Visa and Residence permit

Do I need a visa to enter Germany?

Citizens of an EU Member State can enter Germany without visa.

Citizens of other countries require a residence permit. Residence permits issued by a German mission abroad are called visa. The residence permit entitles the holder to take up an economic activity, provided this is stipulated in the Residence Act or the residence permit expressly permits this.

Please note that you are not allowed to take up work at the Max Planck Institute unless you have a visa with a note on your work permit. Therefore, you should take enough time to apply for your visa for Germany before you start working.

What types of visa are there?

Depending on the length of your stay in Germany, there are different types of visa:

National Visa: This visa is valid for a stay of more than three months. After entering Germany, you apply for a residence permit at the local foreigners' registration office (Ausländerbehörde), as the national visa is usually only issued for three months initially.

Schengen Visa: The Schengen visa is only valid for stays of up to three months and cannot be extended. Furthermore, no residence permit can be applied for with the Schengen visa. Therefore, the Schengen visa is rather recommended for guest researchers and visitors who are not employed in Germany and will not take up gainful employment.

In general, in all cases a visa only entitles the holder to enter the country and possibly to take up employment. For longer stays, you must be apply for a residence permit after entry.

The residence titles relevant for you according to the Residence Act are (See also: Authorities)

- Residence permit according to §18 AufenthG
- Blue card EU

Further information is available from the German embassy or consulate general in your country:

Federal Foreign Office: Representation abroad

You will need about two to three months for the application procedure. Visas for family members travelling with you should be applied for at the same time. 

On the website of the mission in your country you will also find information on the visa procedure and necessary documents (checklists).

Please refer to the checklists for employment visa:

Doctoral students are gainfully employed persons - not students.

Interns are gainfully employed persons - not students.

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