Entry & visa regulations
1. EU citizens and citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway
Doctoral candidates from member states of the European Union and the countries listed above do not need a visa for their stay in Germany, but they need to register their residency at their respective borough in Berlin (registration).
2. Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland and the United States of America
Doctoral candidates from these countries may enter without a visa, but have to apply for a residence permit within three months after their entry. For this purpose, you must first register with the respective Bürgeramt and then apply for a residence permit for study purposes.
This has to take place within three months after entering Germany. The Foreigners Registration Office [German] is located at Friedrich-Krause-Ufer 24 in 13353 Berlin. Please make an appointment!
Please note the checklist for your application for a residence permit for study purposes on the office’s website. From our experience, you will need:
- your valid passport (valid for at least six months, preferably a year),
- the completed and signed application,
- two current identical passport pictures,
- the letter of admission and enrollment certificate from Freie Universität Berlin,
- a proof of financial resources (proof of how you support yourself, e.g. a copy of your scholarship grant),
- proof of health insurance for Germany.
3. Foreign citizens from all other countries
Foreign citizens from all other countries need a visa to enter and stay in Germany. You need to apply for a visa with the German mission in your jurisdiction before you enter. Please note that a tourist visa cannot be changed to an entry visa in Germany. Anyone entering Germany on a tourist visa has to return to their home country to apply for an entry visa. The visa has to be approved by the Berlin Foreigners Registration Office [German] that grants the necessary residence permit for study purposes. Any change of the residency purpose, e.g. switching study subjects or universities requires a new application.
You can find some general information about the visa process on the pages of the Berlin Foreigners Registration Office. We would also like to point out the page specifically for students [German] in Germany.
Information regarding the mandatory registration for all doctoral candidates in Berlin can be found under item "Prior to enrollment.”