Preparing your move to Germany

What you need to bring:

  • Passport - valid for at least 12 months
  • Short-term health insurance - traveler's or similar, valid for about the first week in Germany; or EHIC, if you are a EU national
  • Certificates - bachelor, master's doctoral degrees; for enrolment at the Goethe University you may also need your high school and elementary school certificates. In any case, bring originals and German certified translations of all certificates
  • Doctoral students of the Max Planck International Research School (IMPRS): scan and email your diplomas and transcripts beforehand
  • If you are married: marriage certificates, original and translated, regardless whether your spouse is moving to Frankfurt with you.
  • If you have children moving with you to Frankfurt: birth certificates, original and translated
  • Your national tax ID

Visa and residence permit

In Germany, a distinction is made between a visa which is a permit for entry, and the residence permit, which entitles you to stay in the country and determines the conditions of your work permit. Nationals other than EU-citizens need to apply for a visa to enter Germany; cititzens of the so-called priviledged countries (Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, USA) do not need a visa to come to Germany, but are not allowed to work without a specific visa or residence permit. You should therefore apply for a visa before your move regardless of visa obligations. Please make sure that your passport is valid for at least 12 months before you apply. More info in Useful info and links.

Social security system and insurances

The German social security system is based on the so-called solidarity principle. Basically, this means that all persons with an income pay into a common pot from which the security benefits are drawn. The system comprises health insurance, nursing insurance, unemployment benefit and pensions. Health insurance is compulsory in Germany, and there are basically two different kinds: you have signed a regular work contract or an internship agreement with the MPI for Brain Research, in which case you join a statutory insurance of your choice. The contribution rates are set by the government and therefore the same with all insurance companies (in 2021, 15,8 % of your gross income, shared by you and your employer), and differ mainly in the quality of their customers service they offer, as well as in some benefits. The International Office will guide you through the process of choosing a health insurance.  As a guest or scholarship holder you can go for a private health insurance. There are relatively cheap ones, but unlike the statutory insurances they ask health questions and do not always cover all costs. In addition to the mandatory health insurance, the MPI for Brain Research urges all employees to subscribe to a liability insurance. More info in Useful info and links.

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