To be ready for the challenges of moving to Germany, here is the life saver to do list for moving to Germany. There are ultimate hints about before and after to do´s. You can easily print out the list and mark one by one. So, you will never miss a thing.
Moving to Germany
Before leaving your home country
1) Check expiry date of your passport
For visa application, your passport must be valid for a certain time for each country. Therefore it is very critical to check this date before you apply for visa.
In addition, you need to renew your passport if you are married and your surname changed.
2) Check visa requirements and apply for visa
This may vary based on the country you will go and visa type you will apply. You might also be interested with student visa application and family reunion visa application.
3) Take a copy and scan of your passport
It is very important to have copy and scan of your passport. In case of loss, you can contact with the authorities with these information.
4) Search for house or make a reservation to a hotel or Airbnb
Finding an accommodation can sometimes be hard. Especially if you are searching for it from distance. If you could not find it, it would be logic to make a reservation to a hotel or Airbnb for limited amount of time before you leave your country.
5) Visit your doctor
I think this is an essential step for new beginning in another country. Because it will also give you a chance to learn your health insurance requirements in case you need special care.
6) Exchange your money in your home country
You should exchange your money from a bank or exchange office in your country. Airports are not good options due to high amount of exchange loss.
7) Take some pills with you
Due to your arrival day or time, you may not find a pharmacy when you need something. Therefore it would be very wise to take some pills with that you can require urgently.
8) Get your documents translated by sworn translator
For most of the countries, you would need translation of your documents. Check carefully the requirements in advance and make your documents ready in your home country. I can tell that it could be cheaper like this. In Germany, English and German documents are accepted by most of the state agency or universities with English programs. But be careful that if you want to enrol for a German program in a university, then different requirements can apply. Therefore if you have a specific plan check the requirements in advance.
9) Get certified copy of your translated documents
Sometimes you need to make more than one application (such as university) to increase your chances. Therefore you may need certified copy of your documents.
For Germany, you can get a certified copy of your official documents (such as diploma, certificates) from German Embassy in your home country. But as far as I know there is a limit for it.
10) Take passport and visa size photo with you
In official works, you will need many photo. It could be cheaper in your country. Therefore, I recommend you to take a lot with you.
After moving to Germany
1) Take confirmation letter from your householder
If you have found an accommodation in new country, additional confirmation letter from your householder is required during your registration in the city. This document is different than your rental agreement. It is called “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung” in Germany.
2) Register to the city
If you already found a house, as soon as you get your “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung”, you can directly register to the city. Registration is done by “Bürgerbüro”, “Rathaus” or “Ausländeramt” in Germany and there is no payment for it.
If you did not find a house when you arrive, you can use your hotel or Airbnb address as temporary for registration to the city. As soon as you find a place, you can directly change your address. Therefore you do not have to wait until you find an accommodation in new country for city registration.
If you will have two houses, you can also register for second house. But in this registration you need to pay taxes which is 9% of your “Kaltmiete” in Bayern, Germany. If your second house is for studying, then you are exempt from this tax.
3) Check work permit of your visa
Generally you can find this information in the remarks part of your visa. But if you are not so sure, you can clarify your questions with “Bürgerbüro” in Germany.
As an example if you got a student visa, you can work max 20 hours per week and 120 days in total as full-time or 240 days as part-time in Germany. On the other hand, if you applied for family reuinification visa (“Familienzusammenführung” in German), you will have unlimited working and studying permit.
4) Buy a local SIM card
As soon as you arrive, buy a local SIM card. It could take time for its activation. Therefore be prepared for using your old SIM card for a while.
5) Open a bank account
Keep in mind that if you do not have a job yet or if you are not an enrolled student in a school or university, you have to pay approximately 6€ each month.
6) Register for health insurance
It is one of the most critical thing that you must do after your arrival to a new country. There are several companies which offer wide range of health insurances to the people in Germany. You can choose state or private health insurance. The prices change based on your status. It means, the amount of payment differs, if you are studying or working (ratio based on your gross salary).
If you are married and husband/ wife is working. Then one of you can use the health insurance of other. So that you do not have to pay two times same price.
7) Register to your home country embassy in abroad
I can recommend you to learn where the embassy of your home country is. It is obligatory to inform them within 2 weeks that you moved per post or visit (Check the requirement in new country). If you inform them later than 2 weeks, you can get penalty. It is required for
- being able to vote in elections in your country
- arranging your military obligations
- avoiding obligatory health insurance payments in your home country
- dealing with possible heritage issues and so on…
8) Apply for extending your visa
Your given visa is generally for short periods or do not cover your desired period of stay (Generally 3 months given by Germany). Therefore, when you arrive to new country, you need to apply to extend your visa from Immigration Office. You need to make an appointment and get a list of documents to extend your visa. Required documents may vary based on your purpose of stay like working, studying and so on…
9) Visit Employment Office
If you do not have a job in new country, you can visit employment office (“Agentur für Arbeit” in German) and register yourself as unemployed and searching for a job (“Arbeitssuchend” in German). Based on your qualifications, employment office can offer you some job postings or you can enter their website and look for possible job opportunities by yourself.
10) Visit Jobcenter
Jobcenter is not an institution to find a job. It is related with unemployment pay. So, you should not mix them up. If overall income of your family is not enough to manage daily life of your family, then you can apply for unemployment pay by showing the evidences and you can get support payments.
11) Visit Information Offices (called Welcome Center in Stuttgart)
There could be information offices in most of the big cities. I can assure you it is worth to check for professional support in many subjects such as
preparing CV and cover letter specific to that country
searching for a job (Sometimes there too specific platforms to that country. Xing can be given as an example for Germany. It is like LinkedIn but only used in Germany.)
recognition of your diploma
finding sworn translator
which organizations offer support for what (For example there is an organization for professional knowhow exchange by mentor system for women in Stuttgart.)
finding language courses
financing this language courses (possible opportunities)
I got such information from Welcome Center in Stuttgart which was very helpful indeed.
12) Get certified copy of your official documents
In Germany, you can get a certified copy from “Bürgerbüro” by paying approximately 4€.
13) Visit tax office
If you are married, simply you may decrease your taxes. When your wife/husband is not working or one of you earn better than the other, you can arrange your tax classification so that overall income of your family increases.
14) Learn how to finance your language courses
In Germany, you have three options as far as I experienced.
1st: When you apply for extending your visa, the immigration office could request from you to join integration courses. These courses are given until end of B1 level and the immigration office pays half of your course by giving you a document about it.
2nd: If you are enrolled to employment office as unemployed and searching for a job, then you can attend job-oriented language courses (“Berufsbezogene Deutschkurs” in German) and employment office pays half of the course for you. Because it is a required qualification for you to work in that country.
3rd: If you are working and your job requires German skills, then you can be sent by your company to a language course. In this case you do not pay anything.
15) Enrol a language course
In my opinion, learning the language is the most important thing for easier adaptation to new country. Therefore, spend time for it at the beginning.
16) Learn how to use your driving licence
In Germany, your driving licence is not valid after 6 months. Therefore, new driving licence must be taken after 6 months. It can also differ country to country based on your origin. Here you can find more details about how to take driving licence in Germany.
I hope you liked the moving to Germany to do list. 🙂
Learn more: 30 Awesome Tips for Germany & 40 Awesome Tips for Germany
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