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Germany is a member of the European Union. EU citizens do not need a permit to enter and stay in Germany.
Generally speaking, citizens of all other countries require a visa for stays in Germany. There are exceptions for short stays by citizens of specific countries, i.e. Tourist Visas, but those do not entitle the holder to take up work or research.
Types of Visa
Different types of visa are required depending on the duration and nature of stay:
- "Schengen Visa" - short stay, less than 3 months
A “Schengen visa” is sufficient for a short stay of less than three months (however, this cannot be extended).
- National Visa - stay longer than 3 months
Anyone who wishes to remain in Germany for longer than 90 days and work must apply for a “national visa” that entitles the holder to take up gainful employment (exemptions apply to EU citizens and citizens of the EEA states and Switzerland). A tourist visa is not sufficient for this purpose.
- Scientific Visa for international researchers
As an international researcher you should apply for a “scientific visa”, which is simultaneously issued with a residence document for research purposes. One prerequisite for this is the conclusion of a contract (or a hosting agreement) with a recognised research institution.
Applying for a Visa
Visa requirements may vary depending on one’s country of origin and intended duration of stay. The German diplomatic mission in your country can provide precise information on this. You will find an overview of the visa regulations, answers to FAQs on the subject and a table of countries on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.