Within the first weeks after your arrival, you will have to go through a number of formalities before starting research and teaching.
You have to register your new place of residence within one week after your arrival in Germany. Registration is compulsory for all German citizens and for all international guests who stay in Germany for more than 90 days. The Welcome Center of the University of Mannheim can provide you with all relevant forms. Depending on your respective place of residence, you can visit one of the citizens’ service offices of the city of Mannheim. If you do not live in Mannheim, please inquire about the responsible residents’ registration office at your place of residence.
In order to avoid long waiting times, we recommend making an appointment online with the citizens’ service offices of the city of Mannheim. The Welcome Center is happy to provide support.
In the following cases a certificate of good conduct is required:
In case you already have a registered residence in Germany, please contact the respective citizens’ service office to apply for a certificate of good conduct. The certificate of good conduct can be requested at one of the citizens’ service offices. The fee for the certificate is EUR 13. It usually takes up to two weeks for the certificate to arrive in your or your employer's mailbox.
There are two types of certificates of good conduct:
Applications from abroad (especially important for new junior professors)
For reasons of time, it might be necessary, in individual cases, to apply for the certificate of good conduct before arriving in Mannheim. For example, as long as you do not posses a certificate of good conduct, you cannot be appointed as civil servant. The same applies if you are planning a short-term employment (less then 90 days) at the University of Mannheim and, therefore, do not need to register your new place of residence in Germany. On the website of the Federal Office of Justice you can apply for a certificate of good conduct from abroad without having to have your registered residence in Germany.
About two weeks following the registration of your place of residence in Germany, you will receive a letter from the Federal Central Tax Office. This letter contains your tax identification number that you will need for many formal processes in Germany (e.g. receiving your salary, applying for child benefit, opening a bank account, etc.)
Please keep this number carefully.
If you need to receive your tax identification number urgently and cannot wait for the letter of the Federal Central Tax Office, please contact the tax office of the city of Mannheim directly. You only need your passport or ID. You can ask for your tax identification number one workday after the registration of your new place of residence, at the earliest.
In Germany, everyone can be held responsible and charged for accidental damages inflicted upon a third party. Therefore, it is usual to take out private liability insurance in order to insure oneself (and one’s family) against compensation claims for damages that were caused unintentionally. The private liability insurance is one of the most important and at the same time cheapest voluntary insurances in Germany that will defend you from having to pay compensation for damages. This kind of insurance covers damages that were caused unintentionally, e.g. through inattentiveness in traffic, as a pedestrian, or in case you damaged the property of someone else.
Please note that, during your stay at the University of Mannheim, you will not be insured with the university.
In case you have taken out private liability insurance in your home country, please check if it is equally valid during your stay in Germany. A liability insurance should at least cover all cases of private liability and, if possible, also cases of liability on official business.
For persons who entered Germany on a visa: If you are going to stay in Germany for more than 90 days, you do not only have to register at the citizens’ service office, but also to apply for a residence permit at the local foreigners’ office before your visa expires. Where you have to apply depends on your new place of residence. If you have your main residence in Mannheim, the foreigners’ office of the city of Mannheim will be competent.
Citizens from non-EU countries who can first enter Germany without a visa and will stay at the University of Mannheim for more than 90 days, also have to apply for a residence permit after their entry.
Citizens from EU or EEA countries do not need a residence permit.
The Welcome Center is happy to advise you on the choice of the correct residence permit and will assist you with the preparation of any required documents. As a rule, submission of the following documents is required:
For an overview of applying regulations please refer to the website EURAXESS Germany.
Please note: The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees provides information on the electronic residence permit on its website.
Everyone who enters into an employment relationship with the University of Mannheim will be supported by the Welcome Center with all required formalities. In collaboration with the Human Resources division and your Chair or institute, we will let you know about all necessary steps as early on as possible.
Usually, we need a so-called personnel form as well as a copy of your latest university degree in advance.
It is important that you come to the Human Resources division to sign your employment contract prior to the beginning of your employment relationship with the University of Mannheim. This is why we recommend that you come to Mannheim at least 3–5 business days before the envisaged beginning of your employment contract in Mannheim in order to ensure that you have enough time to go through all formalities related to the signature of your employment contract.
As a rule, you have to submit the following documents:
For these documents, the original or a notarized copy has to be submitted. If the documents were issued in a language other than German or English, a notarized translation is required.
Please note: If you are not an EU/
Example: It is envisaged that you are employed at a chair or institute of the University of Mannheim for a period of three years. As a citizen who requires visa you will first receive a short-term visa that is valid for 3 months. Therefore, the Human Resources division has to limit the duration of the employment contract to the expiration date of the visa. However, as soon as you have obtained a residence permit with help of the Welcome Center within the validity term of your visa, your employment contract will be extended.
International doctoral candidates have the possibility to enroll in order to acquire student status and thus enjoy the benefits that come with being a student (reduced prices in the Mensa, semester ticket for public transport etc.).
At the University of Mannheim, there are two ways to enroll as international doctoral student:
Visiting doctoral students need to be invited by researchers of the University of Mannheim, usually a host professor, to collaborate in research and/
The maximum duration of the enrollment for visiting doctoral students is 2 semesters. Visiting doctoral students have the possibility to enroll directly at the Welcome Center.
The following documents are required for enrollment:
Full-time doctoral students seek to obtain their doctoral degree from the University of Mannheim. This means that the research project is supervised by a professor of the University of Mannheim and the degree will be awarded by the University of Mannheim.
Full-time doctoral students have to enroll at Division I. For more information on prerequisites and the enrollment procedure please visit the website of Division I Doctoral Studies in Mannheim.
As a rule, the following documents are required for enrollment – for more information please contact Division I in advance:
Employees, visiting scholars and enrolled doctoral students will receive an individual user ID from the University IT. The user ID allows you to take full advantage of the world-wide roaming access service developed for international researchers, called eduroam (education roaming) and any online services provided by of the University of Mannheim. You will receive your user ID from the Welcome Center upon your arrival.
As employee or visiting scholar at the University of Mannheim, you will receive a personalized smart card called ecUM (electronic card of the University of Mannheim) upon commencement of your employment or visit. The ecUM allows you to make use of several services that you will need often during your stay in Mannheim:
The ecUM is issued at the counter of the University IT at the InfoCenter (Schneckenhof West). You will receive your ecUM on condition that you already have a user ID of the University IT. The Welcome Center will be happy to provide support.
Please note: Visiting scholars without an employment contract may only receive the ecUM on condition that they stay for at least 3 weeks at the University of Mannheim. If this is not the case, you can get an ecUM guest card from the Mensa instead. The Welcome Center will inform you in each case.
You can load money onto your ecUM at the “Infothek” in the Mensa building, the cafeteria EO, Café Soleil or at the cashiers in the Mensa. If you stay in Mannheim for a longer period, it might come in useful to participate in the Autoload system that requires a German or European bank account. For further information on the process please have a look at the website of the Studierendenwerk.
The German social security system governs all statutory provisions regarding health, pension, unemployment, accident, and long-term care insurance.
Scholarships are usually exempt from social security regulations and/
Deutsche Rentenversicherung (German statutory pension insurance scheme)
The German pension scheme is comprised of three pillars: the statutory, the occupational, and the voluntary private pension scheme. The first pillar, the Deutsche Rentenversicherung (German statutory pension insurance scheme, DRV), forms part of the statutory social security system. The scheme protects those insured and their families if their earning capacity is endangered or reduced and if it ends due to age or death. It covers medical rehabilitation measures, professional rehabilitation, pensions due to fully reduced earning capacity, old-age pensions, and survivor’s pensions. It does not only pay retirement pensions. Its aim is to maintain earning capacity.
The statutory pension insurance contribution is directly deducted from the employees’ gross salary. As a rule, the employer pays half of the contributions to the statutory pension insurance scheme while the employee pays the other half. The employee does not have to take care of this matter. The employer registers the employee at the respective health care insurance provider. The provider then automatically forwards the registration to all the other relevant social security funds.
Following the registration procedure, the statutory pension insurance fund will send you your social security number – please keep it in a safe place..
Occupational pension (VBL)
The second pillar is the occupational pension scheme. In addition to the statutory pension insurance, occupational pension can be obtained from a public supplementary pension scheme, the VBL (Versorgungsanstalt des Bundes und der Länder).
Usually, participating employers register their employees at the compulsory insurance VBLklassik. With VBLextra, the collective agreement on pensions offers an alternative for those academic staff members who are employed on a temporary basis, i.e. for less than 3 years, and thus cannot fulfill the qualifying period necessary for VBLklassik. Have a look at the explanation in the following video clip provided by the VBL .
Further information can be found on the website of EURAXESS Germany – please consult the following web pages for more details:
For more information on the pension system in Germany and other countries please see the categories “Pension Landscapes” and/
Whether you have to pay taxes in Germany depends on your status at the University of Mannheim, the duration of your stay in Germany and other factors. The website of EURAXESS Germany provides detailed information about regulations and double taxation agreements.
In case you are employed at the University of Mannheim, the wage tax will usually be directly deducted from your gross salary. This means that your employer has to pay the wage tax to the appropriate tax office. Therefore, you have to report your tax identification number to your employer.
At the end of each calendar year, you can apply to the tax office at your place of residence for a “Lohnsteuerjahresausgleich” (annual wage tax adjustment).
This may entitle you to a partial refund if you have paid too much wage tax during the previous calendar year. The necessary documents can be obtained from the local tax office or at the city hall. You may also submit an electronic tax return using the 'ELSTER form’ issued by the tax offices (only available in German). If you have already returned home, you can also submit your tax return from your home country. It should be submitted to the local tax office by May of the following year; at the very latest by 31 December. As soon as the tax office has processed your tax return you will receive a tax assessment notice informing you whether and to what extent taxes will be refunded.
Tip: Collect all invoices and receipts for expenses related to your job-situation during the last calendar year. In many cases, expenses can be deducted from the tax payment, for example, the costs of the move or for specialist books – but only on presentation of the invoice. So, become a collector of receipts!
Tip: Search online via one of the common search enginges (e.g. tax declaration germany english) – you might find one or two software solution providers you might want to try. They promise to guide you through the tax declaration, in English and in a few other languages.
Though you have to pay for it, in many cases, it is a good idea to consult a tax advisor for the preparation of your tax return. Either a lump sum or a fee proportional to your annual income will be charged – however, this can be partially claimed in the tax return of the following year.
We have compiled a list of English-speaking tax consultants in Mannheim known to the Welcome Center. In order to ensure a good quality of service, we have already phoned and asked all these companies whether they can provide consulting services in English and whether they already have experience with international tax law and/
In many cases, it has proven to be worthwhile to call in the support of a tax advisor for the preparation of a tax return.
Each year in spring, the Welcome Center organizes a “Tax Clinic”. On this occasion, a tax advisor will give an introduction to the German taxation system and answer all your questions.
You can search for your appropriate tax office online:
You will find a database of tax advisors online (search engine only available in German):
The 'Lohn- und Einkommenssteuer Hilfe-Ring' also provides advice on wage tax issues. However, this advisory service is only available for members: www.steuerring.de
Disclaimer: All the information provided here is carefully monitored. However, we do not assume liability for these contents. All materials are for general information purposes only and cannot be binding for every individual case. The information provided is not necessarily complete, comprehensive or up-to-date. We do not give legal advice nor legally binding information. Neither can we substitute for information given by experts in individual cases.
Public service broadcasters in Germany are financed by the public broadcasting license fee (Rundfunkbeitrag). This way of funding enables media coverage independent of commercial or political interests. Whether you will have to pay the fee depends on the duration of your stay in Germany:
During the first months of your stay in Germany, you will lodge in the Guesthouse of the University of Mannheim or another short-term accommodation as you will be occupied looking for an apartment during the first weeks after your arrival. We have compiled useful information to help you find accommodation.
Following your move, you will have to inform various authorities about your change of address: your employer, bank institution, health care provider, the residents’ registration office, the Beitragsservice for the public broadcasting license fee and many more. Please also read the information on changing or extending your stay. The Welcome Center Team will be happy to help you.
If you are a non-European citizen, your driver's license will be valid for half a year in Germany. After six months of residency in Germany, however, you will need to re-register your driver's license. In order to have your driver’s license re-registered, you have to pass a written and a practical driving test at a driving school.
This regulation does not apply for European citizens. Their driver’s licenses continue to be valid even after six months of residency in Germany.
For more information on the driver’s license in Germany please see the website of EURAXESS.
Disclaimer: We are continuously checking the contents of the information materials published by the Welcome Center. However, we do not assume liability for these contents. All materials are for general information purposes only and cannot be binding for every individual case. The information provided is not necessarily complete, comprehensive or up-to-date. We do not give legal advice nor legally binding information. Neither can we substitute for information given by experts in individual cases.
I feel privileged to be the part of University of Mannheim. As one of the most diversified universities in Germany, it provides a unique platform to enhance learning and develop key skills. It offers many great opportunities to excel in one's career. Relocating to a new country means relocating to a totally new bureaucracy. I am very happy to rely on the Welcome Center to assist me with all necessary steps relating to such important things like social security, pension scheme, health insurance, and many more.