tips in Germany for Expats in Germany

Expats in Germany: 10 Tips for a successful move in Germany

10 Tips for a successful move for Expats in Germany

After a while in a new country, you always think “If I had had this advice sooner…” Here is the list of 10 tips in Germany that every Expat should know before moving to Germany.

Tip 1: Get your documents ready
Tip 2: Choose your health insurance
Tip 3: Book a temporary home
Tip 4: Start learning German
Tip 5: Know your net salary
Tip 6: If you have children
Tip 7: Save a budget for the 1st month
Tip 8: Book an appointment for the Anmeldung
Tip 9: Join Expats groups on social networks
Tip 10: Start to read about Germany

Tip 11 bonus at the end 👇

documents germany

Tips in Germany n°1: Get your documents ready

Germany is probably the most “Process” driven country that I have lived.

The good thing:

  • you know what you have to do and there are no surprises

The difficult thing:

  • you have to do all the paperwork and there is no way to avoid it!

So, our best tip to Expats is to have your paperwork ready before moving to Germany.

Which documents do you need?

  • Visa: this may sound obvious but we must insist on this, don’t come to Germany without your work visa issued, it will not work
  • Passport/ID: 
    • If you are not from EU, have your passport with you, we recommend you renew it if it’s less than 6 months
    • If you are from EU, your ID is enough
  • Marriage or couple certificate:
    • If you are married or in a couple with a formal life partner certificate, ensure you have a certificate from the relevant issuing city
    • A certified German translation is necessary
      • If you were married in the EU, be aware there is an EU regulation which gives you the right to ask for a multilingual certificate for free
      • If you are not from the EU, you will need to arrange an official translation.
      • Try Lingoking, the online certified translations service
  • For children, a birth certificate is necessary:

health insurance germany

Tips in Germany n°2: Choose your health insurance before moving to Germany

The Health insurance system in Germany is one of the best in the world.

That said, you have to choose between various systems (public or private) depending on your profile and salary.

Often Expats in Germany think that they need to wait until they arrive to start the process. However this is not the case, and our tip is to start before moving to Germany.


  • you cannot be paid without registering a health insurance
  • it could take more than a week to get your social security number

Try Feather, the 100% online and in English insurance broker focuses on Expats in Germany

home search germany

Tips in Germany n°3: Book a temporary home

Moving to a new country implies many challenges.  And one of the most notable for Expats in Germany is finding a home.


Because the rental market in Germany is very tense, particularly in big cities like Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt. There is high demand and low supply.

Also, much of the market is online and landlords prefer to see and meet people physically.

So how is it possible when you’re not yet in the country?

Our tip is to rent a temporary home, either a serviced apartment or a furnished short term let.

It will give you time to familiarize yourself with the new city and it removes the pressure to have an address within 14 days for the Anmeldung.


learn german

Tips in Germany n°4: Start learning German

Many Expats in Germany move without knowing the language.  Generally speaking however, you don’t need it to work.

But even if Germans are known to speak very good English, they appreciate when foreigners speak their language. It facilitates your integration and also your day to day challenges.

Today with the technology available , you can start learning before moving to Germany through many different channels:

salary germany

Tips in Germany n°5: Know your net salary

Before moving, it’s advisable to evaluate your monthly budget and cost of living in Germany.

Generally, you will be advised on your gross salary by your company , higher than in other European countries, however they don’t tell you about your net salary.

Your net salary depends on various factors in Germany:

  • Your health insurance rate
  • Your tax category
  • The number of children you have
  • If you have any advantages like a car or a company allowance

You also need to take into consideration State allowances you are eligible for (like the Kindergeld) or Tax exemptions you may have (with day care for example)

Our tip here is to ask your company HR to provide you a net salary simulation.

You can also use an online tool to help you.

germany with children

Tips in Germany n°6: if you have children

Of course, if you have children, one of your key challenges is to understand the German education system, know which school you should choose for your children and when to start the process.

<6 years old: Children go to KITA system either Creche or Kindergarten

These schools are mainly public so you need to register before the beginning of the school year (August).

This process depends on each city so if you don’t know where you will live, it could be difficult to manage this before moving to Germany.

Our tip here is to at least register and begin the process in the city you expect to live in. Check this blog article from our friend and kita expert Sandra.

>6 years old: private or public school…

from age 6, a child in Germany starts Grundschule.

Predominantly you have a public school system in Germany but if you would like to keep your children’s mother tongue; as a lot of Expats in Germany do; take a look at the international or bilingual schools of your target region.

Take into consideration that you can have a Tax return at the end of the year from the Tax Office if your children are at a private school

If you have children, don’t forget also to apply to the Kindergeld, from your 1st child.

money germany

Tips in Germany n°7: Save a budget for the 1st month living in Germany

This tip may sound obvious but a lot of Expats in Germany don’t consider this in advance and they lose home opportunities.

What to consider:

  • Home: 1st month rental and â…” months deposit
  • Furniture: buying new furniture
  • School entrance fees

anmeldung germany

Tips in Germany n°8: Book an appointment for the Anmeldung before arriving

Once you have booked your temporary home, book an appointment for the Anmeldung as early as you can.


Because the Anmeldung is the key to everything:

  • Getting paid
  • Opening a bank account
  • Getting your Tax ID
  • Finalizing your Health insurance
  • Access to any local public service like Garbage (dechetterie)

social network germany

Tips in Germany n°9: Join “Expats in Germany” social networks groups

Joining social network groups for Expats in Germany is a good way to start understanding your new life in Germany as an Expat!

You can get first hand information about your new city and get some tips from others who have been in your situation.

It’s a good way to socialize, start making friends and learn about what living in Germany sounds like.

Of course, if you want to socialize with locals, this is not the place

Join Get In Expat groups in Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin

book germany

Tips in Germany n°10: Start to read about Germany, its culture and way of life…

After almost 2 years in Germany, it’s clear to me that I didn’t really know Germany before moving.

I was full of clichés:

The truth is Germany is a great country to live in. Once you understand the mindset, it’s a country with a lot of opportunities and with a nice balanced lifestyle and a high quality of life.

Bonus Tip in Germany n°11: ask for the support of Move-In !

The bonus tip: ask for help from our Move-In team when moving to Germany

With online tools and relocation packages, we are here to make your relocation to Germany a successful one!


With these tips, enjoy you move to Germany!

Transparency: this article contains affiliation links from our partners for Expats in Germany. If you click on one of their links and register a service with them, we earn a commission but there is no additional cost to you,