How to move to Germany in 14 simple steps (2023-2024)


Updated on May 30 • 6 minute read

Moving to Germany is no easy feat. But with a bit of patience and planning, you’ll be rewarded with the many perks of living in this European country.

Ready to start your relocation to Germany already? To help you out, we’ve made a step-by-step checklist on 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. Learn the basics about Germany.
  2. Check if moving to Germany is a good idea for your needs.
  3. Figure out where you want to live.
  4. Prepare a budget that fits the cost of living.
  5. Find out the requirements to get German residence.
  6. Search for housing in Germany.
  7. Translate and legalise documents.
  8. Apply for health insurance.
  9. Wrap up and get your tickets to Germany
  10. Register in the Town Hall.
  11. Open a German bank account.
  12. Apply for your residence permit.
  13. Exchange your driver’s licence.
  14. Prepare for your pet’s relocation to Germany.

1. Learn the basics about Germany

German culture

Did you know Germany has quiet hours regulated by law? Indeed, to prevent surprises like this one, set aside some time to read about German culture, lifestyle and eating habits. Consider whether you see a cultural fit and prepare yourself for adjusting to the new ways of living.

German language

Truth to be told, there's no obligation to learn German, but it can certainly help you break down the language barrier and find your way around the city. Even though you probably won’t have too much trouble speaking English in a city like Berlin, learning German will increase your chances of landing a job and integrating.


In Germany, you’ll experience all 4 seasons, with generally warm summers and cold winters. Though the extreme temperatures are rare, they vary throughout the country due to the many mountains and hills. In some regions, you can even experience substantial temperature differences within a 100-km area!

CitySummer averageWinter average
Berlin24° / 14°4° / -1°
Munich24° / 13°4° / -2°
Hamburg23° / 12°4° / 0°
Frankfurt am Main25° / 15°6° / 1°
Stuttgart24° / 15°6° / 1°
Cologne24° / 14°6° / 1°
Dusseldorf23° / 13°6° / 1°

2. Check if moving to Germany is a good idea for your needs.

Before taking the leap to move to Germany, you should make sure this is the right destination for your needs. Start by researching career or study opportunities in your field.

3. Figure out where you want to live

If you don’t have a specific destination in mind yet, you should find out which city best caters for your needs and wants.

For example, exploring homes for rent in Munich might be the top choice for those seeking a safe, family-friendly living with a highest quality of life. But when it comes to culture and nightlife options, finding houses for rent in Berlin would be your best bet.

So, take a moment to research the best cities to live in Germany and choose your new home wisely!

4. Prepare a budget that fits the cost of living

Can you afford to live in Germany? Prices in Germany vary greatly per city. So, you can only answer that question when you look into the cost of living in your destination:

Even though there’re plenty of ways of saving money in Germany, make sure you set a realistic budget.

5. Find out the requirements to get a German residence

If you're moving to Germany from the EU, you can easily change your place of residence without much headache. You just need to register your new address.

However, if you’re from a non-EU country, getting familiar with the requirements of your student visa or work visa is one of the most important steps.

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 in one place.

Jen, an expat who moved from Guatemala to Germany, and Yvonne, a German native, share their insights on the essential steps to kickstarting your new life in Germany:

6. Search for housing

Proof of accommodation is one of the documents you’ll need to submit with your visa application. Not only that but starting your house search in Germany early will also help you reduce the stress of moving as you’ll have plenty of time to find the right place.

Look into different neighbourhoods and what they offer. For instance, as a student, you might want to consider more affordable options with good public transport connections, not too far from the action. In that case, it’s a good idea to save some money by getting a room in a student accommodation.

Let’s take a quick look at the average rent prices in Germany:


Once you find your new home, don’t forget to carefully read your rental agreement before signing and ask the landlord questions if you have any. If the monthly price doesn’t include service costs, you’ll need to set up utilities such as internet yourself.

7. Translate and legalise documents before you arrive in Germany

Before departing to Germany, make sure you’ve all your important documents translated into German and apostilled. Think documents like diplomas, birth and marriage certificates or divorce papers.

8. Apply for health insurance

Make sure you’ve got the right health insurance coverage for your purpose of stay.

As a student, you’re not even allowed to enrol in a German university unless you’ve got a valid insurance plan. Luckily, if you've to take one out in Germany, you’ll be offered a fair student tariff.

If you're moving to Germany for work, you'll get a certificate from your employer stating that they cover your compulsory insurance to be able to work there. But if you don’t have a European Health Insurance Card, you might need to take out additional travel insurance to cover the period until the start of your employment.

9. Wrap up and get your tickets to Germany

A month before leaving, you should cancel your rental contract, utilities, and any local subscriptions such as gym memberships. It’s also a good time to buy your plane or train tickets — the earlier you do that, the less you’ll end up paying!

If needed, arrange the shipment of your belongings to Germany. Aaaand you’re all set!

10. Register in the Town Hall

One of the first things you should do once in Germany is register your new address in the citizen’s office (Bürgeramt).

You’ll need your certificate of registration for things like applying for a residence permit and opening a bank account.

After the registration, you’ll automatically receive your Tax ID within 2–3 weeks by post.

11. Open a German bank account

Before you can pay your rent, receive a salary or even get a gym membership, you need to obtain a German bank account and transfer your funds there. Even though it's still common to hear ‘cash only’ in Germany, the sooner you’ll have a local bank account, the easier it will be to pay and do administrative tasks there.

12. Apply for your residence permit

Once you’ve got your registration certificate, bank account and health insurance, you can submit your residence permit application to the Foreigners’ Office (Ausländerbehörde) and set up an appointment.

Of course, if you’re from an EU-member country, you can skip this step.

13. Exchange your driver’s licence

Even though cycling is increasingly popular in Germany, you might want to buy a car to commute to your work or maybe you already have one. In that case, unless you’re an EU citizen, it’s necessary to exchange your driving licence for a German one within 6 months.

On top of that, you’ve to at least register your vehicle and take out liability insurance for your car. Or better, get full car insurance coverage from a German provider.

14. Prepare for your pet’s relocation to Germany

Moving with your furry friend? Then you need to make sure your pet is microchipped and has the right documentation.

Ready to move to Germany?

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

Now that you know all about how to move to Germany, it’s time to start prepping!

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