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The Main problem is university registration as the process is vital to enroll as a PhD student, so that I can submit my thesis and defend it. Administrative issues here in Germany have prevented me from completing the registration process because I am an overseas student and some issues to do with deadlines.

Some good news are have published three papers as first author in leading journals and written the thesis work as well.

Is it a good idea to dump this registration process and take another PhD or should I apply for industry jobs? Note that I am not committed to staying in academia.

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Your question confuses me. Are you asking whether you should give up on your half-written thesis based on what sounds like a formality? If so, the answer is no, but then I am also not sure why you are even asking. – xLeitix May 17 '14 at 11:11
So you are saying you did not manage to get the registration process done in three years? That does sound serious, but the we will certainly need more information about what the actual problem is (immigration issues, legal issues, lacking support from faculty, etc.) to give advice. Please edit your question accordingly. – xLeitix May 17 '14 at 12:25
I deleted my comments because I'm lost here. OP is in a 'PhD program' but does not have an advisor and is not a registered student, he's not a freelance researcher neither. I have never heard of such a situation although it's apparently not surprising to some. – Cape Code May 17 '14 at 13:43
@Jigg: Being a grad student and being a researcher in Germany are parallel processes; see my response below. – aeismail May 17 '14 at 18:04
@QuoraFeans: For someone in the German system, the situation can be exactly as described. There's no need to close. – aeismail May 18 '14 at 6:53

For the benefit of the wider audience, a little background into the German PhD system is in order.

  • Researchers after the master's level are hired as Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter (researchers, literally "academic personnel"), and work for the individual research groups as half- or full-time employees, with the commensurate salary and benefits.

  • In parallel, students are expected to register as doctoral students (Zulassung). Such a process will typically involve some classwork for international students, particularly those studying in engineering fields (and those with degrees other than the area they're now studying). One of the forms to be filled out in this process is the Betreuungsbestätigung, which is a commitment by the signer to be the candidate's advisor.

Normally, deadlines are deadlines; however, if there are mitigating circumstances, many departments will allow the advisor to petition for exceptions to be made. Given that you've made good research progress, it would seem reasonable that your advisor would want to ensure that you get your PhD. So, before doing anything else, talk to your advisor.

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Your answer makes the question clearer. The first category seems to be some sort of post-master research staff. The second category seems to be a PhD program. In the case of the 1st category, I assume the OP has a supervisor (or similar role). Does he have an advisor in that case? Your answer seems to suggest that he does have an advisor. Would you clarify? – scaaahu May 18 '14 at 1:42
That's done in the second step. See above revision. – aeismail May 18 '14 at 6:48

If possible try to stick with finishing the PhD. You are almost there.

Try to find some legal advisor to help you with the issues. Some universities may even offer free legal help and have persons acting as ombudsman.

Finding good job opportunities will not be an issue in any case.

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The OP is not officially in the student list. I am not sure what finishing the PhD means. If the university does not recognise the OP as a student, how and why would they offer free legal help? – scaaahu May 17 '14 at 12:33
Finishing means writing and defending PhD thesis. At some universities the Law cathedra, in order to give practical work for their students, offers some kind of services to public. This is for free and just to give advices&options that persons in need may pursue further. – qoobit May 17 '14 at 13:39
@qoobit But it's not clear that OP has actually even started a PhD. Yeah, he's done some research and published some papers, but that doesn't make him a PhD student. – JeffE May 17 '14 at 16:15
@JeffE: The OP has clearly been trying to become a PhD student, but somehow the process hasn't gone the way it's supposed to. – aeismail May 18 '14 at 6:49
'Finding good job opportunities will not be an issue in any case' on what basis can you say this? – Cape Code May 19 '14 at 12:17

Tl;dr: If there is someone else (typically someone who has respected enough deadlines to be appointed professor) who also thinks you deserve a PhD, then fight.

Your main concern seems to be finding a job in Germany. Now, for academic positions, you're going to need that PhD. For organizations outside academia, your 3 years of research will have little value (unless you were an employee of the university as a Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter in which case you can claim some sort of experience, but my guess is it's not the case as it sounds that you are not even in the country). In fact, as an employer, I would be reluctant to hire someone who managed to fail enough administrative requirements to find himself in your current situation, regardless of the possible mitigating circumstances.

These employers will consider your current highest degree, should you decide to apply without getting a PhD, don't make too much publicity about your failed attempt at getting a PhD. Instead, present it as independent research, your publications might help depending on the field, but usually won't.

Applying to another PhD program will mean starting everything from scratch, it's unusual for universities to let people walk in with 3 publications and a thesis and ask for a title. Whether you are ready to invest 3-4 other years of your life for that is a personal decision.

To conclude, if you can get support form someone inside the university (someone I would be tempted to call an advisor, or supervisor, but I would refrain myself due to the apparent inadequacy of such a concept in this context) who is a faculty/habilitated/a professor, and is convinced that your work is worth a PhD degree, I would recommend to do everything in your power to have the administrative authorities allow you in.

Note: there is a lot of guesswork to do with your question, here is my take, although my interpretation might not be shared with many other users of this site.

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