Arrival and orientation

Upon arriving in Darmstadt you will need to complete a number of interconnected bureaucratic processes. These processes enable you to apply for a residence permit and conduct research. Short term researchers conducting research with an entry visa may also find the information on opening a bank account, choosing health insurance and purchasing a mobile telephone package helpful. The Welcome Centre will invite you to an appointment to discuss the relevant topics with you and support you in accomplishing these tasks once you are in Darmstadt.

If you plan on carrying cash with a total amount of 10.000 Euros or more with you, you need to declare it in written form. You are obliged to hand over your cash declaration to the customs officials at your point of entry. You will then receive a confirmation letter. The confirmation letter is mandatory for opening a bank account in Germany.

For more information as well as the official form, please visit the website of customs (“Zoll”) in Germany.

When you first move into new accommodation, you are required to register your new address at the registration office within two weeks. If you do not register within two weeks then it is possible that you will receive a fine. The following documents are needed for registration:

  • Passport(s) or ID card(s) for all relevant family members
  • A document from your landlord called Wohnungsgeberbestätigung
  • If applicable, your original marriage certificate with apostille
  • If applicable, your childrens’ birth certificates

On registration you will receive a registration confirmation (Anmeldebestätigung). You will need to present this document when you open a bank account.

Each time you move into new accommodation you need to register your new address with the relevant registration office within two weeks. The following documents are needed for reregistration:

  • Passport or ID card
  • A document from your landlord called Wohnungsgeberbestätigung

For receiving an appointment at the registration office you need to use their online-tool.The International Student Service offers a guide for applying for an appointment through the online-tool: How to register (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab).

Your tax identification number will be sent to you by post within two weeks of your initial registration with the registration office. Employees of TU Darmstadt must submit this information to the human resources department quickly. It is possible to request this number directly from the tax office (Finanzamt) two days after the initial registration.

In Germany, health insurance is mandatory. Employees of TU Darmstadt are generally required to apply for statutory health insurance. The health insurance contributions are deducted directly from the gross salary. Here is a list of the statutory health insurance companies.

The Welcome Centre assists you in finding a suitable health insurance. if you need help finding the appropriate insurance coverage.


Under certain conditions the health insurance in your home country can be maintained for EU-citizens, as well as citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Possible costs for medical treatment can be reimbursed by the health insurance abroad. For ambulatory medical services, the insured person must pay in advance and then have the bill refunded by the health insurance company in their home country.

However, if you have an employment contract in Germany, German health insurance is mandatory.

For long-term research stays in Germany, please contact the health insurance provider in your home country. It is possible to receive a German health insurance card that will be billed to the health insurance company in your home country.

Third country nationals

For third-country nationals, the home country health insurance may only cover certain costs during the stay. In this case, a certificate from the health insurance company confirming the sufficient insurance coverage for the stay in Germany is mandatory. Furthermore, proof of health insurance coverage is mandatory for applying for a residence permit.

A travel health insurance is not recommended! It is not sufficient for a long-term health insurance coverage in Germany.

Scholarship holders

In case of a stay with a scholarship, there is no possibility of applying for statutory health insurance. Please check with your scholarship provider if private insurance is included in the extent of your funding. If this is not the case, you can inform yourself at Euraxess. In exceptional cases, a voluntary statutory health insurance is suitable. The conditions for this can also be found at Euraxess.

If you stay longer than 90 days, it is strongly recommended to apply for a German private health insurance.

Further information on health insurance for scholarship holders can be found here.

Each unemployed family member that enters Germany with you (partner, children) needs an additional private health insurance.

Researchers with an employment contract at TU Darmstadt automatically pay for social security (“Sozialversicherung”) with their monthly salary. The social security number is generated and sent automatically.

Researchers without employment contract at TU Darmstadt (e.g. because of scholarship) need to apply for their social security number (“Sozialversicherungsnummer”).

The German pension insurance offers a website with contact addresses. Alternatively you can apply for your social security number through an online tool.

In Germany you have the option of either a fixed monthly cost mobile phone tariff or a pay-as-you-go tariff.

Please be aware that many mobile phone contracts are for at least 24 months. There may be high cancellation fees if you wish to terminate the contract early. Please read any termination regulations and periods of notice in a contract carefully before signing.

To open a bank account in Germany you need to present the following documents:

  • Passport or ID card
  • Your registration confirmation (Anmeldebestätigung)
  • Your residence permit (some bank institutions only)
  • Your tax identification number (some bank institutions only)

Germany has both banks with branches nationwide and banks with only local branches.

Once you have opened a bank account, you will receive by post a debit card (EC-Karte) and a PIN number for the card.

Payment by bank transfer is very common in Germany. It is helpful to have a bank account with online access. If you have requested online banking you will also receive account information and initial passwords by post.

Employees of TU Darmstadt receive an employment contract. There are some formalities that need to be completed in association with this employment relationship. The Welcome Centre is able to support this process. If you have not yet done so, please register with us and we will contact you regarding support.

Employees of TU Darmstadt are automatically enrolled into an occupational pension scheme called VBL. International research employees who intend to work in Germany for less than 60 months may choose an alternative version of this pension scheme, VBLspezial. Further information to help you choose which scheme is right for you can be found on the VBL website. The VBL also provides a video in English (“Scientific Employees”) which explains the different options.

Information about the registration and enrollment process as a PhD student can be found at Unit II.

Doctoral candidates at TU Darmstadt apply for acceptance as a doctoral candidate to the relevant academic department (Annahme).

Enrollment at the University (Einschreibung) is optional for doctoral candidates. However, for doctoral candidates who are financed by a scholarship or are self-financing, there are advantages such as a Semester Ticket.

Further information on undertaking a doctorate degree at TU Darmstadt .

Additional information on the enrollment and registration process can be found here.

If you are not a European Union national (including Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) , you require an entry visa to begin your research. If you then conduct research for a longer period of time than stated on your entry visa, you need to convert this entry visa into a residence permit (“Aufenthaltstitel”) in Germany.

A residence permit defines your legal status with regards to your right of residence and employment in Germany and how long you are allowed to stay in Germany under these terms and conditions. In case of a prolongation of your stay in Germany, an extension can be issued under the fulfilment of certain conditions.

The Resident Act (AufenthG) sets out which categories of residence permit are available depending on your circumstances and time already spent in Germany.

The Welcome Centre supports you in the preparation of your application for a residence permit, providing advice on what options are available to you, helping you collate the correct supporting documentation and filling out the German forms. We are also able to offer researchers living in Darmstadt direct support at the Foreigners Office at appointments.

Every administrative district has their own foreigners' office. The assignment is based on your place of residence. The Welcome Centre provides a list with a collection of Foreigner´s Office´s (opens in new tab) .

For international researchers living in Darmstadt, the Welcome Centre provides direct support corresponding with the foreigners' office Darmstadt.


The information on this website is not legally binding.