University Administration   Welcome Centre               Seminarstr. 2, room 141
69117 Heidelberg
Tel.: 06221/54-2134 and -3612
Fax: 06221/54-2243

Location/Office hours
University Administration:
Mo to Fr 10.00 a.m. -1.00 p.m

Service Point INF 304:
Tue 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Thu 12:30 - 2:30 p.m. and 5 - 7 p.m.

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Researchers Directive (Forscherrichtlinie)

The University of Heidelberg has been accredited by the Federal Ministry for Migration and Refugees to implement the researcher directive (Forscherrichtlinie)! It is now possible for international scholars from countries outside the European Union to live and work in Heidelberg and at the University according to the regulations set down in §20 of the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz).


This type of residence permit allows scholars to work within a particular research or teaching project either with an employment contract or with a fellowship.


Any visiting scholar from a non-European Union country who wishes to stay in Germany for longer than three months can apply for a residence permit according to §20 of the Residence Act. Doctoral students can also obtain a residence permit according to §20 of the Residence Act under special conditions.


The researcher directive offers several advantages, such as:


  • The residence permit as a “researcher” includes mobility privileges within the EU. This means that a researcher with a residence permit for Germany can carry out parts of his or her research project (up to a max. of three months) in another EU country, with the exception of Great Britain and Denmark, without applying for a separate visa. Additionally, a researcher with a similar residence permit in another EU country can carry out research for up to three months in Germany.
  • A researcher’s spouse who accompanies the researcher to Germany is entitled to take up gainful employment. No work permit is required. There is no German language requirement for the spouse.


Therefore, a residence permit according to §20 of the Residence Act is of particular interest to international scholars

  • who would like to work for a limited period in another EU country within the framework of the research project.


In order to apply for a residence permit according to §20 of the Residence Act, the research organization must sign a hosting agreement with the visiting scholar.


If you are interested in obtaining a residence permit according to §20 at the University of Heidelberg, please discuss this with your host institute as soon as possible. You will need to submit an appropriate invitation letter or the hosting agreement with your visa application to the German embassy in your home country.


Please ask your host institute to contact the Welcome Centre for International Scholars in order to learn about the necessary procedures. You can also contact us directly if you have any questions (




  • Ms. Martina Müller (Tel.: 543612) for international scholars with a limited employment contract
  • Ms. Nicole Tsuda (Tel.: 542134) for international scholars with a fellowship or income from abroad


Responsible: Welcome Centre Team
Latest Revision: 2016-07-19
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