Ten Tips on How to Painlessly Relocate to Germany

Have you ever thought of moving overseas? And ask yourself: how to relocate to a new country such as Germany? Is it easy? What do you need to do and to bring with you?

Using my own experience in relocating to Germany, I give you ten tips to answer these questions. Including recommendations as to what you will need to do before leaving your own country and once you arrive in the beautiful green Germany.

1) Residence Permit (visa) versus Tourist Visa

The first question you must ask yourself is how long do you want to stay in Germany: is it a short stay? Less than 3 months? Or a rather long one? If you decided to stay more than 3 months, then you will need a residence permit (visa). Why? Because your tourist visa is good only for 3 months.

2) How to get the Residence Permit?

After you have arrived in Germany, you have three months to get your residence permit. The documents you will need are the following:

-valid passport, one per person -proof that you have a place to live -proof that you can support yourself and your family (if applicable) financially -proof of health insurance -proof of marriage (if applicable) -Medelschein -sometime, birth certificate (specially for the children) -pet’s passport and vaccine certificate

Have these documents with you on your arrival; DON’T packed them in a suitcase or in a box “somewhere”. I must insist on the fact that these documents need to be the original ones.

3) What is the Medelschein?

It is a document that shows that you are registered at the city hall. You have to go to the city hall of your place of residence to get it. It is usually very easy and fast to get: you’ll need your passport and a proof of where you stay. You need to bring this document along when asking for a residence permit.

4) What to bring?

If you are relocating to Germany for many months, you will no doubt want to bring clothing and other personal items with you. Basically, bring with you what you think will be difficult to find oversea (such as peanut butter and maple syrup!). But remember, Germany is a very civilize country and being more of less in the center of Europe, it is very easy to go from there to just about anywhere else on the continent!

Also, take in consideration that it will take weeks for your belongings to arrive if you ship them overseas. So, better to ship them ahead of time and keep a good quantity of clothing and necessary items to bring with you on the plane.

5) Learning some German

Before leaving your country, you might want to learn a bit of German. Indeed, it is NOT in our experience that English is being spoken everywhere in Germany or in the rest of Europe for that matter. On the contrary, outside of big touristic cities such as Frankfurt and Berlin, few people do speak it. They might understand it, but with difficulty. So, if you’re here for the long run, better take a course or two.

6) German culture

While learning the language, why not try to find more information about the country and its culture? Germans, like everyone else, have their own way of doing things and it would make it easier on you to know a bit about them before coming. The link below takes you to a web-site where you can find all kind of info about the country and its people.

7) Your new house in Germany.

What are you looking for? A house? A condo? An apartment?

In the city? Or in the country side? Don’t forget that in Germany, public transport is very efficient and goes just about everywhere, even in small towns, and that housing outside big city center is less expensive.

You may want to start looking before coming, as vacancies are limited in European cities in general. There are many agencies that offer to help you find a place to stay, but they do charge a fee to the owner as well as the tenant.

Another important point about is housing furnished versus unfurnished. You see, in Germany they really mean unfurnished. That is: there is no furniture of any kind. Not even a bathtub or a toilet in some cases and certainly no kitchen closets and counters. Nothing.

So, unless you’re there for quite some time and like renovating, you might want to look for furnished.

8) Bank

As you can not pay your bills with checks (they don’t accept checks anywhere), you will need to open a bank account to transfer money from this account to the companies from which you buy services. It is relatively easy and straight forward. There are many kind of bank transfers and if you are interested to learn more about this issue go to banks on the link below.

9) Pets

Although there is no longer a quarantine require when bringing your pet to Europe, there are certain rules to follow.

Your dog or cat most have had its vaccines against rabies at least 30 days before departure and NO more than 12 months before entering German territory. You will of course need proof of all vaccinations, to be presented at the border on your arrival. So, best to have them with you at all time during the trip. Another important point: Pets in Europe must now have an identification number, either as a tattoo that can be easily seen or as a microchip and their own passport issued by a vet.

10) Shops and business hours

Most stores (including pharmacies) are closed from Saturday afternoon 1 or 2 p.m., until Monday morning in Germany. So, if you arrive on a Saturday, you might have to eat at the restaurant for the next two days. Which is a good way to explore your surroundings in search of a different restaurant each meal!

Welcome to Germany! Willkommen!