When you move to another country, it’s normal to feel excited quickly followed by a tidal wave of stress. There are so many things to do, and so very many things to pack. You’re not alone though, many of us have made the leap into the great unknown and moved to a new country – for a job, for love, or just for adventure. Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry. We’ve put together a checklist for you with everything from dreaded paperwork to what to do when you arrive in Germany. We’ve also included a handy 60-page ultimate Germany Starter Pack to help you get settled in!
Here’s what you should include on your moving to Germany checklist
1. Find your perfect job
If you’ve arrived in Germany and you have a job already, firstly, congratulations, this is a great step! Secondly, have a think about the following:
- Get a final salary number from HR, find out what the deductions will be so you have a final number to budget with
- Find out if you need to source health insurance on your own or whether your new company will help you with this.
How to get health insurance in Germany
If you are planning to find a job on arrival, great! Sometimes this can be the most fun and often people find jobs via the acquaintances. Don’t forget to consider:
- Check visa and work permit requirements – this is a biggie. You’ll need to know how many hours you’re allowed to work and whether you will have freelance or employment status.
- Start the job search early, and make a list of likely employers in your industry. There’s no harm in sending a few prospective emails.
- Find out if you need different certifications for your industry in Germany. Sometimes you will have to get your certificates translated or authorised.
- Start language classes as soon as you can so you can hit the ground running.
2. Get all your paperwork in order
The word that sends shivers down most people’s spines… paperwork. We all have to complete it, and few of us enjoy it. Here’s a few ideas to make it a little less painful:
- Have a central folder with all birth certificates, marriage certificates, visas, immunisation records, and other important paperwork. Preferably in a cupboard!
- Inform your banks about your move, you don’t want your card blocked when you most need it.
- Find out which banks in your new city are easiest for new residents, local immigrant/expat Facebook groups are a great help here
3. Sort out a place to live
This might be the most important. Home is where the heart is, right?
- Research the neighbourhoods in your new city – do you prefer quiet, noisy, hip or homely?
- Spend some time checking the rental or home buying websites, to get a sense of the cost of housing.
- Find out what the rules are about rental deposits, it can be as much as three months’ rent at once, so plan ahead and don’t get caught out!
- Research what you’re expected to provide yourself in your new home, even when renting – will you need to buy all the light fixtures, get a new kitchen or floorboards installed? It’s common in Germany to have to buy your own kitchen (you can find out more in the free download at the end of this blog)/
- If you’re moving a pet, check the regulations well beforehand in case you need special immunisations or clearances
- Arrange mail redirection. This is a good one and doesn’t usually cost too much.
- Check the power voltage in Germany, and if it’s different from your own, draw up a list of electronic devices and appliances, check which ones are dual voltage and arrange to sell/get rid of the rest
- Arrange overseas moving, keeping in mind you won’t have access to these things for 6-8 weeks, possibly longer. So make sure you pack your favourite things to take with you on the flight over.
- Cancel all subscriptions, gym memberships, phone plans, and utilities – you don’t want to be paying for things that you aren’t using anymore!
- If you are looking for extensive information on renting a place in Germany, read this guide and watch the video on Simple Germany, an online resource that help expats understand life in Germany.
Health facilities differ from country to country. Here are a few tips of the things people tend to forget in the midst of moving.
- Arrange international health insurance cover until your new job starts and your local health insurance takes over.
- Before you leave your home country make sure you get a final check up, and any immunisations you might need in.
- Collect health records for yourself and any family members moving with you.
The different health services in Germany
5. Family and children
Do you have children? Here are a few things to think about when taking this exciting step!
- Research the school system in Germany, often systems differ slightly from country to country.
- Decide if your children will attend a local school, or international school. Do you want them to be more immersed or learn two languages at a time?
- If you choose the international school route, contact the schools as soon as possible as they often have waiting lists.
- Inform your children’s current school of your move, and arrange to have their educational transcripts sent to the new school.
- Buy a small stockpile of your children’s favourite snacks, so you have something familiar to give them until they find a new favourite!
- Join immigrant and expat Facebook groups or forums for your new city, these groups are a wealth of information and possible new friends, too.
Things to consider once you arrive in your new home
You’ve made it! You decided to explore the unknown and take the leap to move to a new country. Now what?
- Register at your local city hall. In Germany, this is a must!
- Apply to exchange your driver’s license for a local one, if possible.
- Register for a Tax ID, without this, you won’t be able to apply for a job.
- Buy a SIM card or new phone so you’re not racking up charges in your old country.
- Find a bakery or cafe to become your new local place, there’s nothing like making traditions to steady yourself when everything feels new.
Get immersed and download your free Germany Starter Pack
Diving into your new language is one of the best ways to prepare. Lingoda has you covered with interactive group and private lessons led by native German speakers. Download your free Germany Starter Pack which, you’ve probably guessed, has everything you need to help your move to Deutschland be a successful one. We cover the practical knowledge you need to know as well as some of the cultural differences you’ll encounter along the way. So sit back, download and happy reading!
Get your free 60-page Germany Starter Pack today!
If you're thinking of moving to Germany, or perhaps you've recently arrived and are feeling a little lost, this pack will be the perfect accompaniment to your new life. Download your free 60-page pack full of details about visas, working contracts and the all-important act of Ruhezeit!