Research Visa Germany

Where a scientific or other researcher wishes to enter Germany to either conduct research professionally or to work within research in their chosen field, they must apply for a German researcher visa in order to gain lawful residence in the country for a period of three months or more.

Unsure if you need a researcher visa or if you qualify for one? Call Total Law for expert legal advice throughout the visa application process on+44 (0)333 305 9375 or via our online form, and to talk through your individual circumstances and reasons for wanting to travel to Germany.

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    Visa for Researcher/Scientists in Germany

    Germany is known as the land of invention and innovation, and as the largest country in the European Union benefits from hosting many of the continent’s major and most prominent educational establishments and scientific institutions. As a result, it has become a popular destination for research scientists. A specific researcher visa has been created to accommodate overseas nationals who wish to reside in Germany for research purposes – be that conducting it themselves or participating in a wider research project. This is sometimes known as the ‘guest scientist visa’, but most commonly simply a ‘researcher visa’.

    For a researcher to apply for a German research visa, they must be intending to reside in the country for at least three months in order to take part in a research study. If the scientist visiting is a resident of any EU or EEA (European Economic Area) state, or a citizen of Australia, Canada, Honduras, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea or the United States of America, they will not be required to apply for a researcher visa. However, they must still register their presence in the country with the relevant authorities after a three-month period.

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    Eligibility Requirements for Scientists/Research Visa Germany

    While there is no minimum qualification level as such for scientists in their field of choice, there are some prerequisite criteria that must be met for the applicant to be eligible for a research visa. These are as follows:

    • The applicant must already have a hosting agreement drawn up and in place between them as a researcher and an established research institute in Germany
    • This agreement must be in place for a duration of between three months and one year
    • The applicant must be able to prove they have sufficient health insurance cover in place for the intended duration of their stay in Germany
    • The applicant must be able to prove they have accommodation for the intended duration of their stay
    • The applicant must be able to prove they have at least a single qualification in a field related to their research project – although there’s no stipulated minimum level for this qualification
    • The applicant must be aged over 18
    • The applicant must not have been refused a German visa before.

    If the researcher is also applying to bring their immediate family with them under family reunification rules, family members must meet the following criteria:

    • A spouse must be legally married or in a civil partnership with the applicant
    • Any dependents must be aged under 18 and unmarried
    • The applicant must be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient accommodation to house all of their immediate family for the intended duration of their stay in Germany
    • The applicant must be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient financial resources to support their immediate family for the intended duration of their stay
    • All applicants must be able to demonstrate at least a basic knowledge of the German language.

    Documents required for a German Research Visa Application

    The application for a German Research visa should be accompanied by some supporting documentation to prove the applicant’s eligibility. Once received, the German immigration authorities may request further documents and this will place the application on pause until such documentation is received.

    The following constitutes the standard supporting documents to be submitted along with the application form, notwithstanding any further requests:

    • A valid passport that expires no sooner than six months after the intended end of the applicant’s stay
    • Two passport standard photographs of the applicant, taken no longer than six months ago
    • A covering letter written by the applicant explaining the purpose of their intended stay in Germany and an outline of their research project
    • A ‘no objection letter’ from the applicant’s educational establishment or research institution in their usual country of residence, stating that they have contractual obligations in their home country which they will return to
    • A confirmation letter from the Germany university, educational establishment or research institution giving details of their stay in the country, the research to be carried out and details of financial remuneration
    • Proof of any relevant qualifications in the scientific field the research is to be conducted in; there is no minimum level for this but it’s generally considered that the more, the better
    • Proof of accommodation for the duration of the intended stay (this may be a rental agreement, hotel reservation or letter from a host)
    • Proof of health insurance coverage valid for the intended duration of the stay.

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      How to apply for a German Research/Scientists Visa

      To apply for a visa to reside in Germany for research purposes, there is a set process to follow. This is fairly simple, but for more unconventional research projects or for applications including family members, legal advice should be sought. Total Law can help – give our specialist immigration team a call on +44 (0)333 305 9375 to discuss how to best approach the process.

      Researchers can apply for a visa to Germany for research purposes by doing the following:

      Sign hosting agreement with relevant research institute

      It is a prerequisite of any science research visa that the applicant must have a signed hosting agreement with an educational establishment (usually a university) or relevant research business in place before any application is filed. This must be confirmed, signed and dated ahead of the application.

      File visa application form online

      The application form for the research visa should be filed online through the German immigration office website. This notifies authorities of the intention to file formally through a visa. The completed application should be printed, as copies will need to be provided along with the supporting documents.

      Collect all required supporting documents

      All supporting documents should be collected and compiled ahead of the in-person visa interview, as the inability to provide anything on the day will result in the appointment being cancelled and the application being halted.

      Attend visa interview and pay fee

      A visa interview at the local German Consulate should be booked and attended in-person by the applicant. At this interview the applicant must present both the printed, signed copies of the application form and the supporting documents. The applicant must be able to recall details on their intended research to an interviewer.

      Receive decision

      In most cases it takes two weeks to receive a decision on a researchers’ visa application. This decision will be supplied to the applicant in writing, usually by post. In the event of a visa refusal, any recourse for appeal will be detailed.

      Travel to Germany

      Once an application has been accepted for a research visa, the applicant is free to travel to Germany as soon as it is valid. Work on the research project may commence and the visa holder may legally reside in the country for the visa duration.

      Processing time and validity for research visa in Germany

      Visa processing times vary between Consulates depending on their workload and fluctuations in demand. On average, research visa applications receive a decision in two weeks, although this will take longer if further supporting documents are requested or if the research project is particularly unusual.

      German research visas are valid for any duration between three months and one year. After this period, the visa holder may apply for an extension.

      Application fee for German Research Visa

      There is a set €75 application fee for the processing of a researchers’ visa for Germany. This fee must be paid at the visa interview and a receipt for the amount submitted along with the application.

      Visa application fees are non-refundable.

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        Extending Your Researcher Visa

        Researcher visas may be extended in some cases, including in the event of:

        • Late entry
        • Force majeure
        • Humanitarian reasons
        • Strong personal reasons resulting in the research taking longer than originally intended

        For a visa extension, the visa holder must make an appointment with the local foreigners’ registration office no sooner than two months before the original visa’s expiry. In attending the appointment, the visa holder must present evidence on why the researcher is required to reside in Germany for longer.

        A visa renewal fee of €80 is payable at the time of the appointment.

        Scientist in research laboratory

        How Can Total Law Help?

        Total Law is a firm of immigration lawyers who specialise in visa applications and appeals. Need help collecting the appropriate supporting documents, understanding a research hosting agreement or presenting well at a visa interview? Total Law can help with every aspect of your visa application from start to finish.

        Call the Total Law team today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or through our online form. All initial conversations are free of charge and with no obligation to proceed; we’re that confident that you’ll want to access our expert support because we know just how capable our lawyers are and how high our success rates are.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Anyone who holds nationality of any EU state does not need to apply for a scientific research visa but must instead register their presence in Germany at the local foreigners’ registration office three months after their entry to the country.

                  On average it takes two weeks to process a research visa for Germany. Your local Consulate will be able to advise you of current average waiting times.

                  Germany manages 227 diplomatic offices overseas: 153 embassies, 59 consulates and 12 multilateral missions. Total Law can advise you of your local immigration office for Germany – give us a call on (+44)333 305 9375 to learn more.

                  If your home country doesn’t have a consulate, a local embassy or other mission will be able to advise you on German travel and visa applications. If there is no mission at all in your country, it is best to seek the advice of the nearest.

                  An EU Blue Card is a work and residence permit for non-EU and EEA nationals. It is considered a separate visa class to the research visa although the work being completed by the visa holder may include some research.

                  Do I need to speak German to apply for a scientific research visa?