GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences: Go to homepage

Information for our international applicants



Please first start looking for an apartment. It is important because to register, you need an agent's confirmation. The registration itself is a prerequisite for your tax ID (and salary), opening a bank account and registering for health insurance. Finding an apartment is not easy. Therefore, it can be helpful if you rent a furnished flat first and look for a permanent flat from there.


Within the first two weeks of your arrival in Germany, you have to get registered (Meldepflicht) in the resident´s registration office in the corresponding city. The registration process applies to all persons in Germany and to international guests who stay in Germany for more than three months. Please follow the links to find the address and information for registration in Mannheim and in Cologne.

Usually within 3 months (depending on the duration of your Visa), you have to get in touch with the foreign office (Ausländerbehörde), and apply for your Visa extension for "Aufenthalt zum Zweck der Erwerbstätigkeit" (work permittance). This procedure could last around 6 weeks, more or less. Therefore you should start early enough to apply for it.

Bank account

In order to receive your salary and pay your rent, bills, etc. the best is to open a bank account in Germany. We suggest and recommend that you open a giro account (Girokonto), because this type of account allows you to withdraw cash, transfer funds electronically and schedule the transfer of regular payments. There are various banks/financial institutes who offer various accounts. Some of them require fees for transfers, credit cards, account maintenance, etc... . Some of them are completely or nearly free of charge. It is worth the effort, to compare the banks/financial institutes.


Germany has an extensive state-mandated (public) social security system. This social security program is legally mandatory and is comprised of the following components: health insurance (Krankenversicherung), pension scheme (Rentenversicherung), unemployment insurance (Arbeitslosenversicherung), and accident and nursing care insurance (Unfall- und Pflegeversicherung). 
When signing a work contract you must enroll in a public health insurance company of your choice.

Furthermore it is recommended to have a "Haftpflichtversicherung" (= liability insurance). Liability insurance is a part of the general insurance system of risk financing to protect the purchaser (the "insured") from the risks of liabilities imposed by lawsuits and similar claims. It protects the insured in the event he or she is sued for claims that come within the coverage of the insurance policy. It provides an individual with protection against variety of claims which may include bodily injuries, physical damage to car, property damage etc. arising from business operations.

Salary and taxes in Germany

We pay according to the TV-L. Please follow the link and find information about your salary.

Who transfers the tax

You pay income tax on all your incomes for one calendar year. You do not even have to trouble yourself with the question of income tax at first, as your employer will automatically deduct the income tax from your gross salary in form of wage tax (Lohnsteuer) as well as the social insurance (Sozialversicherung) and transfer it to the tax office on your behalf. These amounts you can follow up on your monthly salary slip.

How much income tax you pay

In Germany everyone´s earnings are subject to a basic tax. The taxation rates vary from 14% to 45%.

Leisure time in Cologne and Mannheim

Cologne is centrally located in the west of the Federal Republic of Germany and right in the heart of Europe. Entering Germany is facilitated by easy access regulations for most visitors.

Founded more than 2000 years ago, Cologne is one of Central Europe’s oldest cities. With more than one million inhabitants it is Germany's fourth largest city. People from 181 countries with more than 250 cultural backgrounds add to a liberal and multicultural atmosphere.

Cologne hosts thirteen public and private universities. Its 72,000 students make it the most populous and also popular university town in Germany. The University of Cologne, partner of GESIS, and the University of Applied Sciences are the two largest of these institutions.

36 museums, more than 120 art galleries, 200 music ensembles, 60 theatres and numerous international festivals make Cologne one of Europe's leading cities for art and culture. The Roman heritage, a captivating array of twelve Romanesque churches, the Cologne Cathedral (UNESCO World Heritage) and many other historic sites hold something for every taste – and of course the "Kölsch" both as idiom and local brew (we will offer a room in a typical Cologne brewery for your networking and leisure) complete what the city is most proud of: Cologne is a feeling!

More information is available from the Cologne tourist office.

Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With approximately 315,000 inhabitants, it is the third-largest city in Baden-Württemberg, after Stuttgart and Karlsruhe.

Mannheim is located at the confluence of the Rhine and the Neckar in the northwestern corner of Baden-Württemberg. The Rhine separates Mannheim from the city of Ludwigshafen, just to the west of it in Rhineland-Palatinate, and the border of Baden-Württemberg with Hesse is just to the north. Mannheim is downstream along the Neckar from the city of Heidelberg.

Mannheim is unusual among German cities in that its streets and avenues are laid out in a grid pattern, leading to its nickname "die Quadratestadt" ("city of the squares"). The eighteenth century Mannheim Palace, former home of the Prince-elector of the Palatinate, now houses the University of Mannheim.

The civic symbol of Mannheim is der Wasserturm, a water tower just east of the city centre.


More information is available from the Mannheim tourist office.