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The best checklist for moving to Germany in 2021

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Moving to Germany is one of the most shocking changes that can occur in life, not only because it implies separating from family, friends and all things that are known, but because it requires a lot of dedication, time and effort to fix papers , carry out procedures, find accommodation, decide what you will take with you, among many other arrangements. Find out why you need the best checklist in 2021.

Whether you are moving for your studies, for work or because you are starting a new family in Germany, you must be well prepared so that the moving process is easier and more relaxed. Putting more effort into the planning and organization part will allow you to enjoy the process, both before and after. Try to plan everything and set deadlines to meet one step at a time. In the following article, we will show you the tasks to consider before moving to Germany. Let’s get to work with the best checklist for moving to Germany!

Important COVID Notice for your checklist for moving to Germany

Entry from any other country for any purpose (including visits and tourism)  is only possible for fully vaccinated People. The traveler must have received the last vaccination dose that is necessary for full vaccination at least 14 days before the date of travel, and the vaccine the person has received must be among those listed on the website of the Paul Ehrlich Institute. More Information is available on the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

12 months before moving to Germany

checklist for moving to germany

Take care of all the formalities!

Set a moving date and then start all the required procedures. This includes:

  • Making sure that the job contract is there
  • If you are going to study, make sure that the university application, visas, scholarships, etc. are in order

How to process the student visa for Germany?

Once you have gathered all the necessary documents for the visa process, you are ready to process the German study visa. But, if you still don’t know how to start, don’t worry! Here we explain step by step how to apply for the student visa.

  1. First you should find the location of the closest German embassy or consulate in your city, then go to its website, since each German embassy and consulate has its own website. While there, you will consult the visa process. 
  2. We recommend confirming the requirements and necessary documents. This way you make sure that you already have all the required documentation. We recommend that you rely on an educational advisor, since some requirements are not very clear. 
  3. In this third step, the appointment is scheduled on the website of the German embassy or consulate of your country or city of residence. Make sure you make the appointment well in advance, we recommend a minimum of 3 months before. The appointment is free.
  4. Before the appointment, make sure you have all the documents in order! Remember that we can provide support to verify all the documentation. We recommend being very punctual on the day of the appointment and without company if you are of legal age. 
  5. Finally, on the day of the appointment, keep in mind that you will have to pay the cost of the visa. Very important, prepare for the interview, familiarize yourself with your educational program and the city where you are going to study, etc. The cost of the visa is non-refundable in case of refusal. 

Remember that you are not alone! We will always be with you throughout this visa process, we will guide you and verify that all the documents are in order to guarantee a better result in your visa process.

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3 months before moving to Germany

checklist for moving to germany

Buy a plane ticket

In order to find the best prices, make sure you buy your plane ticket at least 3 months in advance. If you want to see some tips to find cheap flights, see our article on this topic.

Find accommodation

Don’t wait to get to Germany to find your new home. Go ahead and start searching before you travel. Although it is true that it is not advisable to make remote lease agreements, to avoid fraud (in case you rent directly from individuals), if it is important to have options so that once you are in Germany, you visit your options, carefully review each one of the homes and have a face-to-face interview with the tenant so that you can resolve your doubts.

If you do not speak German very well, we recommend that you attend appointments with a friend or acquaintance, in this way there will be no misunderstandings in the future.

The best option to stay when arriving in Germany is to rent an Airbnb , although some people also choose a hotel or hostel, while choosing the best option to live. If you have family or friends in Germany, you can also ask them for a place to stay before you find your own accomodation.

Keep in mind that most apartments are unfurnished, so you will also need to spend time finding the right furniture at a low price.

Moving company

If you are going to use a moving company, we recommend that you arrange everything in advance so that everything goes as you expect. For this reason, we recommend that you do it at least 3 months in advance and that you start packing all the things you want to take so that you are not at the races.

2 months before moving to Germany

checklist for moving to germany

Organize, pack, throw away, give away

Going to another country involves vacating your current home, packing your things, checking what things are worth keeping and which ones to throw away.

Get cardboard boxes, preferably do not buy them, since every day the corner shops or self-service stores throw them away, you better take advantage of them. Take your time to take an inventory of the things you have, and classify them into the following categories: carry, keep, throw away, sell and / or donate. Leave without packing only the things that you are going to occupy during your last weeks in Mexico.

Try that when packing, sentimentality does not take over you, really ask yourself if you need to carry or store that item before putting them in the boxes or in your suitcase. Think that this process, although a bit difficult, turns out to be liberating because you leave the past behind and open the door to a better future.

Sort and translate your documents

Do you already have your passport and visa, your identity documents or the acceptance letter from your school or company ready? With two months until your trip, you should have already updated your documents and completed the relevant procedures to move to Germany.

Check once more that everything is in order, since if there is an error in your passport or visa, you are in the indicated time to make the pertinent adjustments.

Make a list of all the documents you need to bring to Germany. If you need some documents, ask for them in the corresponding organization. Once everything is in order, store them in folders so they are safe. Don’t forget to translate whatever is necessary.

6 weeks before moving to Germany

checklist for moving to germany

Make a plan on what you are taking to Germany and leaving

You will notice that as the days go by, the activities begin to come together and you will surely feel that you have a thousand things to do and that your time is getting smaller and smaller. To avoid stress and fall into a crisis, we recommend making a list in which you indicate the activities that you still need to do, as well as the dates on which those activities should be completed.

You will also have to decide what you will do with your current house or apartment, if it is your own, will you rent or sell it? Lean on a real estate agency to support you in this process. Also decide if you prefer to rent it or sell it quickly or if you prefer to wait for the best offer.

Find and confirm your temporary accommodation in Germany

As we mentioned in the previous point, it is not advisable to accept long-distance leasing contracts, so you will have to arrive at a hotel or hostel, if you do not have someone you know in Germany.

If you are going to work in Germany, check if the company can support you with temporary accommodation costs. Otherwise there is the option of reserving a shared room in a hostel for passing travelers, or in a hotel, although this will be more expensive.

If you are a student, the hostel is an excellent option because you can make new friends and have a room at a low cost. Normally if you share with 6 or more people, you can save a good amount of money.

Don’t forget to book in advance, especially if you are traveling in high season.

Open a bank account that works in Germany

The most advisable thing when traveling to another country is that you have two bank accounts open, one that allows you to receive deposits or transfers from the country of origin and another local account, with which you can make movements within the country. If you will be working in Germany, you will definitely need a local bank account.

In any case, we recommend that you approach your bank of choice and ask them to support you with this situation, so that when you arrive you can use your credit or debit cards.

4 weeks before moving to Germany

checklist for moving to germany

Cancellation procedures

Inform the telephone, cable, electricity companies, etc. that you will move and therefore cancel their services. In case you rent or sell your current house, make sure you are up to date with your payments, to avoid problems with the next tenants.

If you live in an apartment or rented house, do not forget to notify your landlord or landlord that you will be leaving the house. In this way you will avoid penalties for not giving advance notice. Likewise, if you have direct debit your service payments, cancel them so that they no longer continue to generate charges.

Get support

Moving to Germany is very difficult, especially because of the culture shock that you will have to face. You must toughen yourself up because you will be facing a roller coaster of emotions, so seeking support or starting to make relationships where you will be will not be a bad idea. If you have people around you once you are in Germany, your experience will be more enriching and best of all, you can feel at home.

There are different applications and forums where you can make friends, but be careful, do not give personal information to strangers. In addition, you will be able to practice your German and learn idioms that will be very useful to better understand the language.

Make sure you open a Skype account or an internet video calling service provider so you can stay in touch with your friends and family.

2 weeks before moving to Germany

checklist for moving to germany

Health check

Before you travel, be sure to get a general medical and dental check-up. It is better to prevent and if necessary treat possible diseases in time, since you will be in a strange country with a different medical system than the one you know.

Once you have done the check-up and if you require medications, ask your GP to prepare a document specifying that you need to carry certain medications with you. If you will take these for a long time, research the name of them in Germany and if you require a prescription to acquire them, so that in that case, you can see a doctor in this country.

If you go in the winter, it is recommended that you get vaccinated against influenza, to prevent you from getting sick with the respiratory tract.

Money

You will need to bring cash for your first days or weeks in Germany. We recommend that before leaving you change your money to euros, preferably to this currency and not to dollars, since between conversions you will lose money.

Organize your expenses well for these first days and make accounts of how much you will spend approximately in hotel, food, transportation, paperwork and other necessary expenses.

Investigate how much you will pay in commission each time you withdraw money, and once you are there, make withdrawals with large amounts (do not forget to check what the limit amount per withdrawal is).

Plugs and chargers

Check the voltage of your electronic devices. In this country the common voltage is 230 V. Normally, you will not need converters for your appliances, however, you will need a plug or socket adapter.

Mobile

The most recommended thing is that you acquire a German cell number once you arrive in Germany. However, if you do not want to lose your current number, the best thing to do is go to your mobile service company to change your plan to an international one or get advice on the rates you will have to pay when making calls or sending messages.

1 week before moving to Germany

checklist for moving to germany

Packing and final details

Start packing your suitcase at least a week before your flight, so you don’t forget anything. Go over the list of things you want to bring several times. This week be sure to fix any last details that may be missing.

Farewells

Take advantage of your last week to say goodbye and say goodbye to your loved ones. Make sure to eat your favorite dishes because in Germany you won’t be able to.

The big day!

You are finally moving to Germany! It is time to start your new life. Take it easy and don’t stress, everything happens little by little and remember that living in another country is a new adventure, so enjoy.

Make sure to put a name, address and contact number on your luggage. And don’t forget to arrive at least 3 hours before the airport.

As part of your checklist for moving to Germany, don’t forget the digital registration!

checklist for moving to germany

If you spent time in a risk area (high-risk area or area of variants of concern), you are required, in general, to complete the Digital Registration on entry into Germany.

Enter information on the places you stayed over the previous ten days via the www.einreiseanmeldung.de website. You can change the language to English at the top of the website.

Why do I need to provide my details?

The competent authority must be able to verify test results or proof of quarantine, vaccination or recovery as well as any exemptions from entry regulations. Your travel and contact details will therefore be collected and passed on.

When do I not need to provide my details?

  • If you only passed through a risk area without a stopover or are only passing through Germany.
  • If, for the purpose of border traffic, you spent less than 24 hours in a risk area or are only entering the Federal Republic of Germany for up to 24 hours.
  • If you are a cross-border commuter or border crosser and your work is urgently required and critical to maintaining operational procedures.
  • If you are being brought to the Federal Republic of Germany to be treated in a hospital for an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
  • If you are entering Germany in the capacity of transport personnel. If you stayed in an area of variants of concern within the last 10 days prior to entry, this exemption does not apply to stays of longer than 72 hours.
  • If, as a member of an official delegation, you are returning to Germany via the government terminal at Berlin Brandenburg Airport or Cologne/Bonn Airport and have spent less than 72 hours in a risk area.
  • Police officers or customs officers returning from an operation abroad or from duties equivalent to an operation abroad.*
  • If you are a member of the Bundeswehr (German Federal Armed Forces).*
  • If you are a member of foreign armed forces.

In case of stays of less than 72 hours in Germany or in a risk area:

  • If you are entering the country to visit first-degree relatives, a spouse or life partner who does not form part of the same household, or on account of shared custody or a right of access.*
  • If you are a high-ranking member of the diplomatic or consular service, of parliaments and governments. This also applies following a stay in an area of variants of concern, if strict protective and hygiene measures were observed and tests conducted on a daily basis, and under the condition that the stay lasted less than 72 hours.

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Expaturm aims to help educate Expats in Germany on key issues that they will have to deal with while living in Germany by providing everything you need to know about Banking, Healthcare, Lifestyle, and Housing in Germany
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