Nationals from EU member states can register directly with the Citizens’ Office after moving to Münster. The Citizens’ Office forwards the requisite data to the municipal Immigration Office.
Other rules apply to citizens from non-EU countries. Entering Germany usually - with a number of exemptions - requires a valid visa. Whoever
- intends to work in Germany,
- wishes to remain in Germany for a period which exceeds the duration of his/ her visa
- was able to rightfully enter the country without a visa and would like to stay longer than 90 days,
will need a specific certificate of residential status. This may be a normal residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) or a second type of residence permit, a so-called "Niederlassungserlaubnis", which is generally issued in the wake of a longer stay. The electronic residence permit card contains information about the holder’s biometric data (photograph and fingerprints).
The Residence Act stipulates precisely when a residence permit may be issued. This is the case in the event of the following:
- that the individual in question is offered a post of employment (see chapter IV.5. "Job market"),
- for training purposes,
- to unite a family or
- on humanitarian grounds.
The municipal Immigration Office is responsible for applications of this type, and provides assistance with all questions regarding the certificate of residential status.
- Amt für Ausländerangelegenheiten (Immigration Office), Stadthaus 2, Ludgeriplatz 4 (entrance via Südstraße)
ph. 02 51 / 4 92-36 36
- Monday to Friday from 8 am - 12 pm, Thursday afternoons from 3 pm – 6 pm
Those applying for a certificate of residential status can save themselves a trip to the Citizens’ Office, as the Immigration Office takes delivery of the application for the new place of residence and forwards it.
A valid passport, a passport photograph, and a proof of employment or a financial guarantee must be submitted along with the application for a certificate of residential status. The Immigration Office may require additional documentation. This will be clarified during the application process.
It is important to apply for or extend a certificate of residential status in a prompt manner. In the event that a visa or existing residence permit expires, it may not be possible to obtain a new one.
Residence permit for students and language course participants
Students and language course participants who would like to apply for or extend an existing residence permit should also consult the Immigration Office. The following documentation is required:
- a valid passport,
- a passport photo
- health insurance,
- documentation confirming admission to a degree course or preparatory course or a valid certificate confirming participation in a language course and
- a financial guarantee: A formal letter of intent from a "sponsor" is recognised, for example, in which the individual confirms that he or she will finance the applicant for the duration of the stay. Those without a declaration are obliged to submit a savings book for inspection, and must fulfil a range of special requirements. The Immigration Office will be pleased to provide applicants with more detailed information.
The residence duration is limited. This amounts to:
- a maximum of two years for study preparation with language course and preparatory course.
- in the case of a subject-based degree course, the issue of a residence permit depends on the average time taken to complete the course in question. This may amount to a maximum of the average length of studies, plus three semesters.
- a maximum of twelve months for a private language course with a minimum of 18 teaching hours per week;
In principle, it is not usually possible to change subjects by law. The Immigration Office determines whether exceptions are possible on a case-by-case basis.
Many students wish to earn money during their studies. Foreign students’ employment eligibility and the extent to which such employment is permitted is recorded in the residence permit.
Residence permits for visiting academics, researchers and professional experts
Visiting academics require the following documentation in order to apply for a certificate of residential status:
- a valid passport,
- a passport photo and
- their contract of employment or grant confirmation.
Family members travelling to Münster also require their own residence permit. It is thus also necessary to bring the spouse's and children’s passports and proof of financing (e.g. the contract of employment or grant confirmation). A marriage certificate may also be required.
Students or academics coming to do research in Münster have to present the relevant agreement with the researching institution, which has to be approved as such by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. Further documentation might be necessary. The Migration Office offers help and counselling in any particular case.
The Migration Office will check the convenient residence status for any applicant individually. Bringing the job offer and some proof of the negotiated salary helps to find out the eligible residence permit for skilled workers and professionals.