• Welcome Centre

    Informationen für Doktorandinnen, Doktoranden, Postdocs und Professorinnen und Professoren

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Registration Procedures: General Remarks


Welcome Centre

Help Desk

Skype Service desk

Monday til Friday 10:30-11:30

Skype ID: Welcome Centre Bielefeld University

-The Service desk will not take place until August 10th.-

Universität Bielefeld
Welcome Centre
Universitätstraße 25
33615 Bielefeld

Tel.: 0521 106 12186
Fax: 0521 106 154880

Our Team

Welcome-Centre Flyer


Basically any international visitor who intends to stay in Germany for more than 3 months has to register at two offices upon arrival: first the residents' registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) and then the foreigners' registration office (Ausländeramt). The only non-German exempt from this rule are citizens of the member states of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland. They only have to register at their local Einwohnermeldeamt. There they will be given certification of their right of residence, the so-called Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung (freedom of movement certificate).

In Bielefeld, you will find the residents' registration office as well as the foreigners' registration office in the building of the New Townhall.

New Townhall
Niederwall 23
33602 Bielefeld

Opening Hours:
Monday, Tuesday,
Friday 7:30 - 16:00
Wednesday 7:30 - 13:00
Thursday 7:30 - 18:00

Registration Office
Telephone: 0521- 51-0
E-Mail: buergerberatung@bielefeld.de

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday 8:00 - 12:00
Thursday 8:00 - 12:00 and 14:30 - 18:00

Foreigner Office
Telephone: 0521 - 51
Fax: 0521 - 51 6195

Registration Office and Residence Permit

Registration Office

In Germany everybody (including all Germans) is obliged to register. This means that everybody living in the country has to register at the Einwohnermeldeamt and report where she or he is living. Failure to do this may result in a fine.

In order to register, you need a place of residence or an address where you can be contacted and registered. All you have to do is to bring your valid passport or identity card. The same applies to family members travelling with you (spouses, children).

Please consider:

It is important that you register within a statutory time period. The law allows you only 14 days to do this. In order to register you need to submit proof of residence signed by your landlords called “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung” which you can find here.
If you move within Bielefeld, you have to report this to the Einwohnermeldeamt. If you move within Germany, you have to go to the Einwohnermeldeamt of your new place of residence and register your new address.
Keep in mind that you have to unregister when you are leaving Germany in the end of your stay.
If you will be employed at Bielefeld University, the Registration Office is also the place to apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct. The fee amounts 13€ and will be sent directly to the human resources office of Bielefeld University within 3-4 weeks after the request.

Residence Permit

Please note:

From September 1st, 2011 the electronic residence permit (eAT) is being issued as a separate document in credit-card format incorporating a number of electronic functions. All non-EU nationals will obtain their own card.

This means an extension of the period of time between the application and the receipt of the residence permit - it might take up to seven weeks. There is also an increase of costs: the fee for the residence permit is now 110.00€, for a prolongation 55.00€. Everybody who has to travel to another country in the meantime and/or will be employed can ask for a so-called "Fiktionsbescheinigung" at the foreigners-office to bridge the waiting period. The fee is 20.00€ and a copy must be given to the employer.

For more information about the electronic residence permit in short as well as in the brochure of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees "All you need to know about the electronic residence permit (eAT)" which will also be handed to you at the foreigners' office. Here you can download the brochure in many other languages in PDF-format.

For foreigners, who have to enter on a visa, any stay exceeding the period validated by the visa must be authorised. In order to do this you need to obtain a residence permit. This also applies to foreigners who are eligible to enter the country without a visa for stays of one to three months. If you want to stay for more than three months, you must register at the Residents Registration Office within the first week after your arrival. Subsequently your visa, which is only valid for entering the country, will be replaced by a residence permit. Foreigners who wish to pursue employment in Germany usually require a residence permit authorising employment.

Citizens of the European Union, members of the EEA
and citizens of Switzerland are covered by the terms of the free movement of
workers. They do not require permission to pursue employment. Citizens
of the New EU Member States
(apart from Cyprus and Malta) are not fully covered by the terms of the free
movement of workers for up to seven years after joining the European Union.
They require an EU work permit allowing them to pursue their intended
occupation in Germany. The seven-year rule applying to the Czech Republic,
Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia
came to an end on 30.04.2011. Nationals of these countries therefore enjoy
complete freedom of movement for workers in Germany since 01.05.2011.
Nationals of Bulgaria and Romania will still require an EU work permit
until 31.12.2013. Special regulations for academics from the new member
states have been in force since 01.01.2009 (see below for further details).

Residence permit for the purpose of research

Foreigners may be granted a residence permit for the purpose of research
if they have concluded an effective hosting agreement with a recognised
research institution in order to pursue a research project. At Bielefeld
University, the Welcome Centre is in charge of the signing of hosting
agreements. For more information, please click

Doctoral study

Foreign doctoral students are usually not issued with residence permits
for the purpose of research. They have to apply for a residence permit for
the purpose of studying. Exception: doctoral students may be issued a residence
permit for research purposes if their dissertation is produced within the
context of a research activity that is subject to a hosting agreement with
a research institution.

Employee secondment

Foreigners who are sent from a research institution in another EU Member
State in order to work at a German research institution are not issued with
residence permits for the purpose of research. On principle, they have to
apply for a residence permit for the purpose of pursuing gainful employment.

Special regulations for highly-qualified persons

The highly-qualified persons are allowed to immigrate providing they have a
job. They are immediately eligible for (indefinite) leave to remain. This
automatically authorises you to pursue gainful employment. You merely have to
submit an application to the Immigration Office. "The highly-qualified" are
defined as academics with particular specialised knowledge, academic teaching
personnel and research staff in leading positions.

Regulations for marital partners of highly-qualified persons

Marital partners usually obtain the same type of residence permit.

Regulations for graduates from abroad

In the case of graduates from abroad, the residence permit may be extended for
up to a year after the successful completion of studies in order to search
for employment.

Regulations for academics from new EU Member States (excepting Malta and Cyprus) as well as non-EU countries

As of 1 January 2009, the German labour market has been opened to academics
(holders of university degrees) from the new EU Member States by waiving the
so-called "Vorrangprüfung" (labour market test), which assesses whether a
German national or another entitled foreign worker can be given priority in
filling the position. The labour market will also be opened to academics from
non-EU countries at this point. The labour market test will, however, remain
active in respect of this group.

Regulations for Fellows:

If you want to spend time in Germany researching on the basis of a
fellowship, provided that the fellowship secures your livelihood, and
depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible for a residence permit
for the purpose of either research or studying.

To apply for a residence permit, you will require:


  • the filled application form obtained from the foreigners-office or the Welcome Centre
  • a valid passport
  • a recent, biometric passport photograph
  • a proof of financial means (scholarship, work contract, or alike)
  • the proof of residence (Meldebescheinigung) from the registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt)
  • a proof of health insurance (Krankenversicherungsnachweis)
  • if applicable, a so-called Hosting Agreement, which you will get at the Welcome Centre

To apply for a residence permit for marriage partners and unmarried minors who are accompanying you or joining you, you will additionally need:

  • for the marriage partner: the original or a legally endorsed copy of the marriage certificate with the authorized German translation if it is not an international certificate
  • for the children: the original or a legally endorsed copy of the birth certificate with the authorized German translation if it is not an international certificate.

If applications are not made jointly, you will also need to provide your family members with a copy of your valid passport, a copy of your valid residence permit, and a proof of health insurance.

The registration office and the foreigners-office are located in the Bürgeramt:

Bürgeramt im Neuen Rathaus
Niederwall 23
33602 Bielefeld

Registration Office
Phone: 0521-51-0
E-Mail: buegerberatung@bielefeld.de

Opening Hours:
Monday, Tuesday,
Friday 7.30 - 16h
Wednesday 7.30 - 13h
Thursday 7.30 - 18h

Foreigners' office
Phone: 0521-51-0
Fax: 0521 - 51 6195

Opening Hours:
Monday - Friday 8 - 12h
Thursday also 14.30 - 18h