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!