New in Hamburg
A Practical Guide for prospective and new Doctoral Students
Dear prospective and new doctoral students,
We have compiled some services and information to help you to get started in Hamburg. We hope you find everything you need to know on this website. If there is anything you think we could improve, we would like to hear your ideas and suggestions.
MIN Faculty and its members wish you a good start, a most interesting research stay at Universität Hamburg and every success in your research.
All the best!
1. General Information on the City of Hamburg
Contact point for information on the topic "New in Hamburg"
You may contact the Hamburg Welcome Center (HWC) service advisors by telephone or e-mail prior to or upon your arrival in Hamburg if you need any information on the topic “New in Hamburg”. The HWC offers various free services for domestic and international newcomers to Hamburg. After making an appointment by e-mail or by phone, you can get information about living in Hamburg and Hamburg as a study and research location in addition to personal counseling. The HWC can initially issue your residence permit and initially register your residence. The service is free of charge.
Do not forget to ask a service advisor at Hamburg Welcome Center for a free "Welcome-to-Hamburg bag" which you will need to collect from the HWC. In this bag you will find useful flyers and brochures such as a city map, information about public transport, leisure activities, important addresses in Hamburg and much more.
To avoid long online searching, please check out the following sites for information on the City of Hamburg and for a list of event highlights in Hamburg:
Getting around in Hamburg
If you live in Hamburg or in the Hamburg area, you are better off if you avoid the roads and take the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, AKN, rapid transit or regional rail lines for fast, direct rail connections within the Hamburg region, all leading into the city center.
Hamburg Public Transport AssociationGmbH (HVV): If you are enrolled as a PhD candidate at Universität Hamburg you will receive a HVV Semesterticket. The price of the semester ticket is included in your semester fees. With this ticket you can travel the entire HVV area.
Stadtrad Hamburg / Lüneburg
StadtRAD Hamburg (CityBike Hamburg): There are about 2600 city bikes in Hamburg. You can find them at almost every U- and S-Bahn station, as well as near sights and university buildings. You can register online or via StadtRAD Hamburg-App. The annual fee is 5 EUR. Up to the 31st minute of travel, the use of StadtRAD is free of charge, from the 31st minute on it costs 10 cents.
By registering with StadtRAD Hamburg, you get access to the entire Call a Bike (Deutsche Bahn) bike-sharing fleet in Germany.
- Hamburg Lurup/Osdorf and Billbrook: ioki
- Lüneburg: ASM Lüneburg: from approx. 10 p.m., Sundays all day, in Lüneburg one trip costs 3,50 EUR.
- Phone: +49 4131 53344
Tips for every day
Tips for daily life: To get started in Germany this website provides tips for every-day life about doctors and pharmacies, shopping and saving money, telephone, internet and postal service, safety, transportation etc.
Cost of living: here you can find an overview over various costs of living in Hamburg such as restaurants, markets, transportation, utilities, sports and leisure, child care, clothing and shoes, rent, buy appartment prices, salaries, etc.
2. Welcome Services for international Doctoral Students: Buddy Program
The Welcome Buddy Program for doctoral students of MIN Faculty consists of welcome services which aim to help prospective and new international doctoral students to get a good start with their doctorate and everyday life in Hamburg.
Read more about the Welcome Buddy Program for MIN doctoral Students
In addition, there is also a university wide UHH Welcome Service for international researchers.
3. Research at MIN Faculty
Research at the MIN faculty: The research strength of the Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences is reflected in its research priorities, potential areas and strategic research fields.
4. Funding of research stay
A researcher from abroad who plans to carry out a research stay at the Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences of Universität Hamburg and is looking for a research fellowship or funding program may check the websites below.
In any case, contact your potential scientific host at MIN Faculty of Universität Hamburg and ask for research funding possibilities for your planned research project at the department of the academic host. Also contact your host prior arrival in order to clarify any special conditions pertaining to the research projects (e.g. permission to carry out certain experiments, regulations governing medical practices, etc.) and to obtain information about premises and equipment so as to make sure that the planned research project is technically feasible at the department of the academic host of Universität Hamburg.
The MIN PhD Gateway provides you with information on how to finance your research.
Alexander von Humboldt (AvH)
Check for AvH programms for researchers coming to Germany. For postdoctoral researchers, junior research group leaders, experienced researchers, and internationally recognised cutting-edge researchers.
Catholic Academic Exchange Services (KAAD)
Scholarship program for researchers from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America who want to acquire a master’s degree or a PhD at a German university or do a post-doctoral research project (2-6 months for established university lecturers) at a German university (in German only).
KAAD is working with focus- and partner countries in your region. There are so-called Partner Committees in these countries and applications are channelled via them.
DAAD Programs and Funding
- Bilateral Exchange of Academics
To improve international relations and bilateral research cooperations between German and foreign universities, the DAAD supports exchanges of scientists and academics from partner countries. The basis of these exchanges are cultural exchange programmes and bilateral agreements with foreign partner organisations.
- Postdoctoral Researchers International Mobility Experience (PRIME)
The fellowships funded by the P.R.I.M.E programme combine a 12-months mobility phase abroad with a 6-months re-integration phase in Germany, to ensure further integration into the German system of science and research.
DFG Programs and Funding
- GERiT – German Research Institutions
Research directory of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Here, you can structure your search according to subject area/research field. Then select the desired research area from the offered selection as well as the research location (Hamburg).
A programme of the German Research Foundation (DFG). The Mercator fellowship can be applied for as part of project funding by researchers in Germany. Alternatively, the module can also be applied for on behalf of the project teams by the coordinators of Research Units and Priority Programs.
EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowship
The European Molecular Biology Orginisation (EMBO) supports internationally mobile postdoctoral researchers of molecular biology for up to two years.
European Research Council
The European Research Council promotes projects of researchers of any nationality with 2-7 years of experience since their PhD completion. Applications can be made in any field of research but can only be submitted in response to a Call for Proposals.
Look for information on funding programs for incoming researchers.
The Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) offers various fellowships for postdoctoral researchers in biochemistry: Short-Term Fellowships, Collaborative Developmental Scholarships, Summer Fellowships, and FEBS Excellence Awards. Reserachers can apply for Short-Term Fellowships any time, the others have deadlines.
Fritz Thyssen Foundation
The travel grants of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation promotes postdoctoral researchers who have completed their PhD 2 to 4 years ago. Fellowships are granted to reserach about molecular causes in the development of illnesses. The fellowship is open for applications any time while the process takes up to 8 weeks.
- Fulbright Specialist Program
Opportunities to collaborate with professional counterparts on curriculum and faculty development, institutional planning and a variety of other activities. Duration: 14 - 42 days.
- Fulbright Intercountry Lectureship Program
The Intercountry Lectureship Program sponsors guest lecturers at German universities.
- Fulbright Lecture and Research
The program for junior and senior faculty members sponsors lecturing and/or research stays at various stipend levels for a duration of 2-4 months.
Leopoldina Postdoc Scholarship
The Leopoldina - National Academy of Sciences awards scholarships to postdoctoral researchers from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland up to 7 years after their Phd completion.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
This Research Fellowship Programme of the European Commission supports researchers at all stages of their careers, irrespective of nationality. Researchers working across all disciplines, from life-saving healthcare to 'blue-sky' science, are eligible for funding. The MSCA also support industrial doctorates, combining academic research study with work in companies etc.
Research Exchanges of UHH
Research stays up to one month (or shorter) at an international partner university of Universität Hamburg.
- Citizens from European Union countries and countries of the European Economic Area and Switzerland: EU nationals and nationals of those countries for which the European Community (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) not need a visa to enter Germany. They just need a valid passport to enter Germany. Within three months of their arrival in Germany, they have to register for residence at the registration office in Hamburg.
List of registration offices (German only)
- Visa regulations for non-EU citizens: As a general rule, Non-EU nationals require visas for stays of more than three months or stays leading to gainful employment before entering Germany. Non-EU citizens who want to work as a researcher should not enter Germany on a tourist or Schengen visa. For information on visa requirements and visa fees, responsibility for issuing visas, the application process, and a table of countries whose citizens do/don't need visas, see "Visa Regulations". The decision on a visa application may take several weeks. Applications should therefore be submitted in good time at the German Embassy or German Consulate in your home country prior to departure.
- Visa regulations for entry and stay of researchers from non-EU countries: you can find more information about such matters on the pages of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.
- Welcome Service for International Researchers: Newcomers in need of accommodation can get support here.
- Gästehaus der Universität Hamburg (guest house): Visiting scholars and lecturers can occupy rooms and apartments of different sizes.
- 'Finding a Home': You can find more information on rentals here.
- Hostel Hamburg Bookings: Here you can find options if you prefer to stay at hotels or hostels at a favorable price for the first few days in Hamburg.
- WG-Gesucht: This portal provides options for rooms in shared apartments (in German only).
- International Housing: apartments located close to the University Campus.
- You can also find rental apartments through small advertisements, e.g. in the Hamburger Abendblatt (Search mask in German only). An overview of the most important abbreviations used in German housing advertisements can be found here.
Rental contract: To rent a room or an apartment, a binding agreement must be concluded. Before you move in, you will usually be asked for a deposit, retained by the landlord in case of damage. Please note that in addition to the rent, there are so-called running costs for electricity, water, heating, telephone connection, etc.
Hamburg Welcome Center: Once you have a rental agreement or a confirmation from the student residence, you can register at the Hamburg Welcome Center and apply for a residence permit after arrival. Please contact them by e-mail if you need additional documents in individual cases.
Periods of notice apply whether you or the landlord wish to terminate the rental agreement.
Broadcast contribution: Each household must pay for a contribution to the public-service broadcast (ARD, ZDF, Deutschlandradio). The licence fee is 17.50€ per month and is only paid once per residence, regardless of usage or non-usage.
State subsidies for accommodation: If you have a low income, you may be able to apply for housing benefits ('Wohngeld') in order to receive state subsidies for accommodation (in German only).
7. Residence registration (Anmeldung)
Hamburg Welcome Center (HWC): Within the first week of arrival you should register at the HWC to obtain a residence registration certificate ('Meldebescheinigung'). To do so, use this registration form. This English sample might assist you with your completion of the form. Contact an English speaking advisor at HWC who will be happy to assist you with your application. The following documents are required for for an application for a residence registration:
- Completed and signed registration form
- A valid passport or ID
- Birth certificate, marriage certificate or divorce decree where applicable
- Confirmation from the landlord "Wohnungsgeberbestätigung"
- Administrative fee: 12 € (subject to change)
8. Residence title (Aufenthaltstitel)
Residence permit: Non-EU nationals staying in Germany for more than three months must apply for and obtain a residence title (Aufenthaltstitel). You should first register your residence at the Hamburg Welcome Center before you apply for a residence title. As of 1st September 2011 an electronic residence permit (eAT) in credit card format replaces the paper form.
Application documents: The documents needed for the residence title application are listed below, based on information provided by the Hamburg Welcome Center. If any of the required documents is missing and you fail to present them upon request, your application will be refused. Thus, please always check requirements with an English speaking advisor of the HWC before applying. The HWC information service is available for free. You need to arrange an appointment with Hamburg Welcome Center.
Alternatively, you can reach out to the foreigner's service office of your district (German only).
Necessary documents to be submitted may vary in individual cases but can be collected online as well.
- Completed application form, downloads are available in several languages at residence title application form.
- Valid passport
- Biometric photograph (no older than 6 months)
- Current certificate of registration (Meldebescheinigung) with your address in Germany
- Health insurance certificate (Krankenversicherungsnachweis)
- Rental agreement or confirmation of hotel or student residence hall
- Administrative fee about 50 € - 200 € (subject to changes)
- Contract of employment or employment agreement (3 months‘ pay slip, where applicable)
- Information on workplace and on employment (use official form), download Declaration Forms of Business and Occupation. The official form is in German. An English speaking HWC service advisor will assist you with translation into English.
If you have family, please also provide
- Your birth certificate and your family members‘ birth certificate(s)
- Marriage certificate
For any questions that you may have regarding your planned trip to Germany with your family you can get in touch with a service advisor at the HWC. You can do this by e-mail: newcomers"AT"welcome.hamburg.de or you can make an appointment by telephone before your arrival: +49-40-42839-5500.
- Employment contract, employment convention or confirmation of current employment relationship
- Salary statement of the last 3 months
- Information on the company and employment (official form)
- Proof of qualification
- Curriculum Vitae
For doctoral researchers
- admission to doctoral studies
- Proof of financing: doctoral scholarship, confirmation of scholarship, savings book or proof of income
In some cases, additional documentation may be required. Even if all required documents have been submitted, it may not be possible to issue the permit immediately, as other authorities or institutions may be involved in the process. It is necessary to wait for their comments.
9. Health insurance, health care and emergency services
Health insurance is compulsory for employees and students. Without it you cannot work or study in Germany. For example, visiting scholars from abroad who have a scholarship or an employment contract and their accompanying family members are generally required to have health insurance. In order to receive an initial payment, visiting scholars must present proof of health insurance. Proof of health insurance is essential for the extension of the residence permit.
Researchers from EU/EEA countries who have an EHIC (European Health Insurance card, for more information see the EHIC website) or Form S1 (formerly E109 for families) are entitled to statutory (public) health insurance in Germany. Non-EU/EEA residents are required to have health insurance cover from a licensed insurance provider in Germany. You can find more information at the German mission in your country and on this website.
Health insurance systems
There are two health insurance systems in Germany:
statutory or public health insurance: Most people (from Germany and abroad) are obliged to take out statutory insurance which is borne by the German government (generally compulsory if your gross salary is less than 62,550 Euros per year).
private health insurance which generally offers a wider choice and thus, a higher level of service of medical and dental treatment, but is not automatically advantageous for everyone. If you are employed on the basis of an employment contract, it depends on your salary whether you can take out private or statutory health insurance.
First find out whether you can choose between statutory and private insurance.
To find out which health insurance system is meant for you, check out the EURAXESS homepage Health Insurance Guide. Please see the relevant information sections "Research stay based on a Fellowship" and "Research stay based on an employment contract", respectively, as well as their FAQ on health insurance.
Counselling Centre for Social & International Affairs (BeSI): This counseling center of the Studierendenwerk offers support to college students for various social, personal, and economic issues and also informs about health insurance. You can find their infosheet about it here.
Make sure you get a health insurance certificate from your health insurance provider. In addition, you will receive a health insurance card, which you should always carry with you.
In Germany, there are statutory as well as private health insurance companies. The contribution rate of 14.6% of the gross monthly salary has applied since 01.01.2019 for statutory health insurance. Health insurance companies may charge additional contributions under certain circumstances. The costs for the health insurance contributions (including possible additional contribution rate of 1.1 % of your eligible gross salary) are equally split between employers and employees (as of January 2019) and will be automatically deducted from your monthly salary.
Health Insurance Companies
You can find a list of the health insurance companies (Krankenkasse) in the telephone directories of the Yellow Pages of Hamburg.
Before choosing a health insurance company, find out exactly what services, therapies, treatments and additional benefits it offers and what benefits and payments you can claim for. Ask for an English brochure and read it very carefully. Services differ from provider to provider. Being a member of a health insurance company does not mean that the company is responsible for all the costs that arise in respect of your medical care. Some costs for medical and dental treatment, for medication, for medical aids, for treatment by therapists or rehabilitation measures may not be fully covered by your health insurance company. Patients often have to pay a personal excess (Patientenbeitrag). Besides, there are forms of treatment that patients have to pay in full. If you are uncertain about additional costs you may have to pay for a medical treatment or dental care, ask your health insurance company for advice in advance.
Required documents for a membership application
- passport/international passport
- residence registration certificate
- proof of financial situation, i.e. statement of income, contract of employment
- bank account details
You can also reach out to the German crisis hotline: Telefonseelsorge (0800 / 1110111 und 0800 / 1110222).
Health care and emergency services
Make sure you obtain a “Krankenversicherungsnachweis”, a confirmation of health insurance from the health insurance provider. You will also receive a “Krankenversicherungskarte” (Health Insurance Card) which you always need to carry with you.
Doctors in Hamburg: If you become ill, you can directly go to a doctor. Addresses and telephone numbers of doctors are available in the telephone directories of the Yellow Pages (in German). Enter the type of doctor or specialist (Facharzt) you are looking for in the search field “Stichwort, Name, Telefonnummer” (keyword, name, phone number):
Alphabetical list of a few types of physicians
|Hausarzt||General Practitioner (GP)||Orthopäde||Orthopaedist|
If you need urgent medical care at the weekend or at night, report to the “Ambulanz” (outpatient department) or “Notaufnahme” (Accident and Emergency) in hospital or call a doctor. Emergency doctors are listed in local newspapers under the heading of “Ärztlicher Notdienst” (Medical Emergency Service) or “Notdienst” (Emergency Service).
|Emergency call numbers|
|Medical emergency service||116 117|
|Pharmacy emergency service||22833|
|Medical emergency practice
In Altona: Stresemannstraße 54, 22769 Hamburg
The information provided here is for general informational purposes only. Universität Hamburg does not guarantee the information provided here is accurate or exhaustive, and accepts no liability for the accuracy or completeness of the content of external or referred websites.In no event shall any reference to any third party product or service be construed as a recommendation of that third party’s product or service.
10. Liability insurance (third-party insurance)
You should know about the importance of having a liability insurance. It is worthwhile to take out a (family) liability insurance for the entire duration of your research stay. The third-party insurance will protect you against claims resulting from damage caused unintentionally. Standard third-party insurance policies are not expensive.
11. Family Affairs
Contact the Family Office for any queries regarding your family. The office also puts together useful material such as flyers on family support services and coordinates information about the compatibility of work and family.
Residence permit for spouses
(Doctoral) students' spouse and your children may join you. In this case, however, certain requirements have to be met. For more information, please go to the interactive world map with an overview of Germany’s diplomatic missions abroad.
For more information, please go to the information pages of the Federal Governnent: spouses joining citizens of Non-EU.
Work permit for spouses
Spouses accompanying doctoral students who want to work during their stay in Germany need a work permit, except nationals from countries of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Your spouse must inform the German consulate or embassy in your country of this prior to departure for Germany and apply for the respective residence permit that indicates "employment permitted". The processing of a work permit application takes several weeks, so it must be applied for in good time.
Accompanying hildren and child care
- Bringing your children (under 18) to Germany
- Day care institutions are rare and eligibility generally depends on the employment status of both parents.
- Child care services by Universität Hamburg: Universität Hamburg offers various child care services such as Daycare Centers by Studierendenwerk Hamburg, the Casper - Campus Playgroups, or the Weekend care at the Kita KinderCampus for flexible care on weekends. The MIN faculty furthermore offers the Zwischenspeicher childcare at the Informatics Campus in Stellingen.
- International Schooling in Hamburg
- Child allowance
12. Setting up a bank account
Setting up a bank account in Germany is straightforward. To obtain a current account (Girokonto), you need to supply the following documents:
- Registration certificate of your current residence in Germany (Meldebescheinigung, cf. 4)
- A valid passport
- Work contract, where applicable
- A proof of income would make the opening of a bank account easier (pay slip or bank statement).
Take the documents to your chosen bank or branch. Please ask at the bank or the branch if you could get information from an English speaking customer adviser. Addresses and telephone numbers of banks or branches are available at Yellow Pages Banks, the telephone directories of Hamburg.
Enter “Bank und Sparkassen” (banks and saving banks) in the search field “Stichwort, Name, Telefonnummer„ (keyword, name, phone number), then enter the place (Ort) or postcode (PLZ), district name (Stadtteil) or street name (Straße) in the search field “Ort, PLZ, Stadtteil, Straße“. Last click on „suchen“(search) to look for addresses of a bank near your place.
Once at the local branch, always ask for any potential service charges as they may differ from bank to bank. You may be charged for: opening an account, yearly administrative costs, credit card costs, withdrawal costs from other banks, bank statements printouts.
Depending on the bank and the account details, bank cards should normally be sent by post within a few days.
Bank Terminology Guide
|Account number||Kontonummer||Current account||Girokonto|
|Bank account||Bankkonto||Direct debit||Lastschrift, Abbuchung|
|Bank balance||Kontostand||Exchange Bureau||Wechselstube|
|Bank charges||Bankgebühren||Exchange Rate||Wechselkurs|
|Bank manager||Filialleiter||Fiscal/tax code||Abgabenordung|
|Bank note||Geldschein||Fixed rate||feste Rate|
|Bank statement||Bankauszug||Interest rate||Zinssatz|
|Credit balance||Guthaben||Paying-in slip||Einzahlungsbeleg|
|Credit card||Kreditkarte||Payment slip||Einzahlungsschein|
|Standing order||Dauerauftrag||Sort code||Bankleitzahl|
13. Information for new staff and employees of Universität Hamburg
Now you have sorted out your family, accommodation, health insurance, bank account, residence registration, etc. and you think you can start working. You still need your keys, IT services to set up a work space with your computer, a telephone connection as well as the internal telephone directory, and more. You can find information about those topics on the University Administration's Staff Service Portal (KUS-Portal).
14. Language courses
Language courses are generally offered at six different levels from A1 to C2, following the Common European Reference Framework for Languages. The six levels A1 and A2 for basic users, B1 and B2 for independent users and C1 and C2 for proficient users are an interpretation of the classic division into basic (A), intermediate (B) and advanced (C).
We do not make claim that the information given is accurate or exhaustive, and shall accept no liability for the accuracy or completeness of the content of the websites referred to. The information provided is for general informational purposes only. In no event shall any reference to any third party product or service be construed as a recommendation of that third party’s product or service.