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Living in Germany guide

Find out all you need to know to relocate and live in Germany with the expat guide

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Generalities

General information
  • Located in Central Europe, Germany is a major destination for expatriates worldwide because of its prosperous and stable economic and political situation.

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Formalities

Visas, passports and entry requirements
  • EU and EEA members will not need a visa, nor will those who are nationals of a 100 or so other countries that are visa exempt.

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  • Foreigners wishing to get married in Germany have to obtain a certificate of non-objection beforehand, regardless of their nationality.

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Visas

Work visas, work permits, working holiday visas and residence permits
  • EU citizens do not require a visa to work in Germany, but will need to apply for a residency permit upon arrival. Non-EU nationals will need a work permit.

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  • German Student Visa for Americans. Information on the requirements in terms of visas en fees to be paid. A personal experience.

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Work

Labour market, how to find a job
  • Summer or seasonal jobs are available in numerous industries in Germany, such as theme parks, catering or retail. There are also work placements.

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  • To find a job in Germany, you first have to adapt your resume according to German norms. Registering with local agencies may help, as well as internet.

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  • The historic city of Dresden in Saxony is popular with expats. The city's economy is mainly focused on electronics and pharmaceuticals.

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  • Hanover, located in Lower Saxony, offers various professional opportunities to foreigners thanks to the large number of firms operating there.

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Accommodation

How to rent a house or an apartment, leases and rental agreements
  • It may not always be easy to find accommodation in Germany. Rent prices in some regions may be quite high. But you can choose from a range of options.

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  • Düsseldorf sits on the Rhine river and has good accommodation options in its many neighbourhoods. Unsurprisingly, rent is cheaper in the outskirts.

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  • Hamburg, is located in Northern Germany at the mouth of the river Elbe. It offers residents both historical sights and lively neighbourhoods.

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  • Hanover is a pleasant city in Lower Saxony that is appealing to expats either looking to work or study in the region.

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  • Munich is considered to be the most expensive city to live in in Germany, however it remains a very desirable expat destination.

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Study

Student visa, University registration
  • Different types of visas apply to foreigners wishing to study in Germany. However, formalities differ for European Union and non-European Union nationals.

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  • Student living in Germany can be very fulfilling. The country has good higher education institutions as well as strong cultural appeal.

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  • What are the advantages of starting your higher studies in Germany ? How to proceed ? What are the granted scholarships ?

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Health care

Public and private health systems

Bank

Open and manage a bank account
  • To open a bank account in Germany, you will need a valid passport and a residency certificate. Procedures are rather simple and should not take long.

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Tax

Tax system, income tax
  • German income tax is deducted on a pay-as-you-earn basis. If your original country has a double taxation agreement with Germany, you must pay income tax.

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Transports

Train, bus, plane, car rental
  • Berlin, the German capital city, has an extensive public transport network which consists of trains, subways, trams, buses. Rates are affordable.

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  • Germany has an extensive public transport network which will allow you to travel comfortably from one city to another, or to neighbouring countries.

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Driver's licence

Driving requirements
  • EU/ EEA nationals may drive in Germany with their national driver's licence, while non-EU/EEA citizens may do so for up to six months only.

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Removal

moving, formalities and useful tips
  • It is best to hire relocation experts if you intend to move to Germany and need to transport your belongings

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Communications

Phone line, internet provider, post office
  • Although the landline market remains monopolised by a state operator, Germany has several mobile service providers. Coverage varies between providers.

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  • Germany has a well-developed communications network with numerous types of connection on offer at affordable prices. Free wi-fi can be hard to come by.

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Leisure

Sports, leisure and cultural activities
  • Football is undoubtedly the main sport in Germany, but many other sports such as handball, basket-ball, etc., are also very popular.

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  • Germany offers a wide range of leisure activities. During your stay there, you can discover its numerous museums, monuments, forests and nature parks, etc.

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  • You can indulge in various leisure activities in Berlin. Enjoy your afternoons and week-ends by discovering its historical, cultural and natural wonders.

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  • Germany offers a range of childcare services (such as kindergartens), as well as state support and unpaid leave if your child is under the age of three.

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  • Pets are generally welcome in Germany, provided you complete all the required formalities. It is important to check EU requirements before you travel

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