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Procedure descriptions

Residence permit for the purpose of research - application

Do you hold foreign citizenship and wish to obtain a residency permit for research purposes?

In such a case,

  • you can carry out research work at the research institution named in the hosting agreement and
  • undertake teaching activities.

Note: The term "research facility" also includes companies who carry out research.

The residence permit for the purpose of research is valid for a limited period of at least one year. Should you take part in an EU or multilateral programme, you will receive the residency permit for at least two years. You can apply to have it extended. However, if you terminate your research project before this period ends, your residence permit expires at the same time.

Responsible department

  • For the hosting agreement and the obligation to bear the costs: The research facility where you wish to carry out scientific work
  • For issuing a national visa prior to entry into Germany: The German diplomatic mission abroad (embassy, consulate)
  • For issuing the residence permit after entry: The authority for foreign nationals (Ausländerbehörde), where your primary residence is located

The authority for foreign nationals is the city council (Stadtverwaltung) or the regional council office (Landratsamt) depending on your place of residence.



  • You satisfy the passport and visa obligation.
    With respect to the passport obligation, it is sufficient if you possess an alternative identity document.
  • Your subsistence is considered to be assured.
  • There are no grounds for your expulsion.
  • Your stay does not endanger or prejudice the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • You are a scientist and you wish to work in a German research facility.
  • You have concluded a hosting agreement with the research institute or a relevant contract in order to carry out a research project.
  • The institution must be either recognised by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) or carry out research.
  • The research facility has provided a declaration of assumption of costs.
    Recognised research facilities can commit themselves to bear subsistence costs on a case-by-case basis or generally. The BAMF publishes general cost assumption declarations, updated daily, in the Internet. This is not necessary if the work of the research institution is primarily financed from public funds or if the planned research represents a special public interest.

You will not receive the residency permit if the research institution which is hosting you was primarily formed in order to enable foreigners to come to Germany and stay here,

In addition, the Foreigners' Authority can refuse to issue you with the residency permit if certain insolvency situations are present.


The research facility recognised by the BAMF concludes a hosting agreement with you. Alongside information concerning the research institution and the researcher personally, this must contain the following information:

  • Exact description of your project
  • Your commitment to carry out the research project
  • The commitment of the research facility to employ you for this purpose
  • Details of the contract between you and the facility (for example, salary, vacation, working hours)
  • A provision that the hosting agreement becomes ineffective if you do not receive a residence permit for the purpose of research

The research facility will forward the signed hosting agreement to the competent authority.

You can find out about the subsequent course of action from the responsible body. Please make enquiries there.

If the project is changed during the period of research, this has no effect on your residence as long as you remain employed by the same research facility.

Do you already possess a residence title of a different EU member state? Then you have the following options:

  • Short term mobility for researchers
    • For a stay for the purpose of research which does not exceed 180 days within a period of 360 days, no residency permit is required. The requirement for this is that the hosting research institution has notified the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees that the foreigner intends to carry out part of his or her research work in Germany and the following was presented with the notification:
    • Proof that the foreigner possesses a valid residency title as a researcher in a Member State of the EU
    • The hosting agreement or the corresponding contract with the hosting research institution
    • Copy of the passport of the foreigner
    • Proof that maintenance is ensured.
  • Residency permit for mobile researchers. For a stay for the purpose of research which is for more than 180 days and a maximum of one year, a foreigner will be issued with a residency permit if
    • he or she possesses a valid residency title as a researcher in another EU Member State for the duration of the research stay in Germany,
    • a copy of the passport is submitted and
    • a corresponding hosting agreement or corresponding contract with the hosting research institution is submitted.

Required documents

  • Proof that you satisfy the passport and visa obligation
  • Proof that your subsistence is assured
  • Proof that there are no grounds for your expulsion
  • Proof that you do not endanger or prejudice the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Proof of your scientific activity
  • Proof of the concluded hosting agreement
  • Proof of the research facility's declaration of assumption of costs


  • Validity of up to one year: 100 euros
  • Extension up to three months: 96 euros
  • Extension of more than three months: 93 euros

Processing time

Four to six weeks


In the following cases, the authority for foreign nationals can cancel the residence permit for the purpose of research:

  • You no longer carry out research.
  • You can no longer satisfy one of the prerequisites, on the basis of which, the research facility concluded the hosting agreement with you.

Detailed information

You can find a Directory of Diplomatic Missions of the Federal Republic of Germany Abroad on the internet pages of the Federal Foreign Office.

As of September 1st, 2011 the residence title is the size of a credit card and it incorporates additional electronic functions. For more detailed information, see "Electronic residence title (eAT) - application".

Release note

The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Innenministerium released the full description on 19.05.2020. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.

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