Entry and residence
Visas, entry, residence, employment and accommodation are all important issues. You should find out about life in Germany and the necessary formalities for entry and residence as soon as possible.
Is German a must?
- © Lichtenscheidt / DAAD
The fact that German is not your native language should not prevent you coming to Germany. One glance at the websites of most research institutes and projects shows that English is the lingua franca of German research. Increasingly often, research groups are internationally networked and work with scientists and scholars from all over the world. Communication in English is usually taken for granted here.
Staff at German institutes frequently communicate and publish in English, especially in the natural and engineering sciences. In many humanities and social sciences subjects, however, adequate knowledge of German is required for a successful research stay. In other words, which language is used for communication depends on your subject and the respective institute.
Providing evidence of your knowledge of German
If knowledge of German is required – for example, in an application for a grant – you will have to prove that you have attained a certain standard. Recognised qualifications include the certificates of the Goethe-Institut, which offers professional courses in German as a foreign language in over 90 countries around the world as well as in Germany itself. You can also demonstrate your knowledge of the language with Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache (TestDaF), which tests German language skills at different levels. Make sure you find out what is expected of you in good time. The Goethe-Institut has compiled an overview of its different examination levels and what they mean.
Good reasons for learning the language
Nevertheless, there are still good reasons for learning German: life also goes on outside your institute or campus. If you would like to get to know Germany and its inhabitants better, you really should acquire basic knowledge of the German language – preferably in the run-up to your visit. And in everyday life it is definitely helpful to be able to communicate in the language of the host country. Would you like to know more? The Goethe-Institut has published answers to the question: Why Learn German?
Useful advice for your stay in Germany
It doesn’t matter whether you are coming to Germany with a research grant or have successfully applied for a job or whether you are staying for a few months or several years, your journey will need to be planned and many things considered before you set off:
- Which entry and visa regulations apply?
- Will I need a work permit?
- Will my testimonials and qualifications be recognised?
- And how will I find accommodation?
FAQs on the Web
Or you can download our brochure FAQs – Preparing a successful research stay in Germany (PDF, 3.2 MB).