How to Move to Germany

Germany Removals | Move to Germany from UK

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How to Move to Germany: A Comprehensive Guide for UK Professionals

Introduction

Moving to Germany is an exciting and life-changing decision. Whether you’re relocating for work, studies, or to be with family, Germany offers a rich cultural experience, excellent education, and a strong job market. However, the process of moving abroad can feel rather daunting. Schepens ‘How to Move to Germany’ guide, will walk you through the steps to make your relocation to Germany as smooth and stress-free as possible.


Germany attracts professionals from across the world because of its to its powerful economy, offering diverse job opportunities throughout the country. Whether you’re looking for the dynamic Berlin scene, or you’re attracted by Frankfurt’s financial hub, Germany is a great destination for working and living.

Schepens is a UK moving company that is a specialist in European relocations and has been providing removals to Germany for many decades now. We make weekly trips to locations across Germany, which means we know the country well, can offer detailed advice on how to move to Germany, and are delighted to provide step-by-step guidance here.


1. Research and Planning

  • Understanding Your Motivation
  • Researching Different Cities
  • Language Preparation

2. Legal Requirements

  • Visa and Residence Permits
  • Health Insurance
  • Housing Certificate

3. Where are You Going to Live in Germany?

  • Düsseldorf
  • Munich
  • Berlin
  • Frankfurt

4. Finding Accommodation

  • Rental Market Overview
  • What’s included in a Rental Agreement

5. Registering Your Address in Germany

  • Why is registration important?
  • Need more help?

6. Employment Opportunities

  • Economic Conditions in Germany
  • Shortage Occupation List

7. Education

  • The Unique Educational System in Germany
  • Language in Which Children Are Taught
  • International Schools

8. Healthcare System

  • Health Insurance in Detail
  • Emergency Services Numbers

9. Financial Management

  • Opening a Bank Account
  • Typical Bank Accounts

10. Taking Your Car to Germany

  • Import Duty
  • Vehicle Registration

11. Move to Germany

  • Choosing Your Removals Company
  • 5 Ways to Beat the Stress of Moving Overseas

How to Move to Germany: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Research and Planning

Now that the UK is no longer a member of the European Union, the process of moving to Germany has become more onerous. It is still perfectly possible, as our ‘how to move to Germany’ guide demonstrates, but it requires energy, focus and stamina to stay the course.

For this reason, knowing why you’re moving to Germany, before you focus in on how to move to Germany is important. Not only does a clearly defined goal give you motivation; it also helps you to focus on which city in Germany will align best with both your job prospects and the lifestyle you want to experience.

1. Research and Planning

While 56% of Germans speak English fluently, taking steps to learn German, if you don’t already, will help with your job applications, enhance your experience of the country, and ease your integration into your workplace and local community. If you know enough German to be able to communicate easily and spontaneously in a clear and detailed manner, you will present as a ‘better prospect’ to German employers.


2. Legal Requirements

If you wish to work in Germany, you will need a residence permit in order to do so.

You can start your residence permit application process either from the UK or within 90 days of your arrival in Germany. If all your documents are in order, your residence permit should take 2-3 weeks from application to completion. You should, however, factor in time for challenges along the way.

If you’re planning to study in Germany, you’ll need to apply for a German student resident permit. There’s two ways of going about this, either secure a university spot and then get your visa or apply for a residence permit and then look for your university of choice. This helpful article explains how to go about itResidence Permit for International Students in Germany.

Application Process

  • Register your German address. You will need to prove that you have a place to live in Germany. You do this by registering your address with the local authorities, in order to receive a certificate that you can append to your application.
  • Health Insurance. You need health insurance, provided by a German insurance company, for the period of your planned stay in the country.
  • Open a Bank Account. This is compulsory as part of your application as you will need to prove that you have sufficient funds in your bank account.

For detailed information on which work permit to apply for, click here


3. Where are You Going to Live in Germany?

Many of our German movers started out with a year-long contract to work and then decided they loved the country and wanted to stay on. We asked a few of them what it’s like to live in Germany.

DÜSSELDORF – THE HEART OF EUROPE

DÜSSELDORF – THE HEART OF EUROPE

“I’m only just started to get to know the vast country that is Germany but, having started out in Düsseldorf, I’m very happy to call it home. Living in the north, it’s simple to hop on a train Amsterdam, Paris, or Brussels for a weekend break. I can be in the Netherlands in around 30 minutes! I’m able to pursue my love of travel and live in a friendly, fun city.”

MUNICH – A COSMOPOLITAN CITY

“We moved to Munich in the south of Germany because it’s where the work was; it’s a big cosmopolitan city, and home to loads of global businesses. It’s an expensive city to live in, but the schools are excellent, and we just love the lifestyle on offer. We’re German speakers and I would say that’s a must in Munich because English isn’t all that common. It’s a great city for children (we have 3). There are lots of green spaces, and an amazing cycle infrastructure.”

MUNICH – A COSMOPOLITAN CITY
BERLIN – A DYNAMIC CAPITAL

BERLIN – A DYNAMIC CAPITAL

“If you’re under 40 you should absolutely spend at least a few months in Berlin, or – like me – move here permanently. It’s an ancient city, but it’s remade itself so often that it feels brand new and there’s a dynamism that’s unique. When I first moved here it was refreshingly cheap; now it’s more expensive. Still cheaper than London, though, and it remains the nightclub capital of Europe!”

FRANKFURT – GREAT QUALITY OF LIFE

“When friends ask when I’m returning to the UK, I say ‘no time soon!’. I moved over here a few years ago and Frankfurt felt like home from day one. It’s considered the financial capital of Germany but it’s not a massive city. It feels buzzy, and I got to know my way around it really quickly. It’s also full of foreigners, like me, so it’s got an international feel whilst also feeling homely. Not a touristy city (which I like) and a great place for day-to-day living.”

FRANKFURT – GREAT QUALITY OF LIFE

Finding Accommodation

4. Finding Accommodation

Germans don’t place the same premium on home ownership as we do in the UK, which means that most people rent the place they live in. This has led to German rental laws strongly favouring tenants, who tend to stay in one apartment for years. As a result, landlords are understandably cautious about their choice of tenants. This can pose challenges for oversea professionals without a credit or rental history in the country.

If your employer doesn’t arrange somewhere for you to live, you may find it useful to engage a Makler, or rental agent, to help. Your rental contract will probably ask for 3 months’ rent as a deposit. Unlike the UK, most apartments in Germany are unfurnished, and you may even need to install your own kitchen. Utilities are not included in the rental price.


5. Registering Your Address in Germany

Once you have a new home in Germany, you will need to register your address with the local authorities. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Visit the EinwohnermeldeamtGo to the residents’ registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) in your city or town.
  2. Bring the necessary documents – Have your passport or ID card, your rental contract or proof of residency (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung), and a completed registration form. You can usually get the form at the office.
  3. Get your MeldebescheinigungThe office will give you a confirmation of registration (Meldebescheinigung). Keep this document safe, as it’s an important proof of your address.

Why is registration important?

  • Legal requirement – Registering your address is mandatory in Germany, usually within two weeks of moving in. Failure to do so can result in fines.
  • Essential for services – You’ll need this registration to open a bank account, get health insurance, apply for a residence permit, and more.
  • Moving within Germany: -If you change your address within the country, you need to re-register at your new location.

Need more help?

  • You can find the address of your local Einwohnermeldeamt online or by asking at your city hall.
  • Some offices may require you to make an appointment in advance.

6. Employment Opportunities

The stability and diversity of the German economy create highly favourable conditions for local employment. Unlike many other European Union member states, the unemployment rate has nearly halved over the past decade. Germany attracts skilled professionals from prosperous regions in Western Europe, the US, and Canada, all seeking employment opportunities in the country.

Employment Opportunities in germany

Currently, there is a shortage of specialists in several key sectors of the German economy, including industry, information technology, medicine, finance, and science and education. To increase your chances of successfully finding a job in Germany, having a university degree and professional experience in your career path is essential.

The Shortage Occupation List is a good place to start your job search; it gives clear evidence, gleaned from national statistics and recruitment offices, of the occupations most in demand. Click here for further information.


Education in germany

7. Education

The quality of Germany’s education system is globally recognised, but it can vary significantly between states (Bundesländer), making the selection of schools for your children to study in a complex task. Public schools primarily teach in German, posing potential challenges for non-German-speaking children. International schools, on the other hand, incorporate German into their curriculum, enabling a smoother transition to a public school if you plan on a long-term stay in the country.

In Germany, there’s very little difference in the quality of teaching and resources between public and private schools, thanks to strict educational standards imposed on public schools and regulations preventing private schools from catering exclusively to affluent families. For this reason, UK professionals tend to opt for international schools to ensure their child’s ongoing education is in alignment with the UK curriculum, or the English baccalaureate.


8. Healthcare System

The German healthcare system makes patient choice its priority offering foreigners and residents 3 health insurance options;

  • Public Health Insurance. The gesetzliche krankenversicherung or GKV, covers 92% of the population and providing a uniform level of coverage nationwide.
  • Private Health Insurance. Ensuring prompt assessment and care for a wide range of medical conditions.
  • Public and Private Insurance Models. Comprehensive care plus an additional private plan that can cover outpatient services like dental visits and physiotherapy.

For a detailed guide to health insurance arrangements in Germany, click here

To call an ambulance in Germany the number is 112.

For out of hours medical attention, call 116/117


9. Financial Management

The paperwork and requirements for opening a bank account in Germany can vary slightly from one bank to another. However, the following documents are typically requested:

  1. A valid passport.
  2. A German residence permit.
  3. The completed account application form.
  4. An Anmeldung document (proof of address).
  5. Proof of employment or income.

The two most typical bank accounts on offer in Germany are:

  1. Girokonto. Similar to current accounts this is designed for electronic payments and everyday transactions.
  2. Sparkonto. A savings account that enables deposits while imposing restrictions on withdrawals.

10. Taking Your Car to Germany

Planning to take your car with you to Germany? Importing a vehicle from the UK to Germany requires you to pay import duty at 10% of the car’s value plus 19% VAT. You can use your own licence plates and registration for up to 6 months, but after that it will need to be registered a motor vehicle registration office (Kfz-Zulassungsstelle) and undergo a technical inspection for roadworthiness, and an emissions control test.

8. Taking Your Car to Germany

Consider carefully whether you’ll actually want to use your car once you’ve settled in. Many German cities have excellent public transport connections and a well-resourced cycling infrastructure. However, if you do you plan to move your vehicle, read this detailed guide to driving in Germany.


11. Move to Germany

Once you have a residence permit, a job and somewhere to live, you’ll need to work out how to move to Germany. Transporting your home overseas can be a stressful process, which is why it’s a good idea to choose a removals company that has plenty of experience in relocations from UK to Germany.

Schepens has been helping people move to Germany for decades and, as specialists in overseas removals, we understand the specific stresses such a move can involve. That’s why we have 5 stress-busting measures in place:

1. A Free, No Obligation, Accurate Removals Quote.

Not knowing how much your removals will cost is stressful. We carry out a pre-removals audit so that we can accurately assess the size of your move. Then we create a detailed, accurate removals quotation to help with your budgeting.

2. Customs Paperwork Completed.

Rather than letting movers take on the onerous task of completing customs forms, we do it for you.

3. Support From Your Move Co-Ordinator.

Our professionals know your destination well and have successfully managed numerous moves to Germany. They will be available throughout the moving process to offer advice, help with any problems, and support you at every stage.

4. Flexible Scheduling.

Schepens makes weekly runs to locations across Germany, which means that we are able to offer flexible scheduling to movers, and surprisingly affordable prices!

5. Professional Packing Team.

If you’re happy to pack up your home, we’ll help by delivering the packaging you need to do it. If you would like us to pack for you, our professional packing team will do the job in hours.

“Really happy with the service I received. From day one they gave me all the info I needed as I had zero clue how I was going to get my belongings from England over to Germany. They took care of the important paperwork for me, customs, duty etc. They also kept me informed every step of the way with delivery of my belongings. The removal/delivery guys were awesome and super friendly. I felt a little bad as they had to negotiate their huge truck into a small cul-de-sac but it gave them no problems. Overall extremely happy with the service provided and at a really fair price too! Recommended! 5 Stars*****”

Verified Reviewer 


We hope our ‘How to Move to Germany’ guide has help with your planning. When you’re ready to plan your removals to Germany, call Schepens for your free removals quote – 01794 323558


We have helped many families relocate to Germany, including a wide variety of cities —
BerlinBremenCologneDortmundLübeck, DresdenDusseldorfEssenFrankfurtHamburgHanoverMunich and Stuttgart.