Checklist - Before Your Arrival

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Before you leave your country

  • Decide when you will start work and discuss the date with your (host) institute well in advance
  • Put together the most important documents
  • Apply for your visa (and those of any members of your family accompanying you)
  • Arrange an appointment with your local Immigration Office (the Residents' Registration Office is responsible for EU citizens) in order to register in good time during the first week after arrival and to extend your residence permit, if necessary
  • Find out about accommodation in your new place of residence
  • Arrange health insurance cover (for your marital partner and children as well)
  • If applicable, enquire about local child care/schools well in advance

Download Checklist

Shortly after your arrival

  • Visit your department or institute
  • Sign your lease agreement
  • Ask your landlord to complete the "Wohnungsgeberbestätigung" (landlord's confirmation) (Essen, Duisburg (PDF)). You will require it at the Residents' Registration office or Immigration Office.
  • Register yourself (and your family) at the Residents' Registration Office if you are EU citizens or at the local Immigration Office if you are not. You may also be able to apply for a "Führungszeugnis" (police clearance certificate) and "Freizügigkeit" (Freedom of Movement) there.
  • Open a bank account
  • Take out health insurance
  • Sign your employment contract
  • Extend your residence permit (and those of your marital partner and children)
  • Register your children at kindergarten or school
  • Set up your workplace (internet access, telephone, library card etc.)
  • Obtain information as soon as possible on potential tax obligations and pension rights, also including the "Versorgungsanstalt des Bundes und der Länder" (LBV)
  • Register your household with the Beitragsservice, to avoid additional payments and fines (see "Accommodation")

Important Documents

  • Passport (Validity: for the entire period of your stay + 3 months)
  • Visa (if required) (see "Visa & Residence Permit")
  • Letter of invitation from the University, fellowship award or hosting agreement
  • A biometric passport photo, possibly other passport photos (please observe the requirements for passport photos laid down by the German Foreign Office)
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificate
  • Certified copies of your doctoral certificate or any other certificates awarded for academic degrees
  • Vaccination certificates
  • A declaration stating particular or previous illness and any current medication
  • International driving licence or foreign driving licence (depending on country of issue)
  • If you conclude an employment contract with a university - depending on the type of contract - you will need additional documents; please ascertain which documents are necessary in your particular case prior to entering the country


Foreign certificates must be submitted in German or English translation. It is possible to submit the original document or certified copies.