Visa and Resident Permit

Do I need a visa?  What kind of visa do I need to conduct research in Germany? When do I need to apply for a visa?

These are the most common questions asked before moving to Germany. However, the answers depend on your nationality and also your purpose of coming to the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics.

As an EU citizen or nationality from one of the EFTA countries you can stay and work in Germany without a visa. All other nationalities need to have a visa or residence permit for internships, studying, employment and/or conducting research.

Research Visa and EU Blue Card

Most of our international scientists hold a visa or residence permit for research. This kind of visa is specific for scientists who aim for conducting research in Germany. You can check out the requirements with your nearest embassy or via “make it in Germany”.

In case you are a postdoc with a working contract with us, you might be qualified for the application of the EU Blue Card after arrival in Germany. This residence permit provides special opportunities. It can be attractive if you are interested in obtaining a settlement permit and/or want to live with your family in Germany.

Do you need to apply for a visa before traveling to Germany?

If you would need to have a visa before immigration to Germany you can check out at the website of the  Federal Foreign Office. If you can enter Germany without a visa, you would need to apply for a residence permit including a work or research permit after arrival.

However, it is much easier to apply for the visa already in your home country. Please also keep in mind, that for starting your work contract, you will need to have already the particular visa or residence permit allowing you to work and/or conduct research. If you apply after your arrival, you might need to wait weeks or even months before starting with your contract and thus research at MPI.  Thus, we highly recommend you to contact your nearest German embassy once you know you will join our research institute.

Where and how to apply for a visa?

The Federal Foreign Office provides information where to apply for a visa (usually a German embassy of the country you currently reside) and what documents are required. Though a visa might sometimes be issued as fast as within two weeks, we strongly recommend applying two months in advance. You can find your nearest embassy here.

Please contact us once you know that you will visit Max Planck Institute for Biophysics, so we can clarify what kind of visa you will need and what supporting documents you would need for the application.

Please note: All information is based on our latest knowledge and our experiences of supporting our international guests and scientists. The information provided is for informative purposes only and is meant to serve as an orientation. We do not guarantee that the information is complete or represents the latest laws and regulations. Please consult the websites and information sources of your embassy, the federal ministry of justice, and public authorities for legal and updated information.

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