After you decided to start your PhD in Germany, you have to negotiate several bureaucratic hurdles. Do not be worried, your colleagues and we are happy to help you throughout your residence in Magdeburg.
The following information will help you to prepare your departure to Magdeburg and will give you an idea which formalities you have to deal with briefly after your arrival.
Checkout the network for International PhD Students at OVGU, which offers also a lot of information and help on their website as well as in this booklet.
First steps to become a Magdeburger
In order to organize your Entry and Stay in Magdeburg, you need to take care of the following:
Working Visa (for Phd students with working contracts)
If you want to graduate in Germany, you receive either a stipend or salary. In case of the latter, you will receive a working contract from your employer. However, this is only possible if you apply for a working visa at the German Embassy in your home country. For that you need all your degree certificates, a health insurance and your working contract or offer letter. ince the application process may take 3 weeks to 3 months, we recommend that you submit your application to the German Embassy in your country as early as possible.
The visa you get from the German Embassy is only valid for a limited period of time (usually for 3 months). Thus, it has to be changed into a residence permit for the full period of working after you arrived in Magdeburg.
Visa for Study Purposes (in case of stipend)
In several cases, the only way to gain entrance to Germany to take part in a doctoral program is to get a student visa (for PhD purposes).
You have to apply for a student visa (for PhD purposes) at the German Embassy in your home country. The letter of admission from Magdeburg University and proof of sufficient funds for financing at least 1 year of study in Germany, must be submitted with the visa application. Since the application process may take 3 weeks to 3 months, we recommend that you submit your application to the German Embassy in your country as early as possible.
The visa you get from the German Embassy is only valid for a limited period of time (usually for 3 months). Thus, it has to be changed into a residence permit for the full period of studies after you arrived in Magdeburg.
Student Applicant Visa
If you had not been in contact with a German university from your country, the student applicant visa grants you the opportunity to enter Germany without having formally applied or having been admitted to an institution of higher learning. The stay as applicant is limited to a maximum of 9 months. In the German Embassy you will get a visa for 3 months. In Germany, this visa can be changed into a residence permit for application at the Aliens Office for further 6 months. During this time you can collect the information needed about studying in Germany and see that you meet the requirements for getting admitted to the doctoral program. If you meet all requirements you will get a residence permit for the purpose of doctoral studies. The previous final degrees must be submitted to the German Embassy of your home country and funds sufficient for 1 year must be proven if you apply for this visa.
You can find more information here.
2. Health Insurance
For visa application and the length of your stay in Germany, you need to have a health insurance. Due to this, every international doctoral student has to become a member of a health insurance. The membership and the associated social insurance number is essential to sign your working contract.
More detailed information about the German Health Care System you can find here.
3. Arrival in Magdeburg
Magdeburg is located in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt and can be easily reached via international airports in Leipzig, Berlin and Hannover. From there, but also from all other German airports, you can reach Magdeburg conveniently by train or by bus.
4. Residence Permit
In order to receive a residence permit for the purpose of taking part in a doctoral program (obligatory to sign your working contract), it is indispensable to have a permanent residence. There are different possibilities to find a permanent address: accommodation at a dormitory, leasing an apartment of a housing company or private landlord, by yourself or in an apartment-sharing community.
5. Find an Accommodation
If you have not been successful in finding a place to stay before your arrival in Magdeburg, it is possible to get accommodation in the youth hostel, which is located about a 5 minutes walk form the main train station.
The OVGU´s guest floor can be an alternative to the youth hostel. This facility is located on the campus in building 18 at Universitätsplatz. The reception is located in building 18, room 339.
Contact: Ms Birgit Beck.
Previously registered guests receive their room keys outside the office hours at the building 9 (information and security office). An identification document must be provided.
There are several possibilities for a permanent place to stay.
Dormitories of the Student Union (Studentenwerk): Prospective international doctoral students who wish to get a room in the dormitories should apply the Student Union (Studentenwerk) as early as possible. The application form for the accommodation in dormitory can be submitted directly at the Student Union via an online form here.
Accommodation on the campus: The company GRUNDTEC Bauregie GmbH rents student accommodation on the campus in Campus House (Ernst-Lehmann-Str. 2) and in Campus Tower (Universitätsplatz 1). For renting, a valid proof of studies, which has to be shown at the signing of the lease, is required, e.g.
• Student ID-card,
• Enrollment documents
• Institute invitation etc.
In addition, a valid personal ID is necessary for the submission.
Both dormitories are newly refurbished and equipped with elevators. The rooms are fitted with a tiled bathroom, a kitchen unit (including e-hob, fridge, sink and wall cupboard), furniture, TV and Internet connection. However, the students have to care about dishes and linens by themselves.
The size of the apartments and rooms ranges from 16 to 41 m². Depending on size and furnishings, the rent varies between € 250 and € 420 per month. Furthermore, a security deposit of € 300 to € 440 must be paid upon conclusion of the rental contract. The price includes all additional costs incl. electricity, heating, water and cable TV. Internet charges are not included in the rent. Detailed information on the apartments can be found on the homepage (only German).
Private Accommodations: You can also certainly look at the private market in your search for housing. Therefore you can search e.g. in the local newspaper “Magdeburger Volksstimme”, at black boards on the campus/bib etc. for own or shared flats or on several online platforms.
When renting an apartment, you get a tenancy agreement (Mietvertrag). It contains the particular information about the apartment (e.g. the amount of rent, the size of the apartment, room quantity). The lease also determines the rights and obligations of the tenant and the landlord (period of notice, pets, etc.). By signing it, both sides agree to the contract terms. Most landlords insist that you have a current bank account (Girokonto). The rent is then automatically withdrawn from your account every month.
We recommend you to document all defects in the apartment precisely and report them in writing to the landlord as soon as possible (preferably before signing the contract).
6. Compulsory Registration
International doctoral students whose residence in Magdeburg lasts more than 3 months must register their residence at the Residents Office (Bürgerbüro). For the registration you will need your passport, tenancy contract and the Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung filled by the flat owner/landlord. Moreover, people from EU need two passport photos and have to fill this form.
The registration must be carried out personally at the Residents Office (Bürgerbüro) and should be done within the first 2 weeks after you moving into a flat in Magdeburg. A few days after registration, you can go to Residents Office once more to ask for for your tax number (Steueridentifikationsnummer), required for salary payment, at the information desk (without appointment).
If you move within Germany (even within the dormitory), you must inform the Residents Office about your new address. If moving within Germany, the official notification at the old place of residence is not necessary.
We recommend to make an appointment online, to reduce the waiting times.
7. Opening a Bank Account
In order to make bank transfers (rent, semester fees, health insurance in case of scholarship holder) and to receive your salary, grants or money transferred from abroad, you need to open a current account at a bank. For this, you need the letter of admission from the university, the receipt from the Residents Office as well as your passport. The different banks offer various services at various prices; some offer free accounts for students. Therefore, it is a good idea to talk to experienced students or make a comparison of prices yourself before you choose your bank.
You can find more information on banking in Germany here.
8. Foreigners Office
Congrats! You managed all the most tricky bureaucratic hurdles. Now, you just have to prolong your visa. For that you have to make an online appointment at the Foreigners Office. To the appointment you have to bring your passport/visa, all your degree certificates (original & copy), the membership confirmation of the health insurance (not older than 3 months, original & copy), one passport photo, rental contract (original & copy), working contract (original & copy), confirmation of registration office (original & copy), proof of salary (if available, original & copy) and this filled form.
If you have any doubts, please contact our coordinator Anika.