move to germany from the US

How to move to Germany from the US in 10 steps: All you need to know as a US citizen

How to move from US to Germany: 10 essential steps

Considering a move to Germany from the US? Then you’re in the right place! We’re going to walk you through the entire process of relocating to Germany to make your transition as straightforward as possible.

Why move to Germany?

Germany is an economic powerhouse, recently becoming the world’s third largest economy. It also offers a stable job market with a high level of job security and low unemployment rate, making it ideal for those seeking career opportunities abroad. 

Beyond its economic appeal, Germany boasts a rich cultural and historical heritage. With 52 UNESCO World Heritage sites, famous castles and a landscape ranging from the Bavarian Alps to sprawling vineyards in its wine regions, Germany promises a delightful experience for all newcomers.

For US citizens, the thought of moving to Germany might seem overwhelming. But with the right guidance, the process becomes a lot easier. 

Our comprehensive guide gives you a step-by-step strategy to help you relocate from the US to Germany. Covering everything from visa requirements to the German tax system and finding accommodation, we provide you with all the information required for a successful move abroad. Let’s get started!

Step 1: German visa requirements for US citizens

The first and arguably the most important step is to understand if you are eligible to move to Germany. As a US citizen, you can’t just move to Europe without the correct documents and authorization.

What types of visas are available for US citizens in Germany?

There are many visas available to US citizens in Germany. Choosing the right one is important!

Here are the five most common visa options:

1. Work/Job Visa

A work visa is essential for all US citizens seeking employment in Germany. 

    • A work visa is typically granted for up to four years, but can be renewed for extended periods of time. 
    • To qualify, you must have a confirmed job offer from a German employer with details of your salary and job description, among other things.
    • You will also have to provide other documents like proof of health insurance, CV and proof of your educational qualifications.

Depending on your background, you could apply for the EU Blue Card visa which is more flexible and offers more advantages.

2. Tourist Visa

A tourist visa is designed specifically for people wanting to visit Germany for a limited amount of time and not work while they are here.

    • A tourist visa follows the 90/180 rule, meaning the longest time you can remain in Germany within a 180 day period is 90 days (three months).

As Germany is part of the Schengen Area, you will be able to visit all 29 of the Schengen countries with a tourist visa.

3. Study Visa

If you plan to pursue an education in Germany, then a study visa is the perfect option for you. 

    • A study visa is typically valid for the duration of your studies and can be extended should you need more time to complete your studies.
    • There are three different types of study visas available: language course visa, student applicant visa and student visa. You must decide which is the right choice for you.

4. Family Reunification Visa

A family reunion visa is for people that have family already residing in Germany and would like to relocate to be with their loved ones.

    • A family reunification visa is a long-stay visa that can be extended into a residence permit
    • Both the person in Germany and the person in the US must provide a number of documents in order to apply and qualify for a family visa.

5. The Opportunity Card (Chancenkarte)

This new type of visa will start on June,1st 2024. It will allow you to come to Germany for up to one year to find a job that matches your skills and experience. There will be two ways to benefit from this visa:

    • If you are considered as a skilled worker, you can apply directly for this Chancenkarte visa
    • If you obtain a minimum of 6 points fro different criteria: qualifications, work experience and language skills

Use our Opportunity Card calculator to check your chances.

Get help with the German visa process

If you’re still unsure about which visa you need or the application process, our Get In Expat immigration experts are happy to help! We will guide you through the entire process. 

Find out more on our page about jobs and visas in Germany.

Step 2: Develop a realistic budget for moving to Germany

Moving to any new country is expensive and a huge investment. Living costs in Germany vary between states and cities. Big cities like Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt have higher living costs than smaller towns. According to Get In Expat client experience, averages can range from a minimum of 1,000 to 3,000 euros per month.

Step 3: Arrange your paperwork 

Moving to Germany as a US citizen can be daunting. It’s essential to have all your legal documents in order before you start the moving process. Here are some of the most important documents you will need to prepare:

  • Bank statements
  • Visa paperwork
  • A valid passport
  • Proof of income

Understanding the requirements and preparing your paperwork before your move will prevent any barriers during your relocation and make the whole process a lot less stressful.

Step 4: Obtain your residence permit

If you want to live in Germany for more than 90 days, you must get a residence permit. Those on a job visa get residence permit included as part of their visa. All other visa types require you to acquire a residence permit shortly after arriving in Germany. The duration of your residence permit varies and can be obtained for reasons such as work, studying, and family reunification. 

Below are the key types of residency permits:

  1. Temporary Residence Permit

  • For individuals planning fixed-term stays in Germany. These can include study programs or specific projects.
  • Grants legal residency for a predetermined length of time.
  • Permits engagement in pre-approved activities specified in the permit application.
  1. EU Blue Card

  • Offers a fast-track for skilled professionals to work and settle in Germany.
  • Beneficial for those with specialized skills that are highly sought after in the German labour market.
  • Provides advantages like family reunification rights and access to social benefits.
  1. Permanent Residence Permit
  • Ultimate goal for people seeking long-term settlement in Germany.
  • Grants indefinite legal residency and working rights in the country.
  • Eligibility often depends on meeting certain requirements and proving your integration into German society, as well as your proficiency in the German language.
  • Permanent residency provides stability and security, allowing you to establish permanent roots in Germany.

Step 5: Get to Grips with the German Tax System

When you move from the US to Germany, you must be prepared for the high tax rates and complicated tax system. Although this can seem daunting, it’s essential to have a basic understand of the tax system to ensure you are compliant with German tax laws.

The first thing to know is that Germany operates a progressive tax system meaning that tax rates vary based on income levels. The higher you earn, the more tax you will pay. You will also be issued a tax class on arrival in Germany. This tax class may change depending on your employment or marital status. For more information on tax classes or to change your tax class, you can check out our page on tax class in Germany.

Here’s a beginner’s guide to the other essentials of German taxes:

Pay As You Earn (PAYE) System

If you are employed in Germany, your employer will automatically deduct taxes from your salary. This makes your tax management much easier as you typically won’t need to file a tax return unless you have additional income or deductions to report.

Filing your taxes

If you find yourself having to file a tax return, or you choose to file one voluntarily, then generally it must be submitted by July 31 the following year. This deadline is extended if you use a tax advisor. You can file online or via post and will require you to submit details of all your income, deductions and expenses.

US-German Tax Treaty

US citizens earning income in Germany may benefit from a foreign tax credit on their US tax return, thanks to the treaty between Germany and the US. This helps mitigate the risk of double taxation and eases the potential financial burden for US expats and immigrants. However please note that as a US citizen you will still have to file your taxes in the US every year, regardless of income in Germany.

Where does your tax money go in Germany?

The tax rate in Germany might be a lot higher than US expats are used to. But it’s crucial to understand the reason behind these higher rates.

Tax money in Germany funds essential public services like:

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Infrastructure development

Germany also has a robust social security system offering support to those facing financial challenges. Tax money helps support this system.

Step 6: Find accommodation in Germany

Finding accommodation in Germany, particularly in the large cities, can be notoriously difficult. It can also be a tedious and time consuming task, especially if you are moving with your family. There are some websites you can check for an idea of the market and rental prices, but the best thing to do is work with a relocation specialist who can help make the process easier.

Luckily, Get In Expat offers relocation packages to help ease your stress and get you to Germany fast!

Step 7: Register your address in Germany

The paperwork doesn’t stop once you have finally moved from the US to Germany! Once you have found a place to live, you must register your new address with your local city registration office. 

To do this, you will need proof of your rental agreement or proof that you have bought your property. You must register your address every time you move. If you move from one city or state to another, then you must also de-register with your old city or state and register with your new one. 

You have 14 days after arrival in Germany to complete this process, known as Anmeldung. If you are confused or need help with this process, we can help! Our free Anmeldung filling service provides you with guidance and support in completing the registration forms.

Step 8: Open a bank account in Germany

If you are relocating to Germany on any visa other than tourist, you will need to set up a bank account.

It’s especially important if you are working in Germany and want to receive your salary every month. Most employers require that you have a German bank account with a German IBAN to pay your wages.

A German bank account also allows you to easily transfer funds from your American bank so you can continue to fund your German adventure with ease.

Step 9: Secure health insurance

Unlike the US, health insurance is mandatory in Germany. Every resident must obtain coverage to cover any medical treatments or procedures.

There are two types of insurance available in Germany: public and private. 

Public Health Insurance

Known as “Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung” (GKV), public health insurance is the most common healthcare option for residents in Germany. Contributions to public health insurance are typically based on a percentage of your income, with both employees and employers sharing the cost. 

Essential medical services are covered by public health insurance, like doctor’s visits and medications, but it also cover preventative care and holistic health. It is even possible to partake in sports courses like yoga or Nordic walking with some providers! 

Some public health providers in Germany include:

  • TK
  • Barmer
  • IKK
  • AOK
  • DAK health

Private Health Insurance

Private insurance is known as “Private Krankenversicherung” (PKV) and is open to certain individuas who meet the right criteria. Notably, it is available to high-income earners, self-employed individuals and freelancers, as well as civil servants.

You can easily customize your coverage with PKV and premiums are based on individual factors like age, health, status, and what coverage options you choose.

Here are some examples of private health insurance companies in Germany:

  • AXA health insurance
  • DKV
  • Alliance private health insurance
  • ARAG health insurance

It’s important to consider your individual circumstances before deciding which health insurance you take out in Germany. Consulting with a qualified insurance advisor can help expats and immigrants select the most suitable option for their situation.

Use our free consulting service provided by our partner Feather (Book a call with an expert)

Step 10: Learn German

Easier said than done. German can be a difficult language to master. But once you have cleared the bureaucratic hurdles, the next thing is to learn basic German ready for your move.

Many Germans can speak English, but learning the language is important to make your move from the US easier. Fear not, there are plenty of affordable resources available these days to help make learning more accessible and fun.

How to learn German in 2024:

  • Take online or in-person classes. Platforms like Preply and Lingoda offer remote, online language courses. Alternatively, you can search for a language school in your new German city.
  • Use language learning apps like Duolingo or Babbel to learn basic phrases and get to grips with understanding.
  • Listen to language learning or German language podcasts to help increase your understanding and listening skills.
  • Watch TV shows and movies in German on streaming platforms.

The basic German phrases

Here’s a short list of some basic phrases you’ll need to know as a newbie in Germany:

  1. Guten Tag (Good day)
  2. Danke (Thank you)
  3. Bitte (Please)
  4. Entschuldigung (Excuse me)
  5. Sprechen Sie Englisch? (Do you speak English?)

Move to Germany from the US: Final Thoughts!

Moving from the US to Germany can be a wonderful and unforgettable experience. But it is important to remember that preparation and planning are vital. If you go through each of the steps in this guide, you will be able to navigate your relocation with ease.

Aside from formalities and bureaucracy, it’s important to acknowledge the significant cultural differences between the US and Germany. It might take you some time to adjust to your new life.

If you’re seeking new opportunities, moving from the US to Germany can be a great choice. At Get In Expat, we offer dedicated support to US citizens throughout your journey to Germany. Contact us to explore our range of services and learn how we can make your relocation easier.

how to move to Germany

How to move to Germany in 5 steps – Get In Expat makes it happen!

Are you seeking guidance on how to move to Germany? We have got you covered! With its position as the 3rd largest economy globally and impressively low unemployment rate, Germany is a rich hunting ground for job seekers from all over the world. Germany is your place, especially if you are equipped with the latest skills and in-demand job expertise.

Additionally, Germany presents a plethora of employment opportunities for international professionals across various industries, such as engineering, science, IT and tech, finance, sales and marketing, renewable energy, healthcare, hospitality, and tourism. But moving to Germany is not as easy as you may think!

So, how to move to Germany mindfully? All formalities, from applying for a visa to finding residency in a state like Germany, can be challenging. Whether you are travelling to Germany for business or potential job opportunities, you should know a few things before you go. Because if you are prepared, you can launch your dream career and lifestyle with minimal hassle.

In this blog article, we are going to tell you everything you need to know to be able to move to Germany. We will be sharing everything from checking visa requirements to planning your transportation from the airport. Along with this, we will provide tips on learning basic German phrases and exploring the culture. So sit back, relax, and let’s get started on your journey to Germany!

How to move to Germany? A step-by-step guide! 

So, if you are looking for thorough guidance on how to move to Germany, here is the ultimate process that you will go through until you arrive in Germany:

Step 1: Check visa requirements

The very first thing that you need to do if you are questioning how to move to Germany is check whether you need a visa to enter Germany or not! Typically,  you do not need a visa if you are a citizen of the European Union (EU), Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein.

However, you are in need of a visa if you are a citizen of any other country. You can check the visa requirements on the website of the German embassy or consulate in your country.

Step 2: Anmeldung “the registration process”

Register your address if you plan to stay in Germany for over three months (“Anmeldung”). This applies to all foreigners, including students, employees, and freelancers.

For registration purposes, you’re required to have the following documents:

  1. A valid passport or ID card
  2. A rental agreement or confirmation from your landlord that you live at the address (make sure to ask your landlord for written proof of occupancy)
  3. Completed registration form (Anmeldeformular), which you can usually download directly from our site. 

Fill out the Germany City Registration with our tool.

Note: If you’re moving in with family, then you must have these additional documents for everyone’s registration. 

Since you must file for the Anmeldung process within 14 days of landing in Germany, It’s better to book accommodation before you visit Germany. This will save you the hassle of searching for accommodation in a rush! Beware not to fall for scammers claiming to be accommodation providers in Germany. We advise that you do proper research and go mindfully.

We can help you with that by booking a 15 minute call with us! 

So, if you are wondering how to move to Germany with your spouse and kids? Here is the answer!

1. Marriage certificate

If you are moving to Germany with your spouse, don’t forget to take your marriage certificate with you. For hassle-free registration, you must have a marital certificate translated in Germany by an authorised translator.

2. Birth certificates

If you’re planning to move with kids, you must carry and submit their birth certificates. Once you’ve sorted all the required documents, find your local registration office. When you go to the registration office, take all the required documents and fill out the registration form. 

Make sure to fill in all the fields correctly and completely. Although some officers speak English, many don’t. So, if you have a friend who speaks German, it would be wise to bring them along for translation.

Although Get In Expat can help you with their local on-site assistants in Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Nuremberg and Hamburg areas. If you would like to know more about this service, contact us: contact@getinexpat.com

Step 3:  Get a tax ID

Everyone living in Germany needs to have a tax ID. This helps the tax office to identify you as a taxpayer. Moreover, your employer would need your tax ID to calculate the estimated amount of tax on your total pay. Other than that, it’s needed while applying for a bank account. You would also be asked to show the tax ID for filing the annual tax returns. 

But, if you are not clear about what actually a tax ID is, here is the basic information:

What is a tax ID?

A Tax ID in Germany is an 11-digit number that is unique for every individual. It is a Tax ID similar to what you have in your country. It is your distinct ID as a taxpayer in Germany.

How Can you get a German Tax ID?

Generally, once you’ve completed your Anmeldung process, you get your tax ID posted at your address within two weeks or so. If you don’t receive one, there is no need to panic. Go to the nearest tax authority office and request them to issue you a tax ID.

Make sure to carry your Anmeldung, valid passport, and visa along for verification purposes. Once the tax officer verifies every document, you’ll be issued a tax ID number at your Anmeldung address within a few days. Keep that tax ID safe, as you’ll need it now and then almost everywhere in Germany.

If you are moving with your married partner and she/he is not working, you can request a tax class change to the tax office.

Check here how to do with our tool.

Step 4: Get your bank account opened in Germany

Opening a bank account in Germany as an expat can be challenging due to the language barrier and unfamiliarity with the banking system. However, these tips can help ease the process for you:

  1. Choose a bank: Research Banks in Germany to find one that offers services in English and meets your banking needs. Some popular Banks for expats include Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, and Sparkasse. If you an unsure which bank to choose from, our specialists can give you support opening your bank account. For more information contact us
  2. Gather the required documents: To open a bank account in Germany, you will need to provide the following documents:
    • Passport or national ID card
    • Proof of address (e.g., rental contract or utility bill)
    • Proof of income (e.g., employment contract or payslip)
  3. Book an appointment: Once you have selected a bank and organised the necessary documents, make an appointment with a bank representative. You can do this online or by phone. The bank representative will guide you through the account opening process at the appointment. They may ask questions about your banking needs and financial situation and help you select the right account type.
  4. Complete the application and wait for approval: Fill out the application form provided by the bank representative, and provide the required documents. You may also need to sign a few conditions. After submitting your application, the bank will review your records and may contact you for additional information.

If everything is in order, your account will be approved, and you will receive your account details, including your IBAN and BIC.

Step 5: Get your health insurance coverage

Do you want to know how to move to Germany and be good with your health expenses as well? Health insurance is your answer! 

Health insurance coverage is mandatory in Germany, and as an expat, it’s important to have health insurance to cover medical expenses. Whether you’re a student or an employee, a health insurance certificate is a must for everyone. 

The process is not very complicated; let’s explore it step by step:

  • Determine your insurance status

If you are employed in Germany, you are required to have health insurance. Your employer will deduct contributions from your salary and provide you with insurance coverage.

  • Compare plans and costs

There are many health insurance providers in Germany, so it’s important to research and compare plans to find one that suits your needs. Some popular providers for expats include TK, AOK, and Barmer. 

Once you have selected a health insurance provider, choose a plan that meets your needs. Most providers offer different plans, so make sure to compare the benefits and costs of each plan.

  • Submit the required information

To apply for health insurance, you must provide personal information such as your name, address, and date of birth. You will also need to provide proof of income, such as an employment contract or certificate of self-employment.

  • Wait for approval

After submitting your application, the insurance provider will review your application and determine if you are eligible for coverage. You will receive your insurance card and policy documents if your application is approved.

Once these official steps are done, you are set to live and work in Germany without any legal barriers. 

How to move to Germany: Final stance!

Moving to Germany can be an exciting and memorable experience, but it’s important to be prepared and informed before embarking on your journey. 

By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this blog on how to move to Germany, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free trip to Germany. From obtaining the necessary travel documents to being ready for this new experience, you’ll be well-equipped to make the most of your time in this fascinating country. 

So pack your bags, board your flight, and get ready to experience all Germany offers! And if you feel you need extra help, contact us today!

working in Germany

Working in Germany: your 2024 guide

10 things you need to know about working in Germany

Germany is the the world’s third largest economy, with a large industrial sector and well-known companies.

The country has a growing need for qualified professionals to fill the labor shortage in all fields.

You’re thinking of moving to Germany and finding your new dream job ?

This article will help you learn about the German job market as well as the working environement in Germany.

work in Germany and personal life

1. Benefits of working in Germany

  • 30 vacation days for full time
  • 24 vacation days for part time
  • Maximum working week is 48 hours (generally 40 hours/week)
  • Paid sick days.
  • Extra vacation and sick days if you have children / dependents.
  • Health insurance
  • Some employers offer a 13th month pay / an additional month as a bonus.
  • Some employers offer vacation and Christmas pay – a bonus towards your vacation and for Christmas.
  • Further education opportunities
    • Employers want their employees to develop personally and professionally and in a competitive market, employers need to be attractive to sustain a healthy work culture and prevent a high turnover rate.
  • Some employers may offer a company car and/or cellphone or laptop.

2. Job Market

Working in Germany can be very attractive for many professionals. There are fields or work in Germany with an abundance of job opportunities, such as in the medical field, trades and many more. These are the fields with the most vacancies according to Statista 2023:

  • Transport Logistics: Transport logistics jobs in Germany have the most vacancies as of January 2023, namely 63,000 vacancies.
  • Sales: Sales jobs in Germany follow right behind with the second most vacancies in Germany (56,000). If you are good at selling and negotiating, this could be a great opportunity for you to work in Germany.
  • Medical field: Many practices and clinics have vacancies (51,000) and are actively looking for professional, namely, specialized doctors, family physicians and nurses.
  • Electronics, Mechatronics & Energy: There is an abundance of job vacancies (49,000) throughout Germany in these professions.
  • Vehicle Technology: Germany is known for its automobile industry, so it is no surprise that there is demand for vehicle technology (48,000).

Further jobs in Germany offer opportunities:

  • Metal Production and Construction (46,000)
  • Corporate Management (42,000)
  • Operation of Vehicle and Transport Equipment (39,000)
  • Childcare and Social Services (36,000)
  • Non-medical Health Professions, Medical Technology (29,000)

Other attractive fields with many job opportunities in Germany:

  • IT: The future is digital and full of technology! There are many job opportunities, especially in software development and programming.
  • Landscapers: It can take years to have a landscaper get to your garden. They are swamped with contracts and new clients. If you are a landscaper, there will be lots of work in Germany for you.
  • Handymen: this is akin to landscapers. Working in Germany will keep you busy if you can tile floors or repair almost anything in a house.

For your job search in Germany, take a look to our article about the German job market or book a 1 hour job coaching session with our job expert

cover letter and job application

3. Foreign Qualifications

Depending on the country you obtained your qualifications from or studied and what your field of work is, you may need to have your qualifications recognized in Germany. This ensures the quality and comparability of your qualifications. Some fields, such as the medical field, require a more thorough and lengthy process before doctors can treat patients in Germany, and other fields have a quick and simple process.

The process of having your qualifications recognized can be initiated in the federal state that you live in or want to come to when you live and work in Germany.

Check these 2 websites to learn more about your qualifications and your university degree recognition in Germany:

https://www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de/html/en/index.php

https://anabin.kmk.org/no_cache/filter/institutionen.html

(Federal Ministry of Education and Research)

4. Visa and residence permit requirements

For citizens of a country within the European Union

You are able to obtain work anywhere in the EU without a visa. EU citizens may enter Germany and are given six months to obtain employment. After the six month period, you may need to demonstrate that you are actively looking for work in Germany or have a pending opportunity. This also applies to citizens of EEA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).

For citizens with a specific agreement with Germany

If your country of origin is one of the following, you are also exempt from the visa requirements prior to entering Germany (but you still need to apply for a residence permit with a purpose once in Germany and you cannot start working without this residence permit):

    • Australia,
    • Israel,
    • Japan,
    • Canada,
    • The Republic of Korea
    • New Zealand,
    • United Kingdom
    • United States of America
For all other non EU citizens

You are required to obtain a work visa (Type D) prior to arriving in Germany or a Job Seeker Visa which allows you enter Germany to search for a job for up to six months.  Then, once in Germany, you must apply for a residence permit.

If you are an academic, it is possible to make a visa application for a Blue Card if:

  • You already have a specific job offer,
  • Your university degree or qualifications are recognized in Germany,
  • The job offer matches your qualifications, and
  • You will earn at least 45.300 €/year (in 2024 before taxes )* and 41.041€/year for bottleneck profession
  • The Federal Employment Agency (BA) needs to approve your request for employment if this applies to you.

Book a call with our German immigration expert to get help on your German visa application

(Federal Foreign Office and Federal Employment Agency)

german workers

5. Work Culture

  • The German language has a formal and informal form of speech. The formal way to address someone when saying “you” is “Sie” and the informal way of saying “you” is “du”. Informal speech is used when:
    • You know the person whom you are speaking to,
    • You are in an informal setting,
    • You are speaking to someone your own age, or
    • Someone addresses you with the informal form “du” first,
  • Whereas the formal form is used when:
    • You are speaking to someone whom you are meeting for the first time or don’t know well,
    • You are speaking to someone older than you,
    • You are speaking to someone in a professional setting e.g. a government agency, or
    • You are spoken to with the formal form “Sie”.
  • Another crucial feature of formal speech is addressing someone by their last name. This becomes apparent in department stores, where the name tags of employees state their title Ms./Mr. followed by a surname.
  • Formal speech has been traditionally used in work settings; however, the trend nowadays is to be more informal at work. You can typically know what the work culture is at a specific company when they reply to your resume by your first name or refer to you as “du”. Sometimes it is not quite as apparent at first, often when the employer is also hesitant to be that direct, in which case the signs can be more subtle. Oftentimes it will be cleared up directly in the first few meetings when one person “offers using a respectful du”.

6. Language

  • German is the only official language of Germany and the most common language in workplaces in Germany. Since Germany needs professionals from other countries to fill vacancies, speaking English at work is becoming more common. Many international and German companies in various fields are seeking employees that speak German and English, especially if the job involves international contact, and there are more and more english speaking job offers
  • Even if it is possible to attain employment without speaking German well, it is always strongly recommended to learn the German language to have more work opportunities. Management positions require German language skills and there are far more job opportunities if you speak German.
  • There are many fields of work in Germany that still require full German language skills or at least a B2/C1 level (being able to converse).
  • Other reasons to learn German are to integrate into the culture and learn about the country you will be living in, being able to navigate better in your everyday life in Germany and dealing with potential emergencies.
  • There are many migrants from various countries that have immigrated to Germany throughout the past decades. Germans are used to diversity and different accents.

Start learning German before arriving in Germany:

  • Start with online tools or free podcasts
  • The main German language schools offer online sessions

germany working

7. Labour Law

Minimum wage
  • The minimum wage was raised to 12,41 €/hour (before taxes) on January, 1st 2024 and a second increase to 12.82€/hour is planned from January,1st 2025.
Temporary employment and outsourcing
  • Many companies contract temporary employment agencies or outsource certain tasks. This provides employers flexibility; however, it can create less secure working conditions for employees. There are laws in place encompassing temporary employment and outsourcing to protect workers in Germany.
Collective agreements
  • There are collective agreements which apply to all employees in certain fields of work.
Posting of workers (Entsendung von Arbeitgebern):
  • This law implements the EU posting of workers directive regarding the place of work principle. This means the employers must provide employees with essential working conditions for the interim while they are working in Germany.
Part time and flexible working hours
  • There are different ways to adjust working hours. This encompasses part time work in Germany, remote work / home office, arrangements between care, family and career and savings plans for future childcare, caring for family members, sabbaticals, further education or early retirement.
Workers’ Rights (Arbeitnehmerrecht):
  • There are various laws to protect employees, which are listed and elaborated on below.

(Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs)

8. Workers‘ Rights (Arbeitnehmerrecht)

Protection against termination (Kündigungsschutz)
  • A termination of a work contract by the employer or employee has to be submitted in writing and must include the contractually defined notice.
  • Certain demographics such as pregnant women, employees with special needs, employees who are providing care to a family member, etc. are especially protected by law.
Protection of working hours (Arbeitszeitschutz)
  • This law protects the maximum number of hours an employee can work in Germany.
  • This protects employees from only working on days such as Sundays or statutory Holidays under specific circumstances.
Protection for Minors (Jugendarbeitsschutz)
  • Minors under the age of 15 are considered “children” under this law. Minors between 15 to 18 are considered “youth”.
  • This law defines the amount and type of work minors are legally allowed to engage in when working in Germany. An example of admissible work for minors is delivering newspapers.
Rights to voting for a Work Council (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz)
  • The Works Constitution Act is in place so that employees have the right to vote for a work council, depending on the size of the company, if one isn’t already in place.
Data protection (Beschäftigtendatenschutz)
  • This law protects the data and personal information of employees.

(Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs)

contract and jobs in Germany

9. Contract types

Work in Germany can be obtained in numerous forms. There are different types of work contracts and types of employment in Germany: Permanent, Temporary (maximum two years) ,Temporary employment agency, Minijob, Midijob.

  • Permanent contracts are certainly the most secure type of work contract. Besides the probation period, employers are restricted to worker rights. Permanent contracts are not limited in time, so the only way it can be dissolved is if the employer goes bankrupt or is downsizing, or workers are terminated for breaching the contract or perhaps engaging in illegal activities. In the case of bankruptcy of the employer, it is possible to receive one last month’s salary through the employment agency. The probation period is typically six months in length.
  • Temporary contracts are limited to a certain timeframe. Typically, employees will receive a temporary contract for one year. It can be extended to a maximum of two years, at which time the employment either comes to an end or the employee is entitled to a permanent contract.
  • Temporary employment agencies are not rare in Germany. This means that one works at the temporary employment agency and can be placed to work in different companies with which the temporary employment agency has a contract. As indicated by the name, the employment contract is also held within a certain timeframe, until the contract either ends or becomes permanent. For some, this offers an attractive opportunity since specific fields of work in Germany that some temporary employment agencies specialize in are competitive for good employees.  They offer benefits such as company cars, flexible work hours and good wages. This is true, for example, in the field of nursing. 
  • Minijobs are jobs that are limited to earning a maximum of 520,00 €/month or 6.240,00 €/year. However, you are not required to pay taxes on these earnings or declare them on your tax return. You can have more than one minijob, as long as you do not earn more than the maximum amount, otherwise it will be a Midijob.
  • Midijobs are jobs with an income above 520,00 €/month and a maximum of 2.000 €/month. The social insurance deductions are limited, so that employees with a midijob have more net income than employees who earn more per month.

10. Retirement

  • Although there are many benefits when working in Germany, including a tax and social system that provides a lot of security, it is important to consider the amount of years you will work in Germany before retirement and calculate your pension.
  • Speaking with a financial adviser early on can have vast benefits for your retirement, as you have opportunities to invest your earnings now and enjoy a better retirement later.

You are now ready to start your job hunting in Germany.

The next step ?

Book a call with our job expert to start looking for your job in Germany

moving to Germany

10 questions & answers foreigners have when moving to Germany

Ready to say “Auf Wiedersehen” to your old life? The idea of moving to Germany might seem a lot like stepping into a fairy tale with sausages, beer, and autobahns with no speed limit, but that’s before all sorts of questions start coming to your mind. Don’t worry, we’re here to help you find answers to them all and move without a single doubt.

10 Questions you’re too afraid to ask and answers you really want to know when moving to Germany

Since this is one of the most prosperous countries in the old continent, offering good salaries and great quality of life, for many, living in Germany presents the European equivalent of the American dream. However, once you take off those pink shades, you might start wondering if it’s really all rainbows and sunshine over there.

Although there might be a few grey clouds on the horizon, don’t let that discourage you. Relocating to a new country is always a big change that comes with many uncertainties. The best way to deal with that is to be well-prepared for everything coming your way – and to remember what can’t surprise you can’t disappoint you. Let’s go through some of the main questions foreigners moving to Germany might have.

#1 Do you really have to know German to live in Germany? Nein, aber es wird empfohlen

Whether you’re relocating to Germany for education, a job, or love, the fact is that you plan on staying there longer than you would on your average vacation. Therefore, learning the language makes sense. The fact is that German is not the most melodic language out there, but it is also not impossible to master it.

A little goes a long way when it comes to speaking the local language, so your efforts will be highly appreciated. Additionally, basic knowledge of German is often a requirement even for English-speaking jobs, so getting to know the basics will open the door to more opportunities and help you integrate better.

#2 Do you need a visa when moving to Germany? It depends

Visa requirements vary depending on several factors, such as nationality, the purpose, and the intended length of your stay. Citizens of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland do not need a visa, but pretty much everyone else does. There are several different types of visas based on the purpose of the stay.

People from non-EU/EEA countries will need to apply for the appropriate visa at a German embassy or consulate in their home country. But keep in mind that the visa application process can be long, which is why it is crucial to start gathering the papers timely and apply as soon as possible.

#3 How to find a job before moving to Germany? Get ready to brush up your CV

Ideally, you should strive to secure a job position before moving to another country. Luckily, Germany is one of the countries that is experiencing a shortage of skilled workers. There are more than a million vacant positions in the country, and simply not enough workers.

Therefore, go through the list of shortage occupations in Germany to see if yours is on it, but even if it is not, don’t give up so easily because you can still find something right up your alley. Polish up your CV and get ready to write some killer cover letters because those job offers are out there waiting for you.

#4 Is living in Germany expensive? You might be surprised what you will find when you move to Germany.

Since it’s often praised for its strong economy and overall great quality of life, many would expect that living in Germany is quite expensive. Normally, bigger and more popular cities are more expensive when it comes to housing, but regarding groceries and leisure opportunities, prices are not so high.

Public universities are free, and due to the government’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, public transportation is more affordable than ever and, at the same time, very efficient and reliable.

#5 Is there no speed limit on highways in Germany? Yes, but not everywhere

In Germany, there are sections of the autobahn (highway) that do not have a blanket speed limit. Unlike in other European countries, here, there is only a recommended speed limit of 130 km per hour, so driving faster than that is not illegal in certain parts of the road. It is believed that this is a result of different factors, such as greater responsibility among drivers, good education, safe roads, and good infrastructure, as well as a cultural affinity for cars and driving.

Speaking of driving, if you’re a non-EU citizen with a driver’s licence, you can use it only for the first 6 months in Germany, so you should apply timely to get it replaced with a German one. Depending on the kind of agreement your home country has with Germany, you might have to take some tests, or you’ll simply get a German one per post without a fuss. For more information about how to get your German Licence contact us today.

#6 Are all shops closed on Sunday? Mostly yes

If you just realised that you’re missing some ingredients for your Sunday lunch – you can’t just go to a supermarket and buy them on a Sunday. You should also forget about a casual stroll around a shopping mall on a Sunday.

Sunday is the day for rest, and therefore the vast majority of shops are closed. However, in case you really need something, small kiosk shops at bus and train stations, as well as at the airports, are always open on Sunday.

#7 Why do Germans like collecting different insurance policies? Better to be safe than sorry

Before moving to Germany, you’ve probably heard of health, car, and life insurance because what more do you need? Well, how about dog liability insurance (Hundehaftpflichtversicherung) for the damage your pet might cause?

Or liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) in case your kid accidentally breaks something in a store? Germans can never be insured enough, which is why they like collecting insurance policies – the more, the better because you can never be too cautious.

That is why we recommend you study the different health insurance alternatives before moving to Germany or consult with professionals like us to guide you through the process. For more information read about our relocation packages.

#8 Is following rules a must? Yes, rules are there to be respected

Germans are known for their love of rules and regulations, which can be seen in various aspects of their daily life. This can be connected to the strong influence of Protestantism but also to some historical periods during which Germans experienced instability and chaos, so they highly value stability and order.

Therefore, you’ll rarely see them jaywalking, going for loopholes, fare dodging, or just trying to skip unnecessary steps – there are no unnecessary steps. Of course, no one is perfect, but Germans strive to be as perfect as possible and obey the rules.

#9 How to pick the right city to Move to? You’re in luck, there’s something for everyone’s taste

Germany is a very diverse country, so finding something that’s right up your alley shouldn’t be a problem. From mountains to the sea (North one, but it’s still a sea), bustling international cities like Berlin, Frankfurt, and Hamburg, to cute fairytale-like Bavarian towns such as Bamberg, Passau, or Lindau, there are plenty of options.

As a startup hub and a city where you can hear English everywhere, Berlin is perfect for expats looking for an international environment. On the other hand, beautiful Munich provides a typical German setting. Another popular city, especially among those in the automotive industry, is Stuttgart.

Since there’s an abundance of options, make a list of your non-negotiables and lifestyle preferences, and then start searching for the right fit and narrowing down your choices when moving to Germany. Keep in mind that there are a total of 16 federal states and that the laws and even public holidays are not the same in all of them.

#10 When Is the Right Time to Move to Germany? It’s Always the Right Time

If you’re already thinking about making this step, you shouldn’t hesitate. Stop finding excuses, and feel free to jump into the unknown because this is a country filled with opportunities waiting for you. Try to find your expat community online, for starters, to get some guidelines and insider tips, or simply book a vacation and go explore the country to get a better feeling of the atmosphere and German lifestyle.

Make sure all of your questions get answered before moving to Germany

There are no dumb questions, which is why before you make such an important step as relocating to a different country, all of your questions should be answered and dilemmas solved. Only then you’ll be able to enjoy the process because you’ll know you made a well-informed decision. And if you still have doubts and want help with the process, don’t be afraid to book a call with us!

Kita in Berlin

Kita in Berlin – Your 2023 guide

How to find Kita in Berlin in 4 steps ?

Hi, my name is Lisa and I am one of the co-founders of Kietzee, a platform that helps (international) parents in Berlin navigate family life, including finding a Kita in Berlin for your children.

Kita is short for Kindertagesstätte, which means Children Daycare in Germany.

Finding a Kita in Berlin can be a very lengthy and exhausting process, but with the right tools and strategy, you should be able to secure a spot for your child(ren) in your neighborhood.

Here are the 4 steps to follow to find your daycare in Berlin:

Berlin Kita finder

1. Build your Kita list 

First, think about what is important to you in your Kita search (size of the Kita, facilities, opening hours, bilingual/languages, parental work, location of the Kita in Berlin…). Then, start researching Kitas in your neighborhood and perhaps also near your work, if that would be convenient for you.

You can use our Berlin Kita finder on Kietzee (search function) to look up Kitas by postcode, district or name of the Kita.

If you live centrally, you should research about 20-30 Kitas to apply to.

2. Contact the Kitas in Berlin

Unfortunately, each Kita has their own application process – some have an online form to fill in, others want to be contacted by email, phone or in person, others tell you not to call or visit in person…

So check the Kita website for information or call to find out how to apply.

Then write up a nice letter with the key details (your child’s name, date of birth and your desired Kita start date). It’s also nice to include some more information about your family and why you like a specific Kita.

Here’s a separate blog post on what to include in your Kita application including a sample application letter. This could also work in any other city in Germany.

Apply for a Kita in Berlin

3. Apply for the Kita-Gutschein

Did you know that Kitas are (almost) free in Berlin?

However, in order to claim your spot in a Kita in Berlin and have it financed, you will need to apply for the Kita-Gutschein (voucher).

For this you need to provide some information about your family and your employment situation. You’ll also need to include documentation such as copies of your IDs and also confirmation of your permanent residence in Berlin (Anmeldebestätigung).

If you’re just in the process of moving to Germany but know where you’ll be living, you may be able to start the process early by providing a letter from your future landlord and/or the rental contract. Speak with the Jugendamt of the district you’ll be living in to find out how they want you to proceed.

At some offices, you can also make an appointment and attend with all your documentation ready. Response times vary by Jugendamt and the time of year but it usually takes about 6 to 8 weeks to receive your voucher if there are no further questions.

Here’s a detailed article on How and When to Apply for the Kita Voucher.

Kita application follow up

4. Do your follow-ups

After submitting your Kita applications, make sure to follow up with your favorite Kitas in Berlin regularly to let them know you are still interested and to see if they may have a spot for your child(ren).

You can also keep them posted on the progress of your Kitagutschein application and let them know once you have received it.

See our detailed article on how and when to do your follow-ups.

Last but not least: Stay positive and you will find your child daycare spot! 

We’re keeping our fingers crossed for you!

You can find more resources on our blog.

Need also to apply for Kindergeld in Germany ? Use our quick and digital service

find a job in Germany

Successfully find your job in Germany in 2023

How to find a job in Germany ?

The German job market before the pandemic

Looking at the German labour market prior pandemic, the lack of skilled staff had already been severe. A study conducted by the Bertelsmann Stiftung which was released in February 2019 states that Germany is dependent on immigration from countries outside of Europe. Referring to this study, by 2060, Germany will require an annual immigration of 260,000 people. The study claims that on a yearly average, roughly 114,000 immigrants can be expected to move from other countries within the EU. Hence, about 146,000 workers would have to immigrate from countries outside the EU.

The German job market today

jobs in germanyThe pandemic seems to have flipped the entire job market around. Digitization was pushed to enable as many workers as possible to work from home. Others got reduced working hours or simply had to stay at home. More than ever people started questioning their work life and even started to change jobs. That caused massive fluctuation in the job market.

In October 2021, Chairman of the German Federal Employment Agency Detlef Scheele said that we’re currently searching for 1.2 million workers, two-thirds of which skilled professionals. As part of demographic change, aging is increasing the bottlenecks in the skilled labor sector. According to current forecasts, the working-age population, i.e. people between 20 and under 65 years of age, will fall by 3.9 million to 45.9 million in 2030. In 2060, there will already be 10.2 million fewer people of working age. Let’s take a closer look at what that actually means for the jobs in Germany and what the country is doing in order to fill these gaps.

Germany lacks skilled professionals

Skilled workers ensure innovation and competitiveness, growth and employment, prosperity and quality of life. In view of the demographic development, securing the need for skilled workers is one of the major challenges of the coming decades for all actors from politics, business and science.

There could be a lack of approximately three million skilled workers, technicians, researchers and medical professionals by 2030, according to the Prognos Research Institute. Even the Federal Ministry of Labour warns in its most recent progress report of a shortfall of qualified professionals.

The jobs areas particularly affected by the shortage of skilled workers include:

  • Academic professional groups in the fields of medicine, engineering in mechanical and automotive engineering, electrical engineering, IT and software development and programming.
  • Crafts: Electrical installation and assembly, machining technology, plastics processing, pipeline construction, welding technology, mechanical engineering.
  • Nursing: Health, sick and elderly care.

International professionals in high demand

work in germanyHiring qualified professionals from abroad is an important aspect of securing a sufficient number of skilled workers. A cosmopolitan culture is crucial in order to interest specialists worldwide in a career in Germany – in politics, society, administration and in business itself.

On March 1st 2020, the Federal Government passed the Skilled Immigration Act which makes it easier for non-EU citizens with professional qualifications to access the German labour market. This marks a new era on the German employment market. Now, it is easier to access the German job market. Doors are open to any vocation, i.e. any profession and it doesn’t matter anymore whether the job is in high demand or not. However, STEM experts are especially important for the German economy since they work in leading and innovative German industries and, therefore, generate a lot of added value. That’s why Germany actively welcomes foreigners to work in STEM fields. The government has even lowered the minimum required salary for jobs in high demand of skilled workers for the EU Blue Card to 37,752 EUR gross annually and English speaking job positions are increasing.

What does that mean for people considering to move to work in Germany?

Now is the best time to apply for jobs in Germany from abroad. Even though the pandemic has caused a lot of suffering and limitations, it has also created a huge opportunity for foreigners to search and land a job in Germany with little to no risk. Recruiting has transformed into many job interviews being conducted online rather than in person. Why not apply for a job in Germany from wherever you are currently located? You don’t always have to go for a job seeker visa, i.e. coming to Germany first and then searching for a job here. You also have the opportunity to apply for a job and if you have found employment that is in line with your qualifications, you are able to apply for the EU Blue Card or a residency permit for qualified professionals without having to come to Germany beforehand and without having a minimum level of German. (We recommend you to start learning German from abroad) Now is the right time to enter the German job market and find your job in Germany.

Pre-checking steps before starting to find a job in Germany

  1. Check this government site to see if your skills are recognized in Germany is : https://www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de/html/en/index.php#
  2. Understand which visa is the best option for you to work in Germany. Ask an immgration expert

How to do the job search?

how to find a job in germanyDid you know that we have more than job boards in Germany alone? You want to make sure you’re searching for a job in the right place. I have various steps that I assist my clients with when doing the actual job search:

  1. My first advise always is to find out whether the company you’re currently working with has subsidiaries in Germany and whether you can arrange an internal transfer to work in Germany.
  2. Search for a job on various general job boards such as:
  1. Search for jobs on job boards that are specific to your field of expertise. For this, you need to first find out what the names of these job boards are. There are engineering specific job boards as well as special job boards for people in IT, HR, etc. If you don’t speak German yer, focus on English speaking job position. (even if sometimes if you skills fit 100% with the job position, it could make sense to try even if they ask for German speaking candidates)
  2. Connect with like-minded people as well as potential future colleagues in social media networks and groups. Ask them how they did it to find a job in Germany and copy their process.

Once you’ve found a job that you’re interested in, you need to prepare your job application package: Cover Letter tailored to the company, CV, and certificates.

(As a side note: Don’t get confused by the “easy apply” button on those job boards, especially LinkedIn – it looks like it’s easy, but it will actually not bring you the result that you’re hoping for. You still need to put in the effort and tailor your entire application package to the company that you’re applying for. At last, you also want to make sure that not only you’re the right fit for the company, but also vice versa. For this, research is necessary.)

Do you need more help to find a job in Germany?

support to find jobs in germanyIf you’re interested in searching and landing your dream job in Germany, I can help you.

As Job Coach Germany, I have successfully supported hundreds of international professionals with landing their dream job in Germany since 2017. Through my more than 10 years of experience in HR and recruiting in Germany and the UK, I know what is necessary in order for you to be invited to a job interview and secure the position of your choice.

Lisa Janz

 

Further readings and sources I used to write this article: