1. EU-citizens as well as citizens from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway
Doctoral students from member states of the European Union as well as the above named countries do not require a visa for their stay in Germany. They must however still register as resident with a mailing address in Berlin (Anmeldung) within 14 days after moving into their new home.
2. Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland and the United States of America
Doctoral students from these countries can enter without a visa but must apply for a residence permit (Aufenthaltsgenehmigung) no more than three months after entering the country. For this, registration (Anmeldung) at the Local Citizens’ Office (Bürgeramt) is required before an application for a residence permit for study purposes may be issued by the Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde).
This must be done no more than three months after entering Germany. Opening hours for the offices are Mondays and Tuesdays 07.00-14.00 and Thursdays from 10.00-18.00. The Ausländerbehörde (Immigration Office) is located in Friedrich-Krause-Ufer 24 in 13353 Berlin. Please make an appointment (telephone number: 030-902690) in advance.
The following checklist is helpful when applying for the residence permit (Aufenthaltsgenehmigung) for study purposes. You will need:
• Your valid passport (must be valid for at least six months, preferably a year) with a visa
• The application, dated and signed
• A current biometric photo
• The document of acceptance and the certificate of matriculation from Freie Universität
• Proof of secure livelihood (evidence of how you will cover your living costs, for example confirmation of your grant or scholarship)
• Proof of health insurance cover for Germany
3. Foreign nationals from all other countries
Foreign citizens from all other countries require a visa to enter and stay in Germany. You must apply for your visa before entering the country at the German Representative Office abroad (Auslandsvertretungen), depending on which area of jurisdiction you live in. It is important to note that a tourist visa in Germany will not be converted into an entrance visa; people who have entered on a tourist visa must return to their country of origin to apply for a visa (!). The visa requires the approval of the Immigration Department in Berlin (Berliner Ausländerbehörde), which distributes the required residence permits for study purposes (Aufenthaltsgenehmigung zu Studienzwecken). Every change to the purpose of the stay, e.g. to subject or changing university, requires a new application.
On the website of the Immigration Department in Berlin you will find further general comments on the visa application process, in particular a special page for students in Germany (Studium).
Information for all doctoral candidates regarding registration in Berlin can be found under the heading "Before matriculation".