Moving to Germany: The Most Important Steps

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Welcome back to our “Customs With Katy!” International Edition blog feature, where we focus on International customs-related topics for various countries abroad, brought to you by none other than Phillips’ very own Move Manager, Katy Duncan! Back up to Europe we go. As you prepare for moving to Germany, find out the most important steps you’ll need to take before and after arriving in the country. As seen in EXPATICA, below are a few steps to get you started.


Note: this list is not the complete version – only a brief segment. The following tips are paraphrased excerpts from the above noted source:


Work permit for Germany

As with most other countries, working in Germany requires a work permit with a rather restrictive immigration policy. Unless you happen to be an EU citizen already, limited options exist to apply for and secure a German work visa, which you can find here. Other options are available, which you will find and can read about at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees website.

In terms of where to apply for a work permit, you’ll need to apply for a German residence title from within your country of residence at the local embassy or consulate, assuming that you qualify (as there are nationality exceptions to this rule). A list of embassies is published along with the regulations regarding the nationalities which are exempted from this rule at the Federal Foreign Office.

With the healthcare system being one of the best in the world, it is protected against any misuse, and so you will require preliminary health insurance for 90+ days to cover the gap between entry into the country and applying for insurance. Though, know that a few restrictive requirements must be complied with so consult a specialized insurance broker. Once effectively employed, you will then switch over to healthcare insurance by either:

You can either make your decision on your plan of choice prior to your move and sign once in the country, or more appropriately, once you have registered in Germany. Also, German legal requirements are not covered under CIGNA insurances, and thus not sufficient under immigration law.

The documents that you will require to obtain a permit are indicated on the embassy’s website.

  •  Applying for a Blue Card? Check if your qualifications will be accepted at the anabin database
  •  Is your university or degree not yet listed? Apply for an evaluation for 200 Euros and which takes two weeks processing time

Blue Card Application – Processing time usually takes two to four weeks, and any other type will take much longer due to the embassy involving the ZAV (an authority that reviews and determines whether or not a German person is equally qualified for a job granted to a foreigner, under the Federal Employment Office). This process can be sped up via a letter of urgency from your future employer submitted with your application, along with a connection to the German embassy’s officer managing your case.


Travel to Germany

You’ll receive a 90-day business visa allowing you to begin working for your new employer, if your application proves successful. Ensure that you have your essential application documents ready for immigration.


Taxes in Germany

Seek tax advice before you sign any employment contract so that you are not surprised by any unexpected costs. Use a German tax calculator, such as the Brutto Netto Rechner, to get a rough idea of your net income, as all but the salary is reasonably deducted. Although not exact, it assumes a decent figure and factors in public healthcare insurance. Also be sure to read the German Government’s official site on taxes entitled, “Make it in Germany” for further information.


Organising your household move to Germany

Once certain that you have been granted your work permit, and your move is happening, you can begin organising your household move. First, set the arrival date of your shipping container to three months after you have settled in the country. The company you use to ship our objects will let you know the estimated arrival times, as times typically can change due to rescheduling of routes.

Also check the electronic devices you’ll be able to use in Germany, as many will not work due to different power settings. Also, a normal king-size bed fits in German bedrooms just fine, however, living room space is often smaller, so large sofas may significantly reduce space.


Many steps remain! Keep reading through the list, or, read on…


To review: Prepared to finally get moving to Germany? Alright – you’re going to want to visit the original article and check out all linked resources included within (most of which are critical). You’ve read through only four – the complete list contains 11 steps. There are still seven left for you to review, and there is a lot to know in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises along the way.

For additional cross-border (and international) customs tips, periodically check out our frequent news updates.

As always, until next time, stay safe and stay customs compliant!

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