Moving to Germany

Relocating to Germany
Updated 2022-11-08 20:36

If you are planning to relocate to Germany, there are several things you should consider organizing well in advance to avoid finding yourself in a stressful situation just a few days before your relocation. Firstly, you should decide whether you want to undertake the relocation task yourself, and possibly with the help of family and friends, or you wish to hire international movers, experienced in moving large volumes and covering long distances. Secondly, it's a good idea to start making a list of all the things you need to do (e.g., obtain German visas and work permits, purchase health insurance, cancel services that require a notice period, etc.) before your departure. Lastly, if you are

Before moving to Germany

The first and most crucial point in moving is to understand if all the requirements for residing in Germany can be met within the given timeframe. If you come from the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland, this task is relatively easy and requires registration in the place you are moving to. If you are a non-EU citizen, you will have to comply with the visa regulations and obtain a permit to reside in Germany. This rule is an exception for nationals from Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Israel, who can apply for a visa directly from Germany. In the Living in Germany Guide, you will find detailed information about entry requirements for Germany and different types of visas depending on your reason for moving to Germany. 

The task of moving your belongings to Germany

Before you even begin to decide whether you will hire moving professionals to be in charge of packing, shipping, and delivering your belongings in Germany, you should have a clear image of the size of the move and the costs involved or the allowance that your employer has allocated towards your move. For example, will you move to Germany with only a couple of suitcases with your personal stuff, or are you moving an entire household, including furniture and appliances? Obviously, these are two very different situations, requiring an additional amount of attention, time, and budget. Once you have a clear picture of the size of the move, you can start contacting the relocation companies to understand their conditions and fees, which may vary significantly from one mover to another. 

Organizing your belongings before moving to Germany

As moving with your suitcases only is a much easier process, especially if you don't have to worry about storing other belongings in a storage site, we will focus on steps to take if assigning your move to Germany to professional movers. Moving companies usually offer different moving services to choose from, such as full packing services, including the packing of all your belongings, unpacking services, allowing you time to focus on settling in your new life rather than spending weeks of unpacking boxes, and partial packing services. The latter is, of course, a more affordable option but requires a good understanding of what you will pack yourself and what you expect the company to pack. For example, you start with making a list of all the belongings that require special care during the move (e.g., glassware, mirrors, pieces of art, and other fragile objects) and specify to the moving company what you will do yourself, such as dismantling furniture and packing the dishes. 

Regarding the quote you will receive from the moving company, several key points should be considered, such as:

  • The address of origin from where the movers will pack and load your belongings.
  • The destination address in Germany where the movers will unload your belongings.
  • The volume and weight of your stuff specified in the inventory.
  • The custom crating option, recommended for valuable artwork, antiques, and glass tabletops. 
  • The preferred type(s) of transportation (e.g., by air, train, truck, ship), depending on how fast you expect your belongings to get to you in Germany.
  • The terms and conditions and insurance against damage.

Good to know: 

Usually, moving companies unload your belongings directly at the destination address. However, some moving companies unload your belongings in warehouses from where you have to collect them yourself. 

The value statement

The value statement is an important document that sets out the compensation amount you could receive in case of loss or damage to your belongings. Complete the declaration of value yourself by stating the overall value of your belongings and the value of certain particular valuable items. Read the terms and conditions of your contract carefully to find out more about transportation and handling of precious objects. This statement is particularly important because an estimate cannot be established without it. 


A value statement is not insurance that will compensate you for damaged belongings. 

Insurance cover for damage to belongings

The insurance against damage will be proposed and issued by the moving company, and it should cover unpredictable damage associated with the transportation of your belongings up to the value indicated in the declaration of value. Understandably, the cost of insurance depends on the overall value of your belongings. Finally, you must sign the waybill (i.e., a document specifying the terms and conditions of the contract, the mode of transportation, the volume and weight transported, the name and address of both the customer and the moving company) before loading and after the delivery of your belongings. By signing the waybill, you agree with the terms and conditions and give permission to the moving company to proceed with the move. Regarding the moving payment plans, a deposit is usually to be paid before loading, and the remaining balance must be paid upon delivery. 


In general, carriers will handle customs paperwork for you (e.g., customs clearance, etc.). For more security, opt for a carrier affiliated with the FIDI (International Federation of International Movers). 

Good to know: 

Contact the German embassy or consulate or German Customs for more information about relocation to the country, customs, prohibited items, and more. 

Useful links: 

FEDEMAC - Federation of European Movers

FIDI - International Federation of International Removers

Shipping your car to Germany

Shipping your car to Germany is more complicated, and some moving companies have the capacity to also organise the transportation of your car. If you are moving your car to Germany, you should consider whether you want open-sided or enclosed transportation. The latter is recommended for luxury or antique cars, as it will protect the vehicle from dust, debris, and extreme weather conditions. Also, you should discuss with the moving company whether you want door-to-door transportation, meaning that your car will be picked up from your home address and delivered to your new home in Germany. However, note that the carrier lorries are heavy motor vehicles, requiring a lot of space, so if your residential area has narrow streets, maneuvering may be impossible. In that case, you can choose to drive your car to the shipping terminal and collect it from a shipping terminal.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.