Relocating to Munich

First steps

There are various requirements to be fulfilled, which depend upon your country of origin, before you can travel to Germany and work here. Please be advised, a visa is absolutely necessary under German Immigration Law (apart from exemptions).

Do I need to apply for a visa?

EU citizens and citizens of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein do not need a visa to enter Germany and do not need to apply for a residence permit. However all Munich residents have to register. You can work in Germany at any time.

For citizens of all other countries: You will require an application for a residence permit that expressly allows you to work in Germany before you enter Germany.

Exceptions: Citizens of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and Switzerland may apply for their residence permits after entering Germany without a D- visa (see question 2 below).

What kind of visa do I require?

Please take note that all visas are not the same!

A "Tourist visa or Schengen visa" cannot be converted into a “residence permit”. Please do not enter Germany with a tourist visa. It is very difficult to change the state of your visa afterwards; therefore, you may be required to leave Germany again in order to do so. If you are planning to work during your stay, you are obliged to apply for a Type D visa prior to your entry into the Federal Republic of Germany.

Where do I apply for a visa?

Your visa must be issued before entering the country; therefore, you should apply in good time. The responsible body is the German Embassy or Consulate General in your country or the country of your residence, which can also provide you with further information on the application process.

You will find detailed information regarding countries whose citizens require/do not require visas to enter Germany on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

Which documents are required for a visa application?

If you are required a visa, you must apply for a visa for residence or research purposes at the German agency (embassy/consulate general) in your home country/country of residence.

The following documents are usually required:

  • Antrag auf Erteilung eines Visums für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Application for a visa for the Federal Republic of Germany, available at your German agency abroad or at www.auswaertiges-amt.de)
  • Confirmation from LMU of intended employment, including the commensurate salary
  • CV and copies of your university degree(s)
  • The address where you will be staying upon arrival
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Valid passport and biometric picture

If your partner or other family member is accompanying you or joining you at a later date, you will additionally require:

  • Proof of adequately-sized living quarters in Germany (12m² per person) in the form of a rental agreement including the size in square meters of the living quarters or an equivalent confirmation from the landlord
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Marriage certificate: A certified copy in German is required if you do not have an apostil (internationally legally recognized copy of your marriage certificate).
  • Children's birth certificates: A certified copy in German is required if you do not have an apostil (internationally legally recognized copy of one’s birth certificate).

It is highly recommended to properly complete all documents necessary for the application process and to provide translations of all documents in a language other than German for the convenience of the administrators involved.

Once you retrieve your passport with the newly added visa, please make sure that you have been given the correct visa.

Once you have arrived in Munich, you are required to register with the local authorities.

In Munich, the Registration Office (registration of your new residence) and the Foreigners Office (residence permit) are located in the same building at the Kreisverwaltungsreferat (KVR); therefore, it is possible to process both the registration and immigration steps within one day. Please note that there are different opening hours for both authorities.

Where do I register?

The Residence Registration Office (Bürgerbüro) is in charge of your registration and also provides registration certificates, police clearances (DE), household certificates (DE), and notarizations for authorities.

Why is it necessary to register at the Residence Registration Office?

In Germany, any person residing in a city, town or village for more than three months must register themselves within two weeks of moving into a new home.

It is then of absolute importance that you place your name on your letter box at your new residence, as your life-long tax-identification number will be sent to you by mail.

When you register, you will be asked about your church affiliation. If you are a member of the Catholic or Protestant church, you will automatically be submitted to pay German church tax.

If you happen to hold principle residency in a different city within Germany, please note that Munich claims a percentage of the annual basic rent for second home taxation.

According to Bavarian Registration Law, confirmation of your registration must be presented to your landlord.

Where do I apply for my residence permit in Munich?

Third country nationals and their families, must apply for their work and residence permits at the Kreisverwaltungsreferat (KVR), Amt für Ausländerangelegenheiten (Foreigners Office). The Service-Center for International Professionals or the Foreigners Office is in charge of issuing residence and work permits.

Please note that if you move to a Munich suburb, the local city hall (Rathaus) will be in charge of registration and the local district office (Landratsamt) will be in charge of issuing the relevant residence permit instead of the above mentioned authorities.

What types of residence permits are available?

Non-German and non-EU citizens may work in Germany only if the residence permit expressly allows this.

  • Aufenthaltserlaubnis (residence permit with time restriction)
  • EU Blue Card (settlement permit for highly qualified professionals with time restriction)
  • Niederlassungserlaubnis (settlement permit that gives you the right to work without time restriction)
  • Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EG (permanent residence permit that gives you the right to work within the EU without time restriction; you may request this permit after legally living in Germany and contributing to the federal pension fund for a minimum of five years)

As a highly-qualified professional (Hochqualifizierter), you have the option to apply for a Niederlassungserlaubnis, an Aufenthaltserlaubnis or EU-Blue Card; depending on the length of your stay.

The following documents are normally required to apply for a residence permit:

  • Completed form Antrag auf Erteilung/Verlängerung eines Aufenthaltstitels (Application for Issuance/Extension of a Residence Permit, available on the website of the Munich Foreigners Office
  • Proof of residency registration
  • Valid passport
  • Confirmation of employment, salary and civil servant status where applicable
  • Statement from LMU concerning your unique qualification and/or special professional knowledge under the terms of article 19 of German Residency Law regarding highly qualified professionals.
  • Curriculum Vitae, including a list of publications
  • Proof of health insurance (letter from health insurance company or presentation of your health insurance card)
  • A current biometric photo (passport size)

If your family is accompanying you, the following additional information is required:

  • Marriage certificate (certified or with apostil)
  • Birth certificates of children
  • Rental contract showing the size of the residence in square meters (12 m²/person minimum)
  • Statutory declaration of marriage

Your fingerprints and signature will be necessary upon application of a residence permit. If you were not required to have a visa upon entry to Germany, you will be given a Fiktion (temporary residence permit sheet mainly for your employer), as well as an Abholschein (claim ticket) with your reference number, which authorizes you to pick up your eAT-card in 4-6 weeks.

What is the purpose of the eAT-card?

The eAufenthaltstitel was introduced in order to implement uniform EU regulations by all member states of the European Union for residence permits for third-country nationals. According to these regulations, a separate document must be issued for each foreign resident, including infants and children.

May I interrupt my Residence Permit?

If you plan to interrupt your stay for more than 6 months, you do not necessarily need to deregister (deregistration cancels your residence permit). You may apply for a Wiedereinreisefrist (reentry time limit) for the duration of your stay outside Germany at the local foreigners office.

Do I need to deregister?

Once you plan to leave Germany indefinitely, please remember to deregister at your local registration office. It is especially important for third-country-nationals if planning to apply for another visa at a later date.

In the Federal Republic of Germany, health insurance (Krankenversicherung) is mandatory and proof of adequate coverage must be presented when applying for a visa. Visa requirements differ from nation to nation; therefore, we ask you to please refer to section on "Visas" to find out more on this topic, so that you can make the necessary preparations for you and your family prior to your arrival in Munich.

If you are coming here based on an employment contract, you are required to have a policy with an insurance provider licensed in Germany. Please be aware that most insurance policies do not cover preexisting conditions or their related medication; therefore, you should seek consultation before closing a new contract for medical coverage.

Health insurance must cover the following:

  • doctor and dentist treatment
  • supply of medication, dressing and aid
  • hospital treatment
  • medical services for rehabilitation
  • assistance through pregnancy and labor

The websites below offer additional information on the various types of insurance in Germany and/or a selection of providers and consultancies:

  • Make-it-in-Germany - description of different types of insurance in Germany
  • City of Munich (DE) - list of insurance companies and types of services offered
  • Euraxess - general information for mobile scientists coming to and leaving Germany, including information on health and other types of insurance

Accommodation

The experience of moving to a new location - especially to a new country - is very exciting, though finding accommodation is always a main concern. Searching for a new home is often challenging, even overwhelming at times. Therefore, it is important to approach your search with an open mind, realizing that your new environment is somewhat different. Patience and the willingness to make compromises, as well as a sense of humor, are all important tools in making this experience an enjoyable adventure.

We recommend having a look at the following links, where you can find an interactive city map and webcam images of our beautiful City of Munich!

Online property portals are very useful when searching for an apartment, especially if you are not yet in Munich. Please find below a list of websites that can aid you in your search. Since the majority of these sites are in German, we have prepared a list of useful abbreviations and vocabulary, as well as a short description of Munich's city districts.

Newspaper advertisements are a great source when looking for property in Munich. Here is a list of newspapers and times of when they publish classified sections. These advertisements can be found online, as well. Placing an advertisement has also proven to be successful.

  • LMU Munich Apartments - LMU Munich has a small number of apartments available for rent. Please contact us if you have any questions about the application process.

  • Civil Servants' Apartments (Staatsbedienstetenwohnungen) - All employees of the Free State of Bavaria have the opportunity to apply for a civil servant's apartment from the Wohnungsfürsorgestelle (DE) des Landesamtes für Finanzen. For more information or questions on this option, refer to their website or contact us.

Accommodation agencies, such as the ones listed below, can be used to find short term housing and are usually furnished. If they succeed in finding suitable accommodation, they charge a non-recurring fee determined by the service provider, which is usually based on the length of your stay.

Liability Insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung), which covers damage or personal injury due to your own negligence, is highly advisable. Household Insurance (Hausratversicherung) covers the contents of your home against cases of fire, water damage, vandalism, theft, hail etc. and is also recommended.

Banking

In Munich there is an extensive network of banks with varying fees, therefore you should be sure to gather information on which bank is able to offer you the best conditions to suit your needs.

It is advisable to register at the Bürgerbüro before trying to open a bank account as you will usually need to show proof of a German address in addition to your national identification documents and, sometimes, your residence permit.

The most common form of account in Germany is a Girokonto (checking or current account). Most financial transactions, such as receiving wages or paying rent, are completed using this type of account. In general, a current account allows you to:

  • withdraw money from your bank using an EC-card. In fact, the EC-Karte is more widely accepted in Germany than credit cards. It is normally free of charge when withdrawing funds from cash points (ATMs) belonging to your bank, but a fee may be charged for withdrawing cash from other banks' ATMs.
  • transfer one time payments from one account to another
  • set up regular fixed payments, e.g. your rent, to be made by standing order (Dauerauftrag)
  • allow regular payments of variable amounts to be withdrawn directly from your account through direct debit authorization, e.g. telephone bills and health insurance contributions (Einzugsermächtigung)

At many banks you can choose between several current accounts with various features at different rates, e.g. online banking, credit card at no charge, etc.

  • Once I have opened the account, can I immediately withdraw money from the ATM?
  • Where can I withdraw money free of charge?
  • Can I set up standing orders and authorize direct debits?
  • Will I receive an EC card immediately?
  • What is the limit for cash withdrawals per day/week?
  • Am I able to get a credit card?
  • When can I apply for the card and how long will it take to process?
  • What are the fees associated with my bank account?
  • Do I get an overdraft facility, and what are the fees for this service?

If you would like to put money aside, you can set up a savings account to get a higher interest rate. If you plan to travel, verify whether you are allowed to withdraw funds throughout Europe and/or beyond Europe.

A savings account may also be used as a blocked account needed if you are required to prove that you have sufficient funds during your stay in Germany.

You generally receive an EC Card (Electronic Cash) for your account, as well as an associated four-digit PIN code. Both will be sent to you separately by mail. You can use an EC Card to withdraw money from cash machines around the clock. Please note that withdrawing money from third-party financial institutions may be subject to fees.

When selecting your bank, please be sure to review the costs for national and international transfers. Online transfers are usually free of charge.

For more information, please refer to the section Money and Banking on the website, Make-it-in-Germany (Account Opening).

You generally receive an EC Card (Electronic Cash) for your account, as well as an associated four-digit PIN code. Both will be sent to you separately by mail. You can use an EC Card to withdraw money from cash machines around the clock. Please note that withdrawing money from third-party financial institutions may be subject to fees.

What are you looking for?