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Tips for onboarding international scientists for secretariats

The onboarding of international employees and guests is often complicated and time-consuming. What needs to be considered, which documents do international guests need to enter the country and how much preparation time is needed so that the start at HHU can begin on time? We have compiled some important information on onboarding for you. Please also refer your international guests to the information pages of the Welcome Center.

The Welcome Center is happy to support your international employees and guests in all administrative matters related to their research stay at HHU. This includes, among other things, support in applying for a visa, finding housing, questions about insurance, and assistance with administrative procedures after arrival.

Since visa matters and the search for accommodation are often time consuming, please inform your international staff and guests about the services of the Welcome Center as early as possible (ideally 3 months before the start at HHU). The scientists can simply register themselves online for our welcome service:


Since the 25.09.23, all visiting scientists who come to the non-medical institutes and facilities of HHU must be registered and checked under export control law. The registration has to be done by the hosting institutes.

Under the following intranet pages you will find:

Visiting scientists are persons who:

  • are staying at HHU for a limited period of time at the invitation of an academic host
  • are scientifically active during their stay
  • are not employed by HHU
  • are not lecturers at HHU
  • have at least the academic status of doctoral student

Registration is not necessary in the following cases:

  • for short stays without access to HHU's IT systems, e.g. conferences, (specialized) lectures and workshops

If you have any questions regarding registration and export control examination, please contact:

International researchers from non-EU countries may need a visa to enter Germany. The issuance of a visa can take between 1 - 6 months, depending on the country of origin. Therefore, it is important that they receive the documents required for the visa as soon as possible:

  • Invitation letter from the institute: Templates for invitations
  • Hosting agreement:
    • for researchers (PhD students, Postdocs, Professors) with an employment contract, the HR-Department will sign the hosting agreement. Fill in the hosting agreement and send it together with the application for employment to the
    • for postdocs with scholarships and visiting doctoral students, who will join non-medical institutes at HHU, the Welcome Center signs the hosting agreement. Fill out the HHU hosting agreement and send it to the
    • for postdocs with scholarships and visiting doctoral students, who will join medical institutes at HHU, the HR-Department at UKD signs the UKD hosting agreement.
    • PhD students with scholarship do not need a hosting agreement.

For the employment of scientific staff from non-European countries, proof must be provided that the degree is comparable to a German degree. Employees with a university degree from a non-European country must prove that the university degree (Bachelor's or Master's degree) is comparable to a German degree. For this purpose, the university of the corresponding degree must be listed in the Anabin-Database with H+ and the specific degree with "Entspricht". Please send the excerpt from the Anabin database directly to the HR-Department with the application for employment.

If the corresponding degree is not listed in the Anabin database, the employee to be hired must have the degree recognized by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB). Please indicate this in good time, as recognition by the ZAB can take several weeks.

If you need assistance in checking the certificates, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Guest researchers will receive the university ID automatically after successful registration in the HHU guest portal. The registration in the guest portal must be done by the hosting institute: HHU guest portal

The initial activation can be done online via the IDM web interface.

For Medical institutes: Pleae contact the "Studiendekanat" at the Medical Faculty.

Services that can be used with a university ID:

  •     Access to the W-LAN of the university
  •     Email address of HHU
  •     Login at the HIS-LSF
  •     Login to the VPN server

For more detailed information, please visit the ZIM web pages.

Enrolled PhD students receive the Uni ID automatically when enrolling as a doctoral student together with their student ID.

Employees receive the Uni ID in a personal letter to the host institute when they start their employment.

Access to the ULB: The Uni ID and the corresponding password are not identical with the access data for the user accounts of the University and State Library (ULB). You must first apply for a ULB membership card. You can find information about this here.

PhD candidates with international Master's or Bachelor's degrees may need to have these recognized by the Dean's Office prior to admission to the doctoral program. Since the recognition procedure is often time-consuming, international PhD candidates should contact the Dean's Office before their arrival. Here you can find the contact details and information on the recognition procedure of the various Dean's Offices:

Further information on PhD studies at HHU can be found here.

International guest PhD students who are not pursuing a degree at HHU can enroll for a maximum of two semesters. For this purpose please contact the

Advice and helpful links for the search for accommodation in Düsseldorf can be found here.

The Welcome-Center will be happy to support international researchers with finding accommodation. In order to receive support your guests can register for our Welcome-Service.

Registration at the Citizens' Registration Office:

After arrival, international employees or guests staying in Germany for more than 3 months must register at the "Bürgerbüro".  For stays of less than 3 months, registration is not required.

Extension of the visa / residence title:

In order to extend their residence permit, int.ernational researchers must submit an application to the Immigration Office. The Welcome Center will be happy to assist them. In order to receive support the researchers can register for the welcome service at the Welcome Center.


Further information on things to do after arrival can also be found here.

Health insurance:

Everyone who is registered in Germany (registration is compulsory for stays of more than 3 months) is required to have health insurance. Which health insurance is the right one depends on the status of the international guests and the financing of the stay. The Welcome Center will be happy to advise your international guests. You can find more information here.

Further insurance recommendations:

International employees and guests should be made aware of the possibility of the following insurances during longer stays in Germany in order to avoid financial emergencies in case of damage or disputes.

  •     Liability insurance
  •     Household insurance
  •     Legal protection insurances

Liability and household insurance are often required by landlords when signing rental contracts.

Further information on social insurances and optional insurances can be found on the pages of EURAXESS Germany.

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