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Registration in Germany

With its thriving economy and excellent standard of living, it’s no wonder that thousands of expats are streaming into Germany every year. The German registration process can seem complicated at first. The Germans love their paperwork! The good thing about this super-structured system is that it is clear, transparent and simple to navigate. Get your documentation ready and you’re good to go! If you are an EU citizen, then things are as simple as moving here, finding a house and registering your address. Things are a little more complex for non-EU citizens, but it is still a straightforward process.


If you are from an EU, you do not need a visa to travel to Germany. You can move here with no restrictions. If you are from outside of the EU, you may need a visa to enter the country. For stays, under 90 days, you only need a C-type, short-stay or Schengen visa. These are for tourists only, for business travellers there is a different kind of visa. For longer stays, you need to apply for a D-type or long-stay visa. This also serves as a residence and work permit. You must apply as early as possible at the Dutch embassy in your own country and provide all the necessary documentation. This visa is dependent on your job contract and will usually last 1 year. There are special rules for highly qualified migrants, whose skills are in high demand on the German job market.

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Work Permits

EU citizens don’t need a work permit to work in Germany. Non-EU citizens must apply for a work permit as part of their visa. German immigration is subject to tight regulations and they are strict on documentation. Make sure everything is in order and translated if necessary. To qualify for a general work permit, you need a guaranteed job and your employer must prove that the position could not have been filled by an EU citizen. Self-employed people, wishing to set up business in Germany, must prove that their business is of unique value to the local German economy. Highly skilled migrants can apply for an EU blue card. This is a powerful work permit, which allows professionals to move around freely within Europe. If your new job earns more than €50,800 (€39,624 for scientists and engineers), then you should qualify for the coveted EU blue card.

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The Steuernummer is often confused with the steuerindentifikationsnummer. The latter is the most important. It is your unique tax identification code. You need it so your employer can charge you the correct income tax. You will also need it to open a bank account or to claim social benefits. You will be issued one automatically when you go through registration in Germany. It comprises of 11 digits and is exclusive to you. The Steuernummer, on the other hand, is a special tax number designed for freelancers. They need to put it on their invoices so they can pay tax. Freelancers should apply for a Steuernummer at their local tax office when they register their business. It has the xx/xxx/xxxxx format and is temporary. If you move or change your business, it can change.

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The German identifikationsnummer is also known as the steuerindentifikationsnummer or SteuerID. It is your unique tax identification code. Everyone in Germany has one. Babies born in Germany are issued one at birth. Expats will be allocated one when they register their address. You need it to pay your taxes and deal with government bodies. It is permanent, it stays the same your entire life. You should go through German registration within 14 days of moving to Germany. Make an appointment with your local Burgeramt (citizens office). The forms are available online and you can fill them out in advance. Registration is usually free, but if you delay you can be fined.

Discover how to get an identifikationsnummer!


Once you have been living in Germany for 8 years, you might decide to make it official and apply for German citizenship. The German passport is the strongest in the world, you can enter 176 countries without a visa. German citizenship entitles you to live in Germany forever and have the same constitutional rights as a natural-born German citizen. You can vote, stand for election, work in the civil service and receive consular help in emergency situations abroad. You can apply for German citizenship after 8 years, or 3 years if you’re married to a German citizen. You need to speak and write German to at least B1 level and you must take a naturalisation test. It is possible to have dual citizenship for some countries, including the EU and the former Soviet Union.

Learn how to get a German passport.


Mundialz are experts in relocation. We can help you find the perfect job for you in your dream location. Then, we help you to surmount all the bureaucratic hurdles that stand between you and your ambitions. Our community of professionals have seen it, done it and got the t-shirt! Who better to guide you than people who have personal experience?

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