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Moving to Germany

Immigration

For EU citizens, moving to Germany has never been easier. You don’t need a visa or a work permit but you do need to register with the local authorities if you intend to stay longer than 3 months. Your family can also come, even if they are not EU citizens. If you are from a country which is a member of the EEA, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, you can enjoy the same principles of free movement as an EU citizen. Swiss citizens can move to Germany without a visa but they will need a residency permit. If you’re from a new EU member state, Bulgaria or Romania, you will need a work permit. When you apply for a job they will have to prove that the position could not have been filled by a German citizen or an EU applicant.

Non EU immigration

If you are from outside of the EU things are a little more difficult. You will have to apply for a visa at the German embassy or consulate in your own country. Be warned! This could take quite some time if you’re planning a longer term stay in Germany. You will also require a work permit, which you will need to apply for in your own country. If you have an income of more than €45,000 you can apply for an EU blue card which will make travelling in the EU much easier. If you are from a profession which is in shortage in Germany (scientists, mathematicians, engineers, doctors, and IT specialists) then you only need to earn €35,000. If you’re seen as highly qualified or with specialist knowledge you could qualify for immediate permanent residency.

Registration

Once you arrive in Germany you need to register your new address with the local authorities. These are called either the Einwohnermeldeamt or the Bürgeramt. You have up to 2 weeks to do this. The bureaucracy is extremely thorough in Germany, get used to filling in forms. You will need to book an appointment online beforehand. Make sure you take all your documents with you, your ID or passport, a rental agreement from your landlord and a registration form. The registration form is in German so you might want to fill it in before you go, so you can take your time. Find out more about registration in Germany here!

Good to know

You will need a bank account ASAP. This is vital. Without a bank account you can’t get paid, you can’t rent a flat, get a phone or an internet provider, no health insurance, nothing! Luckily it is possible to open an account with some banks from abroad and you don't need to have a permanent address either.

Health insurance is mandatory. You have three options, government insurance (GKV), private insurance or a combination of the two. Health insurance is expensive but your employer must pay 50% and medical care is generally considered to be good. Don’t be tempted to take out ‘expat’ insurance, it is likely to not be recognised in Germany.

Finding accommodation

Almost as many people rent their accommodation as own their own homes in Germany. You shouldn’t find it too difficult to find a property to rent. You can search online yourself or choose to hire an estate agent to help you. An estate agent will arrange everything for you but they will also charge you a hefty fee (up to 2 months’ rent plus 19% VAT) so be warned. Rental accommodation is not usually furnished and utilities are generally separate and your own responsibility. You will need a deposit, this is usually 2 months’ rent, refundable when there is no damage. Buying a house can be difficult. Getting a mortgage can be difficult for an expat. You will usually need a permanent contract and years of bank statements and proof of earnings. Find out more about housing in Germany here!

Mundialz

There are a million things to think about when you’re deciding how to move to Germany. Mundialz is here to help with the relocation process. Whether you’re thinking of moving to Stuttgart or moving to Dusseldorf, we’re here to give you tips on moving to Germany.

Check out our pages on living in Germany and working in Germany for more information.

Browse exciting opportunities for moving to Germany for work.

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