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Pre-Arrival Checklist for Guest Scholars


  • Contact the Welcome Centre. As soon as you know that you will be staying at the University of Cologne, please contact the Welcome Centre. To be able to help you with issues such as your visa, housing and insurance, please fill out our registration sheet:
  • Check your passport. To enter Germany, you will need a valid passport or an equivalent identity document (driver's license is not sufficient). Please note that this passport must be valid at least until the end of your stay in Germany and, if you want to extend your stay, correspondingly longer. Please make sure that you always use the same spelling of your names.
  • Check entry regulations and apply for visa. If you are a citizen of a non-EU/EEA country, you and accompanying family members will most likely need a valid visa in order to enter Germany. You can apply for a visa at the German Embassy in your home country or a German consulate representing the area in which you are registered or live. To know more about visa regulations, please refer to the German Embassy or check the information on this webpage: Please be advised that if you are accompanied by your children, they have to attend a school during their stay in Germany. Please let us know at your earliest convenience so we can help you find the best school for your children. 
  • Arrange for health insurance and other insurances. You should get in contact with your local health insurance company to arrange traveler’s insurance for the first month in Germany. This is necessary because you need valid insurance to enter Germany. After you arrive in Germany, you can come to our office and we will arrange for a long-term solution here in Germany. Please wait until you are in Germany to get your insurance, as many international insurance companies do not meet the national requirements. 
  • Plan ahead for housing. You can contact the Welcome Centre for assistance in finding a suitable accommodation for your stay. If you would like help with finding accommodation, please contact us as soon as possible. To maximize your chances, we recommend you to look on your own as well. For this, please have a look at the information listed on this webpage: 
  • Learning German. The University of Cologne offers several different courses to learn German. For international scholars the price for a German class is 250 Euros per semester. To learn more about our German courses, requirements, etc. please check this link: 
  • USB, RRZK, and Mensa Card. We can provide you with a library card, internet access on campus, as well as a card for the campus cafeteria. However, you need an address in Cologne. If you are interested in one or all of these services, you can send us an e-mail as soon as you are registered in Cologne and we will arrange for them right away
  • Public transportation in Cologne. Cologne has a very good public transportation system called KVB. There are different tickets you can get based on your needs. Once you know where in Cologne you will be staying, you might wish to get a monthly KVB ticket, which we offer at a reduced price. You can order your ticket by emailing us in advance. For further information, follow this link:
  • Sports at the University. The University of Cologne offers a variety of classes as well as the membership in a gym on campus. If you are interested in the sports program of the University please visit their website: Please be aware that to be able to join the campus gym you will have to attend a mandatory introductory class.