Living in Germany


Expenses ←back

  • Tuition
    Studying at the IMPRS-CMB is free of charge and not subject to any tuition fees. A general administration fee has to be paid for registering as a student at a German university (amounting to around EUR 450 - 500 per year) The administration fee includes a so-called "Semester Ticket", which entitles holders to use public transport in NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia) at no additional cost.
  • Living expenses
    You should reckon on spending between EUR 600 and EUR 800 per month on your cost of living (including accommodation, mandatory health insurance, etc.).
  • Housing
    Assistance in finding housing for foreign students is offered by the IMPRS-CMB.
    Monthly rent levels for individual apartments are between around EUR 270 and EUR 340 gross rent, including extras such as heating, electricity and generally a cable connection. For a place in a shared flat around EUR 250 will be charged.
    Only students participating in the preparative training program for Ph.D. studies can request accommodation with favourable rent in a student dormitory.
  • Liability Insurance
    It is strongly recommended to take out a private liability insurance while staying in Germany. This insurance will cover claims of bodily injury or property damage against the insured person caused by negligence or inappropriate action.



Health Insurance ←back

  • German health insurance is mandatory for all students. A special low-prize health insurance (including a private liability insurance) for foreign scientists (grant-aided research) in Germany is available. This insurance covers the costs of normal medical treatment in Germany. The monthly charge is about EUR 60.


Visa ←back

General Guidelines Nationals from European member states and nationals of some other countries (for which the European Community has abolished the visa requirement: Australia, Canada, Island, Israel, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, USA) do not require a visa to enter Germany. Nevertheless, citizens of these countries have to obtain a residence permit after entry, if the intended stay is longer than 90 days. Citizens of other countries always require a visa to enter Germany. Information on the requirements for entering Germany is available on the website of the German Federal Foreign Office.


The embassies and consulates-general (missions) of the Federal Republic of Germany are responsible for issuing visas. As a rule, you must submit your visa application, together with all necessary documents, in person at the German mission responsible for your place of residence. In order to avoid time-consuming requests for additional information or documentation, you should contact the respective mission well in advance of your travel dates to inquire about any special local requirements pertaining to visa formalities.

  • Requirements for a short-term stay (less than 90 days) The applicant must prove that he/she has adequate funds to finance the journey and the intended stay. The Research School as host resident in Germany will send you a letter of invitation stating that expenses incurred for travelling and lodging will be reimbursed. In addition, a valid travel health insurance for the short-term stay is requested. The time required to decide on the application takes 2 - 10 working days.
  • Requirements for a long-term stay (longer than 90 days) To obtain a visa for a long-term stay the applicant must prove that he/she has adequate funds to finance the intended stay. The Research School as host resident in Germany will send you a letter of invitation, which states that the granted stipend is sufficient to cover the living expenses in Germany. The time required to decide on the application in this case may take several weeks.



Residence Permit ←back

  • Foreigners who plan to stay in Germany for longer than 3 months must register at the local Municipal Registry (Einwohnermeldeamt) and at the Foreign Residents Authority (Ausländerbehörde). This should be done as soon as you have found lodging and before your visa is expiring.
  • The local Municipal Registry (Einwohnermeldeamt) must be informed each time you change your address, and when you finally return to your home country.
  • The officials at the Foreign Residents Authority convert a valid visa into a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) if the purpose of residence persists and all requirements are met; they are also responsible for extending expired visas.
  • Papers needed at the Muncipal Registry: passport / identity card, work / scholarship contract, tenancy contract, passport photograph, health insurance documents.
  • Papers needed at the Foreign Residents Authority: passport / identity card, work / scholarship contract, passport photograph, health insurance documents, confirmation of registration at the Einwohnermeldeamt (Anmeldebestätigung).


Useful Links for Foreigners ←back

The following list contains some links to external web pages with information and guidelines for foreigners in Germany. The IMPRS-CMB is not responsible and thus cannot be made liable for the content of the linked webpages! We do not want to support illegal or immoral contents and will be deleting referring links as soon as we get to know about them.

Living and working in Germany - A guide or international scientists at Max Planck Institutes
How to Germany - Practical hints for living and working in Germany as a foreigner; categorically sorted