Before you travel to Heidelberg

Here are a few issues you need to address before making your way to Heidelberg.

To pre-arrange for (temporary or long-term) accomodation, have a look at our Accommodation pages; for information on how to get to Heidelberg and, specifically, to MPIA, please see our pages Directions to MPIA.


Before organzing your travel to Heidelberg, please make sure whether or not you need an entry visa to enter the country.

Visa requirements depend on your citizenship and on the purpose of your visit. Visa are issued by German embassies and consulates worldwide. You can find all pertinent information on the web pages of Germany's Federal Foreign Office:

Federal Foreign Office: Visa regulations

General guidelines

Citizens from the Member States of the European Union (EU), Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein do not require an entry visa.

Nationals from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, United Kingdom and the USA can enter without entry visa provided they are a stipendholder but have to apply for a residence permit within 90 days. Staff with work contract do need an entry visa.

National visa: student visa (§ 16b), internship visa (§15), blue card EU (§ 18b), research visa (§ 18d) — for PhD students and researchers; makes entry, residence and mobility within the European Union easier).

Schengen visa: for tourists, valid for less than 3 months and cannot be changed.

Health insurance

In Germany, health insurance is a legal requirement for all researchers and accompanying family members. To obtain a visa for Germany or a residence permit, you have to show proof of sufficient health insurance coverage.

Please make sure that you do have health insurance that is valid in Germany and covers your travel and at least your starting period here in Heidelberg. Accidents, medical treatment and stays in hospitals all need to be covered.

Please carefully check with your national health insurance whether it meets the requirements for Germany: if yes, you will get a corresponding certificate of insurance; if no: please take out a travel insurance. During the first days after your arrival you will then have to take out a German health insurance which covers you for the entire period of your stay.

Please note: If there is an insurance agreement between your country and Germany or the EU rules apply, you can sometimes also transfer your health insurance. If you have some current health problems, you should undergo all necessary check-ups in your home country before travelling and bring along sufficient amounts of prescription medicine.

There are 2 types of health insurance in Germany: private and state insurance.

Which one you choose depends on whether you will be working in Germany on the basis of a fellowship or an employment contract. If you are coming to Heidelberg on a fellowship or are financing your stay privately, you will have to take out private insurance. If you have an employment contract, you are required to take out state insurance - unless your annual salary regularly exceeds a certain limit, that is, in which case you are free to choose beween a state health scheme and private health insurance.

Further information

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