Living in Frankfurt

Important formalities

After your arrival in Germany, you have to deal with some formalities, depending on your contract and the duration of your stay in Germany. The following are the most important ones if you want to live and work in Germany.

  • Entry visa

    EU-citizens do not require a visa to enter Germany. Nationals of those countries for which the European Community has abolished the visa requirement, e.g. the U.S. require a visa for semi-annual visits of up to three months. You will find a list of countries whose nationals require visas to enter Germany, the required personal details and application forms at the Federal Foreign Office.

    To obtain an entry visa for the purpose of taking up work in Germany, please apply to the German embassy or consulate-general responsible for the area where you are normally resident. The German company needs a copy of your entry visa as soon as possible to forward it to the labor office (Agentur für Arbeit).

  • Residence registration

    If you plan to stay in Germany for longer than three months, you need a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis). Within the first week after arrival, you have to register at the registration office (Bürgeramt) at your place of residence (e.g. Frankfurt, even if you only have a hotel address). You will find your local registration office listed under the heading “Stadtverwaltung” in the local telephone directory. You have to obtain a confirmation of registration (Anmeldebestätigung). Every time you change your residence within Germany, whether you move next door or across the country, you must report this to the registration office within one week.

    Confirmation of registration (Anmeldung)

    The registration confirmation serves as proof of address and you will need it, for example, when you open a bank account or want to register with a city library.

    To register, you need:

    • your passport and/or identity card
    • the rental agreement (Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung), signed by your landlord and yourself 
    • signed confirmation form (Abmeldung) of your place of residence in your home country (not necessary for U.S. citizens)

    If you keep your apartment/house in your home country, no confirmation form is needed!

    Details are required on your marital status, child support, and religious affiliation. Please take your identity card or passport, a copy of your marriage certificate and of your children’s birth certificates along with you in case they are needed.

    Bürgeramt (Zentrale)
    Zeil 3
    60313 Frankfurt am Main
    buergeramt.zentralewhatever@stadt-frankfurt.de

    Please check here for opening times.

    When living outside of Frankfurt, you should go to the local town hall (Rathaus) to register your residence.

  • Residence Permit

    In Germany, the residence permit can only be applied for after registration. For this purpose, please apply to the office for non-German nationals (“Ausländerstelle”). For non-EU-citizens, the residence permit is usually issued for a maximum of one year and will be stamped into your passport. EU-citizens obtain a residence permit valid for one year, called “EG-Ausweis”. 

    At the office for non-German nationals, you will need to present:

    • passport
    • two passport photographs (adults and children over 16 years old)
    • written confirmation from the host company with details of your transfer
    • registration form.

    Ausländerbehörde
    Ordnungsamt
    Kleyerstraße 86 (Entrance Rebstöcker Straße 4)
    60326 Frankfurt am Main 
    auslaenderbehoerdewhatever@stadt-frankfurt.de

  • Work Permit

    EU-citizens, nationals from states in the European Economic Area (EEA), do not require a work permit for Germany. Foreign nationals from states outside the EEA may as a rule only commence work in Germany if they have a valid work permit. The work permit will be valid for the same period of time as the residence permit. The work permit can be obtained at the labor office (Agentur für Arbeit):

    Agentur für Arbeit
    Fischerfeldstraße 10-12
    60311 Frankfurt am Main
    Frankfurt-Mainwhatever@arbeitsagentur.de

    Some further information in English is provided by the Federal Foreign Office.

  • Finding work for your spouse

    To make sure that the partner of newly appointed professors, as well as new research assistants on the post-doc level, can be offered a career option in the region, we work closely with the Dual Career Service of the university. The service supports partners in questions of their own professional careers and moving of family.

Social security

Every employee living in Germany has to participate in the social security system which includes retirement, unemployment, healthcare, long-term care, and disability insurance. Social security contribution rates are usually shared equally between employee and employer. The income level and the contribution assessment limit determine the number of monthly contributions. The contribution assessment (Bemessungsgrundlage) limit defines the maximum amount on which your contributions are calculated, even if you earn a higher income. 

  • Statutory Pension Insurance (Rentenversicherung)

    In 2019 the contribution assessment limit is EUR 6,700.00 gross monthly income or EUR 80,400.00 annual salary. This is not the limit of mandatory membership in the state pension fund; but the maximum amount on which your contributions to the state insurance fund are calculated, even if you earn more. In total, the employer and employee share a contribution of 18.6 % to the statutory pension scheme.

  • Unemployment insurance (Arbeitslosenversicherung)

    The unemployment insurance has the same contribution assessment limit as the pension scheme. Employer and employee share a contribution of 2.5 % in total to the statutory unemployment insurance. 

  • Occupational accident insurance (Unfallversicherung)

    This insurance protects you against the consequences of accidents at work and on your way to and from work. It provides payment for full medical treatment, occupational and social rehabilitation assistance, supplementary assistance and cash benefits. The Statutory Accident Insurance provides benefits regardless of fault. It is financed by insurance premiums paid only by the employer, according to the sum total of the employee’s annual income and the employer’s respective hazard level. 

  • Health insurance

    Rather than being a state-run public health service, our system is characterized by close cooperation between the health insurance funds, the medical professions, hospitals, and other related services. The state provides the necessary legal framework.

    Statutory Health Insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung)

    Generally, voluntary membership in statutory health insurance and private health insurance is provided as of the date of your written application to a health insurance scheme. For further information, please ask your personnel department for a “Welcome to Germany”-Brochure, or visit the following websites:

    If employment is pursued in Germany there is obligatory health insurance, if your regular gross income (including Christmas and vacation pay) remains below a set annual limit. The income limit for compulsory membership of a state health insurance scheme in 2019 is EUR 60,750.00 - (equivalent to EUR 5,062.50 per month). Your employer will generally pay half of the monthly premium. The amount of your health insurance contribution depends on your income. On January 1, 2019, the average health insurance contribution rate was about 15.5 %. The contribution assessment limit in 2019 is EUR 54.450,00 (equivalent to EUR 4,537.50 per month).

    The statutory health insurance insures your family at no extra charge, as well as dependants, your spouse and, up to a certain age, your children are insured – provided that they do not have their own insurance. The statutory health insurance generally covers hospitalization and medical costs. Health insurance is provided from the first day of employment.

    Private medical insurance may be taken out by those earning more than the set annual limit. Note that private health insurance requires additional contributions for dependants. This allows you to tailor the insurance to meet your needs. Private insurance premiums are based on your age at entry, gender, and condition of health. You can still expect your employer to pay a supplement towards your contributions. The employer’s supplement limit will amount to half of the contribution according to the average general health insurance contribution rate (about 15.5 % in 2019). Once you have signed up for private health insurance you are by law no longer allowed to become a member of statutory insurance.

Accomodation

Accommodation in general can be time-consuming to find in Frankfurt. Below, you find some links that might help.