Before your placement

What you have to do before starting out

Before sending your application for a placement – whether unsolicited or for an advertised position – you should check whether you fulfil the requirements for a placement at FAU. Please also decide whether you would like to do a subject-related placement or take part in a visiting programme. In any case, you need to know how to find your supervisor, which formalities to take into account and which documents and certificates to submit.

Required documents

The following documents are required from the host institution:

  • Betreuungszusage (supervisor’s note of acceptance) (in German)
  • if required, please provide the ‘information concerning the organisational unit’ in the Application for IDM Identification. The IDM application itself is prepared by the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA) and is then given to you to be signed.
  • the invitation letter to the placement student or visiting student (if applicable)
  • a confirmation showing the basis for the placement student’s or visiting student’s stay. This basis may be either a visiting programme, an academic exchange or confirmation that the student’s supervisor at FAU is the secondary reviewer for their thesis. RIA will gladly advise you on how to structure such a confirmation.
  • copy of the Mobility Agreement for Traineeships which Erasmus placement students must conclude with the host chair

The following documents are required from the placement student:

All documents can be sent to RIA as scans via e-mail initially. However, the signed original documents must then also be submitted at a later date.

Please send the documents to Peter Forna at RIA (e-mail:

In order for RIA to begin carrying out the necessary administration, we ask that the chair, institute or supervisor inviting the student register them as early as possible. Submitting the registration too late may delay the stay or even make it impossible.

Additional documents

While a placement is not a permanent job, it is regarded as a type of employment under German legislation. Therefore, you must observe certain formalities and may be required to obtain certain permits depending on where you come from. The formalities and permits are specified in the following list.

A placement is classed as a form of employment according to the German Employment Regulations (Beschäftigungsverordnung) and the German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz). Students who are not from the EU or EEC must apply for a certificate exempting them from the work permit requirement at the ZAV – International Placement Services (German) at the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency). This certificate is proof that the work activity in the context of the placement has been approved by ZAV. The certificate is also required in order to apply for a residence permit. You cannot start your placement before you have obtained approval from ZAV.

Students from EU states, EEC countries and Switzerland

Students who are citizens of an EU member state (except Croatia) and students who are citizens from an EEC state or Switzerland do not need a permit from ZAV for a placement. This means that they do not have to apply for a certificate confirming their exemption from the work permit requirement.

Placement students who are not citizens of an EU or EEC state

Citizens of a non-EU or non-EEC state who want to do a placement in Germany require the approval of ZAV and a visa.

General aspects

Placement students who are older than 35 cannot get a certificate of exemption.

The certificate of exemption from the work permit requirement is required in order to apply for a visa. We therefore ask you to apply for the certificate in good time.

ZAV usually needs approximately three to four weeks to process the certificate of exemption. Therefore, we recommend that you plan the placement well in advance and submit the documents to RIA or ZAV as soon as possible.

Who applies for the certificate of exemption?

If your placement is part of an Erasmus scholarship programme or an exchange programme or you are from one of FAU’s partner universities, the certificate of exemption from the work permit requirement is applied for by RIA. Once you have been registered as a future placement student with RIA we will contact you and ask you for the required documents. RIA also depends on support from the host institution.

In all other cases, the certificate of exemption must be applied for by the chair or institute inviting the placement student. Please see Information der Bundesagentur für Arbeit (in German) (information provided by the Federal Employment Agency) for information on what needs to be observed.

Issue of a certificate of exemption from the work permit requirement

Several copies of the certificate of exemption are issued and sent to RIA or the institution which applied for it. One copy is for the student, one is for the employer and the third copy is for the local immigration authorities. RIA or the host institution forwards the certificates to the appropriate authorities. Students need their certificates for their visa application.

Placements without remuneration

Placements without remuneration are considered a form of employment under German immigration law. Therefore, they require a certificate of exemption to be obtained from ZAV.

Extension of the placement

If you have to extend you placement please note that not only your residence permit but also your certificate of exemption from the work permit requirement from ZAV must be extended. Please submit an application for extension as soon as possible.

Please also find out prior to your arrival whether your residence permit in Germany may be extended as it depends on the nature of your residence permit or visa whether the local immigration authorities can extend it. If in doubt, please enquire with the German immigration authorities where you have applied or will be applying for your visa or residence permit.