Immigration authority – residence permit

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If your stay at Goethe University will last longer than three months, you not only have to register with the Residents' Registration Office (Bürgeramt) after you arrive but also with the relevant Foreigners‘ Office and then apply for a residence permit. Your place of residence – i.e. where you are living – determines which office is responsible for you. If you are registered in Frankfurt, the relevant immigration authority is the Foreigners‘ Office Frankfurt (Ausländerbehörde). You can find information on the subsequent immigration / reunification of families in the following pages.

In case you bring a visa for the complete period of your stay with you  - issued by the German Consulate on your home country for your complete stay – it is not necessary to contact the Foreigners´ office /Ausländerbehörde).

Please note: Nationals of non-EU States who are exempted from the visa requirement and are going to spend more than 3 months at Goethe University of Frankfurt also have to apply for a residence permit after they have entered Germany. For further information, please see the information on visas. On September 1, 2011 the electronic residence permit eAT was introduced in Germany.  Swiss Nationals have to announce their residence with the Foreigners‘ Office, too.

Nationals of EU countries or EEA states do not require a residence permit.


Essentially, there are four kinds of residence permit. Which residence permit applies to you depends on your status at the Goethe University of Frankfurt:

  1. You are a (visiting) researcher or scientist at the Goethe University of Frankfurt and have a temporary employment contract with the university: in this case, you are considered to be in gainful employment and will receive a residence permit in accordance with § 18b or § 18d of the Immigration Act (AufenthG).
  2. You are a visiting researcher or scientist at the Goethe University of Frankfurt and are financed via a scholarship or grant, or are receiving payments from your home country. If this describes your situation, you will conclude a hosting agreement with the University of Frankfurt and will receive a residence permit in accordance with § 18d of the Immigration Act.
  3. You were offered a professorship at the Goethe University Frankfurt and are working as a professor at the Goethe University of Frankfurt. You are considered to be in gainful employment and will receive a residence permit in accordance with either § 18b or § 18d of the Immigration Act or, alternatively, you can apply directly for a (permanent) settlement permit.

To apply for a residence permit, you will need to present the following documents:

  • a valid passport with a valid visa (if visas are needed for nationals of your country)
  • a completed application form (available in the Goethe Welcome Centre)
  • 1 recent biometric photo (not older than 6 months)
  • an employment contract and the latest salary statement or other proof of your ability to finance your living expenses, for example, a scholarship or grant certificate or a similar document
  • a rental contract
  • proof that you have health insurance cover that is valid throughout Germany (if you have an employment contract with the Goethe University of Frankfurt, you will normally be compulsorily insured with a public health insurance fund). Please note that in general only German health insurances are accepted
  • the processing fee
  • depending on your status: a hosting agreement

For a comprehensive overview of the applicable provisions, see EURAXESS Germany – the National Coordination Point at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The Information and Advice Point for Internationally Mobile Researchers, formerly known as the German Mobility Portal for Researchers.


4. Settlement permit

A settlement permit (§ 18c AufenthG) is a permanent residence permit. In order to apply for it you must meet the following conditions. You must

  • have been in possession of a residence permit for four years
  • have sufficient resources to cover your living expenses and have sufficient living space for yourself and your family.
  • have an adequate knowledge of the German language.
  • have sufficient knowledge about the German legal and social system.
  • have made compulsory or voluntary contributions to the statutory pension scheme for at least 48 months.

If you are offered a professorship at Goethe University, you can, in principle, apply directly for a settlement permit.

No liability for errors or omissions.