Mobility of Students and Researchers From non-EU Countries who Have a Valid Residence Permit in an EU Country
Do you have a non-European nationality (so-called third country), do you study or research regularly at a university within Europe and would you like to study or research at RWTH Aachen University within the framework of a temporary mobility program?
Under certain conditions, you can enter Germany without a German visa and residence permit and study or do research at RWTH Aachen University. The so-called REST directive applies here.
FAQ on the REST Procedure
What is the REST directive?
Under certain conditions, students and researchers from other EU countries can benefit from facilitated mobility rights within the EU. This special procedure is called the REST Directive (REsearchers and STudents) and it concerns persons who:
a) have a non-EU / third country citizenship
b) study or research in a member state of the EU (Schengen area), and
c) would like to embark on a structured mobility (e.g. Erasmus+) program within the EU or would like to conduct research or teach for a limited period of time
The exceptions to this are Denmark and the Republic of Ireland, which do not participate in the REST procedure.
What are the requirements for students to be eligible for the REST directive?
Students must meet the following requirements to participate in the REST procedure:
- You start your period of mobility within a mobility program (e.g. Erasmus+, UNITECH).
- Your stay in Germany will not exceed 360 days.
- You come from a so-called third country, i.e. you have the nationality of a non-EU country and study in an EU member state (with the exception of Denmark and Ireland) of the Schengen area.
- You have a valid residence title for study purposes in an EU country (exception: EU permanent residence or European unlimited residence title). The residence title must be valid for the entire duration of the planned stay at RWTH.
What are the requirements for researchers to be eligible for the REST directive?
- You are currently employed as a researcher at a university in an EU country, but you are from a third country.
- Your planned stay in Germany will last a maximum of 180 days (short stay).
- You have been invited by an RWTH institute.
Which EU countries are covered by the REST directive?
- Czech Republic
My first EU country is not a Schengen country. Can I apply for REST?
No. The REST procedure is only available to third-country nationals whose first EU country of residence is part of the Schengen area. Please inquire at the German embassy about the entry and residence regulations that apply to you.
What do I have to consider regarding my residence title in my first EU country?
The residence permit in the first EU country of residence must meet the following conditions:
- It must be a temporary residence permit for the purpose of study or research as defined in the REST directive.
- It must be valid for the entire duration of the planned stay.
- You must not have a permanent residence title or European permanent residence title.
I am not participating in an exchange program. Can I still register for the REST procedure?
No. Only students participating in a Union exchange program or other bilateral exchange program can register for REST. Free Mover and Visiting Project Students are therefore not eligible to register for REST.
Which documents do students need to submit?
Please submit the following documents by e-mail:
- Residence permit of the first EU Member State for study purposes and in accordance with the Directive.
- Proof of participation in a Union or multilateral program with mobility measures or the agreement between the universities (this can be, for example, an Erasmus contract or a binational study program).
- Proof of admission to RWTH Aachen University (letter of admission).
- Recognized, valid passport/passport replacement.
- Proof of financing: Proof of securing your livelihood.
- Proof of health insurance valid in Germany or a certificate of exemption.
- Mobility certificate registration form
Which documents do researchers need to submit?
Please submit the following documents by e-mail:
- Residence permit of the first EU member state for research or teaching purposes as defined by the Directive.
- Invitation letter from the receiving RWTH institute/research institution
- Recognized, valid passport/passport replacement
- Proof of funding: Proof of securing a livelihood
- Proof of health insurance valid in Germany or a certificate of exemption
How can I prove that my livelihood is secure?
The necessary amount of living expenses is based on the requirements determined by the Federal Training Assistance Act, BAFöG for short, and is variable. Up to and including December 2022, you must be able to prove an amount of at least 861 euros per month, and from January 2023, an amount of at least 934 euros. The amount can be proven as follows:
- Statement of income and assets (of parents, if applicable) or
- Payment of a security deposit into a blocked account at a bank, from which only an amount proportionate to the number of months of stay may be utilized each month (for example, in the case of one year, 1/12 per month) or
- Declaration of commitment or
- Scholarship certificate (for example Erasmus scholarship)
- Various proofs can be submitted, which in total at least cover the required amount.
When do I need to register for REST?
As soon as you have received the letter of admission or invitation for your stay at RWTH Aachen University, you can register for the REST procedure. The letter of admission is one of the required documents.
The deadlines for submitting applications to the RWTH International Office are as follows:
- Stays starting in the winter semester: August 15.
- Stays starting in the summer semester: February 15.
Researchers can also register for REST at short notice.
How does the REST procedure work at RWTH?
- You submit the above documents to us completely and on time.
- Please send your documents exclusively by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Please send individual PDF files named in this format: LastName, FirstName_Name of the document (for example, Miller, Jamie_Admission RWTH). This makes them easier for us to process.
- We check your documents for completeness and send them to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The BAMF checks the content of your documents and issues a permit for entry and residence in Germany. The BAMF has 30 days to do this. After these 30 days, your mobility is automatically considered approved, provided you have not received an explicit rejection. The International Office will receive the certificate. We will send it to you afterwards.
Since this document is purely declaratory in nature, you may enter Germany even before you receive the certificate, provided you have not received a rejection from the BAMF. As such, you are not allowed to enter Germany before the expiration of the 30 days to the planned date of stay.
How do I get more information about the REST process?
As a student, you will first go through the application procedure for your exchange place in our Incomings Portal. You will be automatically informed about the procedure after your registration. For this purpose, it is important that you provide all information in the registration form completely and correctly. If you are participating in a program for which registration is not provided or if you are a researcher, please contact the REST coordinator directly.
What do I have to do after my arrival in Germany?
If you have received a mobility certificate under the REST procedure, you do not need a German residence title. This being so, you do not need to go to the local Immigration Office.
How long am I allowed to stay in Germany with the REST procedure?
Students may stay in Germany for a maximum of 360 days. Researchers are allowed to stay in Germany for a maximum of 180 days. If you would like to extend your stay beyond this, you will need a German visa. Please contact the Immigration Office in Aachen well in advance.
What do I have to consider if I want to extend my stay?
Please contact the REST coordinator in due time before the end of the stay. The total stay including extension may not exceed 360 or 180 days. If you want to extend within this limit, this is generally possible and we will need some documents from you. The procedure is similar to the first registration. You will receive all further information from the REST coordinator.
My residence permit from another EU country is not valid for the entire stay in Germany. Can I still apply for REST?
In principle, yes. However, the residence is granted only until the expiration date of the residence title of the first member state. As soon as you have extended the residence title in the first member state, you are obliged to report to the REST coordinator. The latter can then arrange for an extension of the residence.
Where can I find more information?
You can find all current information on the REST procedure on the pages of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in the external links. Information on the residence title can be obtained from the Immigration Office of the Aachen city region.