only valid for three months and can not be extended. After the three months are up, you must travel back to your home country at your own cost and apply there for an appropriate visa.
The national visa, however, allows you to enter and stay in Germany. To travel within the first three months of your stay to another Schengen country (for example to a conference) is possible.
The national visa is generally issued for a period of three months. After entering Germany you must apply for a residence permit based on this visa. Recently is has become possilbe to obtain a National Visa valid up to one year, given that you are not planning to stay longer than one year. Please inquire at your local German embassy about this possibility.
In case of doubt please contact the German consulate or the local embassy pertaining to the specific case.
A visa application for a longer stay in Germany or for permission to work will take several months to process.
Every family member needs a separate visa. If a partner wishes to work in Germany this should be mentioned in the visa application.
Highly-qualified applicants are scholars, teachers and researchers with specialized expertise in their fields (like professors and academic group leaders). Highly-qualified applicants are permitted to immigrate if they have an employment position in Germany. They can immediately obtain an unlimited residence permit, which automatically allows them to take up employment. Candidates simply need to submit an application to the Foreigners' Registration Office in Heidelberg.