Information for Foreign Scientists

Applying for a suitable visa at the German embassy in your country
Scientists and students from abroad who intend to work/study in Germany need to obtain a visa. The visa, which is granted initially for a period of up to three months by the German embassy or consulate general, permits the holder to enter Germany. However, it is extended by the Foreigners' Office - Ausländerbehörde, when the scientist/student register within the first three months of their stay in Germany. 
The visa is extended for one or two years at a time, as long as the studies are continued. It is only after the registration at the foreigners’ office that the visa becomes valid for multiple entries and travel to other EU countries.
You should apply at the German embassy/consulate in your country with the letter of invitation from MPI or FML that mentions the duration of your stay in Germany and confirms its offer of scholarship which will cover your living expenses, including rent and health insurance for the purpose of performing scientific research in Germany.  In some countries, the approval of the visa can take up to 8 weeks, therefore it is advisable to apply as soon as possible.
A list of German embassies can be found at:

Registration in the City of Tübingen
As soon as you have a permanent address in Germany (see also 'Finding Accomodation'), you are obliged to register at the local residents' registration office:
Bürgeramt Tübingen 
Schmiedtorstrasse 4
72074 Tübingen
Phone: +49-7071-204-2020
Fax: +49-7071-204-2223 

Office hours:
Mon, Thu and Fri: 7.30am - 12.30 pm;
Tue: 7.30 am - 6.00 pm
Wed: closed

Here you receive a copy of your registration certificate: the Meldebescheinigung.
The next step involves going to the Foreigners' Office (same address as resident´s registration office)to apply for a Residence Permit  (Aufenthaltsgenehmigung).
This involves presenting the authorities:
  • the copy of the registration certificate;
  • documentation of your health insurance (see also '5. Health Insurance');
  • copy of your PhD contract with MPI or FML;
  • filling out an additional form which is available at the information booth or in the waiting area and a passport photo 
At the end of your stay in Tübingen, you should inform the Ausländerabteilung. This notification is not a requirement for leaving Germany, but if you should decide to return to Germany in the future, such a notice will save you a lot of time and paperwork.
You can submit this notification by mail (even after you have already left) to the

Ordnungsamt Tübingen
- Ausländerabteilung -
Schmiedtorstraße 4
72074 Tübingen
Finding Accommodation
For the first days or weeks you can stay in one of the Max Planck Guest House rooms. They have a subsidized rate if the room is occupied for more than a week and lower when more than a month. Furthermore, a staff member, Oliver Haselhoff, can be contacted as well. He is responsible for the flats owned and maintained by the Max Planck Institutes.  He will contact you as soon as a flat is available.
If you are interested in securing accommodation at the Max Planck Guest House during your search for flat/rooms, please get in touch with Ms. W. Beck at: 
Tagungs- und Gästehaus der Max-Planck-Institute Tübingen 
Max-Planck-Ring 6, 72076 Tübingen  Tel.: 07071-601 765 ; Fax: 07071-601 790 
E-Mail: Max-Planck-Haus[at]
Although the PhD office staff is there to assist you, it is best when all reservations for the guest house are made directly, keeping the PhD office informed. 


Locating off-campus housing in Tübingen is a task that may require a number of days to accomplish. For the interim period, you might perhaps want to make a reservation at one of the other private guest houses or rooms offered in Tübingen and cities / suburbs around Tübingen. A list of such possibilities can be found at:
A good source for finding apartments is the local newspaper “Schwäbisches Tagblatt” on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 
For shared flats, check out the blackboards at the university campus and

A further possibility is to apply for a room in a student housing. For this alternative you have to be enrolled at the University of Tübingen and should contact:
Studentenwerk Tübingen-Hohenheim
Frau Fischer, Tel. 07071 / 969715
E-Mail: isabell.fischer[at]
Office hours: 
Monday, Wednesday: 09.00– 11.30 
Thursday: 13.30 – 16.00 

Telefone consultation hours: 9.00 Uhr bis 15.30 Uhr

Health Insurance
You are required to have health insurance coverage for the duration of your stay in Germany. 
It is advisable that the insurance you buy at the time of applying for your visa covers the first two or three months of your stay here – till the time you can get a long-term insurance.
It is necessary to open a regular account – Girokonto - at a local or online bank. 
Paying with an EC card is widely accepted in Germany. Credit cards are less common, though accepted in some stores. Some regular monthly payments – rent, insurance, telephone bills - can be made through direct money transfer from one bank account to another (also possible online). Your bank can explain the various services available when you set up your account.

All banks are closed on weekends. If you need cash on Saturday you can encash Travelers' Checks at the main post office – Hauptpostamt - which is open on Saturday from 8.00 am to 12.30 pm, or use an ATM (cash machine) at one of the banks. ATMs are open 24 hours every day. 
German Language Courses
You can take part in the German lessons offered at our institute, in which case you have to pay 30% of the fees and the rest is paid for by the MPI. 
Listed below are institutes that offer German language courses. However, do check the availability of an in-house course before you enroll anywhere else. Mrs. Wirth (administration) is responsible for the courses and can be reached at extension 317.

Volkshochschule Tübingen (VHS)
Katharinenstrasse 18 (Loretto), D-72074 Tübingen
Tel.: +49·7071·5603·0; Fax: +49·7071·560328
E-mail: post[at]
Sprachinstitut Tübingen (SIT)
Eugenstrasse 71, D-72072 Tübingen
Tel.: +49·7071·9354·0; Fax: +49·7071·935427
E-Mail: sit[at]
Hermann-Hesse-Kolleg (International Language School)
Hirschgasse 8 (Steinhaus), D-72160 Horb am Neckar
Tel.: +49·7451·60971; Fax: +49·7451·2908
E-Mail: hhk-horb[at]  
The university also offers German language courses. It might be worth enquiring about availability there before booking a course at a language institute. 
Commuting in TübingenYour foreign driver’s license is usually valid for the first 6 months of your stay in Germany. Non-EU licenses have to be converted in due time.
For around 48 euros, you can buy a bus pass which is valid for one semester - six months (either April 1 to September 30 or October 1 to March 31). It is called a Semesterticket and you have to have a valid student ID to get it. It entitles you to unlimited travel within Tübingen and to surrounding towns as well. For the purchase, it is necessary to bring the „Bescheinigung über den Erwerb des Semestertickets“ which the University will send you every semester as long as you are enrolled. If you use the Semesterticket, always take you Student-ID card with you because they are only valid together.  
It can be bought at the Tourist Information Office, the main train station, the Bürgeramt and at Kreissparkasse.

Bürger- und Verkehrsverein Tübingen
Tourist and Information Office An der Neckarbrücke 1, 72072 Tübingen, Tel: +49
(7071) 9136-0 ; Fax: +49 (7071) 35070. mail[at]
Tickets can also be bought at every NALDO sales point

You can also travel late hours with the SAM - Sammeltaxi – Tel: 07071/34000. These are taxis which take a number of people on a specific route, so you might have to make a detour if somebody else is being taken to another place first, but there is a fixed price of about 4,40 Euros  per person. 
By the way, the semester ticket is also valid for local trains called IRE, RE, RB in the local areas of Tübingen, Reutlingen, Zollernalbkreis and Sigmaringen – but not to Stuttgart! 
German climate is almost as varied as its country but mostly temperate or marine. Extreme temperature lows and highs are rare. Winter temperatures vary from west to east, with about freezing temperatures in the west and well below freezing in eastern Germany.
Summer temperatures are typically between 20 and 30°C, with more rainfall during the summer. 
German Post
Tübingen's main post office is located near the railway station at Europaplatz 2. You can also get all of their services online (including printing stamps and shipping labels) at
Telephone calls...
can be made from all phone booths. Long distance calls to places outside Germany can be made from phone booths marked by a green sign, and from metered phones in the post office. Reversed charges calls cannot be made from phone boxes. 
There are not many coin operated telephone booths around. Most of them need calling cards which may be bought at Deutsche-Telekom centres, some corner shops and even at the post office. is a practical website that provides prefixes made available by private telecommunication companies. Dialled before a country-code (if calling international) or before the city-code (local calls) makes a considerable difference in the tariffs. 

Pre-paid calling cards can also be bought at telephone shops at some corner shops. You can use these cards to call within Germany as well as internationally from any telephone. Calls made this way cost a lot less. A 5 Euro card for example enables you to call Asia for 40 minutes.
Mobile contracts can be entered into with the following providers:
Vodafone: Neckargasse 1
O2: Neckargasse 11 and Ammergasse 2
Deutsche Telekom: Neckargasse 27 and Marktgasse 8
E-Plus: Am Markt 3

All shops are closed on Sundays.  However, gas stations are usually open and also provide groceries.
German electrical appliances
German electrical appliances operate at a 230 Volt current. Although some radios, electric shavers, etc., may already be adapted for 230 Volts, many foreign (Japanese, American, ...) appliances will need a transformer, not just a converter for the plug! Check your appliance before plugging it in. If it says 100-240 V on it, you can use it. Otherwise, use a transformer.
There are washing machines provided at the institute for laundry; furthermore, there exist public self-service laundries in the city.
Some useful links:
Tübingen University:
University library:
City library:
Local Newspaper:
German English online dictionary:
International calling codes & time zones:
German railway enquiry:
Youth hostel, Tübingen:
Some useful telephone numbers:  
Information (domestic):  11833
Information (domestic, in English): 11837
Information (foreign):  11834
Fire/Medical Emergency:    112
Police:    110
Last updated: Friday, 27.10.2017