Moving to Germany: How to Prepare for Your Move

Last updated: September 9, 2019

This page offers you everything that you will need to know to prepare yourself for moving to Germany and settling into the German lifestyle. We’ve explained the most important steps for moving overseas including visas, cost of moving and more.

Cost of Moving to Germany

Size of HouseCost of Move
1 bedroom$5,600-$8,000
3 bedroom$13,4000-$18,000
5 bedroom$20,400-$27,600

Above are the average removal costs to Berlin from different cities in Australia. There are many things that will affect the cost of your move. The two main factors are the distance and volume of your move. For more information on what else can influence the cost of moving to Germany, take a look at our international moving costs guide.

Moving to Germany

The only way to know how much your move will cost is request removal quotes. You can do this by filling out our online form and receive up to five removal quotes for free.

Visas to Germany

If you’re planning on staying longer than 90 days in Germany, then you will need to apply for a long-term visa. There are quite a few visas that you can apply for depending on your situation. If you have work already lined up, then sometimes your employer will organise your visa for you, but not always.

To gain a general employment working visa, you must have a vocational qualification and a concrete offer of an employment contract. There is also the option to apply for a job seeker’s visa which last for six months. Once you have found employment you can then apply for the general employment visa when you are there. For information on other types of visas, you can take a look at the working in Germany article written on the Australian Diplomatic website.

Once you have entered Germany, you need to apply for a residence permit at the local immigration authority in your area. This is important as it will allow you to work, earn a salary, open a bank account and other useful things.

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Working in Germany

One of the main differences between working in Germany and Australia is that the German work environment tends to be more strict and rigid. Whereas in Australia we tend to be more laid-back and less-stressed, you can expect to work in an efficient, fast-paced workplace.

Germany has a strong economy and has a low unemployment rate, so it makes a great country to work in. Some booming sectors include finance, IT, engineering and science. There are many international companies that employ expats where you won’t have to speak German, but these are limited-most English-speaking jobs in Berlin.

If you haven’t got a job yet or if you’re looking for your partner, then there are many websites that can help you find one:

Housing in Germany

Most people in Germany rent their home, it’s rare for people to have own a house, especially in the cities. If you rent your home, then you’ll probably use a Makler to help you, also known as a rental agent. There are many places that you can use to find housing in Germany.

If you don’t have housing in Germany already and you’re planning on finding a house when you’re there, then you will need to get temporary accommodation. Make sure you look into this well in advance to avoid ending up in a stressful situation looking for a temporary home. This will also give you a good opportunity to get to know the area before committing to buying a house. Below are some helpful websites to help you find furnished accommodation:

  1. Zeitwhohnwerk
  2. Immobilienscout24
  3. Immowelt
  4. Wohnungsbörse

Setting Up Your New Life in Germany

It’s not only visas that you need to organise when moving to Germany. Once you have moved, you will need to set up a German bank account, get your children into school and set up your health insurance. This section will explain where to start with this as well as a bit of information on the cost of living in Germany and some facts you will need to know about Germany.

Banking in Germany

There are many banks that you can choose to open a bank account with. You will need your registration papers to be able to open one. You should be aware that you can be charged at ATMs to withdraw cash if you use an ATM from a different bank from your own. Here are some popular banks for expats:

Once, you have done this, you can use an international money transfer company to move your money from your Australian bank account. This will save you money on transfer fees and is a lot quicker and safer. Some reputable companies include:

  1. TransferWise
  2. TorFX
  3. OFX
  4. SendFX

Moving to Germany this year

Education in Germany

If you’re moving to Germany with children below the age of six, they will go into Kindergarten. There are a few different stages in the education system in Germany for children. Above the age of six up until they are ready to go to secondary school, they attend Grundschule. After this, depending on academic ability, children attend one of three types of schools: Hauptschule, Realschule or Gymnasium.

There are also many international schools which follow internationally recognised education programmes. This is great if your child already started school in Australia as they can then continue with a familiar curriculum and therefore settle in better.

Healthcare System in Germany

Luckily, Germany’s healthcare system is of a very high-standard and is efficient and well-funded.  If you have a job, usually the cost of health insurance will come directly out of your salary. If you’re a freelancer or own your own business, then you pay your own health insurance.

Health insurance is compulsory in Germany and you must register with either a statutory German health insurance scheme (gesetzliche Krankenkasse, GVK). In some cases you can choose an additional private insurance scheme (privateKrankenversicherung, PVK).

Cost of Living in Germany

ItemPrice in BerlinPrice in Canberra
Internet (60 Mbps)€30€45
Basic Utilities€245€140
Public Transport Pass (p/m)€80€60
Childcare€190€845

Above is a table of the average costs of some items in Berlin compared to Canberra. As Germany is a big country, the cost of living varies depending on where you’re going to live. These prices were taken from Numbeo which compares the cost of living in different cities across the world.

Facts About Germany

Before you arrive in Germany, here are a few facts to familiarise yourself with about your new home country:

  • Population: 80.2 million
  • Expat Population: 10 million
  • Most popular cities for expats: Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt
  • Currency: Euro, €
  • Important Contact Numbers:
    • Police: 110
    • Fire, Ambulance: 112
    • Australian Embassy: +49 308800880

Additional Tips

We hope that you have found this page helpful. If you would like more information on moving overseas, take a look at some of our other articles:

We wish you the best of luck with your move overseas!