Below we answer FAQs about our funding programs and funding applications. We have also put together information to help you get oriented when you arrive in Hamburg and to facilitate the start of your stay. Contact us if you have further questions.
In which disciplines may researchers apply?
If Universität Hamburg offers your discipline, you can contact us about a research stay.
What language skills do I need?
You must be able to successfully conduct research on the basis of your English or German skills.
Can I apply regardless of country of origin?
Yes, you can apply regardless of nationality. The crucial factor is your at-risk status. You can attest to this if you have asylum in an EU country. Alternatively, you can contact the Department of International Affairs(international-scholars.uhh"AT"uni-hamburg.de) to acquire proof of your at-risk status from the Scholars at Risk network or the Council for At-Risk Academics. When you apply, proof of your status as an at-risk academic must not be older than 12 months.
Can I apply from Germany and abroad?
Yes, you can apply for funding regardless of the country you are in. However, you may not have left your home country more than 5 years prior to submitting the application.
For the Hilde Domin Program for students and doctoral researchers, you must have acquired your last degree no longer than 2 years prior to submitting your application.
Researchers who acquired their higher education entrance eligibility at a German school are not eligible.
How can I find an academic supervisor?
Search for academics in your research area and contact them directly. Once you have written to an academic host, wait for a reply before contacting the next person.
We are happy to help you with your search for a supervisor. Send us a list of potential supervisors, your curriculum vitae, your list of publications, and, if possible, your planned research project. We will contact suitable researchers.
What funding programs are available to researchers at risk?
- Philipp Schwartz Initiative: fellowship funding for up to 24 months, either in the form of a scholarship in the amount of EUR 2,670 per month (if necessary, further subsidies for accompanying family members) or a work contract for which remuneration is based on the collective wage agreement for the public sectors of the German states
- The Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund: Scholarship for 9 to 12 months
- Hamburg Programme for Scholars at Risk (HPSAR): monthly scholarship worth EUR 2,000 for a duration of one to twelve months [currently suspended; 2/2021]
- Further funding options: funding options for researchers at risk—Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
How long does it take to process an application?
The time it takes to process an application depends on the funding program. As soon as you have found a supervisor at Universität Hamburg, you can submit your funding application. The funding decision then takes
- a month if you submit the application to the Hamburg Programme for Scholars at Risk (HPSAR).
- It will take at least 4 months if you apply for a Philipp Schwartz Fellowship.
For funding from the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund, you will first need to apply for the scholarship. Once you have been accepted, you have one year to find a hosting institution. As soon as you have received confirmation from a hosting institution, contact the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund again.
Before you arrive
As a rule, non-EU citizens need a visa to enter Germany. See the list of countries with visa obligations to determine whether there is a visa obligation or waiver.
See the pages of the Federal Foreign Office for application forms and information about application procedures, visa fees, and processing times.
Further helpful links:
Recognition of foreign certificates
To ensure that foreign public documents (e.g., marriage certificates or other supporting documents) are recognized in Germany, they generally need to be authenticated. As a rule, this means that your certificates must be notarized. Contact the German diplomatic agency in the country in which the certificate was issued.
There are other possibilities for having certificates recognized in Germany that do not involve the German diplomatic agencies. If the country in which the certificate was issued is a member state of the Hague Convention, you can request an apostille. Otherwise, authentication procedures may be waived for certificates on the basis of treaties and bilateral international contracts. See the Hamburg Welcome Center for more information.
Because housing demand is high in Hamburg, you should start your search for accommodation as early as possible. We have consolidated helpful information and links here for you.
First, you might wish to decide which parts of the city best suit you. For example, if you want a short commute to work, look for apartments near your workplace. See the pages of the City of Hamburg for interesting and useful information about Hamburg’s various districts and neighborhoods.
Contact the Service for International Visiting Scholars for advice and support with your search for housing.
There are various housing portals online and newspapers (e.g., Hamburger Abendblatt) if you are looking to rent an apartment. Finding a Home has a list of various websites with ads for apartments.
Further helpful links:
After your arrival in Germany
Getting around in Hamburg
You can take the bus, the local overground and underground trains, the regional trains, or even the ferry to get around in Hamburg. See the pages of the Hamburg Public Transport Association (HVV) for timetables, fares, tickets, and other services. New residents can find offers and important information on the HVV’s newcomers page.
You can also go by bike if you wish to get around in a climate-friendly and active fashion. You can buy a new or used bicycle or use a bike rental service.
After you move into your new apartment, and for every move within Hamburg thereafter, you must register your new address at your local customer service center (Kundenzentrum) in the city. You must register or reregister within 2 weeks of moving. To ensure you meet this deadline, it is sufficient to simply book an appointment.
After you register, you will receive a registration certificate. Keep the registration certificate in a safe place, because you will need it, for example, to apply for a residence permit, open a bank account, or get health insurance.
What documents do I need to register?
- rental confirmation from the property owner (completed and signed)
- ID or passport for everyone with a registration obligation (if applicable, residence permit) birth certificate for children who do not yet have an ID or passport
- registration form (completed and signed)
- administrative fee of EUR 12
- marriage certificate, if applicable
See the pages of the Hamburg Welcome Center (Registration in Hamburg) for more information and forms.
Whether you are applying for your first residence permit or for an extension, you need to contact your local Registration Office for Foreigners. To find this, type in your registration address to the City of Hamburg’s municipal authority search engine.
By typing in the required service to the municipal authority search engine, you can also find out which supporting documents you need and what fees are due. On the Hamburg Welcome Center pages, you can find the application form in different languages as well as checklists for the residence permit application.
Opening a bank account
As many financial transactions no longer involve cash, you will need a bank account for a longer-term stay in Germany. We recommend opening a German bank account, because using a foreign bank account could involve fees.
While many banks have account fees, there are banks that waive these fees under certain conditions. To find out what best suits your needs, contact banks directly and compare their offers.
See the business directory for a comprehensive list of banks located in Hamburg. Alternatively, you can open an online account. These have no branch offices and are handled online only.
What documents do I need to open a bank account?
- ID or passport
- registration certificate
- if necessary, proof of income (wage statements or proof of scholarship) and residence permit
Health and emergency services
In Germany, you are obligated to have health insurance. Health insurance covers the costs of treatment in full or in part. We also recommend informing yourself about different insurance providers’ costs and services before choosing one. See the pages of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds for an overview of state health insurance providers in Germany.
Statutory pension insurance scheme
In addition to health insurance, the statutory pension insurance scheme is another component of Germany’s social welfare system. Among other things, it contributes to the social security of employees.
Funding recipients can voluntarily contribute to the statutory pension insurance scheme. Philipp Schwartz fellows working at Universität Hamburg on the basis of a work contract rather than a scholarship pay into the scheme automatically.
The statutory insurance provider Deutsche Rentenversicherung and the regional provider responsible for Hamburg, Deutsche Rentenversicherung Nord, can advise you. Otherwise, you can contact us if you have questions.
Foreign nationals living in Germany are entitled to child benefits under certain conditions. To find out if you meet these conditions and how to apply for child benefits, visit the Federal Employment Agency web pages. We are happy to help if you have questions.
If you do not have any German language skills, you can take German classes at a language school such as the Hamburger Volkshochschule or the Goethe Institute. If you have reached a certain level (normally B1), you can also take language courses at the Universität Hamburg Language Center (SZ). For questions about this, contact Dr. Nils Bernstein(nils.bernstein"AT"uni-hamburg.de).
If you work at the Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences (MIN) at Universität Hamburg, you can contact the Welcome Service for International Visiting Scholars to register with the MIN’s service for international visiting scholars. You will receive support from a MIN doctoral researcher, find people to talk to, and make new friends.
Universität Hamburg supports your research stay and offers various programs to help you gain further qualifications and general career guidance. See the HR Development pages for an overview of various activities and workshops. Check out the offers, and contact HR if you have questions.
You can also attend events and courses at the Hamburg Research Academy. Their courses and workshops are generally free. If something interests you but requires a fee, contact us. We can look for other ways to help you finance your participation.
If you wish to apply for external funding after your scholarship at Universität Hamburg runs out, contact Dr. Elisabeth Bunselmeyer(elisabeth.bunselmeyer"AT"uni-hamburg.de) in Department 4. She can advise you on funding programs and calls for applications.