Visiting Scientist / Researcher / Scholar German Visa

Germany is an attractive country for scientists and researchers. The country is politically and economically stable. Also, there are many opportunities in Germany. As a result, many scientists and researchers obtain a German Scientist visa to come to Germany. Thus, Germany is a place of innovation and invention in various fields.

However, before a foreign scientist comes to Germany, there are some requirements. For instance, the scientist or researcher must find an institution in the area of interest. Also, the institution must approve that the researcher or scientist should come to Germany.

This article goes deep into all you need to know about the German Scientist visa. Most noteworthy, the word scientist, scholar and researcher are used interchangeably in this article. Also, foreign researchers from some countries do not need a visa before travelling to Germany. Read further to know if you need a visa or not.

Do I need a German Scientist / Researcher Visa?

Nationals from certain countries do not a visa to Germany. Therefore you won’t need a visa to travel to Germany as a citizen of one of these countries. Find out if you need a visa or not before starting the visa application process.

Citizens who do not need to obtain a Scientist Visa before moving to Germany

Scientists and researchers from the European Union do not need a visa to enter Germany. Therefore these individuals can travel to Germany freely and carry out their research at the desired institution. However, EU researchers are allowed to stay in and carry out their research for 90 days. But if the research will take longer than 90 days, then the researcher must register at the local authorities.

Similarly, nationals from the following countries can travel to Germany without a German visa. They must have a valid passport before they can travel to Germany.

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Honduras
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • South Korea
  • The United States of America

However, these nationals must register at the Citizen Service or Resident Registration office upon their arrival in Germany. Afterwards, they will get a work permit.

Nationals who need a Guest Scientist or Scholar Visa

Start the application process for a scientist visa if you do not belong to any of the aforementioned categories of citizens. Summarily, citizens from any other part of the world must obtain a visa to enter and carry out research in Germany.

Requirements for a German Scientist Visa

German Embassies or Consulates have a list of required documents that each individual must provide before being awarded a visa. However, each type of visa has its specific documents that must be provided.

Requirements for a Scientist/visiting scholar visa

  • Proof of academic qualification. For example, your degree certificate or transcripts.
  • A cover letter explaining your purpose in Germany.
  • A letter from a recognized German University or Institution acknowledging your stay in Germany. Also, this letter must state your payment or scholarship as the case may be.
  • Your home research institution or university must provide a letter stating that you have obligations that you have to return to. This proves to the German consular officer that you will return to your home country after carrying out your research.

General German Visa requirements

  • Two filled application forms: Provide correct details that match with other documents. Sign at the end of both copies.
  • A valid passport: The passport must be valid for at least 1 year after your planned return to your home country. The passport must be have been issued between the last 10 years.
  • A copy of your passport’s data page: This shows your name, date of birth, passport number, issue and expiry dates. Also, this copy must be on an A4 size paper.
  • Two passport-sized photographs: These photographs must be identical, and show your full face. The photographs must be less than 3 months old. German immigration authorities have requirements for these photographs. You must comply with them.
  • Proof of Civil Status: This maybe your birth certificate, marriage certificate, your children’s birth certificates or your spouse’s death certificate.
  • Health Insurance Coverage: You must show a valid Health Insurance at the embassy. Health insurance must cover the entire period you will stay in Germany. Also, it is recommended to get a Health Insurance from a German company.
  • Proof of accommodation: This document proves that you have a place to stay for the whole time in Germany. Provide a hotel booking or invitation letter from the institution or a family member or friend.
  • Flight Itinerary: This is a flight reservation in most cases. Similarly, you can provide rail or bus tickets as the case may be.
  • Proof of Finance: Provide a document or documents that prove that you are capable of taking care of yourself during your stay in Germany. This is usually a bank statement. The bank statement must show that you have enough funds for your entire stay in Germany. However, your sponsor can also provide a letter of commitment alongside their bank statement or payslips. The letter must state clearly that they are willing to take care of your expenditures in Germany. Also, this could be a document or contract from the host institution. This must state your payment. You can also provide all these documents if it is applicable.

Depending on your work status, you may provide the following documents and proof of finance.

  • Self-employed individuals: Proof of ownership (land titles, proof of income etc) and certificate of proprietorship.
  • Employed individuals: Provide a work contract or payslips for the past 3 months.

The German Embassy or Consulate in your country has the rights to ask for additional documents. Also, the submission of all the required documents does not guarantee a visa. You will be refused a visa if you do not submit all the required documents or do not attend the interview.

Application steps for the Visa

Firstly, note that all applications must be submitted at the German Consulate or Embassy in your home country. That is to say, the German Embassy or Consulate closest to you. However, there are visa application centres in some countries.

Read this guide to know how you can go about your visa application process. It is recommended to apply for the visa at least 1 month before your intended travel date.

Visa Fee

The German visa fee is non-refundable. The fee for a long-stay German visa is €75. Contact your German Embassy to know how you can pay the fee.

German Scientist Visa processing time

Normally, it takes about 10 – 15 days to process a German Visa. However, there may be delays in some cases. The delay may be as a result of many applications being processed or a problem with the applicant’s documents. Therefore to be on the safe side, apply for your visa 90 days before your planned travel date.

Extending my Scientist Visa

The German Scientist/Visiting Scholar Visa like any other long-stay visa can be extended. The individual must book an appointment at the foreigner’s registration office in Germany. You can find these offices in almost every German city. Endeavour to book the appointment 2 months before your visa expires.

Take all the required documents along on the day of the appointment. Also, submit a letter from your Research institution or university that acknowledges that they would like to have you around longer. You must also write a letter explaining the reason for your extension. Lastly, you must pay the visa extension fee of €80.

How to bring my spouse and children to Germany as a Scientist Visa holder?

Ok now, you have a Scientist visa and want to bring your family to Germany. You are eligible if you meet the requirements below. If your family finally arrives in Germany, then your spouse can work after obtaining a work permit. This is the same for any other long-stay visa.

  • Your children must be younger than 18 years(underage).
  • Your children must be unmarried.
  • All your family members must have basic knowledge of the German language.
  • Proof that you can take care of your family financially for the entire stay in Germany.
  • You must have enough accommodation for all your family members.

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