Advisor for international doctoral candidates and researchers
Service for international researchers
Face-to-face office hours:
- Coming to Germany as a scientist (Federal Office for Migration and Refugees BAMF)
- Law on foreigners (Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community)
- Blue Card to work in the EU (including Germany)
- Information on work permits (German Federal Employment Agency)
- Work and retirement in the EU (European Union)
Rights of residence for researchers from non-EU countries in Germany Overview on potential residence permits pursuant to the German Residence Act (last amendment of 15 September 2019, in effect since 01 March 2020)
If you are from a country that is not a member of the European Union, you need a residence permit to stay in Germany, even if you did not need a visa to enter the country. Remember to extend your visa or apply for a residence permit in good time.
A visa extension or residence permit will be required if your stay in Germany exceeds three months. Please send your application in due time. This also applies to countries with a visa exemption agreement with Germany. We recommend you contact the German embassy in your home country or current country of residence as early as possible and well ahead of your intended date of travel.
In Oldenburg, you may also contact the Foreign Resident's Office of the City of Oldenburg ("Ausländerbüro") for any information relevant to your stay, e.g. information on immigration law issues.
The documents required to obtain a residence permit will vary depending on the circumstances, you will definitely need:
- a valid (biometric) passport or identity card that was issued within the last ten years and contains a biometric passport photo
- a current biometric passport photo
- proof of adequate financial resources (proof of earnings) to show you can meet estimated expenses for you and your dependents (e.g. contract of employment, scholarship, etc.)
- proof of valid health insurance coverage for you and for each member of your family accompanying you
- the confirmation of residence you received upon first registration in Oldenburg
Please contact the Foreign Resident's Office of the City of Oldenburg for any further information on required documents. Please also note that public authorities often require you to be accompanied by an interpreter. You can ask a friend or colleague to act as interpreter.
As it may take several weeks for your electronic residence permit to be issued, you need to apply for a temporary residence permit ("Fiktionsbescheinigung") if your current residence title is due to expire within the waiting period. This is a temporary document to replace your expired permit until you receive your new electronic residence permit. If you applied in good time for an extension of your residence permit, you will usually receive a "Fortbestandsfiktion", as the current permit to reside in Germany remains valid until you receive the new one. Travelling with a temporary residence permit is possible, but we recommend that you contact the embassy of the country you visit regarding entry and departure requirements. Temporary residence permits are subject to fees. For further information please contact the Foreign Resident's Office of the City of Oldenburg.
Different residence titles can be considered for doctoral candidates; among other things, the residence title depends on how the means of subsistence are secured in Germany.
Find an overview of possible residence titles for international doctoral candidates here:
Overview of the rights of residence for international researchers by the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) Overview on potential residence permits pursuant to the German Residence Act (last amendment of 15 September 2019, in effect since 01 March 2020)
A research stay in Germany that is based on a regular employment contract may differ in terms and conditions, depending on your home country:
EU citizens, EEA citizens, Swiss citizens
EU citizens and EEA citizens do not need a residence permit as the freedom of movement for workers applies to you. Swiss citizens, however, need to apply for a residence permit as certification of that freedom.
Citizens of third states
All other foreign nationals who are seeking employment or will be doing research in Germany need a residence title that allows employment or research (a D visa/national visa or a residence permit). A residence title may be granted as a visa, temporary residence permit, EU Blue Card, permanent settlement permit, or EU permanent residence permit. An application for a residence permit has to be submitted to the Foreign Residents' Office (Ausländerbüro) in Oldenburg. Visa applications must be submitted to the German Embassy in the home country/current country of residence prior to arrival in Germany.
A research stay at an approved research institution in Germany may allow you to obtain a residence permit for research purposes. A signed hosting agreement between the hosting institution and you, the researcher, is required.
Scholarship/fellowship holders doing research at the University of Oldenburg will need a residence permit for the purpose of research.
Researchers who are sent to the University of Oldenburg by a research institution of another EU member state to work here cannot obtain a residence permit for the purpose of research. In this case, a residence permit with the purpose of employment must be applied for.
Please note that the information we provide is not legally binding and no substitute for professional advice, consultation, or services. We strongly recommend that you consult the respective authorities such as the German Embassy in your home country or your local Foreign Residents' Office.