• Welcome Centre

    Informationen für Doktorandinnen, Doktoranden, Postdocs und Professorinnen und Professoren

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Bringing your Family


Welcome Centre

Help Desk
Monday til Friday:

Room: C5-133

Universität Bielefeld
Welcome Centre
Universitätstraße 25
33615 Bielefeld

Tel.: 0521 106 12186
Fax: 0521 106 154880

Our Team

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If your spouse and family members accompany you to Bielefeld, they also have to go through a set of formalities, such as applying for a visa. Please take care of a visa for your family as early as possible.

German migration and residence laws grant international scholars the fundamental right to bring their marriage partners and unmarried minors with them or to send for them to join them after arrival in Germany. However, if you are a citizen of a country that does not belong to the EU or the EEA, you must provide proof that there is sufficient living space for them in Germany, and that the family is financially self-sufficient. This generally requires written confirmation from the host university or institute in Germany.

For family members accompanying you, or intending to join you later, you will require


  • for your husband or wife: your original marriage certificate with a certified German translation unless the original is an international document
  • for your children: the original birth certificate with a certified German translation unless the original is an international document
  • a copy of the letter confirming your scholarship or work contract

If the application is not made jointly, family members will also require a copy of the international scholar's passport, containing her or his valid residence permit.



If members of your family accompany you to Germany or join you later, they should bring certified translations of their marriage and birth certificates of confirmable authenticity. They will need these in order to convert visas into long-term residence permits in Germany.

Whether your spouse will be allowed to work in Germany depends on your own status.

If you get a regular visa and residence permit that enables you to work at Bielefeld University as academic staff (§18), it will be rather difficult if not totally impossible for your spouse to work in Germany unless s/he finds a job in academia as well. Your spouse will not get an unlimited work permit, but has to present a specific job offer to the immigration office. For all jobs outside academia, there is a preference for German citizens which is checked with the Federal Labour Agency. Taking into account the current situation on the labour market, the probability not to find a German citizen willing to take this job is extremely low. However, after three years in Germany your spouse will be able to apply for an unlimited work permit.

If you get a visa or residence permit for the purpose of research (§20) and you have a hosting agreement with Bielefeld University, the situation is significantly better for your spouse. S/he will not receive an unlimited work permit, but the preference for German citizens is no longer effective. That means that when presenting a concrete job offer at the immigration office, your spouse will most likely receive a work permit for the particular job. Please approach the International Office to inquire whether you fulfill the conditions to conclude a hosting agreement as a "researcher" with Bielefeld University.

If you are recognised as a highly skilled person (please note that not all scholars are recognised as such) and will thus hold a permanent residence permit (§19), your spouse will have unlimited access to the German labour market.

In all cases, it is important that your spouse mentions his/her wish to work during the visa application process.

You can obtain up-to-date and detailed information on this from the Employment Office (Agentur für Arbeit), the Foreigners' Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) at your place of residence in Germany, and under: