Relocation to Germany – 9 Insider Tips

By Start-Up Services , TIRA member, Germany


The employment contract or the assignment letter has been signed, the visa has been applied for – but what awaits the Transferee really in his new home country Germany? What surprising habits await me when looking for a place to live, regarding bureaucracy and everyday life? Start your new adventure of relocation to Germany, but with less surprises.

Better prepared with 9 insider tips for your relocation to Germany

For better preparation, we give a concise overview of some peculiarities that will emerge when moving to Germany:

Housing search:

German landlords choose their tenants very carefully. Tenants have many rights in Germany and a landlord has difficulties to get rid of the tenant.

In most metropolitan areas, looking for a flat is like looking for a job and there is a lot of competition and a fast pace. Unlike many other countries, in Germany, the landlord usually pays the commission for the real estate agent.
It is also important to know that in Germany unfurnished apartments are completely empty, without built-in wardrobes, not even lamps or curtain rods are available. Usually no kitchen is installed, only the sanitary facilities in the bathroom and toilet are standard. Partly furnished apartments are uncommon and there are either fully furnished or unfurnished apartments.

Net salary:

The salary is transferred in Germany to the employee as a net salary. It is highly recommended to get an approximate calculation of the net salary from the human resources department or via a gross net calculator online in advance. All taxes, social security and compulsory insurance, both employee and employer contributions, are deducted directly from gross salary.

Church tax:

In Germany, members of certain faiths, such as Protestants and Catholics, are subject to church tax. The church tax currently amounts to 8% of income tax. Every baptized person is counted as a member of a church, the actual practice of the faith is not relevant. Those who do not want to pay church tax must leave the church officially and this requires a personal appearance at the authorities.

Health insurance:

In Germany, health insurance is compulsory. Every employee must notify their employer of their health insurance membership on the first day of work. All family members moving to Germany must be insured as well. As a rule, the transferee should take care of the health insurance before entering the country. There is the statutory health insurance, as well as optional private health insurance for employees with an income above a certain limit (2018: yearly gross income € 59,400).

Child benefit:

The German state supports families with an income-independent monthly payment – the child benefit. Anyone who receives an income that is subject to social insurance contributions in Germany and whose children live in Germany (or the EU) can apply.

Driving license:

All driving licenses except EU driving licenses must be converted within 6 months after the first registration in Germany into a German driver’s license. Depending on the country of origin of the driver’s license, either the theoretical and / or practical driving test or no exams are necessary. The transcription process with exams is time consuming and should be started as soon as possible after entry.

Obligation to register:

In Germany, it is required to notify the local authority about each move to and within Germany. The deadline for the registration is currently 14 days. Anyone who is too late or doesn’t register at all has to expect legal consequences.

Opening times:

In Germany, the opening times of shops, supermarkets and shopping centers are determined by the federal state. On Sundays and public holidays, all shops are usually closed, exceptions are only around stations and airports. There is usually no 24/7 shopping, depending on the region, closing times are at 7 or 8 pm, only in a few regions such as Berlin, supermarkets are also open until 10 or 11 pm.

Broadcasting fee:

In Germany every household has to pay a monthly fee for the public television and radio stations. As soon as you are registered in Germany, you will be contacted by the broadcasting service and asked to pay the monthly fee of € 17.50.

If you liked our condensed overview and you have more questions about moving to Germany, feel free to contact our Relocation experts.

This article was originally published here.


More about Start-Up Services

In 1983, the founding year of Start-up Services GmbH, there was only a hand full of pioneering relocation service providers around the world. Today, we, as an active member of TIRA (The International Relocation Associates, offer you a wide range of relocation related services in over 500 locations worldwide.


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More about TIRA
TIRA is an aligned network of quality mobility service providers. The network provides access to leading mobility experts from around the world that provide local solutions to global challenges. Network members exchange best practices and share this value with the industry through benchmarking exercises.

Twitter: @TIRAORG
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Immigration news for Argentina, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Singapore, and Turkey

ARGENTINA | Express Appointments System for Residence Applicants Suspended
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IRELAND | INIS Clarifies Letters of Approval for Atypical Worker Scheme Must Be Used Within 90 Days
Effective immediately, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) has clarified an existing rule for the Atypical Worker Scheme requiring that letters of approval issued for entry clearance be used within 90 days of issuance. Unused letters of approval become invalid after the 90 days.


ISRAEL | New Long-Term Multiple-Entry Business Visa for Indian Nationals
Effective immediately, the Israeli Ministry of Interior will issue a multiple-entry B-2 Visitor Visa for qualifying Indian business travelers valid for up to five years for stays of up to 90 days at a time. Previously, B-2 Visitor Visas for Indian nationals were valid only for a single entry for stays of a maximum of 30 days.


ITALY | Scope of Permissible Activities Narrowed for Business Visas
Effective immediately, Italian consulates will be more strictly assessing business visa applications, particularly when defining the permissible business activities under Visa Decree 850/2011. Specifically, consular officers will be more narrowly construing the scope of the expressed enumerated activities in the Decree: namely, “to make contacts or conduct negotiations” or “for learning and verifying the use and functioning of capital goods purchased or sold under commercial and industrial cooperation agreements.


SINGAPORE | Upcoming Changes to Requirements for Employment Pass and S Pass Applications
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COLOMBIA | New Deadline for Special Stay Permits for Venezuelan Nationals
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PANAMA | Update on New Requirement for In-Person Visits to the Ministry of Labor
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UNITED KINGDOM | Indefinite Leave to Remain Closes for Tier 1 (General) Visa Holders on April 5
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Russia tightens migration rules for World Cup

New changes to the registration procedure for Russian and foreign citizens in Moscow, as well as other major cities for the duration of 2018 FIFA World Cup have been introduced.

What are the changes?

  • For the duration of reinforced security measures, migration registration and residence registration of foreign citizens is to be performed on the next day, following the day of their arrival; to the place of staying or residence by submitting required documents to the relevant local migration authority
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When and where the temporary registration rules will be effective?

  • From May 25, 2018 till July 25, 2018
  • In the territories of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Yekaterinburg, Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod, Kaliningrad, Rostov-na-Donu, Saransk and Samara

Who is affected?

  • Both foreign and Russian citizens arriving from abroad or from other Russian regions into aforementioned cities while reinforced security measures are active

Intermark comments, “We recommend all Russian and foreign citizens arriving during the time of reinforced security measures to timely register on the Decree’s terms – regardless of usual registration-free terms for various categories of citizens.“It is important to remind that violation of registration rules leads to administrative penalties for citizens and for host parties.”In particular, the fine for a host party that fails to meet the requirements of migration registration amounts to the following:

  • 2000 – 4000 rubles (35-70$) – for individuals
  • 40 000 – 50 000 rubles (771-890$) – for officials
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Immigration changes in Poland, Ghana, Iraq, Nigeria and Russia

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Corporate Proxies and General Partners – The requirement of obtaining a Type B work permits for stays of 6 to 12 months has been extended to include companies’ non-EEA national corporate proxies and general partners in addition to the management board members as previously required.


GHANA | Recent Announcement Requires Medical Certificates to Be Obtained In-Country
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IRAQ | Major Changes to Rules on Single-Entry and Multiple-Entry Visas, Exit Visas, and Mobility of Employees With Expired Visas
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RUSSIA | New Rules Bring Administrative Changes to Work Permits Application Process
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