At the very beginning of your stay in Germany, you will have to take care of many bureaucratic and administrative matters. Foreigners who wish to stay longer than 90 days in Germany, as well as those who wish to work and/or study in Germany, generally require a visa. A work permit is not necessary to be able to study in Germany.
Your first step should be to go to the local Resident's Registrtion Office/Citizen's Service Office (Einwohnermeldeamt/Bürgerservice), where you are required to register the fact that you are now living in Germany. You will need to bring your passport and/or identification card, the rental contract of the place you will be staying in Germany (an apartment, a student's centre, etc), as well as the form that you will find at the Registration Office and can fill out there.
Then you'll need to make an appointment with the public authority responsible for foreign citizens in Germany (Ausländerbehörde) where you will need to hand in the following documents (please make sure you have all of these before you go):
- Passport and copy of your passport
- Admission as a doctoral student (i.e. confirmation from your PhD academic advisor or a declaration of intent to pursue docoral studies signed by the Dean)
- 2 passport-size photos
- Your registration confirmation (Anmeldebestätigung) from the Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt/Bürgerservice)
- Proof of private or state health insurance
- Proof of financial support (if applicable, confirmation of your scholarship)
- Application form for a residence Permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) (this form is available at the Ausländerbehörde itself)
Please send a legible copy of your residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) – as well as any subsequent extensions and or renewals – to the International Relations Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt). If you have a restriction notice marked "Aufenthaltserlaubnis," i.e. if you have not yet provided the International Relations Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt) with a copy of the residence permit extension, you will not receive official recognition of registration even after you pay the semester fees.
If you require proof of registration in order to be able to extend your residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) even though it cannot yet be printed (this applies to students who have to go to the Ausländerbehörde at the beginning of September and at the beginning of March), please go to the International Relations Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt) after payment of the semester fees in order to get a confirmation certificate for the authorities at the Ausländerbehörde.