As an international researcher or instructor at the University of Münster, there are some formalities that you need to take care of before and after you arrive. 

In most cases formalities are taken care of in the following order:

1) Health insurance
2) Registration of address (compulsory registration)
3) Residence permit for Non-EU Citizens
4) Opening a bank account
5) Tax office

 List of particular order

  • Visa / Entering the country

    Citizens of certain countries require an entry visa when arriving in Germany. On the following pages, you will find information about whether you will have to apply for visa, and if so, when and which one.

  • Compulsory registration

    • In Germany, anyone who moves to a new place of residence is required to register with the local authorities. You and the members of your family will have to register at the local Resident Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt) within one week of entering Germany or moving to a new address. For your registration you will need:

      • an identity card or passport
      • form entitled “Registering with the Authorities” ("Anmeldung bei der Meldebehörde")

      At the Citizens Office in Münster (Bürgerbüro Mitte), you will receive a:

      • certificate of registration which is required for extending your visa or opening a bank account
      • police clearance certificate (polizeiliches Führungszeugnis) which the University requires for concluding your employment contract. Foreign employees should submit a corresponding certificate issued in their home country.

      At your local tax office (in Münster: the Finanzamt Münster Innenstadt or Finanzamt Münster Außenstadt), you will receive:

      • tax income deduction certificate if you have an employment contract with the University of Münster lasting more than 183 days. If you are staying in Germany for a shorter period, the University’s personnel department will apply to the Düsseldorf-Süd Tax Office for a certificate for persons with limited tax liability.

      Website of the Citizens Office (Bürgerbüro Mitte) of the City of Münster [de]

      Change of address/Leaving the country:

      If you change your address during your stay, you must re-register at the Residents Registration Office in your new district. When you leave Germany at the end of your research stay, you must de-register there as well.

  • Residence permit

    If you are non-EU citizen and wish to stay in Germany for longer than three months, you will have to replace your visa with a residence permit after you arrive. In most cases, it is clear which residence permit applies to your situation – as stipulated by the relevant paragraph of the Immigration Act. To learn which documents you will have to present to the authorities, please consult our checklist. Additional documents may be requested depending on one's individual situation.

    In some cases, you may be allowed to choose the paragraph named in the residence permit. Depending on your situation, this decision can entail advantages or disadvantages. The German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) has compiled a list of criteria for the various residence permits. Further information is available from the EURAXESS Germany website.

  • Work permit, employment contract, appointment and salary

    Academic staff, visiting researchers and technical staff in research teams do not require any special approval from the German Federal Employment Agency. If you are a foreign national and wish to take up academic employment, the local Foreigners Registration Office can issue you the relevant permit and add it to your residence permit.
    Foreigner's Registration Office of the City of Münster

    Citizens of the European Union and nationals from the European Economic Area and Switzerland enjoy freedom of movement for workers. They do not need any approval to take up gainful employment.

    Employment contracts / appointments

    The conditions of employment for academic staff are provided in an employment contract with the University of Münster. Professors and academics with civil-servant status, on the other hand, receive an appointment, i.e. an official document confirming their appointment to the respective position.


    Salaries for civil servants are defined by the German Civil Servants’ Remuneration Act and by the relevant state regulations. Professors’ salaries are defined by the Academics’ Remuneration scale.

    Salaries for research assistants in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia are determined by the applicable remuneration group laid down in the tariff agreement for public service employees (TV-L).


    Freedom of Movement certificate

    The Freedom of Movement certificate (Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung) for academics from the EU has been discontinued. Foreign nationals planning to stay in Germany longer than three months are required to register at the local Residents Registration Office.

  • Opening a bank account

    If you stay in Germany for an extended period of time, receive a regular salary or scholarship payments, and have to pay rent and utilities, it makes sense to open a giro (checking) account, which you can do at any bank branch. To open an account, you will need a passport or identity card and the certificate of registration from the Citizens Office. Some banks also ask to see the residence permit issued by the Foreigners Registration Office.

    Commercial and savings banks: There is hardly any difference between a commercial (merchant) bank and a savings bank in term of the services they provide. Bank charges can, however, vary. You should therefore inquire about these in advance. After opening your giro account, your bank will issue you a debit card (bank card, savings bank card, EC card) with which you can withdraw money from cash dispensers at your own bank (at no charge) or at other banks (for a fee).

    Money transfers: Money transfers from countries outside Europe can be expensive. You should ask your home bank about its charges for such services, and then, if possible, select a bank in Germany with which it cooperates.
    List of commercial and savings banks in Münster [de]

  • Health insurance

    All employees are responsible for arranging their own health insurance. Therefore, it is important to note the following:

    Health insurance

    In Germany, health insurance is compulsory for researchers and any members of their family accompanying them. You will need proof of health insurance cover in order to obtain your residence permit and sign an employment contract. For short-term stays up to 3 months, your insurance policy must at least cover any medical treatment in the case of acute illness or accident. For longer periods, it must be on the level of a German statutory insurance, as explained below. In fact, Germany there are two types of health insurance: statutory and private.

    Statutory health insurance
    There is a uniform contribution rate of 14.6 percent (July 2021) for all statutory health insurance providers, of which the employer and the employee each pay 7.3%. Employees’ contributions are deducted at source from their gross salary. Furthermore, statutory health insurances can charge employees an additional individual contribution. Although their services are largely defined by German law, there are differences between the providers, e.g. in the areas of customer service, additional benefits and optional plans. Employees are free to choose their own statutory health insurance provider. If you do not make any choice yourself, the University of Münster will register you with the AOK fund.

    Private health insurance
    If you earn more than 66,360 euros a year (or 5,550 euros per month as of 2023), you can sign up for private health insurance and if you carry out research without a work contract, this is your only option. Unlike statutory health insurance, contributions into a private health insurance scheme do not depend on income but rather a variety of criteria, which define one’s risk profile (age, gender, profession, state of health) as well as by the insurance cover desired. The more comprehensive the coverage, the higher the premium. Private patients receive invoices made out to them personally. You will have to pay these yourself and the health insurance company will reimburse you later.
    More information on health insurance from the EURAXESS network

    Important information

    If you are an EU citizen and have health insurance cover in your home country, you may receive medical treatment in other EU member states – as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – and have the costs reimbursed by your insurance provider at home. However, this might be limited to emergencies or acute illness.
      More information on health insurance for EU citizens

  • Liability and accident insurance

    Liability insurance

    Anyone who causes damages is obliged to pay for their repair or replacement in full. For this reason, we recommend that you take out private liability insurance. Otherwise you will have to pay for these damages out of your own pocket.

    Accident insurance

    If you happen to have a job-related accident, you are covered by accident insurance taken out and paid for by your employer. If you wish, you may also take out private accident insurance to cover any accidents outside your working time.

  • Tax office (tax declaration)

    Staying in Germany on a scholarship/grant

    If you come to Germany on a study or research scholarship, you may be exempt from paying taxes here in accordance with German income tax law. To find out whether and which tax exemptions apply, please contact the scholarship/grant provider. You should also look into whether you will have to pay taxes in your home country on the scholarship money you received in Germany.

    Staying in Germany with an employment contract

    If your research stay in Germany lasts longer than a half a year on the basis of an employment contract, you are liable to pay taxes in Germany on all the income you have earned worldwide.

    Double taxation agreement

    To prevent foreigners from having to pay taxes simultaneously in Germany and in their home countries, there exist so-called double taxation agreements with many countries which specify where foreign employees are obliged to pay taxes.
    Application for a certificate for employees with limited tax liability [de]

    Tax declaration

    At the end of every calendar year, you can (if you have been staying in Germany for more than 183 days) declare your taxes to the tax office in the town or city in which your reside. This declaration may possibly lead to a reimbursement of some of the taxes you have paid. The necessary forms can be obtained from your local tax office or at the town hall.

    Church tax

    German tax law is unique in that it also levies a church tax. Under certain conditions, religious communities can have their church tax collected for them by the state. For the major churches (i.e. Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish), church tax (9% of income tax) is collected by the state, along with income tax, and is deducted from an employee’s monthly salary at source. For this reason you must indicate whether you belong to a religious community when you register at your local Resident Registration Office.
    More information on taxes at Euraxess

  • Pension contributions, social insurance

    You can receive a pension from the German statutory pension scheme when you reach retirement age, provided you have at least five qualifying years (years when contributions were paid; maternal/paternal leave)

    If you have not paid into the system for a full five years and return abroad, you can, under certain conditions, apply to have the pension contributions reimbursed.

    If you can claim pension benefits in several European countries, please visit for further information, or watch this video.

    General information on reimbursement
    Information on applying for a reimbursement of contributions [de]

    Social insurance

    The social insurance system in Germany covers insurance for old age, unemployment, illness and nursing care. Both the employee and employer pay an equal share of the contributions into the scheme. Contributions to the statutory accident insurance scheme are paid only by the employer.

    More information on the German social insurance system

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