If you are the citizen of a European Union, EU, member state or one of the other members of the European Economic Area, EEA, you do not need a visa to enter Germany. If your stay is less than three months you just need a valid passport or personal ID card and the registration certificate, which you receive after registering your residence.
Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United States of America do not need a visa to enter Germany. However after registering their residence in Germany, they must request a residence permit from the Immigration Office (see below). Citizens of Switzerlands must request a residence card at their local Immigration Office after registering their residence.
If you have citizenship from another country not listed above, you need a visa for doctoral studies, research, or scientific employment at the University in order to enter Germany. This visa allows you to request a residence permit for the respective purpose after you arrive.
Where can I apply for a residence permit?
All international researchers at RWTH Aachen with a primary residence in Aachen should go to the following Immigration Office: Ausländeramt der Städteregion Aachen at RWTH Aachen in the SuperC. On Google Maps: Templergraben 57, 52062 Aachen.
Researchers, who stayed elsewhere in Germany before their stay in Aachen and who have a residence permit for another purpose than that planned for Aachen, must go to the Ausländeramt der Städteregion Aachen at the Central Train Station to extend their residence permit in Aachen. Their address on Google Maps: Hackländerstraße 1, 52062 Aachen. Any additional extensions can be requested at the Immigration Office location in RWTH Aachen's SuperC.
When do I have to apply for my residence permit?
You can apply for a residence permit within two days of registering your residence. However, please note that from the end of August to the beginning of November a large number of international students come to Aachen. This means that you can expect long lines and waiting times at both the Bürgerservice/Registration Office and at the Immigration Office.
Generally the entry visa is valid for a few weeks after your arrival. Thus, you have enough time to apply for a residence permit. However, you should do this at least four weeks before your entry visa expires.
During the period listed above, you should only apply for the residence permit immediately after registering your residence, if this is completely necessary – for example if you need to present your residence permit to human resources during the hiring process.
You can only travel to neighboring EU countries that are part of the Schengen Agreement after you have a valid residence permit for Germany.
How do I apply for the residence permit?
You will receive an application for a residence permit at the Immigration Office. You can also download the first application here under downloads – the first application form is called "Erstantrag."
You must submit the following documents with your application:
- Your passport with a valid entry visa
- A current biometric photo
- Proof of the purpose of your stay, for example acceptance to doctoral studies, a statement from the host institute confirming the reason for your stay, or confirmation of your hire as a scientific staff member from the RWTH Aachen human resource department.
- If you are conducting doctoral studies and are enrolled: a current certificate of enrollment – you can print these out from RWTHonline
- Proof of financing, for example a scholarship certificate, an employment contract, or a certificate confirming other financing – this corresponds to the documents you had to present in your home country when applying for the visa
- Proof of health insurance
A fee is charged to issue the residence permit: 100 Euros for the first issuance of a residence application and 93 - 96 Euros for each extension. Scholarship holders through German scholarship organizations are exempt from paying these fees.
The residence permit is linked to the purpose of your stay and is valid for a restricted period of time. The residence permit can be issued for two years, should this correspond to the project duration. However, you must submit documentation that you have funding for this period.
When do I need to extend my residence permit?
Remember to extend your residence permit at the Immigration Office on time, that is four weeks before your residence permit expires. You can also download the elongation application here under downloads – The elongation application is called "Verlängerungsantrag."
You must submit the following documents when submitting an application to extend your visa:
- Your passport and currently valid electronic residence permit with the supplementary sheet
- A current passport photo in accordance with official guidelines
- If you are doing doctoral studies: a current enrollment certificate if you are enrolled for doctoral studies – you can print this out from RWTHonline. After four years you must also include a letter from your doctoral supervisor stating when you expect to finish your doctoral studies.
- You new employment contract if you are employed as an academic staff member
- If you have other funding: proof of sufficient funding for your situation, such as confirmation of a scholarship, a declaration of obligation from another person, a sufficient savings balance, and the like. If you have questions, please contact the Immigration Office directly.
- Proof of health insurance
What do I need to take into consideration if my family is joining me later?
If your spouse and/or underage children are to join you, you will need the following documents when requesting th the respective residence permits:
- An international marriage certificate: the original and an official German translation
- Children's original birth certificates and official German translations
- Proof of the size of your local apartment
- Documentation on how your family will be financially supported
- Proof that all family members have health insurance