Residence Permits for Researchers

After you have arrived in Bochum, you normally have to go to your local Foreign Citizens’ Office at some point during the first 3 months of your stay to extend your visa (residence permit/"Aufenthaltstitel"). In most cases it will be clear which of the residence permits set out in the certain paragraphs of the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz) is possible for you. In some cases there are different options and this decision can have advantages and disadvantages depending on your particular situation. The following residence permits are generally relevant for researchers:

§16 - Higher education studies, language courses

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

§18 - Employment

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

§18b - Settlement permit for Graduates of German universities

This paragraph is relevant for researchers who have successfully completed their studies at a state or state-recognised university or a comparable educational
establishment in the federal territory and have worked in Germany for two years.

§19 - Settlement permit for highly qualified foreigners

This paragraph 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 via §19. In this case, the research institute must also provide justification and disclosure of the selection criteria.

§19a - EU Blue Card

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 be entering Germany directly from a third country, and those who are already staying in another EU member state by means of an EU Blue Card. However, it could also come into question 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 comparable to a German degree.

  • An employment contract

  • A minimum salary (information about the amount can be attained at the Foreign Citizens’ Office).

  • §20 - Research

    This paragraph is aimed at researchers who already have a research project. In this case, the research institute needs to have signed a hosting agreement. More information about the preconditions and advantages can be found on the webpage for the Scientific Visa below.Scientific Visa

    Please note that the information provided by the Welcome Centre is not legally binding and is not intended to replace or substitute for information provided by professional experts for each individual topic.
    We recommend you to also consult the diplomatic mission or your local Foreign Citizens’ Office for more detailed information on your individual case.

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