Phase 2: First steps after arrival

Herzlich willkommen in München! We hope you have had a safe arrival. In this section, we would like to give you some guidance on what needs to be done during your first few days in Munich.

Residence registration & moving in

Residence Registration

  • You are required to register with the local authorities within two weeks after your arrival in Munich.
  • For registration, you will require your landlord's written confirmation (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung) that you are the tenant.

Moving In

  • Make sure you understand your rental contract before signing and that you receive a handover protocol from your landlord when moving in.
  • Your landlord will ask you to pay a deposit for your rental property. Make sure you understand the conditions.

Within two weeks of your arrival in Munich, you are required to register your place of residence with the local authorities. Registration takes place at the Residence Registration Office (Bürgerbüro) in the Department of Public Order (Kreisverwaltungsreferat/KVR). You can check the City of Munich website (DE) to find out which registration office is closest to your new address. If you live outside of the city boundaries, the local town hall (Rathaus) will be responsible for your registration.

Please note that you have to make an online appointment (DE) for your registration. As slots tend to fill up quickly, you should arrange an appointment as soon as possible. New slots can open up at short notice and are usually made available 30 minutes before the Bürgerbüro opens its doors.

Documents required for registration

  • Valid passport or identification card
  • Completed registration form with your signature
  • Written confirmation by your landlord (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung)

These required forms are available for download on the City of Munich website.

After you have registered, you will receive a written confirmation called “Meldebescheinigung”. Please keep this important document, as you will need it to apply for your residence permit.

NOTE: Remember to put your name on your mailbox, as your life-long tax-identification number will be mailed to you by the Residence Registration Office after you have registered.

If you move to a different address during your stay, you will have to notify the authorities about your move and register your new address.

When leaving Munich, you will need to de-register again.

Here are the most important facts around moving into your new home:

  • Ask your landlord to fill out the written confirmation for your tenancy (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung).
  • In some cases, the landlord expects you to have a private liability insurance to cover damages to the rental property.
  • Before signing a rental contract, please make sure you understand all terms and conditions.
  • You will have to pay a deposit (usually amounting to two to three months' rent) to the landlord, which will be returned to you when you move out, according to the conditions stated in the contract.
  • During the handover process, you and your landlord will fill out a handover protocol, which documents the state of the property at the time of the handover. It is important the protocol is filled out accurately, so that any preexisting damage will not be held against you and deducted from your deposit when you move out again. You may even want to take photos of any preexisting damages in the apartment.
  • Make sure you receive a copy of the handover protocol as this is generally part of your rental contract.
  • Waste management in Germany has a very high standard with the objective to recycle where possible. The cost for waste collection is normally included in your utility costs (Nebenkosten). Every city district also has recycling stations (Wertstoffinseln), where residents can bring their recyclable materials.

Registering with utility companies

  • Ask your landlord who will contact the utility companies to notify them of the change in tenant.
  • The utility companies need to be informed about the new tenant and the meter readings for electricity, gas and in some cases water.
  • There is a municipal provider (Stadtwerke München) in Munich, as well as a wide variety of other providers which you can research and compare online.

Registering for telephone, TV, and internet services

  • Once you have moved into your new place, you will need to register for the Broadcasting License Fee (Rundfunkbeitrag). Every household in Germany has to pay a fixed monthly rate for public television and radio broadcasting.
  • There are many different communication service providers, so it is important to first evaluate your needs and to compare the different offers before making a decision.

NOTE: Please be aware of the minimum contract terms and cancellation policies!

Residence permit

  • Before applying for a residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel) you need to obtain proof of your residence registration (Meldebescheinigung).
  • Non-EU citizens (also called third-country nationals) may work in Germany only if their residence permit expressly allows it.
  • EU citizens do not require a residence or work permit. The same applies for citizens of Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. Swiss citizens need to obtain a declaratory residence permit.
  • Please carefully read our section on Visa & Entry Requirements to find out which visa you need and if it can be converted into a residence permit.

If you are a non-EU citizen, you have to apply for your residence permit as soon as possible at the Munich Foreigners Office (Ausländerbehörde) within the Department of Public Order (Kreisverwaltungsreferat/KVR) before your visa expires.

Types of residence permits

As a doctoral candidate, you are eligible for a temporary residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis). Depending on whether you are coming to Germany based on a work contract, a scholarship, or a short-term research stay, you need to apply for a different type of residence permit:

  • Employment: residence permit for employment purposes according to section 18 of the German Residence Act. Usually valid for the duration of the contract. Can be extended if the contract is extended.
  • Studies: residence permit for educational purposes according to section 16 of the German Residence Act. Usually valid for two years. Can be extended until you finish your doctorate.
  • Research: residence permit for research purposes according to section 20 of the German Residence Act. Valid for the duration of your research project. Can be extended only if the research project is extended.

Each type comes with specific prerequisites, rights, and restrictions. The most important aspect, however, is to obtain the required work permit if your doctorate is tied to a position at the university, a non-university research institution, or a company. If you apply for a residence permit for educational purposes, you are still allowed to work a maximum of 120 days or 240 half days, for example as a student assistant at the university.

Documents required for your application

  • Completed application form
  • Valid passport
  • Biometric photograph
  • Valid visa for the purpose of doing your doctorate (if necessary)
  • Letter of acceptance as a doctoral candidate from the university
  • Confirmation from your supervisor including information on your dissertation topic, supervision agreement and expected duration of doctorate
  • University degree certificate, including a notarized German translation and a formal recognition (if necessary)
  • Proof of adequate health insurance
  • In case of employment: work contract including a description of your position OR a written confirmation of intended employment by your department
  • Proof of sufficient funds (salary, scholarship etc.)
  • Rental agreement

Further documents may be necessary in individual cases. A fee of about 100 € applies for the permit. You will be issued an electronic residence permit, which you should carry with you at all times.

Insurance

  • Health insurance is mandatory in Germany at all times during your stay
  • If you have a work contract, your employer will register you for social insurance (health, nursing care, pension, unemployment and accident insurance). It will be automatically deducted from your gross salary.
  • As an employee, you are eligible for public health insurance. You are free to choose your own provider, but you need to inform your employer about your choice.
  • As a doctoral student without employment, you may not eligible for public health insurance if you come from outside the EU. In this case, you need to take up private health insurance.

In Germany, health insurance is mandatory, which means that regardless of your citizenship or residence permit, with or without an employment contract, you are obliged to have valid health insurance at all times during your stay in Germany.

Proof of adequate health insurance coverage has to be presented during the application process for your visa, if you require one for entering the country. When applying for a residence permit for Germany, you will also have to show proof of health insurance to the Munich Foreigners Office when applying for your permit.

What does health insurance need to cover?

  • Doctor and dentist treatment
  • The supply of medication, dressing and aid
  • Hospital treatment
  • Medical services for rehabilitation
  • Assistance through pregnancy and labor

The German Health Insurance System

The German health insurance system is characterized by the dual system of public (statutory) health insurance and private health insurance. Your eligibility for each system depends on your employment status, your country of origin and your insurance history.

For which insurance system am I eligible?

Employment

If you have a work contract with LMU Munich or another employer, it is mandatory to have public health insurance by a licensed German provider. You have up to 14 days from the beginning of your employment contract to provide your employer with an insurance certificate by a public insurance provider of your choice. If you have not chosen a provider by then, your employer will register you with AOK Bayern.

Scholarship/No employment

You are probably eligible for public health insurance if you are:

  • from an EU-country and have been in the public health insurance system of your home country
  • from a non-EU country, but have been in a EU public health insurance system for a prolonged period of time

You are probably not eligible for public health insurance if you are:

  • from a non-EU country and have never been in an EU public health insurance system before

If you are interested in taking out public health insurance, you should contact an insurance provider of your choice to make sure that you are eligible and inquire about the rates.

If you would like to sign up for private health insurance, we recommend that you do some preliminary research to compare rates and find a plan that covers all your medical needs. The Munich Student Union collaborates with a private insurance provider that offers special conditions for doctoral students who are not eligible for public health insurance.

NOTE: Please be aware that if you decide to opt out of the public health insurance system, you may not have the option of getting back into it in the future.

If your doctorate is connected to an employment contract, you will have to pay fixed statutory social security contributions.

The German system of social insurance is based on the principle of solidarity. This means that every insured person makes a contribution towards financing social insurance depending on their (financial) ability.

Social security includes the following:

  • Health insurance
  • Pension scheme
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Long-term nursing care insurance
  • Accident insurance (for your work place)

Your employer is responsible for paying the contributions directly and will deduct your employee contributions from your gross salary each month. You can view the total amount of contributions on your pay slip.

Necessary steps for registration

As soon as your working contract starts, your HR department will take the necessary steps to register you for social security.

  • Your employer will register you with the public health insurance provider (Krankenkasse) of your choice. Please note that it is your responsibility to proactively inform your HR department about which health insurance provider you have chosen, otherwise you will automatically be insured with a specific insurance provider.
  • You will receive your Social Insurance Number (Sozialversicherungsnummer) from the provider handling the pension scheme and a small booklet proving that you are insured (Versicherungsnachweisheft).
  • Hand in the booklet to your HR department.

NOTE: If you have worked in different countries and paid into the social security systems there, it is advisable to check with the respective insurance providers in those countries which entitlements you may have. This only applies to countries which Germany has signed a Social Security Agreement with. You can check the agreements at the Deutsche Rentenversicherung to find out more.

NOTE: If you plan on returning to a country which does not have a Social Security Agreement with Germany, you can also ask for a refund of your pension contributions from the Deutsche Rentenversicherung.

Student registration

  • If not required by your department or program (specified in the doctoral degree regulations), registration is optional.
  • You can register for a maximum of six semesters. Registration needs to be proactively renewed every semester.
  • If you have not completed your doctoral degree after six semesters, you can continue without being registered. However, you will not have student status anymore.
  • A semester fee applies for registration.

In general, registration is not mandatory for doctoral candidates, unless it is specified otherwise in your doctoral degree regulations. For example, you may be required to register for at least two semesters at any time during your doctoral studies. If it is optional, you may consider the advantages of registering, which grants you student status:

  • You receive a student ID (LMUcard), which includes a basic public transportation ticket (valid from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekdays and the whole day on the weekend). You are also eligible to purchase an additional semester ticket which is valid at all times.
  • You can eat for reduced prices at the university canteens and cafés.
  • You can participate in university sports at a reduced rate.
  • Many cultural institutions like museums have reduced entrance fees for students.

Registration is done via the International Office after you have been admitted to your desired doctoral studies by the respective doctoral committee. For applying at the International Office, please follow the steps in the application guide for doctoral studies.

The application deadline is January 15 / July 15, respectively, for the following semester, and you can apply by mail or in person. Extended deadlines apply for doctoral candidates, which can be looked up at the FAQ - Current Status of Application (number 2). noch nicht vorhanden

If your application is successful, you will receive a university admission notice. Then you can officially register at the International Office in person. This is possible until the end of October/April for the respective semester.

If you have any questions regarding your registration, please contact zulassung.international@lmu.de or visit the International Admissions Office.

Once you have successfully registered and paid the mandatory semester fee, you will receive your LMU user identification, which you need to activate to access your LMU user account. Your identification also gives you access to your university email account, WiFi, and computers.

Once you have access to your LMU user account, you can request an LMUcard online, which serves as your student ID. You will need to provide a photo, which will appear on your card. Once your request has been approved, you can pick it up and validate it at the IT service desk.

NOTE: The LMUcard also serves as your basic public transportation ticket and your library card. But even without an LMUcard, you can still apply for a library card at the information desk of the Main Library.

How do I get my LMU user identification if I’m not registered?

If you are employed at LMU, you just need to contact the IT service desk (in German) to activate your LMU user identification, which should be given to you on your first day. Once you have access to your LMU user account, you can request an LMUcard for employees online (through the “Serviceportal”).

Even if you are neither registered as a student nor employed at LMU, you can still get an LMU user identification. In this case, you need to complete an application form (PDF, 112 KB) (DE), which includes a passage for your department to confirm that you are an affiliated doctoral candidate.

If you want to continue your registration the following semester, you need to apply proactively by transferring the semester fee before the deadline. If you do not want to continue your registration, you will be automatically de-registered, losing your student status for the following semester.

Banking & taxes

For doctoral candidates with employment

  • Your salary is transferred directly to your bank account. You should therefore open a current account at a German bank before you start working.
  • As soon as your employment starts, you are enrolled in the German social security system, which includes pension, unemployment, accident, health and nursing care insurance.
  • Income taxes as well as social security contributions are automatically deducted from your gross salary. At the end of the month, you receive a pay slip detailing all deductions.
  • Germany has tax treaties with numerous countries to avoid double taxation. Ask your HR department or the relevant tax authority for more information.
  • You may file a tax return after the tax year to declare any work-related expenses, for which you may receive a tax refund.

For doctoral candidates with a scholarship

  • In general, you don’t need to pay German taxes on scholarships (if unsure, ask your scholarship provider)
  • You should check if you need to pay any taxes in your home country

General information

  • Compare the conditions and costs involved before choosing to open an account with a bank. Make sure that the bank of your choice has conveniently-located ATMs around the city.
  • Most shops accept EC cards. However, you should always carry some cash with you in case cards are not accepted. The use of credit cards is not as common here as in other countries.
  • The value-added tax in Germany is 19 %. For agricultural products, transport and printed material there is a reduced rate of 7 %. It is already included in the displayed price of a product/service.

In Munich, there is an extensive network of commercial and savings banks operating on a local, national and international level. Most German banks offer different types of accounts, depending on the purpose.

Types of bank accounts

  • Current account (Girokonto)
  • Instant access savings account (Tagesgeldkonto)
  • Limited access savings account (Sparkonto)
  • Securities account (Depot)

If you are registered as a student at LMU, you may be eligible for a student account. Please inquire at the bank of your choice.

NOTE: Remember to read the terms and conditions to find out about all hidden costs of the account.

Questions you should ask yourself before opening a bank account

  • 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/month?
  • Will I get a credit card and what are the costs? 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?
  • Will my partner/spouse also have access to the account?
  • Is online banking available in English?

Opening a bank account in person

To open a bank account in Germany, you will need the following:

  • your passport
  • your proof of residence registration (Meldebescheinigung)
  • some banks also ask for your work permit
  • if you have student status: student ID or proof of registration

NOTE: If you prefer in-person service or require some advice before opening an account you can visit a local branch. It is advisable to make an appointment for the opening of your bank account.

Opening a bank account online

The process of opening a bank account online is roughly the same for all banks:

  • Go to the website of your chosen bank and find the appropriate application form for "Privatkunden Girokonto-Eröffnung".
  • Fill out the form. You will be able to select a few options (such as option for overdraft, option for credit card).
  • Print the completed application form and the POSTIDENT coupon, which will be used to verify your identity at the post office. Some banks also offer an identity check via video call.
  • Take the application form, the POSTIDENT coupon, your passport or identity card and your residence registration (Meldebescheinigung) to any post office (Deutsche Post). There, your identity will need to get confirmed. After this, please send the confirmation along with your account application to the chosen bank. You will then be informed by the bank whether your application has been successful.

Withdrawing cash and cashless payment

You can withdraw cash with your EC card by using your associated four-digit PIN code which will be sent to you by mail. You can also use your EC card for cashless payments.

NOTE: EC cards are generally more widely accepted in Germany than credit cards.

National and international transfers

For national and international money transfers you need the IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and BIC (Bank Identifier Code) of the account you are sending the money to.

Your employer will automatically transfer the net amount of your income to your bank account.
This means that your employer has already deducted social security contributions to cover pension insurance, health insurance, unemployment insurance and nursing care insurance from your salary and paid these directly on your behalf.

In addition, income tax, the solidarity levy and church tax (if applicable) will already have been paid to the tax office.

Tax Identification Number

Every resident in Germany receives a Tax Identification Number. The tax office will send you this number automatically to your registered German address within about three weeks after you have completed your residence registration.

Taxation classes

The amount of your income tax not only depends on your salary, but also on your taxation class, which is based on your personal status.

NOTE: Check the taxation class on your first paycheck to make sure it is correct. Please communicate a change of taxation class as early as possible to your employer.

  • class I = single
  • class II = single parent (living alone with a child/children)
  • class III = married and spouse has no income or lower income
  • class IV = married and similar income to spouse
  • class V = opposite of class III, i.e. this is the class your spouse has, if you have III
  • class VI = for a second job or for deduction without proper employment information

Please find below a checklist with the first steps after your arrival in Munich. In addition, feel free to ask for a list of specific vocabulary (German and English) containing the most important terms in the different fields.
Checklist After Arrival (PDF, 143 KB)