Information for Host Institutes

The team of the Welcome Center for International Researchers advises and supports international scholars and instructors as well as their hosting institutions, such as faculties and institutes, in preparing and organizing research periods at RWTH Aachen University.†

Before Arrival

If you have recruited an international scholar for your team, we offer to assist you with the following steps. Often questions pertaining to the residence status of the incoming researcher have to be clarified, and typically evidence must be provided in the employment process that the new researcher has a degree that is equivalent to a degree from a German university.

Registration with the Welcome Center

Please get in touch with us in due course and register yout international researchers using the online form for institutes, or refer them to the Welcome Center website, so that your researchers can register directly to the Welcome Center via their application form.

Registration at the Identity Management

Postdocs who come to RWTH on their own or who receive a scholarship can be registered for RWTH's Identity Management System, which enables them to use the University's electronic services (de).

Visa/Letter of Invitation

Preparing a research stay takes some time. As a rule, researchers who need a visa must be prepared to wait for about two to three months to receive it. Researchers from non-EU states need to obtain a written invitation from the host institute and present it to the German embassy in their home country. The letter of invitation should be printed on professional letterhead from the inviting institution and include the following information:

  • Name of the researcher
  • Period of stay at RWTH Aachen
  • Purpose of the stay, such as doctoral studies or participation in a research project
  • Information on funding; in case of regular employment please include information on the salary and the type of employment
  • Costs which are not carried by the host institution should be explicitly named in the invitation, for example travel costs, health insurance

The purpose of the research stay decides on what type of residence permit the visiting scholar will receive. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Further information is provided in the brochure Forschungsaufenthalte in Deutschland (de).

Employment/Certificate of Equivalence

Before the visiting scholar can be employed, it must be ascertained that his or her degree is equivalent to a German university degree. Thus, the certificate of equivalence, also called statement of comparability, is a prerequisite for employment. For further information, please also read the section on Recognition of International Degrees.

The certificate can be obtained from Division 2.1 – Admission and Social Affairs. As it takes some time to verify equivalence of the degree, we recommend contacting the division in due course. The certificate must be obtained before any other necessary steps for employment can be taken.

Please note that often, Division 2.1 must send a written request to the Central Office for Foreign Education, ZAB for short. It may take up to six weeks to obtain the required information from the ZAB.

Doctoral Studies

When university graduates from abroad apply for admission to doctoral studies at RWTH Aachen, the formal equivalence of their university degree will be ascertained as well. We advise host institutions to encourage their prospective doctoral candidates to apply from their home country, so that the equivalence of their degree can be verified early on.

Furthermore, as part of their application, they must include a written confirmation of supervision from their future academic supervisor.

Guest House

RWTH Aachen has three guest houses in the immediate vincinty of the University, where there are different overnight stay options. Generally it is important to reserve a room very early, that is many months in advance, since demand is high. Please note that researchers cannot reserve a room themselves; the RWTH institute must register.

There are not any rooms or apartments for researchers at RWTH Aachen or operated by Student Services that can be rented by researchers. We have put together tips for looking for an apartment and a list of common search engines on the page Accommodation.

After Arrival

If needed, we offer your guest not only diverse information and services but also personal accompaniment to authorities and other assistance during their start at RWTH and in Aachen. This allows us to support both the formal and social integration of new employees from abroad.

Please remind your international doctoral candidate with a foreign university degree that when they begin the doctoral study process they must submit a request to the faculty to have the doctoral degree prerequisites recognized. In the Faculty of Medicine this request should be submitted directly to the host institute. The doctoral committee at the respective faculty determines whether the foreign degree can be recognized as equivalent or whether certain stipulations must be made, such as additional exams or a review of the Master's thesis. These stipulations must be fulfilled by the time the candidate registers for the doctoral exam. It is in the candidate's best interest to submit the request at the beginning of their doctoral studies. Upon the first scholarship renewal scholarship students with a German doctoral scholarship must indicate if they have to fulfill additional stipulations to have their degree recognized and if so, when they plan to fulfill these requirements. In these cases, recipients are expected to meet these stipulations as early as possible during doctoral studies.

During the Stay

We accompany international researchers and their families not only during the first few days after arrival, but also during their entire stay. We serve as a point of contact for the entire duration. To promote integration, we regularly offer events for our registered guests, such as the International Family Breakfast in collaboration with the RWTH Aachen Family Services Center, city tours, and more. This allows not only the international researchers but also their families to meet others outside of everyday work life at the University.