Welcome Center for international Researchers and Scholars

Welcome to Kiel University!

Our Services

The Welcome Center offers services to international scientists and scholars coming to Kiel University, either as an employee of the university or as a guest professor, visiting researcher, scholar, or fellowship/scholarship recipient. We can inform you on matters such as visas and residence permits, housing, health, liability and accident insurance, registering as a resident, how to open a bank account, the tax office and matters regarding accompanying family members.

In the following pages we provide you with some information to help you plan your research stay at Kiel University.

We look forward to helping you! Please contact us as soon as possible to register so that we can give you the best possible support.

Before coming to Kiel

Before You Arrive

Please get in touch with the Welcome Center as soon as you know that you will be coming to Kiel. Good and early preparation for your stay will makes things easier once you have arrived, not only for you at your host institute but also for your family, should they accompany you to Kiel.

A checklist for preparing your arrival in Kiel can be downloaded  here.

Contacting Your Host Institute at Kiel University (CAU)

In the interest of preparing for your research, it is important to establish communication with your host institute at Kiel University early on. This will help in:

  • Clarifying any special conditions for your research (e.g. if you need to obtain permission to carry out experiments involving animals or observe rules governing the practice of medicine etc.);
  • Being informed of circumstances involving work space and the availability of technology such as a personal computer or a notebook;
  • Determining whether you intend to bring any samples or devices with you and if so, what import/export conditions may need to be met.

 

Important Documents to bring with you

Before departing for Germany, you must have the following pieces of identification and other documents:

  • A passport, or equivalent identification, valid for the entire duration of your stay in the Federal Republic of Germany;
  • A visa for yourself and any family members accompanying you. Citizens of these countries can enter Germany without a visa: all EU member states and EEA states, Australia, Andorra, Canada, Honduras, Israel, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino and the USA. However, if you plan to start working soon after your arrival, it is advisable to apply for a visa.  Here you can find more information about visa regulations including visa fees. We strongly encourage you to apply for a visa as soon as possible. Applications for accompanying family members may take especially long. You can apply for a visa at the German embassy or consulate in your country;
  • Documentation of your fellowship/scholarship/job offer/work contract or other proof of financing covering your cost of living for the duration of your stay;
  • Several passport pictures for the various pieces of identification you will need during your stay in Germany;
  • Birth certificate(s) and marriage certificate, if applicable (best if officially translated into German);

These documents are also recommended:

  • If applicable, documentation of any special or prior medical conditions (possibly including recent X-ray images) and any medications you may presently require;
  • Your vaccination records, if possible in an internationally intelligible format.

 

Health Insurance

All people living in Germany - Germans and non-Germans alike- are required by law to have valid health insurance.

  • University employees choose and pay for their health insurance through the university. It is advisable, however, to buy travel health insurance for the time between when you arrive and when you sign your employment contract.
  • Fellowship/scholarship holders will need to buy health insurance unless their current health insurance policy covers them during their stay in Germany. If not, they must buy health insurance coverage for the entire length of their stay before travelling to Germany. Please check this before leaving for Germany.
  • If you have health insurance that is valid in Germany, you must have proof of its validity, for example notorized copies of your insurance documents - best if translated into German or English if in another language. You will need this documentation in order to get a residence permit.

 

Accompanying family members

If your family will be living with you in Germany please note the following:

  • Family visa: Apply early for a visa (if necessary) for yourself and your family. Visas for family members can often take longer than individual visas. 
  • Work permit for spouse: If your spouse wishes to work as a regular employee in Germany, he or she will need a work permit from the German government (unless he or she is a citizen of another EU country or of Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway). Spouses of foreign academic visitors wishing to pursue gainful employment should indicate this before arrival so that they can apply for a corresponding residence permit (one with the designation Erwerbstätigkeit gestattet ‘employment allowed’) once in Germany.
  • Day Care: Children aged one to six are guaranteed a place in day care (Kindergarten) if needed. Once you know where you will be living in Germany it is a good idea to register your children for the Kindergarten as soon as possible to minimize wait time.
  • Schools: All children living in Germany from the age of six up to and including age 16 are required to attend school. The school year begins in August or September after the summer holidays. The exact starting date varies from year to year. As soon as you know where you will be living in Germany it is a good idea to register your children for school
  • The Family Service Office of Kiel University can help you with all matters regarding day care and schools.
  • More information about schools and daycare can be found in the "During your stay" section.

 

Getting to Kiel

Kiel can be reached by air, rail, ship or automobile. You can find additional information here.

Accommodation

As soon as you know you when you will be coming to Kiel please contact the Welcome Center to assist you in finding accommodation.

  • As an international guest scientist you may be able to stay in one of our guest houses (depending on availability).
  • International PhD students may be able to stay in one of the dormitories (depending on availability).
  • A list of places to stay/places to search for an apartment can be found here.
  • Here is a list of common abbreviations used in housing advertisements.
  • The central University Welcome Service also has a  housing page.
  • For a list of hotels in Kiel contact:: Touristinformation Kiel e. V.

 

On your arrival in Kiel

The formalities described below must be taken care of in the first few days after your arrival. This information is also available for download as a pdf-file here.

Registration with the city’s residence registration office:

Regardless of whether they are international or German citizens, all residents have to register with their current addresses within the first two weeks of arrival. The resident registration office (das Einwohnermeldeamt) for Kiel is located in the town hall (das Rathaus) Fleethorn 9, 24103 Kiel. If you are living in a town outside of Kiel you can find the location of the registration office on the homepage of your town. You will need to bring some identification (e.g. passport or identity card) and a Wohnungsgeberbestätigung (a confirmation from your landlord/-lady, which says that you have moved into a room/an apartment). If you are living in a university dormitory you should have gotten this with your rental agreement. If you are subletting an apartment, you can get it from the person from whom you are subletting. 

If your spouse and/or child/ren are living with you in Germany, you must also register them. You will need to show their identification documents and your marriage certificate (best if translated into German or English) at the residence registration office. There is no fee to register, but if you do not register within two weeks of arrival, you may have to pay a fine. 

You can make an appointment at the Kiel registration office by phone 0431 901-904 or online (website in German only). Since it is often difficult to make an appointment within two weeks after arrival, as soon as you know the address of where you will be living, it is a good idea to try to make an appointment before you arrive. If this does not work, once you are in Kiel, you can go to the office very early (right when they open) and see if there are any cancellations. Either way, be prepared to wait!

Registration with the Immigration Office:

Every guest researcher visiting Germany from abroad must register right away with the Immigration Office (die Ausländerbehörde) of the municipality in which he or she will be living. This also applies to visitors who have permission to enter Germany initially without a visa. The immigration office issues your temporary residence permit (die Aufenthaltsgenehmigung). You must make an appointment at the immigration office, preferably by e-mail Zuwanderungsabteilung@kiel.de or alternatively by telephone: +49 431 901 4299. Here it is also a good idea to try to make an appointment as soon as you know the address of where you will be living. It is absolutely necessary that you have documentation showing that you have valid health insurance and that you have registered your residence! 

There are many types of residence permits for international researchers. Depending on which type of permit you have will determine whether you are eligible for child benefits and whether you can extend your stay. Here is a summary of the types of residence permits.

The authorities may require you to provide a certificate of health issued by a doctor licensed to practice in Germany. Whether a foreign health certificate can be accepted or not must be clarified on a case-by-case basis. Do not arrange to have a medical examination unless the authorities have explicitly required you to provide one. In many places there are health offices that can carry out the examination at relatively low cost.

Opening a bank/checking account:  

Most banks require that you present your proof of registration from the Einwohnermeldeamt and your temporary residency permit from the Ausländerbehörde when you open a checking account. Online banks may not require this, but will require you to do something to prove your identity (Post-Ident-process).

We recommend that you sign an Einzugsermächtigung from your health/medical insurance company. This gives them permission to draw your monthly premium directly from your checking account for the entire duration of your stay and is a standard procedure.

During your stay in Kiel

In Germany with Your Family

The following information can be downloaded as a pdf-file here.

Work Permit for Your Spouse

If your spouse wishes to work as a regular employee in Germany, he or she will need a work permit from the German government (unless he or she is a citizen of another EU country or of Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway). Spouses of foreign academic visitors wishing to work in Germany must indicate this prior when applying for the visa so that they can apply for a corresponding residence permit (one with the designation Erwerbstätigkeit gestattet ‘employment allowed’). The work permit itself must be obtained from the Arbeitsamt (employment office) in Kiel. The process is time consuming – just processing the application can take several weeks – and applications are not always successful. Because of this, spouses of past foreign academic guests recommend that you consider well in advance of your arrival how best to use the time you will be spending in Germany. Spouses of visiting researchers can register as guest auditors for courses at the University. The Volkshochschule (VHS) – the local adult education center – also offers courses on various topics.

Child Care (Kindergarten)

In Germany, Kindergarten is day care for children one to six years of age. You are not required to send your children to Kindergarten in Germany; however, one to six year olds are legally entitled to a space in a Kindergarten.

More information regarding child care can be found on the pages of the Family Service Office at Kiel University. They also offer a program for children of university employees during the school holidays.

If you are travelling with your children to Germany, please get in touch as soon as possible with the Family Service Office familienservice@gb.uni-kiel.de. They can assist you in all matters concerning schools for your child/ren.

School

The school year begins at the end of summer break in either August or September; the date varies from year to year. All children living in Germany 6 years of age up to and including age 16, regardless of nationality, are required to attend school.

More information regarding types of schools and school registration can be found on the pages of the Family Service Office at Kiel University.

If you are travelling with your children to Germany, please get in touch as soon as possible with the Family Service Office familienservice@gb.uni-kiel.de. They can assist you in locating a school for your school age children.

Driving in Germany

This following information can also be downloaded as a pdf-file here

Driving license

Citizens of the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland: Your driving license is valid in Germany, just as it is in your home country. There is no need to have it converted to a German license.

Citizens of other countries: You can drive for six months with your existing driving license, starting with the day you register your residence in Germany. At the end of that period, you will need a German license. Whether or not you will have to take a test depends on the country where you obtained your driving license.

Registering your car in Germany

All cars in Germany need to be registered, and you can do this at the nearest car registration office. You will need your vehicle title (proof that the car belongs to you) and your motor vehicle insurance policy.

If you are bringing a car with you from another country, read here what additional documents are required.

 

After they are registered, all cars in Germany need to pass a general inspection. This means that a mechanic must confirm that your car is safe and meets the official emission standards. A vehicle inspection sticker will then be affixed to your car’s number plate. The general inspection can be performed by an authorized workshop near you, for example. Inspections need to be repeated at regular intervals. There is a charge for both the general inspection and for registering your vehicle.

Please note that in many German cities, low-emission zones have been created to reduce the quantities of particulates and nitrogen dioxide in the air.

To drive into one of these low-emission zones, you need a sticker (Umweltplakette) showing that your vehicle has sufficiently low emissions. This can be obtained for a fee from the licensing authority or other approved agencies.

Learning German

The following information can be downloaded as a pdf-file here.

Language is the key to a country's culture. And even if communication in English is no problem at research institutes, your stay in Germany is not all work but everyday life and leisure as well. After their stay is over, nearly all research fellows emphasize that knowledge of German contributes significantly to integrating, especially your family, into everyday life and making your stay a richer experience. It is very helpful to get a basic knowledge of German before you come to Germany and at least grapple with the fundamentals of the language (alphabet, grammar, etc.).

It is strongly recommended for research fellows to participate in intensive German courses as experience shows that they can spend more time practicing the language and, on top of this, get to know other newcomers with whom they can talk about initial difficulties and turn to for mutual support if problems occur. In scientific subjects, in particular, knowledge of specialized German vocabulary can facilitate communication with technicians, laboratory staff, and assistants. Thus, at the beginning of the stay at the host institute it might be helpful to attend seminars and lectures in German or to get together with a German colleague in order to learn this special vocabulary.

At Kiel University German language courses are available at different levels from the "Lektorat Deutsch als Fremdsprache” (German as a foreign language). 

Additionally the International Center offers each year two summer courses. Read more: Summer courses at Kiel University.

Meeting people

If you would like to meet some Germans here are some opportunities for that:

The International Café meets once a month at the Guesthouse of the university in Dusternbrooker Weg. Join us for Kaffeetrinken (coffee and cake) on the second Wednesday of every month. More information here.

Preparing for departure from Kiel

Just before you leave Kiel, you will also need to take care of a few required formalities, like un-registering with the Residence Registration office or cancelling your insurance contracts. Our Welcome Center team supports you with organizing and coordinating these tasks before you leave.

We have compiled a checklist of the most important formalities to consider at the end of your stay in Kiel.

Staying in touch

Would you like to keep in touch with Kiel University? Then join our Alumni Network!

Contact

Welcome Center for International Researchers and Scholars at Kiel University
Office hours: Tues. 1 - 3 pm, Thurs. 9 - 12 noon,
Westring 400, Raum 02.01

welcomecenter@uv.uni-kiel.de

Dr. Nancy Smith
nsmith(at)uv.uni-kiel.de
Tel. +49 431 880 2727
Fax +49 431 880 1666

Kiel University, Kiel and S-H

Research profil

International scientists

Further information