Moving to Germany in 23 easy steps (2022)


Updated on Feb 28 • 7 minute read

Moving to Germany is no easy feat. But with a bit of patience and planning, you’ll be rewarded with many perks of living in this European country. Plus, knowing German punctuality, the embassy will likely process your visa application in no time!

So why don't you start getting ready for your relocation to Germany already? To help you out, we’ve made a checklist on how to move to Germany step-by-step.

We’ll walk you through:

  • checklist for moving to Germany
  • tips for looking for accommodation in Germany
  • the timeline for moving to Germany

How to move to Germany

To make your dream of living in Germany come true you need to know where to start.

That’s what a checklist is for! It might seem like an unnecessary hassle at first glance, but as soon as you start organising your paperwork, you won’t imagine moving to Germany without one.

Here's how you move to Germany:

  1. Create a folder on a drive for your documents.
  2. Plan your budget.
  3. If needed, start collecting documents for your visa.
  4. Start searching for accommodation.
  5. Look for a new tenant or subtenant.
  6. Apply for scholarships.
  7. Apply for your visa.
  8. Get a hang of the basics of German.
  9. Make an appointment for a health check.
  10. Health insurance.
  11. Book a flight.
  12. Hire a moving company.
  13. Meet with your doctors.
  14. Make a packing list.
  15. Apply for electricity, internet, and water suppliers.
  16. Cancel memberships.
  17. Make appointments in Germany.
  18. Finish packing.
  19. Withdraw cash.
  20. Clean your flat.
  21. Check the metre counter.
  22. Got everything?
  23. Take a plane and start a new chapter in your life!

Relocation to Germany: your timeline

To feel in tune with your new everyday life in Germany, it might be a good idea to become accustomed to the German way of organisation and structure. So, here's your timeline that will help you ensure that nothing goes wrong.

6 months before moving to Germany

The time has come to pick up the first essential steps:

1. Create a folder on a drive for your documents

To make sure you always have access to it, it's best to create your relocation folder on Google Drive or Dropbox to gather all the important information.

2. Plan your budget

Before you move to Germany, you should carefully consider how much money you should set aside.

We have guides for the cost of living in most of the major cities in Germany such as Berlin, Munich and Hamburg. Might be of help when creating your budget?

3. If you need a visa, start collecting documents and put them in the folder

If you're moving to Germany from the EU, chances are you've been lucky here and you can easily change your place of residence without much headache.

However, if you come from a non-EU country, get familiar with the requirements for a student or work visa as soon as possible.

Don’t forget to check the validity of your documents and apply for a renewal if needed.

4. Start searching for accommodation

Possibly one of the most essential things on your checklist!

Proof of accommodation is one of the documents you’ll need to submit with your visa application. Starting early will also help to reduce the stress of moving as you’ll have plenty of time to find the right place for your new home.

To prevent falling for scammers, search for accommodation on a safe platform like HousingAnywhere. Our smart artificial intelligence detects scammers in no time!

5. Look for a new tenant or subtenant

Parallel to looking for accommodation yourself, you can also start searching for a new tenant or subtenant for your old house.

Do you plan to return to your country and move back into your house? Then simply advertise your room or flat for this period on HousingAnywhere.

6. Apply for scholarships

To get a financial boost, you might want to apply for grants and scholarships or request governmental funding early on.

4–5 months before moving to Germany

7. Apply for your visa

The processing of German visas takes 6–12 weeks from the moment of an interview at the embassy. So, it’s time to send your documents and wait patiently for an invite!

8. Get a hang of the basics of German

Truth to be told, there's no obligation to learn German, but it can certainly help you break down a language barrier.

9. Make an appointment for a health check

Just before you leave, you should have a health check at your family doctor, dentist, or gynaecologist and get a fresh prescription for all your medication. Arrange your doctor appointments now to make sure you’ll get checked on before leaving.

Do you need any special vaccinations for your move to Germany? Have a look at your vaccination card to see if you meet all the requirements and get vaccinated if necessary.

8 weeks before moving to Germany

10. Make sure you have health insurance valid in Germany

Make sure that your health insurance company knows that you’re going abroad. As a student, you might be covered by an international health insurance scheme.

If you're beginning your career in Germany, you'll get the certificate stating that your German employer covers your compulsory insurance. If travel insurance isn't included in it, you might need to take out separate travel insurance for the time between your arrival in Germany and the beginning of your employment.

11. Book a flight

Time to get down to business! Flights are cheapest on average 7 weeks before departure.

12. Hire a moving company

Moving with all your belongings? Then you should hire a moving company to help you. It's best to book now to make sure you get a fair deal.

6 weeks before moving to Germany

13. Meet with your doctors

Sit down with your doctors to see if you can hand over your medical records to your new doctor. They can also advise you if there are certain aspects you need to consider about your medicines or illnesses.

14. Make a packing list

Start packing step by step and compile a checklist. Every time you use something that you might not use very often, you should write it down. That way you will not forget it in the end.

4 weeks before moving to Germany

15. Apply for electricity, internet, and water suppliers

Will you have to arrange for internet, TV or other utilities in your new home in Germany yourself? Then you can start checking out which provider you're going to choose and perhaps even set up the first utilities.

Whilst you are busy exploring new utility providers in Germany, you should also cancel your existing ones now.

16. Cancel memberships

Before moving, terminate your gym membership, travel card and any other outstanding subscriptions you won’t need in Germany.

2 weeks before moving to Germany

17. Make appointments in Germany

Start your new life with maximum ease and organise your first appointments already.

Relocating to Berlin? Then make an appointment at the Bürgeramt now so that you can register in Berlin in time.

If you’re not from the EU, you’ll probably need to open a bank account in Germany too. If that’s the case, you should make an appointment now.

1 week before moving to Germany

18. Finish packing

Packing, packing, packing. Don't underestimate your belongings: often it ends up being more than you expect.

19. Withdraw cash

Get some Euros that you'll be able to use in Germany. Germans are still quite into cash, so with this, you're on the safe side.

20. Clean your flat

Before you move out of a flat, you should clean it all up. After all, you also want to move into a clean flat, right?

Get rid of some of the clutter when you move. Take things that you no longer use but are in good condition to charities or give things away.

Moving day!

21. Check the metre counter

Take a final count of all metres (gas, water, electricity) and record it in the form of a photo. This way you are sure that you will not pay more than you have used later.

22. Got everything?

Double-check that you have brought all your essentials with you.

23. Take a plane and start a new chapter in your life!

Don’t forget about your appointments when you arrive at your destination. Time to register your address so that you can open your German bank account.

Plan well your house hunt

Accommodation hunting for students

We dived deep into the search behaviour when looking for accommodation on HousingAnywhere.

Generally, the search for housing kicks off with the acceptance of students. That means that the first ones start looking in March/April.

In May and June, the housing hunt tends to intensify with many students booking their accommodation in Germany during this period.

Did you know that you can find the widest selection of accommodation between May and June (at the latest by the beginning of July)? Here you will not only find the biggest choice, but also the best prices.

But no need to worry - you'll see for yourself that there's enough room for everyone in Germany. We promise, your new life won’t start without a roof above your head. And to be fair, some students wait to book their accommodation up until the last week of August and the first two weeks of September. However, keep in mind that by that time the best cheap options might be gone.

Do you want more tips on types of accommodation for students in Germany? We’ll tell you how to find your dream home here.

Young professionals strike faster

Different patterns among other groups of internationals can be identified too.

Young professionals tend to form a clear vision of what the room or flat should look like. For instance, two to three months before their relocation to Germany, they look for accommodation and then book it on the spot. In contrast to students, their search is not influenced by seasonal factors.

Ready to move to Germany?

We promise you: with a little organisation you'll easily master your move. Adjust the checklist to your individual needs and keep an eye on it at all times - that way you won't forget anything.

The timeline helps you keep track of the timing of your administrative formalities and ensure that preparations run smoothly on the day of your move and upon arrival in Germany.

Now that you know all about how to move to Germany, we wish you good luck!

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