Employing international research associates (WiMi)

When employing a research associate (WiMi) from abroad, some formalities must be taken into account prior to the research associate’s travel to Germany or shortly after their arrival. This is important for the employment process to run smoothly and in a timely fashion.

For more information, please contact the HR person in charge.

1.Prior to employment / prior to entry into Germany

Residence permit

You intend to employ a research associate of a foreign nationality:

It is important to distinguish between a research associate from another EU member state or from a non-member state (so-called third countries).

EU member state:

Citizens of an EU member state benefit from freedom of movement for workers within the Union in accordance with Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. This means that every worker (employee) independent of the EU member state of origin is treated like national workers (employees) in any given EU member state regarding employment, remuneration and other working conditions. Neither a residence permit nor registration at the foreigners’ registration office are required.

Non-member state:

Please note that employees and staff from so-called third countries (non-EU countries) require a valid visa that includes a work permit. Without a visa and without the respective work permit, taking up work is not permitted even if entry into Germany (as for citizens of the USA or South Korea etc.) does not require a visa.

To speed up the process of obtaining a visa, we can conclude a so-called „Admission agreement“ for research associates. For more detailed information, please refer to the template provided under the heading “„Aufnahmevereinbarung“ (Admission agreement)”. On this page, you will find additional information on alternative residence permits. For more information and assistance, please contact the Welcome Centre of TU Darmstadt in particular.

Examination of a degree obtained abroad

To be employed as a research associate in pay group 13, a degree at a German university is required. In case of persons who have obtained their degree abroad, it is not always obvious whether this foreign academic degree is equivalent to a German academic degree. Therefore, the Directorate of Human Resources and Legal Affairs must examine the academic degrees of prospective international employees and staff regarding their equivalence to a German degree. To this end, we forward Bachelor's and Master’s degree certificates and transcripts of records to the Unit VIII A, International Admission of the Directorate VIII, International Affairs.

Doctorates can also be subject to an equivalence examination in case of post-doctoral employment.

Please note that these examinations can take some time. We recommend that you forward the documentation of such degrees as soon as possible once you have decided to sign on a new employee or staff member with an academic degree obtained abroad. (At that point, it is irrelevant in which foreign country they obtained their degree.)

To facilitate a proper examination, the following documents are required:

  • Bachelor's degree certificate and transcript of records (both in the original language and translated in either English or German)
  • Master's degree certificate and transcript of records (both in the original language and translated in either English or German)

In case the examination indicates that the academic degree obtained abroad is not equivalent to a German degree, the new employee or staff member will be placed in pay group 12. In addition, we recommend handing in an application for acceptance as a doctoral candidate to the Doctoral Admissions Board of the respective department as quickly as possible; this results in two examinations, one for equivalence, one for acceptance. As soon as the new employee or staff member has been accepted as a doctoral candidate without conditions, we will accept this as proof that the academic degree is considered equivalent to the German degree. Placing the new employee or staff member in pay group 13 is then possible. Please contact us so we can move the new employee or staff member up one pay group level.

Should the employee or staff member already have obtained a doctoral degree abroad, we will need the documents mentioned above in addition to a copy of the doctoral degree certificate. By presenting a doctoral degree certificate, we will accept the academic degree obtained abroad to be at least equivalent to a Diplom/Master’s degree obtained at a German university. In this case, an examination by the Directorate VIII is not required.

2. Following entry into Germany:

Should the research associate have entered Germany and possibly received an employment contract already, you must see to and/or take care of the following steps. For more information and assistance, please contact the Welcome Centre of TU Darmstadt in particular.

The Welcome Centre, in close cooperation with the Ausländerbehörde Darmstadt (foreigners’ registration office), will assist you to make appointments with the person in charge at the foreigners’ registration office to obtain a residence permit without which no employment will be possible. The documents required to do so, such as admissions agreement, documents of the prospective new employee and/or staff member etc. making the request, must be present at the foreigners’ registration office at least 2 weeks prior to the appointment.

Under the headings ”Prepatory steps” and “Arrival and Oriention”, you and the research associate will find additional and assisting information covering and contact persons specialised in the following topics and more:

  • Registration at authorities (such as the Einwohnermeldeamt (local residents’ registration office))
  • Tax ID
  • Residence permit (foreigners’ registration office)
  • Health insurance
  • Bank account

We recommend that research associates register at the Welcome Centre as soon as possible. This will facilitate contacting and receiving the services offered by the Welcome Centre.

3. Additional documents required for employment:

Additional documents will be requested at the very latest when the employment has been confirmed. These include the ELStAM form (self-disclosure for the Elektronische LohnSteuerAbzugsMerkmale (Electronic Wage Tax Deduction Details) procedure—ELStAM is a database for the tax authorities storing information on employees). Presenting this information in electronic form to your employer and the tax authorities is required for correct salary accounting. In addition, the employee’s or staff member’s tax ID and a police certificate of good conduct are required without delay.

Applying for a police certificate of good conduct:

At the local Einwohnermeldeamt/Bürgeramt (resident’s registration office/residents’ office), the newly signed-on employee or staff member can apply for a police certificate of good conduct “Belegart O (document category O)” to be presented at authorities. This category of police certificate of good conduct will be sent directly to the employer (generally within 2 weeks). Have the police certificate of good conduct sent to this address:

The Executive Board of the TU Darmstadt
Directorate VII – c/o Name of the HR person in charge
Karolinenplatz 5
64289 Darmstadt

Currently, a fee of €13 is charged. The costs incurred for the police certificate of good conduct cannot be reimbursed; however, these costs can be declared in the employee’s or staff member’s income tax declaration.

Status: May 2022