Moving to Germany
1,200 kinds of sausages, 300 kinds of bread, and 7,000+ kinds of beer are at the bottom of what this country has to offer. Free-tuition education, one of the best healthcare systems and a diverse population awaits you in Germany. The 3rd best country in overall ranking measured by U.S News.
Hercules has gathered some important tips to help you choose your dream destination and make packing for a move easier.
Icebreaker: Get to know Deutschland - the land of people.
Germany is one of 27 countries along with Italy, Switzerland, Norway, and Poland that are included in the European Union. The main language is German with a variety of dialects spread from the east to the west. The population of Germany is over 84 million with 80% Germans. The next largest group is Turks (3.7%), followed by Poles (1.9%), Russians (1.5%) and Italians (1%).
Communism impacted religious belief in Germany, resulting in 35% of the population becoming atheists or agnostics, especially in eastern Germany. The 3 largest religions are Roman Catholicism approximately 29%, Evangelical Christianity - 27%, and Islam - 5%.
The Federal Republic of Germany is a federal state and is organized as a parliamentary democracy. The official currency in Germany is Euro (€).
How to Immigrate to Germany
There are a couple of ways you can legally immigrate to Germany. Before choosing any of the options, you need to remember these requirements:
Studying in Germany is a great opportunity not only to get a quality education but also to get a residence permit for the period of study. Very few foreigners using this type of immigration are aware of the fact that it offers free tuition. Universities in Germany have very low or no fees at all.
- Proof of FinancesAs we have mentioned before, any newcomer must prove that they have enough funds to sponsor them inside Germany. This amount may vary depending on the reason for your stay.
- Basic Language KnowledgeAlthough it is not mandatory, you are expected to have a basic understanding of German or a B1 level. To be able to apply for a residence permit, you must have a higher proficiency.
- Health InsuranceIt is mandatory for each resident to have valid health insurance in Germany issued by a licensed medical insurance provider.
The most common types of visas are student visas, work visas and family reunion visas. Expect your German visa application to take about 6 - 12 months. Information on German Visas types and reuirements couild be found here.
Tip: Want to bring your pets to Germany? Make sure they are vaccinated and have all the Required Documents ready.
First Steps upon arrival in Germany
If you want to live in Germany and wonder what to do next, you would want to save this list.
- Address registration (Anmeldung).
Those who stay in Germany for more than 3 months, must register their address at the closest Town Hall. Be mindful that not all the housing in Germany allows Anmeldung. To make an Anmeldung appointment follow this link.
Bring with you:
- Open a Bank Account.
Opening a bank account in Germany after the move is crucial for your future residence. You will get the debit card and will receive money from the employer on that account. Use the banking statement to prove financial security when applying for a Residence permit.
- Buy a Sim Card.
If you're planning to stay in Europe for a while, consider buying a contract SIM card. These are normally purchased for 24 months and cost anywhere from €1.99 (150 MB) to €100 for unlimited data. Note that to purchase this german sim card you must provide proof of address in Germany (Anmeldung).
- Social Security Number.
To work in Germany, you must have a Social Security/Insurance Number, representing a unique 11-digit number (12 123456 A 123). It is used by the German public pension fund to identify you. You either get it automatically with public health insurance or you must get it yourself with private health insurance.
- Driving License & Auto Insurance.
When moving to a big city in Germany you might consider owning a car, although public transport is highly developed.
The non - European driving license will only be valid for 6 months starting from the first address registration date. It must be translated by reliable authorities and present at all times. You will be able to convert your license to german after an additional procedure.
Healthcare in Germany
One of the biggest advantages of moving to Germany is its healthcare system. Medical bills are covered for those who own healthcare insurance, thus, everyone.
Everyone will receive the medical care they need regardless of the amount they pay. Each contributes from 14.6% to 15.6% of his salary per month and half of the insurance is covered by the employer. In this way, the rich support the poor, and the healthy support the sick.
The cost of private health insurance depends on your age and pre-existing health conditions. The coverage can be chosen by the need, more coverage costs more money. Available for individuals earning more than €62,350 per year (employed), self-employed, freelancers, students and civil servants.
Earning and Spending in Germany
What would your financials look like once you have successfully moved to Germany? Our goal is to provide the basics that can come in handy.
The minimum wage in Germany is €9.82 per hour, in July 2022 this number will increase to €10.45. It is approximately €1,620 per month (full-time) - gross income (Bruttogehalt).
The good average income in Germany is considered to be from €60,000 to €75,000 per year. The salary would depend on your education, years of experience, and the size of the company in particular.
Renting vs. Housing in Germany
The final and the most important question for today is where to stay in Germany after the move. In Germany, the housing situation differs from other European countries.
Renting in Germany is quite tricky, the facts that we will mention might surprise even experienced relocators. Not all the apartments in Germany come with a built-in kitchen, other appliances, and furniture. It is cheaper to hire a moving company to pack and ship your possessions, rather than buying everything again.
Average rent in Germany for a studio or 1 bedroom apartment can vary from €500 to €800 per month. As we have mentioned earlier, ensure that the apartment allows Address registration (Anmeldung). Otherwise, you might get in trouble with 3 months’ leave notice after signing the contract. Be mindful of utilities, as they might be not included in the rent.
The majority of the population does not own any real estate but rather decade rent. The housing market in Germany is very competitive. The up-front costs include real estate agent fees, notary fees, and taxes on the purchase.
Owning a property in Germany almost guarantees you a net worth increase in the future. The prices for real estate are only growing. The average price for a square meter can vary from €2,500 to €9,000.
Getting a mortgage in Germany is another challenge you would have to face. Banks are more likely to approve if you own a permanent residency rather than a temporary residency or a Blue Card.
Life in Germany is ahead of many countries. Innovative technologies and all kinds of startups are only welcome here. The education system, high healthcare system, and constant economical growth make Germany a perfect immigration destination. We recommend the following German cities for emigration: Rammstein, Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Dortmund, and Dusseldorf.