Expat in Germany? Here's a checklist with all bureaucratic processes, security measures and must know's.

A checklist with all bureaucratic processes, security
measures and must know's in Germany


If you are an Expat living in Germany or someone moving to Germany for the first time, this is a must-read checklist to make sure you have completed all bureaucratic procedures, taken security measures for belongings and be informed about all important contacts in case of emergency.


First things first!

Before moving to Germany

1. Travel insurance to cover the travel and the first 3-6 months (in case you are a student)

In case you are a student, you might need travel insurance first to cover your first few days or months until you come here and apply for health insurance. For short term visits, travel insurance is sufficient, but if you are moving to Germany to stay for a longer time, you have to apply for health insurance. Some of the travel insurance you can get are Dr. Walter, Allianz, Cosmos direkt, Barmenia direkt and so on. 

See full comparison here.

2. Public health insurance to get a permit for the students/employees

Public health insurance is a mandatory requirement if you are student or an employee. Sometimes, depending o the visa status, you can also opt for private health insurance like Ottonova.

3. Private health insurance in case you are a freelancer/artist

Not everyone is entitled to private health insurance in Germany. When living or registering in Germany, it is mandatory to have either private or statutory health insurance. As a statutory insured employee, the health insurance contribution is deducted from the wage and your employer pays half of the contribution, but only up to the maximum rate of around 352 euros. Only civil servants, self-employed people or students as well as employees whose salary exceeds the annual salary limit are entitled to private insurance. In 2019, this limit is 60,750 euros gross per year. The decision in favor of private health insurance is a decision for life because politics has set narrow limits to a return to the solidarity system. Private health insurance contributions are not based on salary, but on age, health and insurance benefits.
Check out all options here.

4. Blocked Bank account for students and an additional German bank account to unblock the money

A blocked account, as the name says, is a bank account in which a specific amount of money is “blocked” from taking out. It is a special bank account which is required for obtaining a visa to Germany if you have to study or apply as a job seeker. In German, it is called as “Sperrkonto”. You can check out features of Expatrio Blocked Account here.

If you are a non-EU student, while applying for a visa or residence permit, you might have to prove your financial resources for the duration of study or job seeking in Germany. It implies the proof of adequate financial means. See full article about blocked account here

5. German Bank account for professionals

As an Expat, it is essential to open a German bank account in order to study or work in Germany. International students usually need a blocked account and can also open an additional German bank account from one of the providers below. If you are a working professional, or if you would require any additional bank account, you can choose one of the providers like DKB, 1822Direkt, Comdirect, Fidor or compare all bank accounts here.

6. Liability insurance to secure your items

Every citizen should have a high-performance private liability insurance in Germany. The insurance is always important if you or your children cause damage to third parties. Your spouse or partner is also covered. If you haven’t got one yet: Take out a strong and affordable private liability insurance now. It only costs about 50 to 100 Euros per year. If you have an expensive old contract, you can cancel it and then switch to cheap liability insurance. Find a comparison of private liability insurances here like Coya, Getsafe, Adam Reise, Gothaer, Helvetia, Barmenia direkt, Bavaria direkt, Cosmos direct

7. Prepaid sim card

here are many sim card provider in Germany with different coverages around Germany. When you are traveling to Europe from a non-EU country, it is essential to get a sim card with the internet. Ideally, once you arrive, you could get a postpaid sim card which is bound by a contract (1-2 years min). But, in the first few months, you can buy a temporary sim card (travel sim or a prepaid one) from the providers here  

8. Temporary Accommodation for initial days

Usually, when you move to Germany for the first time, it might be difficult to book accommodation for a longer period without visiting them personally. There are many scams available in this domain (see all here). Also, in bigger cities, landlords might not be willing to rent the apartment to someone without meeting them personally. In such a case you might have to book a temporary accommodation option for a shorter time period (1 month – 3 months). You might have this buffer time to come here and settle and look for permanent accommodation. You can directly book temporary accommodation below


9. Permanent Accommodation

You can find our guide to find permanent accommodation here.
Also, check out some videos about all topics related to finding an accommodation here.

10. Schufa

If you are moving to Germany and want to rent an apartment, you will come across the term “Schufa”. Usually, the landlords and other entities require this information to evaluate your creditworthiness. Schufa is an abbreviation of “Schutzgemeinschaft für Allgemeine Kreditsicherung”. It is usually tracked and recorded by Schufa Holding AG, Germany’s biggest credit agency. In this article, we will describe Schufa, information stored in Schufa, how to apply and get one.

After moving

1. Anmeldung or Apartment registration

e all know that the German Bureaucrazy is a not so easy to understand for the internationals, but the very first word you will come across after arriving in Germany is “Anmeldung”. Don’t panic! It’s pretty simple.

Anmeldung is the process of registering your address/apartment in Germany. Everyone living in Germany must have a registered address, which is the first requirement. This has to be done in 14 days after arrival, which means you must have rented an apartment with a valid contract. After Anmeldung, you will get Anmeldebestätigung or Meldebescheinigung, which is the proof of address used to do further procedures like getting insurance, university registration, residence permit or so.

Know about how to do anmeldung!

2. Completing the visa procedure in the Foreign Office (Ausländerbehörde)

You might have to go to the Foreign office to provide your documents to get a permit (student permit or work permit), or a Freelancer visa. It is always better to bring a German native speaker to the appointments as the officials might not speak other languages. It is pretty easy to book a native speaker through MyHelpBuddy.

3. Internet connection and other Utilities

There are several German internet providers on the market. Headquartered in Cologne, Germany, Unitymedia is one of the leading cable network operators in Germany and a subsidiary of Liberty Global. Via one of Europe’s most modern and largest interconnected cable networks, Unitymedia reaches 12.6 million households in Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg and offers its customers digital and analog television and radio, as well as telephony services and the option of up to 200 MBit / s to surf the internet.


4. Credit card

As an international or expat you have several options to find the best credit card provider. There are several free options for credit cards but also credit cards with yearly fees and additional benefits. Compare different options in our free credit card comparison here. If you are coming to Germany as a student or an Expat, it is essential to have a credit card to pay for hotels, online bookings like flights, or delivery. The usual debit card from your local bank cannot be used for all online transactions, as it is not a VISA card (mostly it is MAESTRO). Compare different options below in English here like DKB, Santander, Hanseatic, Hilton Honors, DK, BMW, Amatzon, etc and choose the best suited provider!


5. Tax number

Once you complete the Anmeldung, you will get your Personal Number and tax number which you need to use for tax declarations and also while signing a job contract.


While staying in Germany

1. Emergency contacts

We have listed down all emergency contacts in this article.

2. Tax declaration every year

Everyone should do the text return. On average people get 1000 euros back. There are several ways to apply for a tax return. For example though Elster, the free program of the tax authorities, but beginners have a hard time using it. And unlike the purchase programs, it offers no recommendations for taxation.
For most citizens, it is worth buying software to prepare the tax return. Recommended programs regularly cost between 15 and 35 euros.
There are commercial desktop programs that you have to install on your computer every year, and online software that runs in your browser. There are also apps that allow you to create a tax return on a smartphone or tablet.

Find more information on online tools for tax return here and know about how to claim taxes for momney sent abroad here.

3. Must knows

Some of the must have apps are
– DB Navigator: Transportation app
– Local Transportation apps like BVG (Berlin), MVG(Mainz) and so on

Some of the platforms and organizations where you can get help in various processes are
MyHelpBuddy: to book an interpreter, helper or mover, for any task
– Wilkommenszentrum: for questions related to integration
Meiterverein: to handle disputes with landlords
– Job centre: to apply for unemployment benefits
English speaking/Multilingual doctors

– Lost and Found centres

4. Getting a loan

If you are an expat living in Germany, you might have wondered about the procedure of how to get a bank loan in Germany. Whether it is the same as in the home country or completely different. In this article, we will inform about the types of loans in Germany, how to apply, and the requirements of how to be granted for a loan. Especially what to consider as a foreigner in Germany, and you will find a comparison of all loan providers here.

5. Part time jobs/Full time jobs

If you are coming to Germany as an Expat, job seeker or international student, it is very essential to know the tips and tricks to find a job or internship quickly.

In this article, we are not going to explain to you the “regular” approach to find a job in Germany as an international.
By “regular”, we mean the usual way: applying through the career portal of any company. This is a standard approach followed by everyone and not the only way to obtain a job or internship.
You will not only learn how to find a job, but also how to find companies relevant to your domain.

6. Freelancing in MyHelpBuddy

You can also sign up as a Buddy, if you can offer help to newcomers in translation, language tutoring, interpretation, furniture assembly and so on. Here you can earn up to 50 euros/ hr. Find out how to become a Buddy here.

7. Discounts and Offers

Student life can get expensive very quickly. But don’t worry as you are a student and there are several ways to save money. It comes with its perks. There are student discounts available on transport, movies, events, museums, food, applications, banks, online shopping, etc. Check it out here.

You just need your student ID to avail these offers. Don’t forget to carry it always.

If you are a student or expat looking for accommodation, bureaucratic help, writing letters in German, filling forms, assistance by a Dolmetscher/Interpreter for visits, jobcenter or any office, translating your CV, cover letter, etc. check out our platform here and share your request. You will be connected to our Buddies who are native speakers and locals. They know the processes, your language and are willing to assist you within hours.

If you are willing to help others in these aspects and earn money flexibly, then join us as a Buddy here.




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