Moving to Germany
7 primary tasks
You decided to move to Germany and for sure you’ll enjoy a lot of benefits staying here. What are the next steps to be fulfilled during the first weeks of your stay to meet legal requirements? What are the obstacles you might meet on the way and how to overcome them? This is what we’ll be talking about this article. And if you are only planning to get a residence permit in Germany or open a business in Germany, please get in touch with us.
Our company, Nexus-Europe GmbH, assists foreign entrepreneurs with company formation in Germany as well as with complex business development. Our specialists know all the nuances of business immigration and are happy to assist you with applying for the German residence permit as a self-employed or by means of the EU Blue Card.
7 steps to take when moving to Germany
Here are the main steps one needs to take before and in the first weeks of relocation to Germany:
1. Finding an apartment for moving to Germany
Depending on the city you are going to live in, finding an apartment might be a challenging task. Especially if you are going to stay in a big city. The demand for affordable apartments in metropolises is very high. Therefore owners of properties are very picky who to rent apartments to. In this regard German citizens with a good job and good credit report history will have a priority.
If you have an employment contract with a good salary when moving to Germany, it essentially simplifies the process. The situation is much more complicated for self-employed people who cannot verify permanent income.
What are the solutions? You should start looking for an apartment prior to your arrival in Germany. There are several portals that you can start with. We’ll share the links to some of them with you — please watch the video below till the end to get them.
You must prepare supporting documents for the potential landlord in advance. Usually it would be expected that you provide:
A copy of your passport and residence permit (if you have it)
Proof of your income and employment contract
Your credit report (it can be obtained from Schufa).
If you are not able to provide some of the documents, we suggest that you think of another way to show your credibility as a tenant in advance: for example, a bank account statement showing a sufficient amount or proof of your other income.
Watch our video to learn about the main steps that need to be taken when moving to Germany:
2. Finding an initial place to live
Since finding a proper apartment for moving to Germany is not simple, you should think beforehand where you will live until you find a permanent place. Some people stay in hostels or hotels. Alternatively you can look for a furnished apartment that can be rented for a short term. Or you can rent a room or stay at a friend’s place. However it is important that you are able to register with this address. At least you need to be able to provide the so-called “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung” to get a registration.
3. Anmeldung when moving to Germany
According to the German law, anyone who moves into a residence has to register with the registration authorities within 14 days of moving in. The procedure is called Anmeldung. Upon registration you will get a certificate — “Anmeldebestätigung". This certificate is very important when moving to Germany and will be required by the bank to open you an account, to obtain the tax ID, or even by the internet and phone providers to give you a contract.
Anmeldung can be made in the Bürgeramt. In most German cities you will need to make an appointment with the Bürgeramt. This can be done online. If there are no available appointments, you should keep checking the portal — they can appear any moment. If it doesn’t work, you should call or even visit the chosen office of the Bürgeramt in person to request an appointment explaining that the situation is urgent.
Make sure that you prepared the documents required for Anmeldung in advance. Also keep in mind that employees in the Bürgeramt often don’t speak English. You should think of bringing an interpreter or someone who is able to assist you with communication.
4. Health Insurance
When moving to Germany, you are legally required to have health insurance. If you apply for a residence permit, travel insurance is not sufficient. For living in Germany as a resident you must get proper health insurance. There are 2 types of the health insurance: public and private. Private health insurances are available only for 3 groups of people: self-employed people, students or for employees who earn more than 64 350 € a year.
Although for some expats a private health insurance might be the only available option, obtaining it is not as simple as it seems. Many private health insurance providers require applicants to undergo a medical and dental examination. They do tend to be very critical in this regard and at the slightest suggestion of any pre-existing condition they might either tremendously increase the cost of the insurance or you can be declined at all. The German health insurance system is very complicated. It makes sense to find an insurance broker in advance who will explain you the differences and help you find the best option for you.
5. Bank account
It might seem unbelievable, but opening a bank account in Germany for non EEA residents is a real challenge. Many German banks simply decline opening such accounts. However once you get a German residence and registration address (Anmeldung) opening an account will be much easier.
f the bank of your choice declines opening an account for you, go to any Sparkasse and approach them to open you an account. There are many branches of Sparkasse in each city. We suggest that you open an account as soon as you make the Anmeldung after moving to Germany. You might need it for renting an apartment, obtaining a contract with a phone provider to name just a few.
6. Personal Liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung)
This insurance is not mandatory. However we recommend that you get such insurance for yourself. Imagine if there is a fire in the apartment you rented or someone broke a leg because you accidentally hit them with your bike. In Germany you would have to compensate the damage costs. They can reach up hundreds of thousands of euro. Liability insurance covers most of the expenses. The costs and conditions for such insurance vary from provider to provider, but generally it costs less than 100 euro per year.
7. Emergency numbers (Notrufnummern)
Write down the main phone numbers you might need in emergency situations and keep them with you at all times. The most important ones are:
Fire-and-Rescue Service (Rettungsdienst und Feuerwehr): 112
Emergency Medical Help (Ärztlicher Bereitschaftsdienst): 116117
Embassy of your country
Think what else you might need when moving to Germany and put the contacts on your list.
If you don’t speak German, make sure you know German-speaking person who you can reach out to in case of emergency at least by phone.
There is a lot that can be said on the topic of relocation to Germany. We’ve told you about the main things to pay attention to. If you are interested in moving to Germany and getting a residence permit as well doing business in Germany, please get in touch with us!
This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Each situation is unique and professional advice should always be obtained before taking or refraining from any action.