Getting Started

There are some bureaucratic steps to be taken upon your arrival. Our team will guide you safely through this process. Here you can find more information about the process.

The Registration Office & Your Registration with the City of Göttingen

As soon as you arrive in Göttingen or move within the city limits, you are obliged within two weeks to report to the Registration Office. To do so you need to make an appointment, which you can arrange via the online appointment calendar.

You will need the following documents for the initial registration or for your change of address:

  • Identity card/passport (mandatory for third-country nationals)
  • Confirmation of housing from your landlord (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung)

The confirmation of housing is a confirmation of your move-in, filled out and signed by the person renting the apartment to you. The rental contract is not sufficient as a confirmation, as you need to show the exact day of move-in, which is only indicated on the confirmation of housing. If you are the owner of the accommodation, you can issue the certificate yourself.

If you are moving from abroad, your whole family, including children, must appear in person. Additional documents may be necessary and must be presented at the appointment:

  • Passport (mandatory for third country nationals)
  • Marriage certificate for the registration of married couples
  • Birth certificate when registering children. If the children are under 16 years old, all persons with custody must be present and agree to the registration. If only one person with custody is present, the written consent of the other person with custody is required.

Please note: All documents and certificates from abroad must be submitted in a certified German translation prepared by a translator accredited in Germany.

In addition, some of your documents must already have an Apostille or legalization by the German Embassy in your home country, otherwise your documents cannot be accepted. This can delay the registration and possibly cause tax disadvantages for you. Which documents have to be legalized in which form depends on your home country. Therefore, we recommend that you discuss this with the German Embassy when you apply for your visa and also have the legalization carried out there.

If your personal situation does not match the examples explained here, it is possible that further documents may be required for the application. In this case, please contact the Registration Office by e-mail before your appointment:

As soon as you have registered at the Registration Office in Germany for the first time, the Federal Central Tax Office will send you your tax identification number (Steuer-ID) by postal mail to your home address. You can expect to receive it after 5-10 working days. Your employer requires your tax ID in order to pay your salary. Talk to our team if you need the tax ID faster.

Foreigners Authority & Application for Residence Permits

Immigration matters in Germany are handled by the immigration offices or immigration authorities. Immigration offices are regional institutions responsible for issuing residence permits, among other things. Responsibility is not regulated by federal law, but is based on supplementary state law and depends on the place of residence of the foreign national. The legal basis is the Residence Act (AufenthG).

If your visa does not already cover it, you must apply for a residence title at the appropriate immigration authority. It is also necessary to apply for a residence permit if you are entering without a visa (more information can be found here).

The immigration offices in southern Lower Saxony are the  City of Göttingen- Immigration Office, the Immigration Authority of the District of Göttingen and the Immigration Authority of the District of Northeim. Our team will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the procedure and will accompany you through the administrative procedures.

ABC of Rental

Our small rental guide provides you with basic information about living in Germany.

  1. Basic Rent and Basic Rent with Additional Charges
    In Germany, both the base rent (or “cold” rent) and total rent or “warm” rent, which is the base rent plus ancillary charges, are posted for most real estate listings. The cold rent is the rent that you pay to the landlord for the use of the rental property. The warm rent includes other ancillary costs, for example, waste disposal, heating and water, as well as other service fees.
  2. Furnished – Unfurnished
    In Germany, flats are usually rented unfurnished. A furnished apartment is one that is fully furnished and equipped. If you are looking for an apartment with a fitted kitchen, but which is otherwise unfurnished, you should make sure when looking for an apartment that has “fitted kitchen” (EB-Küche or EBK) in the description of the apartment.
  3. Security Deposit
    As a rule, the landlord requires the tenant to provide a security deposit for the rented property. This can take the form of a deposit or in some cases a guarantee. The deposit may not be more than three times the amount of the rent per month and may be paid in three equal monthly payments.
  4. Statement of ancillary charges
    The statement is an annual bill of the operating costs agreed in the rental agreement. Operating costs include heating and hot water costs, property tax, water and sewage costs, street cleaning and refuse collection, house cleaning, garden maintenance, building insurance and much more.
  5. Electricity Contract
    When moving into a new apartment, you must sign up for electricity services. Compare local electricity providers before selecting a suitable provider. The electricity contract can be signed online by providing the electricity meter data.
  6. Subletting
    If you want to rent out a part of the rented living space to another party, the landlord’ s permission is required. Please note that the unauthorized transfer of use to other persons is sometimes an important reason for immediate termination without notice.
  7. Minor Repairs
    In principle, it is the responsibility of the landlord to carry out cosmetic repairs (wallpapering, painting or liming the walls and ceilings, painting the floors, radiators and heating pipes, interior doors and windows and exterior doors from the inside). However, it is customary to agree in the lease that minor repairs are partially carried out by the tenant.
  8. Damage
    If the tenant has caused damage to the property, he or she must pay for the damage. It is therefore strongly recommended to draw up a handover report together with the landlord when the apartment is handed over and when the tenant moves out, in which the condition of the apartment is documented.
  9. Pets
    Whether you are allowed to keep a pet in your rented property depends on the type of pet and the permission of the person renting it out. In general, all small pets may be kept without the permission of the landlord. Small animals are considered animals which, due to their nature and behavior, do not disturb other tenants and do not cause any damage. These includes guinea pigs, hamsters, fish and ornamental birds. Dogs and cats may only be kept with the landlord’s permission, as they pose an increased risk for nuisance and damage.
  10. List of Abbreviations
    Housing offers in Germany often have abbreviations. To make it easier, have a look at the following overview:
1-ZKB 1 room, kitchen, bathroom
2-Zi-Whg 2-Room-Apartment, Kitchen, Bathroom
3 ZKBB 3 rooms, kitchen, bathroom, balcony
WG Shared flat
EFH single-family house
EG Ground floor
OG Upper floor
DG Attic
m2 Square metersr
Wfl Living space
KM Cold rent
WM Warm rent
NK Utility costs
HK Heating costs
ZH Central heating
DU Shower
EBK Fitted kitchen
NR Non-smokers
Stellpl. Parking space
TG Underground car park

Child Benefit

Child benefit is a state benefit paid to parents of children up to the age of 18. The amount is between 194 and 225 EUR (2019) . It can be claimed up to the age of 25, if the child is still in school or vocational training or is a registered job or training seeker. The entitlement to child benefit arises automatically in the month of birth, but requires a written application to the relevant family fund. Parents and guardians are entitled to apply. Child benefit can be applied for retroactively for the last six months before the application is filed.

The following requirements must be met

  • The child lives in the household of the family / legal guardian.
  • The residence or current place of residence of the parent or guardian is in Germany.
  • If there is no residence / current residence in Germany, the unrestricted tax liability of the legal guardian is in Germany.

The Family Fund is not responsible for civil service employees. They must apply for child benefit from the employer or the office of remuneration and is is paid monthly to the beneficiary together with their remuneration.

Citizens of the EU and EEA states are entitled to the same child benefit as Germans. The entitlement arises in the month in which the applicant and their children establish their residence or current stay in Germany. The claim also exists directly under German law if the children live in another EU or EEA states.

Foreigners who are not entitled to freedom of movement receive child benefit if they have the following residence title:

  • Settlement permit according to the Residence Act (AufenthG),
    residence permit entitling the holder to engage in economic activity
  • The entitlement arises with the issue of the residence Permit

On the basis of interstate agreements, nationals of Turkey, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Morocco and Tunisia are eligible. We would be happy to discuss these special regulations with you personally or advise you via telephone.

Parental Leave & Parental Benefit

Parental leave allows parents to temporarily leave their employment without pay, in order to care of their child for a maximum period of 36 months. They are protected against dismissal.

If you wish to claim parental leave, you must inform your employer in written form at least seven weeks prior to the start of parental leave and at the same time make a binding declaration of the time periods for which parental leave is to be taken within two years. You do not need the employer’s consent to this.

The person applying for parental leave may freely choose the start and end dates within the first few years. If the employer agrees, twelve of the total 36 months can also be taken as parental leave between the child’s 3rd and 8th birthday.

The parental allowance is intended to provide financial compensation and secure the family’s economic existence, while the parents take care of the child after birth and therefore interrupt or restrict their professional activities. If both parents take part in childcare and therefore lose income, they are entitled to a parental benefit for a total of 14 months.  One parent can claim a minimum of two months, but a maximum of twelve months. Single parents can claim the full 14 months.

The amount of the parental benefit depends on the monthly net income of the last 12 months. The “ElterngeldDigital” portal supports parents in their family planning by providing further information and a parental allowance calculator. In addition, it is possible to complete the application online and submit the application electronically (

Social Insurance

Social insurance is a statutory insurance system consisting of health insurance, accident insurance, pension insurance, long-term care insurance and unemployment insurance. Contributions to social insurance are generally compulsory for employees and are paid by the employer. There are exceptions to this rule for freelancers, self-employed, civil servants and part-time employees. Exceptions for foreign employees are only in individual cases, such as employees who have been sent to Germany by a foreign employer, employed or self-employed in several countries and for individuals who are subject to the legal provisions of another country on the basis of a special agreement.

As a rule, scholarship holders are not subject to social insurance contributions, but have the option of making voluntary social insurance contributions. In this case, please contact our team. We will assist you with the application.

With the exception of health insurance, there is no obligation to cooperate for employees. As a rule, in Germany there is an obligation to insure in a statutory health insurance fund, with exceptions for certain occupational groups and incomes.

You will find more detailed information on the individual insurances on this page (health insurance, nursing care insurance, pension insurance).

Health Insurance and Long-Term Care

The health insurance ensures that the insured person is reimbursed for all or part of the cost of medical treatment.

In Germany there are two types of health insurance: statutory and private. As a salaried person, you are generally compulsorily insured in the statutory health insurance scheme. From a certain gross income, however, you are free to take out private health insurance. The amount of the so-called compulsory insurance limit is regularly redetermined. Regardless of this, you are free to take out insurance for additional benefits.

The contributions to statutory health insurance (GKV) are calculated as a percentage of the insured person’s monthly income up to a maximum contribution. The insurance companies pay the treatment costs directly. Therefore, always have your insurance card ready when you visit your doctor or at the pharmacy in order to enable the medical practices to bill your health insurance company. There are numerous statutory health insurance funds in Germany that offer various additional services in addition to a catalogue of standard benefits. A comparison of the services provided by different statutory health insurance funds is therefore worthwhile. As a person with statutory health insurance, you are generally entitled to a change to another statutory health insurance. If you are a member of a statutory health insurance scheme, you can insure your family members free of charge as long as they are not subject to compulsory insurance themselves.

The private health insurance (PKV), on the other hand, is based on a contract between the insurance company and the policyholder*in which the*policyholder*assures certain benefits. The premiums are risk-equivalent and are therefore not based on income but on other factors such as age, state of health and the desired range of benefits. PKV often offers an extended range of benefits, such as head physician treatment, cost absorption for alternative practitioner treatment or the assumption of extensive dental treatment. As a privately insured*r, you will be reimbursed for the costs to which you are contractually entitled according to the insurance contract. When you pay the doctor’s bills and purchase medication, you first pay in advance. If you submit the invoices to the insurance company, the amount will then be refunded to you. It is also worth making a comparison with private health insurance before you conclude your contract.

If you need medication before your arrival due to illness, it is advisable to stock up. Private health insurance usually does not cover medication that you have to take due to an illness diagnosed in your home country. The same applies to antenatal care if you have become pregnant in your home country. In order to avoid uncertainties regarding the assumption of costs, it is best to contact your insurance company directly.

The care insurance covers the risk of needing care. It is likewise obligatory, whereby statutorily health insured the care risk with a legal care insurance company insure, privately health insured the care risk however with a private health insurance enterprise. Nursing care insurance benefits are only granted upon application.

Retirement Insurance Fund

The pension insurance is part of the Sozialversicherung and is generally compulsory for employees* (see information on social insurance). It provides financial security in old age. In addition, there is the possibility of a private old-age provision.

The pension insurance provides insured persons or their surviving dependants with a pension as soon as they are no longer able to work. This can happen through old age, accident or death. The statutory pension insurance is financed by the so-called generation contract, according to which the current contributions of the gainfully employed finance the pension payments of today’s pensioners*. The amount of the pension entitlement depends on the duration and amount of the payments and is based on income.

The contributions for compulsorily insured employees* are paid half each by the employee*and the employer*in.

There are pension agreements between Germany and the EU states as well as other states which guarantee cross-border recognition of pension entitlements. If you have worked in different countries during your working life, you should therefore contact the pension institution in your home country at an early stage to ensure that all pension years are taken into account. If there is no social security agreement between your home country and Germany, you can request repayment of your pension contributions. Further information can be found at

Researchers* who have earned pension entitlements in many different countries can track their benefits via the service “Find your Pension” and find background information on the different pension systems.

Public Service Broadcasting

As in most other European countries, Germany has a public service broadcasting system in addition to private broadcasters. The public service broadcasters are financed by a contribution which is charged separately (not as a tax). Anyone staying in Germany for more than three months is obliged to pay the contribution to the AZDBS (ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice). Registration can be done online.


Welcome Centre
Göttingen Campus and
the Südniedersachsen Region

Front Office
Von-Siebold-Str. 4
37073 Göttingen
Tel.: +49 551 39-21321

Funded by the Südniedersachsenprogramm

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