Good to know!

Good to know!

In order to allow your research stay to commence as smoothly as possible, we have assembled the most important information in relation to the Institute.


Corona – Prevention Measures in Hamburg and at the Institute

As of 1 July 2020, the reading room will again become available to guest researchers – above all Max Planck Scholarship recipients – from EU countries as well as from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. >more.

Where do I find information about corona preventions measures in Hamburg?

Which corona prevention measures apply at the Institute?

Please help us to make the Institute a safe place for all guests and staff by adhering to distance and hygiene rules.

  • Please visit the library only for work that can be done only here. We kindly ask you work from home as much as possible.
  • In accordance with the Hamburg by-law for the containment of the corona virus, all staff and guests are required to wear a medical mask at the Institute. Medical masks are surgical masks and other face masks fulfilling the KN95 or FFP2 standards. Since 2 April, the mask mandate also applies while working at your desk in the library, or in an office, whenever more than one person is present.
  • Please make use of the disinfectant dispenser at the Institute`s inner entrance door, when you arrive at the Institute.
  • Keep a distance of at least 1.5 m to other persons.
  • If you wish to get in touch with any of our staff, please contact her or him by email first. Please avoid unscheduled visits to staff offices.

How do I find information about corona developments in Germany?

The Robert Koch Institute provides well-founded and up-to-date information on Covid-19.


Planning and preparing your research visit

How can I undertake a research stay at the Institute?

A research stay at the Institute can be completed by external scholars through one of the following three means:

  • Self-financed research stay
  • Institute scholarship
  • Third-party scholarship or funding

Further information can be found here under Research Stays.

Do I need a visa for Germany?

Citizens of EU Member States do not need a visa to stay in Germany. Citizens of other countries usually require a visa. A basic distinction is made between a short-stay “Schengen visa” (for stays of up to 90 days) and a national visa (for longer stays). Under no circumstances should you enter Germany on a Schengen visa if you are planning on a longer stay. In that case, be sure to apply for a national visa. A current list of visa requirements for your home country as well as information on the different types of visas and the application procedure can be found on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

Which agency is responsible for issuing a visa or a residence permit?

For the visa procedure, please contact the diplomatic mission of the Federal Republic of Germany in the country of your habitual residence. A list of the websites of German diplomatic missions abroad can be found here.


For foreigners who are already in Germany and who have a residence permit, as well as for foreigners who are allowed to enter without a visa, the immigration authority of the Hamburg district office corresponding to your place of residence is responsible. You can determine the district office responsible for your place of residence here (in German).

Do I need insurance during my research stay?

Health insurance is compulsory for a stay in Germany. The insurance must cover the entire period of your stay. Depending on the length of your stay and your personal needs, it may be advisable for you to obtain travel health insurance or insurance with more comprehensive coverage.


To apply for a visa, you must prove that you have health insurance. Depending on the type of visa, different health insurance requirements apply. Please take note of the information you receive from the visa division of the responsible German diplomatic mission.


No other insurance is legally required for your stay. Depending on the length of stay and your personal needs, it may be advisable for you to take out private liability insurance or accident insurance.


If you receive a scholarship from the Institute, please take note of the information on health insurance that accompanies your scholarship letter.

Can I use my health insurance from another EU country in Germany?

With the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by one of the 26 other EU Member States as well as by Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, you can, during a temporary stay in Germany, receive treatment in a doctor's office or, if necessary, go to a hospital. Upon receiving treatment you will also need to present your passport or identity card and choose a German health insurance company that will initially cover the costs.

How can I find accommodation in Hamburg?

Please be sure to arrange accommodation well in advance of your arrival. The housing market in Hamburg is very tight and also relatively expensive, and it can be difficult to find a furnished room for only a few months.


Please note that, from January 2021 onwards, the Institute does not offer accommodation (guest apartments) on its premises anymore. Please find advice on finding accommodation in Hamburg here:


A guest house of the University of Hamburg offers accommodation for international guest researchers. As units in the guest house are very popular, we recommend that you contact the Guest House of the University of Hamburg directly and as early as possible. We also recommend that you consult the University of Hamburg’s International Housing webpage. We would also like to refer you to EURAXESS, the portal for mobile researchers.


Other possibilities for short-term accommodation options can be found under the following links:

Please find these and other links also in the following PDF document: Accomodation in Hamburg


We would also like to refer you to the homepage of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, here you can find further information and links regarding accommodation in Hamburg.


Searching for an apartment in another country can be tricky. The city of Hamburg offers helpful information on the German housing market here.

Can I prepare in advance for research I would like to conduct at the Institute?

You can view our library holdings from home using our OPAC page. For many publications we have attached an electronic table of contents, thus allowing you to prepare a list of literature in advance.


After your arrival at the Institute – What comes next?

Who do I need to contact first at the Institute?

Before using the library for the first time, you must register with Reader Services. Your contact person is Ms. Halsen-Raffel. After registering, you will receive an access card from the Institute reception desk allowing you to enter the library.

Institute scholarship recipients must additionally register in the Welcome Center. Your contact person is Ms. Barbara Schröder (). Please bring your passport or ID card and proof of your health insurance.

Do I have to register my Institute arrival and departure every day?

After your initial registration for library access, you do not need to register your daily arrival or departure.

Are there fixed attendance times in the library?

There are no fixed attendance times for library users.

Do I have to inform the Institute of travel undertaken during my research stay?

In principle, daily registration of Institute arrival and departure is not required. However, if you will not be using your workstation for a few day, e.g. because of travel plans, we would appreciate your informing the reading room staff.

Institute scholarship recipients are asked to give advance notice to the scholarship administration staff (Ms. Schröder, ) regarding absences of more than 5 days.

What do I do when I have to end my research stay earlier than planned?

If you have to leave earlier than planned for some important reason, please inform Reader Services so that your workstation can be assigned to another guest if the space is needed. Scholarship recipients should additionally inform the scholarship administration staff (Ms. Schröder, ).

Can I extend a research stay?

Please speak directly with Ms. Halsen-Raffel in Reader Services.

Can I participate at academic events?

You are cordially invited to take part in academic events and discussion roundtables held at the Institute! You can find an overview of currently scheduled events either on the Infoscreens in the lobby and in Cafe Max or at the Events page of our website.

What events take place regularly?

You can find an overview of regularly occurring academic events here. Additionally, on the more casual side, there is a regularly scheduled evening get-together (known in German as a "Stammtisch") and the bi-monthly Coffee and Law. Further information can be found here.

How do I stay up to date on Institute research and topics?

The Institute's newsletter, the Private Law Gazette, reports on stories and events associated with Institute research as well as on academic life at the Institute. Via our social media channels, Facebook and Twitter (@mpipriv), you can receive the latest news about the Institute and its staff in your personal news feed.

How can I come into contact with Institute academic staff?

Interacting with our guest scholars is very important to us! Towards this end, you are warmly invited to attend academic events, as personal contact and academic exchange are a central aspect of these events. Further, you are welcome to contact any of our academic staff by email and introduce both yourself as well as your topic of research. Contact information can be found in our staff directory.

How can I best establish contact with other guest scholars?

You can get a good overview of all the visiting researchers who are currently at the Institute by reviewing the guest list, which is located directly next to the mail slots in the multimedia room. On this list you can find the research topics and the workstation number of other guests. Our informal eventsrepresent a good opportunity to come into contact with other guests, in particular at the monthly roundtable (Stammtisch), which usually takes place the first Wednesday of the month, as well as the bi-monthly Coffee and Law chat and our soccer group.

Do I need to introduce myself to the Institute directors?

It is not necessary for you to officially introduce yourself to any of our directors. If you would like to speak to one of them about your research, it is best to first send an email to the respective secretarial desk.

Is there a dress code at the Institute?

Most of the Institute's employees dress casually on normal working days, so there is no obligation to wear a suit or business attire.


Welcome to Hamburg

Do I have to register my stay in Hamburg with the public authorities?

If you will be staying in Hamburg for more than three months, you must register your place of residence within two weeks. You can find information and an online appointment portal here.

What national holidays are celebrated in Germany?

The determination of public holidays varies within the individual German states. Most shops, medical offices and governmental agencies offices are closed in Germany on Sundays and on public holidays. The Institute, including the library, is also closed on public holidays as well as between Christmas and New Year. An overview of public holidays in the current and coming year can be found here.

What can I do in Hamburg?

In order to get a first impression of Hamburg, you can visit the Hamburg Tourism site, where you will find a variety of interesting information and helpful tips.

Where can I find information about public transport in Hamburg?

Hamburg has a very good network of buses, subways and commuter trains (S-Bahn and U-Bahn), so you can easily reach the Institute from other parts of the city. You can get information about transport connections and tickets at the HVV service points, e.g. in the Dammtor train station and in the main station, as well as online on the website of the Hamburg Public Transport Association (HVV). You will find ticket machines in the entrance areas of the individual stations; the machines function in various languages. You can also get bus tickets directly from the bus drivers (but not in the S-Bahn and U-Bahn).

As a PhD student, am I entitled to a discounted ticket for public transport?

In Germany, doctoral candidates are not deemed students. Consequently, they do not qualify for discounted transportation or admission tickets and must pay the full fare.

Where can I find reasonably priced food close to the Institute?

Many Institute staff members and guests eat at the various canteens and cafes associated with the University of Hamburg. You can find an overview of all the canteens and cafes as well as their planned menus here. Further, there are a number of international restaurants around the Institute and the University of Hamburg that feature a lunch menu. Finally, the Dammtor train station is quite close to the Institute and is home to various bakeries and fast-food outlets.

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