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

Are you looking for a guide on how to move to Germany from the US? Then you are surely at the right place because today you will find out how you can move to Germany from the US without any hassle! 

Germany is a magnificent country with its economy standing on the 5th position globally. It has an impressively low unemployment rate, making it hard to remain jobless after shifting to Germany. Moreover, Germany is rich in culture and history; therefore, we are certain you will have a delightful experience moving to Germany from the US. 

If you are a US citizen interested in moving to Germany, it may seem pretty challenging at first, but if you follow proper guidelines from scratch, this process will become quite easier.

In this article, we will share with you a step-by-step approach to help you make a smooth transition to Germany from the United States. We will cover everything from visa requirements to finding accommodation and more.

So, whether you are moving to Germany from the US for work, education, or simply to explore a new culture and live a new adventure, this guide will equip you with the information you need to make your move successful. Let’s get started!

How to move to Germany from US: A step-by-step guide 

Moving to Germany from the United States can definitely be an exciting adventure, but it requires careful planning and preparation. Here are some important steps to consider as you embark on this journey:

Step 1. Germany visa requirements & eligibility 

Before we go further on how to move to Germany from the US, it is important for you to know whether you are eligible to go to Germany or not. As a US citizen, you cannot move freely to European countries without certain documents and authorizations. If you want to live in Germany for more than 90 days, you must have a certain type of visa. 

Below are the 4 common visa options that you can opt for when you move to Germany from the US;

  1. Work/Job Visa

If you’re looking for a job in Germany and you’re not a citizen of the European Union, you will need to obtain a work visa to work legally in the country. The work visa is the most common type of visa for those seeking employment in Germany, and it typically lasts for almost two years. After that, you’ll need to renew it to continue working legally. However, there’s a chance you may qualify for a work permit scholarship, which could be a great opportunity.

  1. Tourist Visa

If you’re planning a temporary visit to Germany and have no intention of relocating there permanently, then a visitor visa is the appropriate option for you. This type of visa is designed for individuals who are interested in visiting Germany for a limited period. But, if you plan on moving to Germany this is not your most reliable option. 

  1. Study Visa

If you’re planning to pursue your education in Germany, then you’ll need to apply for a student visa to stay legally in the country. The student visa is typically valid for the duration of your study program, and it allows you to live and study in Germany during that time. Additionally, if you need more time to complete your studies, you can submit an application to extend your student visa. 

  1. Family Reunification Visa

The family reunification visa is an option for individuals who have family members currently residing in Germany. This type of visa enables family members to reunite with their loved ones in Germany more easily. It provides a legal pathway for individuals who want to move to Germany from the US to join their spouse, parent, or child in Germany. If you have family members living in Germany, this visa could be the ideal option for you to reunite with them.

If you are still unsure of what visa you need for Germany or you have a special petition, our Get In Expat immigration expert can help guide you through the process. Visit the information on job and visa in Germany

Step 2. Develop a realistic budget

Moving to any country is not that cheap; it requires a lot of investment in the process. Expenses in Germany vary from city to city, so if you plan on having an elite lifestyle by choosing an expensive location like Berlin, you will have to expand your budget accordingly. But if you are trying to have a cost-effective budget, then examine the cost difference of living in different areas of Germany and choose the area which suits you the best. 

Step 3. Arrange all the important paperwork 

Moving to another country can be quite daunting if you don’t get your documents in order, especially when moving to Germany from the US because, as a US citizen moving to Europe, you will have to have all your legal documents with you. This means that you should have your bank statements, visa, passport, and proof of income up to date to prove your eligibility for moving to Germany. Having your paperwork in order will help to prevent any sort of barrier coming your way during the moving process.

Step 4. Get your residence permit

If you want to live in Germany for more than 90 days, you must have either a job Visa or a residence permit. A residence permit is an authorization provided by the German government which allows immigrants to live in Germany. The duration of permit may vary, and it can be due to any reason like study, work, visit, or anything else. There are different types of residence permits which include:

  1. Temporary Residence Permit

If you’re planning to move to Germany from the US for a limited period, such as for study, then you should consider applying for a Temporary Residence Permit. This type of permit is designed for individuals who wish to stay in Germany for a temporary period and not permanently relocate to the country. It provides legal authorization to reside in Germany for a specific time period and engage in activities determined in the request.  

  1. European Blue Card

If you’re a skilled professional looking to continue your career in Germany, then the European blue card could be the right option for you. This type of permit provides a fast-track pathway for highly qualified individuals to work and reside in Germany.

  1. Permanent Residence Permit

If you’ve been living in Germany under a temporary residence permit or an EU blue card and are looking to stay in the country permanently, then you should consider applying for a permanent residence permit. This type of permit provides the legal right to live and legally work in Germany for an unlimited period. It’s an excellent option for individuals who have already established their lives in Germany and want to make it their permanent home.

Step 5. Understand the German tax system

When moving to Germany from the US, one of the things you need to be prepared for is the high tax rate. While it may seem daunting at first, understanding the tax system is crucial to ensure that you are complying with German tax laws and not overpaying.

The tax rate in Germany varies depending on your income level, with higher earners paying a higher percentage of their income in taxes. The tax system is progressive, meaning that the more you earn, the higher the percentage of your income you will need to pay in taxes.

When you start working in Germany, your employer will automatically deduct taxes from your paycheck. This system is known as the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system, and it means that you don’t have to file a tax return unless you have additional income or deductions that need to be reported.

If you do need to file a tax return, you will need to do so by May 31st of the following year. This can be done online or by mail, and you will need to provide details of your income and any deductions or expenses.

It is important to note that Germany has a tax treaty with the US, which means that US citizens who earn income in Germany may be automatically eligible for a foreign tax credit on their US tax return. This can help to reduce the amount of double taxation that may occur.

While the tax rate in Germany may be higher than what you are used to in the US, it is important to remember that this money goes towards funding important public services such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure. It is also worth noting that Germany has a robust social safety net, which provides support for those who may be struggling financially.

Overall, understanding the tax system in Germany is crucial to ensure that you are compliant with German tax laws and not overpaying. While it may take some getting used to, paying taxes is a necessary part of living and working in Germany, and it helps to fund important public services and support systems.

Step 6. Find an Accommodation in Germany

Once you are all set with a visa permit, finding suitable accommodation is the next important thing. Looking for a residency in Germany can be tedious and time consuming, especially if you are moving with your family. Get In Expat can help you through the process of finding a residence according to your requirements.

Step 7. Get your address registered

After moving to Germany from the US, you are obliged to have your address registered because the state authorities must be aware of the address of each and every one of their citizens. You will have to register your address each time you change your residence. 

The process of registering your address is known as the Anmeldung process in Germany. For this process, you are supposed to submit proof of the property you bought or a lease if you are renting. 

Step 8. Open a bank account in Germany

If you are moving to Germany from the US on any visa other than a tourist visa, you should also set up your finances in Germany. That’s why opening a bank account is a must for you. After you open a bank account in Germany, you can transfer your funds from your American bank account to your German bank account easily. 

This step is important because the German state won’t let you be there for long if you don’t have enough funds to fulfil your expenses. It is advised to do all the research and know all about the cost of living and expenses in Germany before you finally decide to move to Germany from the US.

Step 9. Don’t forget the health insurance

When moving to Germany from the US, you will have to get yourself valid health insurance as well. Having medical treatment in Germany can be extremely expensive, so health insurance can surely be a relief in times of need. It is mandatory for every citizen living in Germany to get health insurance. 

Step 10. Learn the basics of Germany

Once you are fully prepared with the bureaucratic aspects, the next thing to keep in mind is to learn the basics of German. Although most Germans can speak English, learning German is important to make the move easier. Although to tell you the truth it can be a challenging task for an American citizen to learn a completely different language at once. So, here are a few basic phrases that you must understand as a newbie:

  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 to Germany from the US can be a fascinating and memorable experience, but it is very important to have proper preparation and planning before embarking on your journey. 

By following the steps outlined in today’s article, you can have a smoother transition into your life in Germany. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that there can be huge cultural differences, and you might take time to adapt to the new environment. 

Finally, moving to Germany from the US can be an amazing and rewarding experience for those seeking new opportunities. Get In Expat is here to offer any support to help US citizens in their move to Germany. Feel free to contact us to learn about our services and how we can make your relocation easier.