We provide the following support:


  • Immigration matters
  • Travel arrangements
  • Temporary housing
  • Info about Cologne
  1. prepare documents for visa application (if applicable)
     *list of required documents for visa application available from the IO*
    You can also go directly to the Germany Embassy website for more info: VIDEX - General User Guidelines

  2. find temporary housing / rental contract
    *contact the IO for a comprehensive up-to-date offers and institute housing

    You can find some useful information regarding rental contracts from the following sites.

  3. travel health insurance
     *this is made either from your home country or Germany- IO can provide you with a list of companies that offer appropriate temporary coverage.


  • Registration (setting appointment and accompanying) 
  • Immigration office (setting appointment and accompanying)
  • Bank (general info and appointment)
  • Housing 
  • Employment contract matters
  • Health Insurance, pension, taxes
  • Other matters for individual needs

Throughout your stay

We can provide information and support on the following:

  • Address change
  • Contacts with student/ post-doc reps
  • Family matters such as change of school, enrollment, and spousal support
  • German as a foreign language courses
  • Information on doctors and hospitals
  • Information on the range of events and activities in and around Cologne
  • Contacts to other partner institutes




  • Providing helpful "to do" list
  • Notification letters from Human Resources
  • De-registration and other formalities
  • Support regarding departure needs


These are the things you will have to take care of before you leave Germany.

Notification letters (usually 3 months prior to departure):

  • landlord  (paint apartment, collect deposit)
  • electricity, gas, water company
  • health insurance and return of ID card
  • liability insurance
  • phone (landline as well as handy)
  • internet/ tv services (GEZ)
  • clubs/ associations membership

De-registration (Abmeldung) at city hall*
Cancel job ticket/ Bahn card
Cancel newspapers or magazines
Close your bank account

Check if the following items are left behind:

  • computer
  • keys
  • id cards
  • telephone


Welcome packet

Our welcome packet has a wealth of information including the Newcomers Guide, a map of Cologne, and "New in Cologne" Magazine - all in a practical MPI tote bag. Please visit the IO upon your arrival to receive the packet.

Newcomers guide

The Newcomers Guide covers just about everything from visa matters, apartment hunting, and dealing with the local phone company to locating the nearest pharmacy and much more. This step-by-step guide to settling-in is designed so you don't miss anything along the way.  


Tour of Cologne/Visits to partner institutes in the Area

The IO in partnership with the University of Cologne offer newcomers with an opportunity to explore Cologne and all it has to offer, including a tour of the Dom and other interesting sites.