Informationen für Neueinreisende
Date: November 12, 2020
If you are travelling to Germany to begin your doctoral studies
Before you travel
Please read through our website “Regulations for entering and living in Germany” for detailed information about immigration regulations, visas, and residence permits for Germany.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Germany closed its borders to all travel that was not absolutely necessary. Since July, these restrictions have eased somewhat and currently the following travelers are allowed to enter Germany:
- Citizens of the EU, the UK, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland and their core family members (spouse, minor children and parents of minor children) are allowed to travel to Germany with no restrictions. This also applies to citizens of third countries with a valid, long-term residence permit from an EU or Schengen country or the UK and their core family members. Travelers from these regions, however, may be subject to the quarantine regulations that are described below in the section regarding travelling from an international risk area.
- People whose permanent residence or habitual place of residence is Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand or Uruguay can now enter Germany without restrictions. This list can undergo changes at any time as the COVID-19 pandemic develops in these and other countries. The current list can be found in English on the Corona FAQ website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Please check this website for any changes when planning your trip and before travelling. Travelers from these regions, however, may be subject to the quarantine regulations that are described below in the section regarding travelling from an international risk area.
- People from all other countries are allowed to travel to Germany for the purpose of university studies, including doctoral studies, if their studies cannot be carried out fully from outside of Germany. It is necessary to present a certificate confirming the necessity of your presence in Germany for your studies both when you apply for a visa and at the border when you enter Germany. If you cannot present such a certificate, your visa application and/or your entry to Germany may be denied.
The Graduate Academy cannot make any recommendations at this time about travelling to Germany. We also cannot exert any influence on your behalf during the visa application process or with border officials when entering Germany.
Please inquire at the appropriate German foreign mission (embassy or consulate) about applying for an entry visa as early as possible. Many German foreign missions have restricted opening hours and are offering only limited appointments to issue visas. Additionally, in some countries, the requirements for obtaining a visa have changed since the beginning of the pandemic. Therefore, the wait times to receive your visa can, in many cases, be longer than normal.
The Graduate Academy cannot issue certificates confirming the necessity of your presence in Germany for your doctoral studies. You can ask your doctoral supervisor or the coordinator of your doctoral program about obtaining such a certificate. If you are applying for a letter of admission to the university (Zulassungsbescheid) in order to apply for a study visa to enter Germany, please request with your application the certificate confirming the necessity of your presence in Germany. This will then be issued and sent to you with the letter of admission.
When you enter Germany
Travelers to Germany are currently being divided into two groups: 1) travelers from non-risk areas and 2) travelers from international risk areas. The list of international risk areas as determined by the Robert Koch Institute can be found here.
Travelers from non-risk areas
You do not have to self-quarantine or to be tested for COVID-19 after entering Germany.
Travelers from international risk areas
You are considered to be a traveler from an international risk area if you have spent any amount of time in the 10 days prior to your arrival in Germany in an international risk area.
You must register online shortly before travelling to Germany. The registration portal is here. When you register, you will be required to enter some personal data, your address in Germany as well as a list of the places you have stayed in the 10 days before your arrival in Germany. This information will be encoded and made available to the local public health office in the German city in which you will be staying so that they can contact you if necessary. The information will be deleted after 14 days. When you complete the registration, you will receive a PDF confirmation which you must carry with you and present upon demand to your transportation provider, border officials or police. There is more information about this online registration here:
Ministry of Health information for travelers
Ministry of Health information sheet
Upon arrival in Germany, you must go directly to your home or the place where you are staying and remain isolated there in self-quarantine for 10 days. During this period, you are not permitted to leave the house or have contact with people outside of your direct household. This measure is for the protection of your own health as well as that of your neighbors and other people in the community. After 5 days of self-isolation, you can be tested for COVID-19. If the test result is negative, you are permitted to end your self-quarantine. The test must fulfill the requirements of the Robert Koch Institute, which can be found here. There is an interactive map of places to get tested here. Please search according to where you will be living, e.g. “Heidelberg Stadt”, “Mannheim Stadt” or “Rhein-Neckar-Kreis”. You can also call the centralized medical care number – Ärztlicher Bereitschaftsdienst – at 116 117 regardless of where you live or have a look at their website https://www.116117.de/de/coronavirus.php (in German). Many cities also have a specific hotline number for COVID-19 testing, such as
Heidelberg: 06221 - 522-1881
Mannheim: 0621 - 293-2253
If, at any time during the first ten days of your stay in Germany, you experience any of the typical symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, persistent cough or the loss of the sense of taste or smell, you are obligated to report this to the local public health authorities (see the hotline numbers above) and follow any instructions that you are given.
A failure to adhere to any of these regulations will be treated as a misdemeanor and can be penalized with a monetary fine of up to 25,000 Euro.
If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 or think you might be infected
If for any reason you think you might be infected by the COVID-19 virus, you should call the telephone hotline for the Rhein-Neckar metropolitan region, which is also responsible for Heidelberg. The hotline number is 06221 522-1881 and it is available Monday–Friday from 8 am to 4 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm. On the weekends you can also call the off-hours medical care service (Ärztlicher Bereitschaftsdienst) at 116 117. If you have a medical emergency, you can call the medical emergency number 112. Please make sure to indicate that you suspect a COVID-19 infection so that the medical specialists can react accordingly.
The following websites provide up-to-date information about travel and entry regulations, quarantine and COVID-19 testing:
Einreisebeschränkungen der Bundespolizei (in German)
Information on entry restrictions and quarantine – Federal Foreign Office
Information for travelers – Federal Ministry of Health
Digital registration for travel to Germany
Corona FAQs – Federal Ministry of the Interior
Corona Ordinance of the state of Baden-Württemberg scroll down for link to English version
City of Heidelberg Corona Infosheet
Corona Information from the Federal Office of Integration
FAQs about the Baden-Württemberg Quarantine regulations
Informationen zu Corona Tests (in German)
Requirements for international corona tests
Information about international risk areas
Rules surrounding social distancing and mask wearing in Baden-Württemberg
A distance of 1.5 meters from other people must be maintained in public spaces and generally, it is strongly recommended to maintain this distance in any situation in which there is little or no protection against infection. The number of people who are permitted to gather indoors and outdoors, in private and in public spaces is also limited.
A mask covering the mouth and nose must be worn in public transportation and at bus stops and train stations, in hair salons, in shops and shopping centers, in doctor’s and dentist’s offices, and outside in areas where large numbers of people gather, such as in the city center (Hauptstraße and some side streets) in Heidelberg, among other places, when social distancing cannot be maintained Children below the age of 6 years and people with a medical reason for not wearing a mask are exempted from this regulation.
Because the regulations regarding mask wearing and social gatherings change regularly as the pandemic develops, you must take responsibility for staying informed and up-to-date. Detailed information can be found on the city websites of Heidelberg and Mannheim:
Formalities after arriving in Heidelberg
Registering your place of residence
Within a week after moving in to your long-term place of residence you are required to register your place of residence at the local Bürgeramt (local municipal office). There is more information about this procedure on our website “Regulations for entering and living in Germany”. You can currently visit the Bürgerämter in Heidelberg without an advance appointment. In other cities (e.g. Mannheim and Dossenheim), an appointment is necessary or your registration must be done by mail (e.g. Eppelheim). Because this can change quickly as the pandemic develops, we recommend that you check on the website of your city. If you need to search for this information in German, you can search for “Bürgeramt” or “Bürgerservice” or “Einwohnermeldeamt”.
Applying for your residence permit
You must apply for your long-term residence permit in the first three months of your stay in Germany before your entry visa expires. There is more information about this procedure on our website “Regulations for entering and living in Germany”. Because the processing of such applications is currently taking longer than normal, we recommend that you submit the necessary application documents as early as possible. It will also be necessary to make an appointment at the appropriate Ausländerbehörde (Foreigners’ Office) in order to receive your residence permit. Please make sure to apply for an appointment in plenty of time. If you live in Heidelberg, it is now possible to apply for an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde Heidelberg online. Information about this is available here.
Admission and enrollment at the University
Both the application for admission to the university and the final enrollment at the university are now being carried out by postal mail. You can find detailed information about both of these procedures on our website under „Step 5: Admission to the University“ and „Enrollment“. If you have any questions, please contact us in the Service Center:
Tel: +49 (0)6221 54-19765, 54-19763 or 54-19768
Information from the Heidelberg University pertaining to COVID-19
Heidelberg University provides information about courses, research and COVID-19-related regulations on the following website:
Coronavirus: FAQs about student affairs and teaching
Information about the corona virus