FAQ

Which things have to be done prior to the stay in Germany?

Our guidelines offer a checklist with all the important steps.
We should also like to draw your attention to the web portal EURAXESS Germany. Under Daily life you will find general information regarding your stay in Germany.

What do I have to do after my arrival to Germany?

Our guidelines offer a checklist with all the important steps.

How do I find an apartment in Germany?

Finding accommodation in Germany is often difficult and time-consuming. The housing situation varies considerably according to region and the availability of accommodation is very limited in some areas. Thus the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation strongly recommends research fellows to address the question of accommodation, preferably in writing, with host institutes in Germany and the Foreign Students’ Advisory Offices, International Offices or Welcome Centres directly, well before arrival. The appropriate form is available on the Foundation's website.
Research fellows must state clearly how many family members will accompany them to Germany and during which period of time. Research fellows should take into account that up to 40% of the monthly fellowship goes toward renting accommodation in Germany.
To make it easier for research fellows to find accommodation, particularly during the initial period of the research stay, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation strongly recommends that research fellows who wish to come to Germany with their families should first travel alone and only send for their families when they have found adequate accommodation.
Please also see the information under Accommodation in the web portal EURAXESS Germany.

How can I find a place at kindergarten for my kids?

You will find the respective information under Childcare and schools in the web portal EURAXESS Germany.

How can I find a place at school for my kids?

You will find the respective information under Childcare and schools in the web portal EURAXESS Germany.

Do I have to take out a health insurance for Germany?

From the very first day, research fellows and accompanying family members must be covered by medical insurance providing adequate coverage in Germany for the entire duration of their stay in Germany. For detailed information, please refer to our guidelines (B.10.) and to the information on our website.
Please also see the information under Health insurance in the the web portal EURAXESS Germany.

What is the amount of my research fellowship?

The amount of the research fellowship is €2,650 per month (post-doctoral researchers) and €3,150 per month (experienced researchers). The research fellowship amount includes a mobility allowance (cf. guidelines A.3.5.) and a subsidy towards the cost of medical and liability insurance (cf. guidelines A.3.7.).

Are the mobility allowance and the insurance subsidy paid in addition to the fellowship amount?

The research fellowship amount includes a mobility allowance (cf. guidelines A.3.5.) and a subsidy towards the cost of medical and liability insurance (cf. guidelines A.3.7.).

Do I get financial support for the participation in conferences?

During the research fellowship (not during the language course) research fellows receive a mobility allowance of €100 per month with each fellowship payment. The mobility allowance constitutes a supplement for expenses in connection with necessary conference attendance and/or research travel, archive and library visits, etc. in Germany and abroad. Additional travel and/or conference allowances cannot be granted. For further information, please refer to our guidelines (A.3.5.).

Am I allowed to have additional earnings?

Research fellows are obliged to inform the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of any additional earnings (salary or income from employment or self-employment in Germany, German or foreign fellowships). Any additional earnings exceeding the upper limit for "marginal" part-time employees (the so-called "Verdienstgrenze für geringfügig Beschäftigte", currently €450 gross per month) will be offset against the instalment of the fellowship. Any type of employment yielding additional earnings which exceed the so-called "Verdienstgrenze für geringfügig Beschäftigte" must be approved in advance by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation which will examine whether this additional employment endangers the objective of the fellowship (cf. A.1. and A.1.10. in our guidelines); in such cases the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation reserves the right to terminate or suspend the fellowship. Utilisation of other fellowships financed by German public funding is not allowed.

Do I have to pay taxes and social security deductions in Germany?

Since research fellows are not employees, carrying out the proposed research is not classified as gainful employment under the terms of German Income Tax Law. Consequently, the monthly fellowship payments are not considered as earned income and are not subject to social insurance deductions. Humboldt research fellows are exempt from taxation under Article 3, No. 44 of the German Income Tax Law.
The laws in the research fellows’ own countries may include special regulations on taxing research fellowships. If in doubt, you should consult a tax accountant in your own country (cf. guidelines B.11.).

Which status do I have at my host institute as a research fellow?

During the research stay, research fellows carry out their proposed research in cooperation with academic hosts they have chosen themselves. They are neither employees of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation nor of their host institute. However, since they make regular use of the facilities made available by their academic hosts and host institutes, they must comply with the rules and regulations generally applicable at the respective institutes. In Germany, too, university institutes often have staffing and financial problems. To avoid misunderstandings, we urge you to clarify with your academic host the practical aspects of your cooperation with the research and support staff of the institute as well as the possibility of using scientific equipment, PC, telephone, fax, etc. at the earliest opportunity. Host institutions are obliged to ensure the same levels of safety and occupational health for research fellows as they do for other academics working at the institute (cf. guidelines B.8.).

Is my spouse allowed to work during my stay as a research fellow?

Those intending to engage in regular employment need a work permit (exceptions: EU citizens from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, Great Britain and Cyprus, as well as EEA citizens (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein) and Swiss).
Spouses of research fellows who wish to take up employment must inform the German consulate of this prior to departure for Germany and apply for the respective residence permit (indicating ”employment permitted”). The actual work permit must be applied for at the Employment Office.
We would like to draw your attention to the site Dual Career in the web portal EURAXESS Germany.
Please also see the Information for women academics and families for further information.

Do I get financial support for my family, if accompanying me during my stay in Germany?

The Humboldt Foundation can grant, provided that the budget situation allows, allowances and/or a subsidy towards health and personal liability insurance for spouses and minor children who accompany the research fellow during the sponsorship period for at least three months (without interruption). Furthermore, the Humboldt Foundation offers research fellows a number of options to support them in raising their child or children. For further conditions and details please see the application form and further information on our respective website.
Please also see the Information for women academics and families for further information.

Is it possible to postpone the research fellowship?

Research fellowships may neither be postponed for an indefinite period of time nor without compelling reasons. If a fellow is unable to begin the research fellowship on the date originally intended, he/she is requested to notify the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation immediately so that a new date can be arranged. It is essential that the new date be agreed in consultation with the academic host and the host institute in Germany; the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s approval is dependent on the agreement of the academic host and the Foundation’s budget situation. Postponement to take advantage of another fellowship in Germany or a third country is usually not possible. For further details, please refer to our guidelines (A.1.9.).

Is it possible to interrupt the research fellowship?

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation requires research fellows to pursue academic work in Germany for the period of the research fellowship and not to be absent from their host institutes for periods exceeding 14 days (continuous or accumulative) in total. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation must be given immediate written notification of any circumstances demanding a longer period of absence from the host institute (also due to illness). Prolonged periods of absence from the host institute require the approval of both the academic host and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is interested in keeping interruptions in research fellowships as short-term as possible (12 months at most). A decision on long-term interruption is dependent on a new research outline coordinated with the academic host, proof of further academic qualifications, the research fellow having reached a certain career stage (date of doctorate) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s financial planning. Interruption to take advantage of another fellowship in Germany or a third country is usually not possible. For further details, please refer to our guidelines (A.1.10.).

When and under which circumstances may I apply for an extension of my research fellowship?

If the envisaged research cannot be completed within the time available and the period the research fellowship was awarded for is shorter than the maximum sponsorship period, application may be made for an extension of the fellowship, stating the reasons. The maximum sponsorship period is 24 months (for post-doctoral researchers) or 18 months (for experienced researchers). Extensions can neither be granted for work on a new research outline nor for work on a new theme which has developed from the original research outline. Applications for extension should be submitted to the Foundation 3 to 4 months prior to the end of the fellowship. Under certain circumstances, an extension of the research fellowship may also be applied for in the context of further benefits for families (cf. guidelines A.3.6.3.1. and A.3.6.3.2.). For further details, please refer to our guidelines (A.1.4.) and our website.

Is it possible to change the host institute and the host?

Transfer from one university or host institute to another is possible if there are important professional or personal reasons for doing so. Detailed applications to the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for transfer must be approved in writing by both the current and the prospective host institutes. It should, however, be noted that a change of host institute may lead to considerable delay and expense caused by searching for accommodation, moving, re-registering etc..
For further details, please refer to our guidelines (A.1.11.).

Is it possible to change the originally planned research outline?

The research fellowship is awarded in order to carry out the proposed research, which has been chosen by the research fellow and agreed upon with the host. On principle, it is not possible to make changes to the research proposal on the basis of which the Selection Committee has made its decision.

Does my host receive financial support for my stay?

Budget allowing, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is able to grant a subsidy towards research costs to hosts (cf. guidelines A.3.8.) of foreign research fellows in Germany. The subsidy is intended as a contribution to cover research-related costs, including administrative costs directly ensuing from the research being carried out. During the sponsorship period, the subsidy amounts to €500 (for research in the humanities and social sciences) or €800 monthly (for research in natural sciences and engineering). Before the sponsorship period begins, academic hosts will receive a form for the purpose of informing the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of the host institute's relevant bank account.

Which rules do I have to observe concerning the exploitation of research results?

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation considers it important that research results achieved under the auspices of the Humboldt Research Fellowship be published. Please refer to our guidelines (A.4.) for further information.

Can I find information on equal opportunities on the Humboldt Foundation's website?

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation campaigns for equal opportunities for men and women in research, particularly with regard to young families. We have compiled our FAQs concerning this subject under Information for women academics and families.

Contact

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Department Sponsorship and Network
Jean-Paul-Str. 12
53173 Bonn, Germany

info(at)avh.de

Further information