FAQs from visitors: for all travelers
Do I need a visa to enter Germany?
Have a look at the Welcome-Pages of the Bonn University and the website of the German Federal Foreign Office. As a general rule, all foreigners require visas for stays of more than three months or stays leading to gainful employment. Exemptions apply to EU and EEA (European Economic Area) citizens and Swiss nationals.
A visa is not required for semi-annual visits of up to three months for nationals of those countries for which the European Community has abolished the visa requirement.
Researchers who enter Germany under the visa exemption (e.g., citizens with American passports) but who stay longer than 3 months must apply in person for a visa extension at the Bonn Immigration Office. Citizens of all other countries planning a longer stay must apply for visas (visa application forms) at the competent mission/consulate in their home countries. Your official letter of invitation from HIM will facilitate this process. Please contact the mission in your home country for up-to-date information. The approval procedure can take up to three months, in some cases longer, since the German immigration authority will often consult other authorities (e.g., the Federal Employment Agency). Missions may only issue visas after they have obtained the approval of the German immigration authority. See here for details. If you experience difficulties in obtaining a visa, let us know. Perhaps a fax from HIM can accelerate the process. Contact: visitors(at)him.uni-bonn.de
HIM assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the above information. Please contact the German mission/consulate in your home country for up-to-date, reliable information and forms.
What should I know before traveling?
Be aware that you need to bring cash Euro for immediate expenses such as the train or bus tickets etc. Long-term guests will need enough funds to tide them over for the first month, depending on the compensation mode (cash or bank transfer, see: I have been offered a compensation contract. How do I receive payment?). Cash and debit cards are widely accepted forms of payment in Germany. Not all credit cards are accepted, and checks are virtually non-existent as a form of payment.
Opening a German bank account
If you intend to open an account with a local bank, you will have to show proof that you are a temporary Bonn resident registered with the Town Hall authorities (Do I need a residence permit in Bonn?). Banks are closed on weekends; operating hours vary Mon-Fri.
Health Insurance (For more information: See here)
Health insurance is mandatory for all researchers and their family members accompanying them. The immigration authorities require proof of comprehensive health insurance when you apply for a visa or residence permit (Do I need a residence permit in Bonn?).
For short-term stays (less than three months), a travel health insurance valid for the entire Schengen area (with a minimum coverage of EUR 30,000) is required. Where possible, this should be taken out in the applicant’s own country.
For long-term stays (longer than three months) comprehensive health insurance is required. The insurance must cover all costs - in-patient and out-patient medical treatment in the event of serious illness or accident in Germany.
Please note that health insurance coverage needs to be valid from the very first day in Germany. First check whether your insurance at home covers medical and hospital expenses incurred during your stay abroad. The insurance company should confirm to you in writing that coverage is valid in Germany. Usually, this is only the case if there is a Social Security Agreement ("Sozialversicherungsabkommen") between Germany and your home country (information can be obtained from the authorities and health insurance companies in your own country). If there is no Social Security Agreement or if the insurance is not adequate, you will have to take out a personal (travel) insurance policy.
I am an EU citizen. What do I need to know?
You do not require a visa to enter Germany.
However, it is advisable that you obtain a ”Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung” (a document which officially confirms your status as an EU citizen). You may also need this for tax purposes; your tax advisor can give you more details.
EU citizens (with the exception of those from some of the more recent member nations) as well as citizens of EFTA nations basically have the legal right to come to Germany to live and work. As of 2005, the requirement to obtain an "Aufenthaltserlaubnis" (residence permit) has been dropped.
You obtain the certificate ”Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung” at the Immigration Office in Bonn (Oxfordstrasse 19). We can assist you by providing the forms necessary and making an appointment.
Documentation required by the Immigration Office:
- Proof of registration from the Town Hall
- Application form (Freizügigkeitsgesetz)
- Confirmation from employer
- Marriage certificate and/or birth certificates (if spouse and/or children accompany you)
- Proof of health insurance coverage
How do I get to Bonn?
The closest airport is Cologne/Bonn (CGN) (26 km). The express bus SB60 shuttles to and from the airport from Bonn city center. One ride takes approx. 30 minutes, and a one-way ticket costs approx. € 7. For details see Stadtwerke Bonn. The bus terminal (ZOB) in Bonn is adjacent to the central railway station (Hauptbahnhof) in the center of town and very close to HIM. Cross over to the train station at the traffic light nearest you and take the escalator down to the underground passage. At the bottom turn away from the inner city and walk straight to the end of the passageway until you reach the street (Quantiusstrasse).
Distances from Bonn: Duesseldorf airport/DUS is 60 km/36 miles; Frankfurt international airport/FRA is 150 km/90 miles. Both airports are connected to Bonn city center by direct trains. Some airlines, i.e. Lufthansa, include the train trip in the international round-trip fare.
(Rail Service to and from Frankfurt airport)
(From Airport Cologne-Bonn to Bonn Central Station)
(From Airport Frankfurt to Bonn Central Station)
(From Airport Dusseldorf to Bonn Central Station)
Where is the HIM Institute located?
The address for visitors and mail is:
Hausdorff Research Institute for Mathematics (HIM)
Poppelsdorfer Allee 45
If you are coming to a Workshop, go straight to Poppelsdorfer Allee 45 and sign-in.
If you are coming for a Trimester Program or Research in Groups, come first to Registration with the HIM Administration at Poppelsdorfer Allee 82, diagonally across the street from the Institute proper.
Where is the HIM Administration located?
HIM Administration is located diagonally across the street from the Institute at Poppelsdorfer Allee 82, 53115 Bonn. Visiting hours are Mon-Fri 9-12 a.m. & 1-3 p.m.
What is the difference between HCM and HIM?
The Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) is one of the 37 Clusters of Excellence which are being funded for five years each within the German government’s Excellence Initiative.
The Center consists of the mathematics institutes in Bonn, the Max Planck Institute, and the Institute for Economic Sciences. The involved faculty consists of about 50 Bonn professors in pure mathematics, applied mathematics, and theoretical economics.
Within the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics the Hausdorff Research Institute for Mathematics (HIM) offers special trimester programs on mathematics and theoretical economics. HIM hosts guest scientists, who take part in and contribute to the programs at HIM.
Where can I eat cheaply?
At the University cafeterias, the meals are large and reasonably priced. Anyone can eat at the Mensa, only Bonn University students and Bonn University employees are eligible for a discount.
I need a doctor. Where do I go?
How do I get around in Bonn?
In cooperation with the Radstation, HIM facilitates access to a pool of bicycles for the exclusive use by HIM guests. Please read the Bicycle Brochure and visit the webpage http://www.him.uni-bonn.de/service/bicycles/.
Bonn is very small, and walking is a good option. Otherwise, public transportation in the city is excellent.
A contingent of hotel rooms has been blocked at a guaranteed price in two hotels near the venue. We ask you to make your reservation in one of the two hotels. We will make detailed hotel information available to you after you have registered online, as requested by the Organizers in the invitation email.
Public holidays in (Bonn) Germany
Bonn is in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In addition to the bank holidays, there are regional/ local holidays connected to celebrations such as Carnival, i.e. Rosenmontag/Shrove Monday. More information regarding public holiday: www.holiday-info.com
(HIM assumes no responsibility for the content of any of the following public sites)
"How to Germany"
The Researcher’s Mobility Portal Germany
Bonn University Welcome Center
Map of Bonn Bonn at Googlemaps
The German Federal Foreign Office
German Federal Ministry of the Interior