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FAQ: Researchers, visiting scientists and scientific staff



According to the legal definition, a researcher is a person who systematically carries out a creative and legally permissible activity with the purpose of expanding the state of knowledge, including findings about humanity, culture and society, or using such knowledge to find new application possibilities. These include both natural and human as well as social sciences. However, according to the underlying concept of Community Law, the condition that the person holds a university degree is always a prerequisite.

Please see here for more information

Visiting scientists are scientists employed by foreign institutions, who are only “lent” to a German-based institute for a limited period of time. Payment continues to be made by the sending organisation/university (but never by a company!). As a rule, only resources are made available by the inviting institute.
Scientific staff members are foreigners who work at a German-based institute. They work at least part-time and must at least belong to the tariff group E13 TVÖD (Collective Agreement for the Public Service).

Yes, spouses and underage children can apply for joint travel or additional travel (at the latest after 6 months).

Accompanying spouses and underage children require the following documents in addition to two fully completed and signed visa applications:

  • valid passport (the original will be returned to you after application) + 2 copies of the identification pages. The passport should be valid for at least 3 month after expiring date of the visa

  • Two passport photos with light background (3.5 x 4.5 cm)
  • document proving the relation to the applicant (e.g. marriage/birth certificate) 
                 (Apostille, legalisation or verification procedure might be necessary in individual cases depending on the issuing country. Please consult the website of the German mission in the country of origin.)

  • Proof of valid and sufficient private medical insurance in Germany, for example“Incoming” insurances in Germany. Travel insurance is not sufficient.

In individual cases it may be necessary to submit further documents.

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