You must make sure that the financing for your stay is sufficient and secured. Your financing will affect the type of visa, residence permit and health insurance you receive. Research stays are usually financed by a work contract, a scholarship or are self-financed. Please also be sure that you have sufficient health insurance for your entire stay.
International guest researchers can be integrated into the German social security system through their work at the University of Regensburg. This varies depending on whether you have a work contract or a scholarship.
You can access general information about financing your research and working in Germany from the following links:
The German social security system covers retirement pension, unemployment, health, and nursing care insurances. If you have a work contract in Germany and earn more than 450€ per month, you are required to pay contributions towards the social and health insurances.
The contributions are shared by both the employee and the employer. The contribution towards the statutory accident insurance is covered fully by the employer
In Germany, there is a general health insurance obligation (VVG § 193). This means that everyone who is resident in Germany is obliged to have health insurance.
Certain groups of people must have statutory health insurance (GKV).
Others have the choice between voluntary membership in the statutory health insurance and joining the private health insurance (PKV).
Germany has social security agreements with several other European countries. For more information, please see this overview from TK.
If you are an EU citizen, please contact your health insurance provider in your home country regarding the validity of your health insurance during your stay in Germany.
Selection of statutory health insurance companies
If you have a work contract with the UR (or another employer) and your salary is more than 450€ a month, you are required to be part of the statutory health insurance. It is only possible to change into a private health insurance if your income is higher than the upper income limit.
If you finance your research stay in Germany through a work contract, you will in principle be included in all branches of the statutory social insurance as an employee subject to compulsory insurance. Employer and employee each bear approximately half of the contributions. Contributions to accident insurance are covered by the employer alone.
Please contact your host institute for the necessary formalities.
If you are financing your research project with a scholarship, it is compulsory for you to take out private health insurance - either with a German health insurance company or with a health insurance company from your home country. Please ask your scholarship institution for recommendations on this regard. Your will need to sign up personally with the health insurance company of your choice. If your stay is self-financed, you must also take out private health insurance.
Examples of private health insurance providers are:
In addition to the statutory (compulsory) insurance, it is often recommendable to take out private insurances, such as accident, liability or household and personal affects insurances. More detailed information about insurances can be found on the Make It In Germany website.
Here you will find an overview of the different insurances:
Everyone who is enrolled at the University of Regensburg or has a work contract with the UR is automatically covered by the statutory accident insurance if they have an accident at the workplace or on the way to or from work. You might also consider taking out a private accident insurance to cover accidents in other situations.
Sometimes it may be the case someone may unintentionally cause damages to someone else (for example, if you break something in the flat you are renting). A liability insurance will reimburse the insured for these damages.
Please consider that many private landlords may require that you have liability insurance, to cover for potential damages to the flat.
Household insurance can cover your home and personal possessions in certain circumstances such as fire or flooding.
International visiting researchers conducting lab experiments should also have a special insurance for their work in the lab. It is you own responsibility to get sufficient coverage. Please ask your advisor or the faculty for more information on this regard.
The German statutory pension insurance scheme is part of the overall German statutory social security system. The pension insurance is taken directly from your gross salary. Scholarships are, for the most part, exempt of the obligation to contribute to the social insurance.
Here is the address of the Deutsche Rentenversicherung office in Regensburg:
Phone: 0800 100048015
VBL (Versorgungsanstalt des Bundes und der Länder) provides employees in the public sector as well as their surviving dependents extra benefits apart from the statutory pension, which is conceived to counterbalance the unequal treatment between civil servants and other employees in the public sector.
If you need detailed information about the statutory pension in Germany, e.g., how to pursue your pension claim or how insurance with the VBL (Versorgungsanstalt des Bundes und der Länder) works, you can access more detailed information at:
At the end of the calendar year, you can file your income tax return with the nearest tax office. It is possible that part of the withheld taxes will get reimbursed to you.
To be able to file your tax return, you will need a tax ID number (Steueridentifikationsnummer (IdNr). One usually receives this number via post after registering their address with the city. Alternatively, you can apply for this number at the local Finanzamt.
Address of the Tax Office in Regensburg:
Phone: 0941 5024-0
All employees who receive a salary of more than 450€ are required to pay taxes.
At the end of each calendar year, you may apply to the tax office in your place of residence to have your income tax adjusted (Lohnsteuerausgleich). This may entitle you to a partial reimbursement of tax paid. The necessary documents can be obtained from the local tax office (Finanzamt) or online via ELSTER. Often, it is worth paying a tax accountant to help you complete your tax return.
To avoid that foreigners are taxed both in Germany and in their home country for the same calendar year, some double taxation agreements have been implemented. These agreements regulate in which country taxes must be paid.
The latest information about double taxation agreements can be found on the website of the German Federal Ministry of Finance.
⇒ Website of the German Federal Ministry of Finance (in German)
⇒ To the online portal ELSTER
In case you are financing your research period in Germany with a scholarship, you may be, under certain circumstances, exempted from paying taxes here. We recommend that you clarify this with your scholarship provider. You will also need to find out whether you need to file an income tax return in your home country for the scholarship you received in Germany
Characteristic of the German tax system is that the state also withholds church taxes. Hence, the German state automatically withholds from the employees' monthly income the church tax, for those people who are registered as being affiliated with one of the big churches (for example, Protestant, Roman Catholic, etc.). That is why you are asked to fill in your religious affiliation when registering with the city. If no religious affiliation is indicated, no church tax will be collected.