FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Visa and Stay in Germany

  • Do I need a visa for Germany?
  • Where can I get a visa for Germany?
  • What documents do I need to apply for an entry visa?
  • How do I know which visa is right for me?
  • When and where do I need to register as a resident of Frankfurt after my arrival?
  • When should I extend my visa / apply for a residence permit in Germany?
  • Where do I go to extend my visa and how do I get an appointment?
  • Which documents do I need in order to extend my visa / apply for a residence permit?
  • How much does it cost to extend a visa / apply for a residence permit?
  • What is an electronic residence permit (elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel, eAT) and what is it used for?
  • When should I apply for my electronic residence permit (elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel, eAT)?
  • How do I find out that my electronic residence permit (elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel, eAT) has been issued and is ready for collection?
  • What is a temporal residence permit (Fiktionsbescheinigung) and when do I get one?
  • Can I travel with a temporal residence permit (Fiktionsbescheinigung)?
  • How do I terminate my registration with the City of Frankfurt before I leave Germany?
  • What do I need to do if my husband/wife would like to follow me to Germany?
  • What do I need to do if I would like to invite visitors from abroad to Germany?

Do I need a visa for Germany?

Citizens from EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland usually do not require an entry visa. This also applies to the citizens of Australia, Brazil, El Salvador, Great Britain, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and the USA. Citizens of all other non-EU member states need to apply for a visa to enter Germany. In case one of the states mentioned above applies to you, please nevertheless consider entering Germany with a visa for purposes such as starting gainful employment directly after your arrival. You can find more information on our website: Visa. For a detailed overview of each country, please visit the homepage of the Federal Foreign Office.

Where can I get a visa for Germany?

If you would like to apply for a visa for Germany, please refer to the German diplomatic mission (embassy/consulate) in your home country. You will either receive an initial entry visa, which you will be able to extend after your arrival in Germany, or you will receive a one-year visa up front. You can find more information and a checklist of the required documents on our website: Visa

What documents do I need to apply for an entry visa?

You can find a checklist of the documents that you need in order to apply for a visa on our website: Visa.

How do I know which visa is right for me?

There are many different types of visa and residence permits that an international researcher in Germany could apply for. You can take a look at our list of the different types of visa to find the one that suits your needs: Types of Visa.

When and where do I need to register as a resident of Frankfurt after my arrival?

If you will be staying in Germany for more than three months and your place of residence is located within the city of Frankfurt, you need to register as a resident of Frankfurt with the Citizens' Office. You can do this at one of the several offices (Bürgeramt) all over town. In case you live in another town that is not Frankfurt, you need to register with the respective Citizens' Office. You will need to book an appointment to register; required are your passport and a document from your landlord called “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung" which proves when and where you moved in.

When should I extend my visa / apply for a residence permit in Germany?

You usually travel to Germany with a visa that is valid for 3 months / 90 days. Therefore, if you are planning to stay longer than this period of time, you should extend your visa / apply for a residence permit as soon as possible after your arrival in Germany. If you arrived without a visa as a national of the eligible states listed above, you are also only allowed to stay for 3 months unless you apply for a residence permit. You can find all of the important information about this on our website: Extending a visa.

Where do I go to extend my visa and how do I get an appointment?

In order to extend your visa / apply for a residence permit, you will need to apply at the Foreigners Office responsible for the city in which you are registered. The Foreigners Office (Ausländerbehörde) for the city of Frankfurt is located at Rebstöcker Straße 4; however, you will need a scheduled appointment to visit. If you would like to start your application, please contact the Goethe Welcome Centre well in advance before the expiry of your visa. We will be happy to guide you through the process, assist with required documents, and make an appointment on your behalf. 

Which documents do I need in order to extend my visa / apply for a residence permit?

As an indication, you can find a list of documents you will most likely need to apply for a residence permit on our website: Extending a visa. Please mind, however, that different and/or additional documents may be required depending on your individual application. All foreign language documents or certificates require a German translation by a certified, sworn translator.

How much does it cost to extend a visa / apply for a residence permit?

For adults, the fee currently amounts to a minimum of €113 per person depending on the kind of application. For children, it is €56,50. The fee is to be paid during your appointment at the Foreigners Office; accepted are cash and debit cards but no credit cards.

What is an electronic residence permit (elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel, eAT) and what is it used for?

The electronic residence permit is issued in card format. It replaces the former sticky label on your passport. You can find everything you need to know about the electronic residence permit in this guide.

When should I apply for my electronic residence permit (elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel, eAT)?

Since it can take about 4-8 weeks to process your application at the Foreigners Office, we recommend that you apply to extend your current visa or residence permit 8-10 weeks before it is due to expire. Processing times are heavily influenced by various factors including, but not limited to, the time of the year (i.e. around Christmas) and the urgency depending on your visa's/permit's expiry date..

How do I find out that my electronic residence permit (elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel, eAT) has been issued and is ready for collection?

After your appointment, your electronic residence permit will be ordered by the Foreigners Office. In a first step, you will receive a letter from Berlin with your PIN and PUK code to enable the permit's online functions. The electronic residence permit is produced in Berlin and, once ready, will be sent to the Foreigners Office Frankfurt where it will be double-checked and send to your home in a second letter. Some other Foreigners Offices outside of Frankfurt do not offer this service and you will need to pick up your card instead.

What is a temporary residence permit (Fiktionsbescheinigung) and when do I get one?

A temporary residence permit is a substitute document which you receive if your visa or residence permit is due to expire before the new electronic residence permit has been issued. It fictionally extends all specifications of your visa / residence permit. You can find more information on our website: Temporary Residence Permit.

Can I travel with a temporary residence permit (Fiktionsbescheinigung)?

If possible, you should avoid travelling outside the EU with a temporary residence permit. Indeed, the type of temporary residence permit that you have will determine whether travel outside of Germany is at all possible. You can find more detailed information on our website: Temporary Residence Permit.

How do I terminate my registration with the City of Frankfurt before I leave Germany?

If you wish to leave Frankfurt permanently and will no longer be residing here, you need to de-register with the Citizens' Office (Bürgeramt) where you initially registered as a resident of Frankfurt. This process of de-registration is called “Abmeldung". You can de-register 14 days before your departure at the earliest. To de-register, simply fill out the form entitled “Abmeldung bei der Stadt Frankfurt" and hand it in / send it in electronically along with a copy of your passport at the Citizens' Office. Deregistration is also possible once you have left Germany. You may find more information about the procedure and required formalities on our website: Departure.

What do I need to do if my husband/wife would like to follow me to Germany?

If your spouse, and also maybe your children, would like to follow you to Germany, the first thing you need to do is file an application for each family member with the German diplomatic mission (embassy/consulate) in your home country. You can find more information about the required documents and the procedure on our website: Subsequent Arrival of Family Members.

What do I need to do if I would like to invite visitors from abroad to Germany?

If you would like to invite visitors from abroad who require a visa for Germany, you need to submit an official invitation via the Foreigners Office. You can find all preconditions and the necessary forms on our website: Inviting Visitors.


Contact

Global Office
Goethe Welcome Centre

Westend Campus
Bauleitgebäude
60629 Frankfurt am Main
Tel. +49-69-798-17193
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Riedberg Campus
Biozentrum, Gebäude N100, Magistrale, EG, Raum 010
Max-von-Laue-Straße 9
60438 Frankfurt am Main
Tel. +49-69-798-29863
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Email: welcome(at)uni-frankfurt.de

For doctoral students:
welcome_PhD(at)uni-frankfurt.de