I am student from India and finished my master's this year. I secured a PhD position at Göttingen university in mathematics. In my offer letter it is written that I will be employed from 1.10.2018 to 30.09.2021 as a research assistant at the mathematical institute of the George-August-Universität Göttingen. I will be hired part-time (19,9 h/week) and paid according to E13 TV-L (minimum 1758,68 € per month).

Here someone wrote that, with a TV-L position, getting a student visa is not only problematic, but also something that can't be fixed later. But it looks like I have a 50% position. In Germany, people are are considered a student from the perspective of social security (health insurance, pension, unemployment insurance), if work is less than 20 hours per week (in my case it is 19,9, as per contract). So I could be considered a student as well. I don't understand which Visa I should go for. In India, the available long term Visas are these. I guess it should go for Student, Employment or Guest Scientist Visa. But I don't understand which one. This seems to be a very complicated affair. What should I do?

  • 3
    Why don't you call the embassy and ask for advice? The administration of Göttingen University might also be able to advise. You will be hardly be their first Indian employee/PhD student.
    – user9482
    Jun 8, 2018 at 13:40
  • The student status at your university is completely independent of your visa. One thing to keep in mind is that if you opt for the student visa and you ever decide to quit you PhD, you have to leave the country immediately (not the next day, but you can't stay the full duration). So the advice still stands: As soon as you earn any money, opt for the employment visa. Jun 8, 2018 at 14:46
  • 2
    I have no idea about the visa issues, but I'd reckon a TV-L position is not a student assistant position, but a full-fledged working position. So, while my intuition says "work permit visa", I'd recommend you to check with the ambassy and/or international office of your university. Jun 8, 2018 at 17:53
  • 1
    You need to coordinate with the university administration. They can organize this letter.
    – user9482
    Jun 13, 2018 at 10:18
  • 2
    @xLeitix: I don't think so. In Niedersachsen full-time according to TV-L is 39 hours and 48 minutes per week (yes, really), so half is exactly 19.9 hours. See oeffentlichen-dienst.de/tv-l/arbeitszeit.html Nov 9, 2023 at 11:12


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