Information for Host Institutes


The team of the Welcome Center for International Researchers supports hosting faculties and institutes in advising international researchers at RWTH Aachen University. 



+49 241 80 90679



Please contact us early on so that we can advise international researchers directly and comprehensively, relieving the institutes and faculties from this task. Point out our advising offers to researchers you have recruited for your team so that they can register with us as early as possible and take advantage of our services.

Post-docs coming to the University on a scholarship or are self-funded can also register in Identity Management using a separate form. This allows these guests to use services of RWTH Aachen University that would otherwise not be available to them.

We have summarized the answers to the initially most frequently asked questions below:


Information on the FAQs

Visa/Letter of Invitation

As a rule, researchers who need a visa to come to Germany 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 institution and include the following information to describe the stay as precisely as possible:

  • Name of the researcher
  • Period of stay at RWTH Aachen
  • Purpose of the stay, such as doctoral studies, participation in a research project, etc.
  • 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.

Certificate of Equivalence

Before an international researcher can be employed, it must be ascertained that their degree is equivalent to a German university degree. Thus, the certificate of equivalence, also called statement of comparability, is a prerequisite for employment.

Please use the online platform for the recognition of international degrees, where you will have to enter details on the individual who is being hired and upload the necessary documents. The certificate will then be issued by Division 2.1 – Admission and Social Affairs. This may take up to ten working days. As it takes some time to verify equivalence of the degree, we recommend applying for the Certificate of Equivalence as soon as possible. The certificate must also be available for all the other necessary steps for employment to be taken.

The equivalence of a foreign degree is also checked when applying for a doctorate. However, applicants initiate this process independently via RWTHonline.

Doctoral Studies

When international graduates apply for admission to doctoral studies at RWTH, their applications are checked to see whether they fulfill the requirements for doctoral studies and one criteria for example is the equivalence of their university degree. This process can take several weeks. During this time, enrolment is not possible, which may cause problems in terms of the legal residence regulations.


None of the student dorm rooms or apartments operated by Student Services can be rented out to researchers or doctoral candidates.

RWTH has three guesthouses very near the University that offer different accommodation options. Generally it is important to reserve a room very early, that is many months in advance, since the demand is high. Please note that researchers cannot reserve a room themselves; the RWTH institute must register them.

On our accommodation page you can find information on the housing situation in Aachen and our Housing Guide with useful tips for you when looking for an apartment.

Funding/RWTH Travel Grant

Institutes at the University can award an RWTH Aachen Travel Grant to international researchers who have completed their doctorates and are coming to Aachen for a short stay. The grant is a standard allowance for travel and accommodation costs incurred due to a research stay at RWTH Aachen University. In this way the University is promoting knowledge transfer with international partners.

As in the case of the contract for work and services, which non-EU nationals are not allowed to conclude for various reasons, the funding of the grant is provided by the institute. The administrative processing starts in the Welcome Center. Please contact us to initiate the application process.


A varied program of events, including career-related, social and cultural events, facilitates networking among international researchers and supports the formal and social integration of new employees from abroad.

In our regular workshops for institutes, we introduce ourselves and the services on offer to support you in looking after your international guests. Using best practice examples, we provide you with a wide range of information to help you prepare your guest's stay and arrival in the best possible way.

Funding for Threatened Foreign Researchers/Refugees

As part of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's Philipp Schwartz Initiative, sponsorships can be applied for to admit researchers at risk. These are fully funded fellowships for research stays of up to 24 months. Nominations are open to researchers from all countries outside the EU who can demonstrate that they face pertinent threat. Further information can be found on the Philipp Schwartz Initiative website. Researchers cannot apply for the fellowship on an individual basis.

Successful institutions will be able to award fully funded fellowships for up to 24 months of research to the vulnerable researchers successfully nominated by them. This is supplemented by a stipend that relieves the host institution of the burden of supporting the integration and career restart of the fellowship holders.

If you have any questions or are interested in hosting a researcher at risk, please contact Cathrin Urbanke.

The German Research Foundation – DFG also funds the integration of refugees into the German research system. In principle, it is possible to finance refugee researchers in all funding programs with the approved funds without having to submit a separate application to the DFG. In addition, in certain funding programs – research grants, Priority Programmes, Research Units, Clinical Research Units, Centres for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences and Research Training Groups, it is possible to submit supplementary applications in order to integrate refugee researchers into DFG projects that have already been funded.