Types of Residence Permit

On arrival in Frankfurt, you usually will have to go to the local Foreigners' Office (Ausländerbehörde) to extend your visa/residence permit (Aufenthaltsgenehmigung) at some point during the first 3 months of your stay. In any case, it is recommended that you file this application 3 months before your visa expires.

In most cases it will be clear which of the residence title set out in the paragraphs of the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz) is most suitable for you. In some cases you will be able to choose the section (§) that will appear on your residence permit and this decision can have advantages and disadvantages depending on your particular situation. The following residence permits are generally available for researchers:

§ 16b

This section is addressed mostly to students and can also apply to doctoral students who are registered for a PhD. In this case, the main purpose of the stay should be to attain a PhD.

§ 18b

This section is aimed at those who are working and have an employment contract (e.g. research assistants/ wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter). It is also possible to choose this section if you are pursuing a PhD alongside work.

§ 18c Abs. 3

This section is addressed to highly qualified persons (so-called high flyers in the areas of economics, science and research). In certain circumstances, a permanent residence permit can be issued. The research institute must, among other, provide justification and disclose the selection criteria.

Scientific Visa - § 18d

This section is aimed at researchers who already have a research project. In this case, the research institute needs to have signed a hosting agreement. It is also possible to choose this section if you are pursuing a PhD alongside work.

BLUE CARD - §18g

The Blue Card is a residence permit.
The EU Blue Card serves to promote the mobility of researchers within Europe. This includes third-country nationals who will enter Germany directly from a third country, and those who are already in another EU member state under an EU Blue Card. However, it may also be worth considering for researchers who are already residing in Germany.
You need to meet certain criteria before the EU Blue Card can be issued. You require:

  • A German or a foreign university degree which is either recognised and acknowledged in Germany, or is comparable to a German degree.
  • An employment contract
  • A minimum salary (information about the amount can be attained at the Foreign Citizens' Office).

Generally if you are planing to come to Germany to study, obtain a doctoral degree or for the purpose of employment as an international scholar you are strongly advised not to enter Germany on a Schengen visa. This visa cannot be extended or changed to another purpose of stay, regardless of the original purpose it was issued for (e.g. tourist stay, visit or business trip). All internationals must leave the country after their Schengen visa expires!

Please note that the information provided by the Goethe Welcome Centre is not legally binding and is not intended to replace or substitute information on each individual topic provided by professionals in that field.
We recommend that you also consult the diplomatic mission or your local
 Aliens Department for more detailed information on your individual case.

Support with your application

Applications for residence permits should be submitted months before the expiry of your visa/current residence permit. Please contact us for assistance: residence-issues-gwc[at]uni-frankfurt.de

Research Stays in Germany


Global Office
Goethe Welcome Centre

Westend Campus
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 candidates:


Rebstöcker Straße 4
60326 Frankfurt am Main

Tel.: +49 (0)69 212 42485
Fax: +49 (0)69 212 42216
E-Mail: auslaenderbehoerde


Office Hours
Mon 08:00 - 13:00 Uhr
Wed07:30 - 15:00 Uhr
Thu13:00 - 18:00 Uhr
Fri07:30 - 12:00 Uhr