Welcome Guide

This Welcome Guide is for our international guests at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR). We prepared this guide especially for you so that you have a checklist of the most important things to consider when coming to the HZDR.  We would like to extend our warmest welcome wishes to you when you join our H(elmholtz) Z(entrum) D(resden)-R(ossendorf) family..

First steps to take before coming to Germany:

1.   Visa
2.   Official Recognition of Your Diploma(s), University Degree(s); Preparing Required Documents
3.   Health Insurance/Private Liability Insurance

Upon arrival in Dresden consider these next steps:

4.   Registration, Residence Permit, and Work Permit
5.   Accommodation
6.   Bank Account
7.   German Language Courses
8.   Access to Libraries
9.   Child Care
10. Driver's Licence
11. Travel by Bus, Train, and Taxi
12. Leisure and Sports
13. Public Holidays
14. First Aid
15. Religious Institutes

This Welcome Guide is designed to answer most of your questions.  Right after your arrival in Dresden, you will have the opportunity of discussing the details with your colleagues.  You will be assigned a contact person in the HZDR’s institute where you are working.

If you have general questions or need additional help, please contact the following persons:




Yvonne Matthes +49 (0) 351-2602821 General contact, Advice on topics such as residence permit applications, dealing with official processes and authorities, accommodation and everyday matters.
German Courses

1. Visa

Before leaving your home country for Germany, please make sure that you are aware of your legal status.  Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa, a residence permit, and/or a work permit. General information.

Be prepared to spend some time assembling your documentation and also waiting in line when visiting the requisite authorities both in your home country as well as here in Germany.  As some permits have to be applied for from your home country, you should start this procedure well in advance of the scheduled date of your move to Germany.

Visas: EU citizens do not need a visa for Germany.  If you need a visa, you have to apply for it at the German Embassy or one of the German Consulates in your home country.  Visas for citizens of “other countries” are never issued in Germany.  Visa applications take some time, and the type of visa you obtain will affect your residency rights here in Germany.

2.  Legalization Official Recognition of Your Diploma(s), University Degree(s); Preparing Required Documents

Before you decide to become a student, PhD student, or post-doctoral researcher at our research center, please ascertain whether your certificates, diplomas, and/or degrees are officially recognized here in Germany.  If you need any help, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the responsible person at the institute within the HZDR.

Before leaving home, you should prepare  the following documents:

  • A passport valid for the entire period of your stay in Germany
  • If you are going to study in Germany, an official notification of your university admission and/or confirmation of your application
  • Proof of financial resources (normally covered by your salary at the HZDR)
  • Visa (not a tourist visa), if applicable
  • Confirmation of health insurance coverage; for students from the European Union, a European health insurance card
  • Vaccination records, if you have them.  (Please check with the German embassy or consulate in your home country if you need any vaccinations.)
  • An international driver's license if you need one (not necessary for EU citizens)
  • Originals and certified (!) translations of your birth certificate, secondary school certificate, academic qualifications, and insurance documents


  • Certifications can be made at German embassies or consulates. The embassy or consulate will ask for the following documentation:
    Confirmation of the job offer from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf
  • Reasons why we selected you, including a work program
  • Certified copies of your diploma(s), certificate(s), and/or degree(s) translated into German

3. Health Insurance / Private Liability Insurance

When you are employed at the HZDR, you will have medical insurance which covers all regular medical expenses.  You will get all the necessary information from your colleagues at the Human Resource Department on how to enroll in the German health care insurance system. Further information.

4. Registration, Residence Permit, and Work Permit

Although there are sometimes exceptions when coming to live in Germany, you will need to go through a specific process in the following order.  Please note that each step requires documentation from the previous office:

a) Residence Registration: During your first week in Germany, you will have to register at the local residence registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt). In Dresden we have a special Welcome Center for international scientist. 
If you need any help, you can ask the International Office, one of your colleagues to accompany you to this office.  We will assist you in filling out the necessary forms.

b) Residence Permit: Everyone (including EU citizens) staying in Germany for more than 3 months must officially obtain a residence permit.  After you have completed your residence registration, you will need to apply for your residence permit at the local immigration office (Ausländeramt) or respective at the Welcome Center.

c) Work Permit: Once you have your residence permit, you can apply for a work permit at your local labor office (Arbeitsamt).  EU citizens do not need a work permit.  Before going to the local immigration office, please find out if there have been any changes in the process and/or requirements.  Our staff will help you in this matter.  Requirements change frequently and, therefore, you should try to get as much information as possible.  The Human Resource Department will  assist you in filling out the necessary forms.

5. Accommodation

During your first few weeks here, we can arrange for accommodation in our guest house (or if you want to, also for a longer period).  The guest house has furnished rooms and includes a shared kitchen and bathroom as well as a cleaning service.  The rental fee depends on your salary.  If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please let us know in advance.  If you decide to rent an apartment in Dresden, our staff would be happy to assist you in any way. If you sign a rental agreement for a residential property, take note of the cancellation period!

Contact: Guesthouse

6.  Bank Account

Before you can open a bank account, you have to register at the local residence registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) → please see Item 4 above.  In order to decide which bank best meets your requirements, please consider the following questions:

  • Where can I withdraw money free of charge or for a small fee?
  • What are the prerequisites for getting a credit card?
  • How fast can I get a credit/debit card?
  • What are the prerequisites for transferring money to pay bills or to your home country??
  • Can I set up a standing order for regular payments (e.g. rent)?
  • Can I arrange to have regular payments (variable amounts such as telephone bills or health insurance contributions) paid by  direct debit?

An ATM of the Commerzbank is located in Building 110 (Main Entrance).

If you need help, don't hesitate to contact us: International Office.

7. German Language Courses

If you are interested in learning or improving your German, the HZDR offers German language courses upon request.  The courses offered at the HZDR depend on participation and individual skill levels.  The Human Resource Department will inform you when the next courses are available.

Contact: Yvonne Matthes

There are many language schools in Dresden that offer German language courses:  For example, Goethe Institut, Inlingua, Berlitz, or the Volkshochschule Dresden, the adult education center for continued education which offers a variety of courses at different skill levels.  For more details, please check the internet or ask us to help you.

8. Access to Libraries

HZDR Library: Staff, researchers, and visiting scientists of the HZDR have full access to all library services. External users may use the library in the reading rooms. You may find more information here.

Sächsische Landesbibliothek Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek (abbreviated: SLUB):

This new and modern research library is the largest of its kind in Dresden and has an excellent collection. Please use the following link to get information about your registration at this library: www.tu-dresden.de/slub

9. Child Care

If you are looking for a day care center for your child, the Kindergarten Eschdorf and the Kindergarten Weißig which are located near the HZDR provide a safe environment for your child. In Germany, kindergartens accommodate children aged between 3 months and 6 years.  Kindergarten teachers speak some English which might help your child adapt to the new environment.

Because it is often very difficult to get a free place in a kindergarten in Dresden, the HZDR has signed a contract with the Kindergarten Eschdorf and the Kindergarten Weißig.  However, we kindly ask you to clarify any questions you may have regarding child care with the Human Resource Department prior to your arrival in Germany.
Contact: Franziska Hübner

If your child is already going to school, we will try to help you find an appropriate school.  Nevertheless, we suggest that you ask in advance whether there is a free place available for your child at the school of your choice.

There is an International School in Dresden where all subjects are taught in English.  This school is private and although its tuition is relatively high, this tuition is subject to negotiations.

Public schools are free of charge and the language of instruction is German.  Although English is introduced in some schools already in the first grade, it is only taught for a few hours per week.

10. Driver's licence

If you are an EU citizen, your driver’s license is valid until your license expires.  Driver’s licenses from non-EU countries are only valid up to 6 months after you have registered for residency. Thereafter, you must get a German driver’s license, which means that you have to take the very expensive theoretical and practical tests again. Sometimes exceptions are made, and the time limit of 6 months can be extended up to one year.

11. Travel by Bus, Train, and Taxi

Public Transportation:
Generally, bus line No. 261 provides hourly services from Dresden’s main train station (Hauptbahnhof) Monday through Friday.  The bus route goes past Bühlau "Ullersdorfer Platz" to Dresden-Weißig directly to the HZDR’s Main Entrance.  The commute from Dresden’s main train station to the HZDR takes about 40 minutes.  From Downtown Dresden or Dresden “Neustadt,” you can take the tram line No. 11 to Bühlau.  From there, it takes 8 minutes by car to the HZDR or the HZDR’s guest house.

The timetable can be found here:

Tickets are available from ticket vending machines at most stops, from ticket vending machines in buses and trams, or they can be purchased directly from the drivers. Please note that you have to purchase a ticket for the tariff zone Dresden. For current information on ticket prices (German: "Tarife"), please click here

Dresden Airport:
The airport is located about 9km north of the city's center. It can be reached by public transportation such as shuttle trains, trams, or buses.
Dresden airport offers regular flights to many cities. If you need further information please click here.

The following are two reliable taxi services in Dresden:

Funk TAXI Dresden
Taxi 8x8
Phone: 0351-211 211
Phone: 0351-8888 8888

12. Leisure and Sports

Information on current cultural events is displayed in the lobby of the cafeteria. Dresden city and region maps are at your disposal in the library.

This is Dresden's official website which lists all museums, theatres, cinemas, etc.: www.dresden.de

The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) are among the most famous museums of the world. For more information, please click here.

Tourist center with events calendar: www.dresden-tourist.de

Dresden is a great place to live in.  It is surrounded by a beautiful landscape and many picturesque small towns.  We recommend visiting Saxon Switzerland, the Ore Mountains, the Zittau Mountains, the cities of Bad Muskau, Görlitz, Bautzen, Pirna, Meißen, Radebeul as well as, of course, the many beautiful residences of the Saxon kings and their wives such as Moritzburg Castle, Pillnitz Palace, Königstein Fortress, Stolpen Castle, and many more.  We are sure that your future colleagues will help you find interesting and exciting places to visit.

There are various excellent restaurants and pubs in Dresden Neustadt where you can enjoy a delicious meal after work or on weekends.

Are you interested in team sport activities? Please do not hesitate to contact us: International Office

13. Public Holidays

Please find here information about German and Saxon holidays.

14. First Aid

Alarm Center at HZDR: 3333 (only inside of HZDR)
Fire/Accident:  :              112
Police:                             110

Please be prepared to answer the following questions:

Who is calling?
Where are you?
Who ist hurt?
What happened?
(your name)
(address, location of the accident)
(name, age, gender)
(precise details of the event)

If you need medical assistance in the evening or on weekends, please use this emergency phone number:

Emergency service -   Phone: 116117

This is the phone number that provides direct access to a doctor on call in your neighborhood. If you cannot go to the doctor, it can usually be arranged for the doctor to come and visit you at home.

Another possibility is to go to the Dresden University Hospital. At the university hospital, you will always get help. >>See also<<

You can get information on pharmacies on call if you go to: www.aponet.de
Unfortunately, this website is only available in German. If you need to find a pharmacy, please consider the following steps:

  • • 1. Open the website
  • • 2. On the top right, you will find a search field (German: “Apotheke finden”)
  • • 3. Print your postal code or city name
  • • 4. Hit the enter button to start the search

15. Religious Institutions

The Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Saxony: www.landeskirche-sachsen.de

The Catholic Diocese of Dresden-Meißen: www.bistum-dresden-meissen.de

Jewish Community/Synagogue Dresden: www.jg-dresden.org