Moving to Germany
Germany is a country of free spirits. The German degree of freedom allows you to express yourself comprehensively. Combining calming landscapes, rich history, culture, mouthwatering cuisine, and modern urban development makes this country an ideal destination for international expats. Besides, compared to its European counterparts, Germany is a considerably affordable country.
If you think that Germany is the country you would like to connect your life with, IMovingTo will ensure that your goal is fulfilled without difficulty!
Cost of Living in Germany
Because of its robust economy, Germany is a significantly affordable country to live in. Here, ex-pats can fulfill all their requirements and live a high standard of life. This country is famous for its highest tax rates; however, this is not a concern at all, as compared to other countries, salary levels are significantly higher.
Generally, the cost of living depends on the city where you live. For instance, in highly advanced towns, such as Berlin or Cologne, the cost of living is comparably higher, while east Germany offers significantly affordable prices.
Healthcare System in Germany
Considering the complex, structured nature of the German healthcare system, it is often regarded as one of the best healthcare systems globally. The German healthcare system is highly efficient and reliable, consisting of around 1000 public hospitals. Hospital treatments are excellent here, and you don’t have to pay anything from your pocket.
Germany is famous for its universal multi-payer healthcare system. It is noteworthy that health insurance is mandatory in Germany. It involves both statutory health insurance (SHI) for individuals whose financial income is significantly lower and private health insurance (PHI) for people with a high salary and the desire to have insurance conditions tailored to individual requirements.
The statutory health insurance program involves more than 80% of the population and provides both inpatient and outpatient, as well as mental health and prescription drug coverage.
Different Types of Visas in Germany
If you are an EU national, the German visa application process is relatively easy as you only need to register with local authorities. However, if you are not an EU national, getting your documents approved by German authorities may take longer.
There is an enumeration of different types of visas in Germany:
A tourist visa is required for vacations and visiting family or friends. If you stay with relatives, you should provide proof of your relationship.
A business visa applies for business purposes. It allows you to visit and stay in Germany for up to 90 days in 6 months.
Family Reunion Visa
For non-EU nationals, bringing along a spouse or children is accompanied by strict requirements and takes time, as delays in reviewing applications are expected.
Self-Employment Visas for Germany
A visa is required if you are moving to Germany temporarily and aim to start a business. You can get a self-employment visa or “temporary residence permit” if you are not an EU national, which lasts up to 3 years.
In Germany, there are 4 types of long-stay study visas:
- Student visa for full-time higher education learning at a college or university;
- School visas for language courses or school exchanges;
- Language course visa for German language courses, which last up to 12 months;
Work Permit Requirements
The German government encourages the immigration of qualified professionals through convenient work permit laws for Germany.
There are various types of German work permits based on specific qualifications and employment types:
- General Work Permit is compatible if you have found a position in Germany that could not have been occupied by an EU national.
- You can apply for a Highly Skilled Worker Permit if you are a highly skilled worker with years of experience and a high-range income.
- The EU Blue Card for Germany is the application for an EU Blue, which depends on a salary amount of at least €56,400 per year and, in case of a shortage of occupation, €43,992 per year.
- Furthermore, as a freelancer or self-employed individual, you can apply for a Work Permit for Freelancers if you can prove that you have prospective clients.
How to Relocate Your Belongings
Moving to Germany with your pets is definitely convenient if your dog or cat is microchipped and you have proof that they had a rabies vaccination as soon as they were microchipped. In addition, your pets are required to have European Pet Passports.
It should also be mentioned that so-called dangerous breeds such as Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and Bull Terriers are banned from being transferred to Germany.
Shipping your furniture and household goods to Germany can be simple if you follow specific government guidelines.
Initially, you should take into account that there are limitations to importing household things in German. For bringing your furniture into Germany, you need to prove you will use them for personal use and have owned them for at least 6 months.
You are not allowed to bring your assets, whose total value is over 430 EUR (480 USD). Moreover, if you are moving with more than 10,000 EUR (11,000 USD) in cash, you should be declared.
There are no restrictions for EU residents to bring their cars to Germany. However, if you decide to import your vehicle from a non-EU country, you have to meet specific conditions to avoid paying a 10% import tax and a 19% import VAT.
Initially, the vehicle must be registered in your name and present proof that you will not sell it in Germany. It is an additional requirement that you and your vehicle arrive in Germany around the same time, and the car must pass an inspection for emissions control, safety, and roadworthiness.
How to Find a Place to Live in Germany?
In particular, when searching for an apartment to rent in Germany, you don’t have to hire an estate agent and pay fees as many individuals are letting out the apartment. However, hiring an agent will significantly reduce your time and energy if your financial capacity is sufficient.
Based on the expat reviews, these are some of the most convenient property portals in Germany:
- Immobilien Scout 24
- Mr. Lodge
Moreover, a flatshare is cheaper than living alone if you are looking for an affordable option. You can find this option through flat-sharing websites or forums.
Best Places in Germany to Move To
If moving to Berlin sounds like an attractive idea, it’s beneficial to understand what each city has to offer and how it suits your individual preferences.
Berlin is a highly affordable city to live in. It is characterized by unforgettable nightlife, a high degree of freedom, and contemporary art. The alluring vibe of the city inspires and motivates you to become the best version of yourself. As a developing startup hub in Germany, Berlin triggers entrepreneurs to recreate their ideas into businesses.
This city will make you fall in love at first sight. Munich is the homeland of Lederhosen and Oktoberfest. There are major global corporations such as BMW Group, Allianz AG, Microsoft Deutschland GmbH, Airbus Group, and Siemens. This means that Munich offers plenty of career opportunities for expats.
As a coastal town, Hamburg has over 2,000 bridges that cross the city’s rivers and canals. It is incredible that this number of bridges is more than Venice and Amsterdam combined. Hamburg is a dream come true for expats whose work is related to logistics since Hamburg is the homeland of the 3rd largest European port. Its evolving economy is mainly based on the media, entertainment, and finance sectors.
Frankfurt is often compared to Manhattan. Its incredible skyscrapers make the visitor feel like it is the most urban city in the world. With its rapidly evolving business vibes, attractive opportunities for employment, and internships, Frankfurt is the best place to grow as a professional, especially in the financial and banking spheres.
The financial district of Frankfurt, with the headquarters of the European Central Bank, German Federal Bank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and Deutsche Bank feel like stock heaven.
How to Manage Your Taxes
You can file your tax returns in German up to May 31st, as the tax year runs from January 1st to December 31st. Germany’s lowest income tax rate is 14%, and the highest is 45%. Here, people who are not married pay no tax on incomes up to 9,408 EUR (10,465 USD). Married couples who pay their taxes together benefit from more appropriate rates than single people.
If you work for a company, you will only pay income tax and social security contributions, and your employer fills out forms. There are specific taxes you need to obtain information about:
- In Germany, taxes for self-employed people are quite straightforward as you must inform the German tax authorities and file a tax return annually.
- If you were ever christened or baptized, you are eligible to pay church tax in Germany unless you opt out. Depending on where you live, church tax is 8% or 9% of your annual income tax liability.
- The German national corporate tax rate in Germany is 15%.
- Every person working in Germany pays 14.6% of their salary to social security to cover health and invalidity insurance.
Things & Laws to Know Before Moving to Germany
As with any other country, before you move to Germany, you should be aware of some important aspects.
- Even though almost everyone speaks English in this country, the locals appreciate ex-pats who make an effort to communicate a little German. Moreover, most signs in rural areas are written in German only.
- In Germany, you must always stick to the rules. Initially, you must respect the quiet hours that are regulated by law, which means no loud noise is allowed on Sundays. In addition, you should walk across the road by using a proper crossing.
- Even if you don’t have a car, you can quickly get around every corner of the city as Germany has fast and efficient transport that includes: taxes, regional trains, the metro, and buses.
- If you decide to use the car while moving into the cities, you must acknowledge the rules before hitting the roads and autobahn. On German highways, motorists are only allowed to stop for emergencies, which do not consider having an empty tank apparent.
Pros & Cons of Moving to Germany
Affordable cost of living
The overall cost of living in Germany is highly affordable. Such basic needs as food, transportation, electricity, and internet are available at quite low prices. Contrary to other countries, even the cost of accommodation is affordable, depending on where you decide to live.
Locals are highly disciplined and punctual
Expats are often surprised because of Germans’ highly disciplined and punctual nature. In Germany, locals are never late for a meeting. They always perform their work and duties carefully and expect the same from you.
Easy access to other European Countries
As an expat, you can easily travel around the world from Germany. You can take a bus, or train, or hire a car to access other European countries and enjoy your free time.
The language barrier is a common difficulty when moving to Germany. The signs and banners on the street are primarily written in German, which makes it difficult for foreigners to integrate with the city. Even finding a cinema that shows movies in English or another language is quite complicated in Germany.
Germany has a temperate and marine climate, with cold and cloudy winters. The greater part of the country is located in the cool climatic zone, in which humid winds predominate. Therefore, this weather makes Germany feel dreary, especially in the winter months.
All in all, relocating to Germany is a convenient procedure. However, moving to any foreign country comes with plenty of things you should be aware of, and that’s precisely why you should consider our specific recommendations.
For comprehensive guidance, take advantage of relocation services at IMovingTo and plan your moving process without any obstacles.