After you arrive

After you arrive

Resident registration, bank account, health insurance and residence permit

If you finally arrived in Freiburg, you will face quite a number of challenges. Here we list the most urgent ones such as health insurance, residence registration, residence permit, bank account. But no worries here is a route of orientation for you:

2. Residence registration

You are required to register with the Residents Registration Office (Bürgeramt /Einwohnermeldeamt) within 14 days of arrival in Freiburg. The registration is free of charge and mandatory also for EU-citizens: “Wohnung anmelden” which basically means “Registration (of the address where you live)”. Without this official registration in Freiburg you cannot open a bank account. Contact the International Office for help and advice.

Rathaus im Stühlinger
Fehrenbachallee 12
79106 Freiburg

Book your appointment online. Choose “…einen Termin vereinbaren”, “Umzug und Wohnen” und “Wohnung anmelden”.


The registration requires the following documents

  • Valid passport or personal identity card
  • Your visa, if required to enter Germany
  • Confirmation by the landlord (Bescheinigung des Wohnungsgebers or Wohnungsgeberbestätigung)
    This is a confirmation of the landlord who owns the flat you live in. Your landlord is legally obligated to confirm the tenancy. Note: If you are staying in the guesthouse, this will be prepared for you by the Institute’s Personnel Department and sent electronically. Please register Stübeweg 51, 79108 Freiburg as your address, not the actual address of the guesthouse.

Every time you move to a new flat with a new address, you have to inform the Resident’s Registration Office again, within 14 days! Please inform also the Personnel Department at the MPI-IE about your new address.

3. Opening a bank account

In order to receive your salary, you should submit your German IBAN and BIC within the first two weeks after your start at the institute

Here is a list of the largest banks in Germany with branch offices and ATMs in Freiburg. These banks all have fees around 5-15€ per month (“Kontoführungsgebühren”). For under 25 oder 28 there might be some banks that offer an account free of charge. 

  • Commerzbank (Kaiser-Joseph-Straße 251)
  • Deutsche Bank (Rotteckring 3)
  • GLS Bank (Merzhauser Str. 177)
  • Postbank (Habsburgerstraße 105)
  • Sparda-Bank (Bertoldstraße 48)
  • Sparkasse (Zähringer Straße 338a)
  • Volksbank (Zähringer Straße 340)

Please check out our MPI-IE Welcome Map providing detailed information where to find relevant points of interest for expats who just landed in Freiburg.

Important: Some banks refuse to open bank accounts for some nationalities if you do not have a valid residence permit.

The Max Planck Society has a framework agreement with Deutsche Bank, that will enable you to open a bank account eventhough the residence permit is not yet available. Please contact our International Office, if you want to make use of this offer.

If you enjoy online or mobile banking, here are some no or low-fee direct bank alternatives, that in most cases allow you to open a bank account even if you do not have a residency in Germany yet.

4. Health Insurance

Health insurance coverage is compulsory for all employees, students, and guest scientists (i.e. own funding) during their stay in Germany. For long-term stays requiring a residence permit, you need full health insurance coverage complying with the scope of benefits provided by the statutory health insurance.

Here you will find links to English websites of popular health insurance providers in Germany with offices in Freiburg: AOK, DAK, IKK Gesund, Barmer, Techniker

»» Health insurance for stipend holders

Stipend holders are required by law to have proper health insurance during their stay in Germany. Since stipends or scholarships are considered tax-free allowances or earninings, stipends holders are not autmatically enrolled in a health insurance plan by one of the statutory health insurance companies.

It is important for you to know the differences between private and statutory health insurance in Germany. More details on this topic can be found in the MPI-IE Welcome Guide.

Please note: We highly recommend to consult with the International Office or the Personnel Department, once you change your status from/into a stipend holder. It’s important that you are well aware about the different insurance options according to your status.

TIPP: If you are looking for an English (or any other language) speaking physician, you can search for it here: Click on “Erweiterte Suche” for selecting the languages you are looking for.

5. Residence permit

If you are in Germany for longer than your visa is valid for, you need to register with the immigration office („Amt für Migration und Integration“) and apply for a residence permit („Aufenthaltserlaubnis“). As soon as you are registered with your new address at the Bürgeramt (see above) and have therefore officially relocated your permanent residence to Germany, the local immigration office in Freiburg takes over the visa and residency procedure from the German embassy in your home country and issues a residence permit to you.

Immigration Office
Berliner Allee 1 | 79114 Freiburg
Tel.: +49 (0) 761 201 6470


Applying for a residence permit requires the following documents

  • Valid passport
  • Confirmation of registration with the city
  • Your employment contract from the MPI-IE / hosting agreement
    Sent to you in the process of getting an entry visa or handed over during your liaison with Personnel
    Department on your 1st day at the Institute.
  • Rental agreement confirmation
    stating that you have accommodation or are staying in the MPI-IE guesthouse
  • Confirmation of health insurance coverage
    The confirmation can be obtained from your health insurance provider. But usually your health insurance ID card is sufficient.
  • Copy of your last pay slips if available
  • 1 biometric passport photo
    Find here the official specifications for biometric photographs in Germany.
  • Marriage certificate and corresponding Apostille (original and translation, if applicable)
  • Birth certificate of child accompanied by Apostille/Legalization (if applicable)
  • Payment of a handling fee (payable by cash, debit, Visa or MasterCard)
    valid up to one year: € 100,- / valid over one year: € 110,- / extension up to three months: € 65,- / extension for more than three months: € 80,-.
  • Application form for conferral of a residence permit
    Find here official application forms for conferral of a residence permit or contact our

Please make sure you request an appointment with the Freiburg immigration office well before your visa expires.
If you are a national of an EU or of an EFTA Member State, you usually do not need a residence permit.

Good to know: If you live in the area surrounding Freiburg („Landkreis Breisgau-Hochwarzwald“) at the time of your application for a residence permit you need to file your application at the Department of Immigration of the rural district office (“Fachbereich Ausländerbehörde des Landratsamt Freiburg”). The rural district office is located elsewhere in Freiburg and has different opening hours.

Immigration Office of the rural district
Stadtstraße 2 | 79104 Freiburg
Tel.: +49 (0) 761 2187

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