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Important message regarding the Coronavirus epidemic in Germany


In the face of the Coronavirus health crisis that is being experienced worldwide and as a measure to ensure the well-being of all students, the Faculty of Medicine at Cologne University has decided to cancel the international student mobility (incoming and outgoing) also for the coming winter term 2020/21 (01 October 2020 - 31 March 2021). The same applies in principle to incoming guest physicians doing observerships and guest researchers, although exceptions after individual case examinations are conceivable.

We thank all students and partner universities for understanding and accepting this decision. We hope that in the future the situation worldwide will improve in order to be able to continue the academic collaboration with our distinguished partners.

***Please do also read the daily updated information about Coronavirus from the University of Cologne under this link

In case of any questions or concerns please contact the Team of ZIB Med.


Formalities regarding observers, guest scientists and guest physicians

This section informs you about the general formalities for interns (clinical observers), visiting researchers and guest doctors.

These groups include applicants of different nationalities, so the following descriptions also explain the official formalities involved. These are not necessary for applicants with German nationality or, where professional qualifications are concerned, with German Approbation (licence to practise medicine).

Clinical observers

Clinical observation visits (clinical attachments) in the different departments of the university hospital can be arranged at the invitation of heads of department and doctors. Clinical observers are doctors wishing to undergo advanced training. They are only allowed to observe and, unlike guest doctors, are not allowed to become actively involved. During their stay, clinical observers find out how the work of the department is structured and learn about special diagnostic procedures, particular equipment etc. Under no circumstances may observers take over the tasks of a hospital employee. They do not receive any payment and are not allowed to treat patients. Observers from countries outside the EU need an Aufenthaltserlaubnis (limited residence permit) for their stay in Germany.

Visiting researchers

Visiting researchers are people who work as researchers at universities in other countries, have a Diploma/ Master’s degree or higher qualification and spend a limited period of time doing research at a Medical Faculty institute or department at the invitation of a member of the Medical Faculty. Visiting researchers from abroad need a German Aufenthaltserlaubnis (limited residence permit) that includes permission to work as a researcher.

Guest doctors

Guest doctors are visiting doctors, either from Germany or abroad, who have a guest doctor contract (Gastarztvertrag) and are therefore permitted – unlike observers – to work as doctors and treat patients during their stay in a particular department. They must be fully qualified in human medicine or dentistry. Unlike German doctors, foreign doctors do not need to obtain Approbation (the licence to practise medicine in Germany) in order to be allowed to work as a guest doctor. Instead they must have a limited residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis), a work permit (Arbeitserlaubnis) and a temporary permit to practise medicine (Berufserlaubnis) as required by German law (§ 10 Bundesärzteordnung (BÄO). The temporary permit to practise medicine (Berufserlaubnis) required by German law (§10 BÄO) is provisional and is issued during the process of applying for Approbation (German licence to practise medicine). However, this provisional permit does not entitle a visiting doctor to fulfil the function of a regular doctor on duty. A visiting doctor must always be supervised by a licensed doctor (a doctor with Approbation) who is responsible for the visitor’s actions.