Everything you need to know before moving to Germany

Germany is the perfect destination for you, whether you want to improve your German language skills or are looking for new career opportunities in Europe. However, moving to a new country always involves a number of challenges and adjustments. Before you take the big step of moving to Germany, it is important to be well informed about the processes and requirements needed to settle in successfully. To make your transition and adjustment to life in Germany easier, here you will find the best tips: from how to find a place to live to the taxes you have to pay.  

First steps towards living in Germany

Before you begin your experience, it is important to note that if you are going to live in Germany for more than 3 months, you must obtain a visa if you are not a citizen of the European Union (EU). But don't worry, by studying German at our schools in Germany, you will have all the support you need to make the process as easy as possible.

In addition, knowing the local language is important, as it will facilitate your integration and communication with local people. With our German courses you will be able to improve your language skills and feel confident to live everyday life to the fullest.

Securing single or shared accommodation

There are various housing options in Germany, including single flats (studios), shared flats (WG) and temporary rentals (Zwischenmiete). To find your ideal home, you can use online platforms such as ImmobilienScout24, WG-Gesucht or eBay Kleinanzeigen. Within these platforms you will be able to contact landlords and they will give you the possibility to schedule interviews and viewings of the flats or rooms you are interested in. Although it may surprise you, it is quite common, but it is quite common that landlords conduct personal interviews to meet potential tenants so we recommend that you prepare a file with personal, financial information and if possible references.

However, we know that this new process can be overwhelming and stressful, so within our services we offer accommodation that will make you feel at home, such as shared flats, our well-known residence in the heart of Frankfurt or a homestay in Munich.

Sharing a flat to improve your German and adapt to the culture?

Have you always lived alone or with your family? Sharing a flat in Germany offers a unique insight into the culture and everyday life of this fascinating country. In any city in Germany this way of living is quite common, especially among students and young professionals. You will have roommates from all over the world, share experiences and create unforgettable memories, making every moment an exciting and enriching adventure.

Although you usually share a flat with like-minded people, it is always important to have a good coexistence where clear rules about rent payment, cleanliness, noise and use of common spaces (such as the bathroom or kitchen) should be established, this will avoid possible conflicts and misunderstandings.

Or living alone to enjoy complete freedom?

Having a flat to yourself (Einzelappartment) is also possible, which can be a rewarding and liberating experience if you are looking for independence and self-discovery. Having your own space gives you the opportunity to set your own rules, explore your interests and enjoy an unparalleled sense of freedom. It will also allow you to fully immerse yourself in German culture, interact with the local community and develop meaningful relationships with new friends and neighbours, which will help you practise your German language skills.

Although flat-sharing can be a popular option, independent living offers a path to personal growth and self-confidence that can be especially exciting during your language study experience.

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What you can't forget once you've found your new home

Before signing the lease, remember to review it carefully and familiarise yourself with your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. This will prevent problems in the future. In some cases, before signing, landlords will ask you for a SCHUFA-Dokument, which is a certificate proving that you do not have any outstanding debts in Germany. This can be obtained by going to a Deutsche Post or Postbank/Volksbank office, you will only have to present a document, a (German) credit or debit card and a total of 29,95 EUR. Additionally you will have to present proof that you are insured in Germany. These are formalities that depend on the landlord.

Once your landlord hands you the keys to your new flat, you have to make sure to complete all the necessary bureaucratic formalities, such as registering at the local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) to obtain your residence registration (Anmeldung). This is crucial for establishing your official residence and accessing essential services.

Finally, don't neglect integration into your local community: get to know your neighbours: you can make a good impression if you introduce yourself when you move in, explore your surroundings and immerse yourself in German culture to feel truly at home and get your experience off to a successful start.

Taxes and financial obligations

When moving to Germany, it is essential to understand the financial responsibilities and taxes you will have to pay in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.

One of the most important aspects is the security deposit (Kaution) that you must pay to your landlord when you sign the contract. This payment usually costs two or three months' rent and in some cases you will be able to pay it in instalments, but sometimes it will be just one instalment, depending on the landlord. This deposit is usually returned when you decide to move out, but only if the flat is in the same condition as when you arrived. It is also crucial to be aware of local taxes, such as the housing tax (Wohnsteuer) and the broadcasting fee (Rundfunkbeitrag), which may be included in the rent or require an additional payment. If you live in a shared flat (WG), taxes and common expenses may be divided among the residents, whereas if you live alone, you will be responsible for paying them in full. It is also important to note that if you are a member of certain religions, you will also have to pay religious taxes. In addition to the above, some expenses such as internet or electricity may not be included in the rent and you may have to find suppliers and arrange payments separately, but this is unusual.

Being aware of these financial obligations will help you to better plan and manage your finances as you settle into your new home in Germany.

Additional tips for living in Germany

We know the process sounds a bit complicated, but we still have a number of additional, practical tips for you that will make your life in Germany much more comfortable and enjoyable.

First of all, familiarise yourself with the local public transport system and consider getting a bicycle to get around the city efficiently and cheaply, and make the most of the numerous opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. A walk in the parks or forests is something that will make you feel active and alive, and don't miss the opportunity to explore the rich German cuisine, from traditional sausages and pretzels to delicious cakes and craft beers, and finally, be open to new friends or colleagues, who can be your support network during your stay in Germany. And don't neglect the experiences that may come your way, as Germany offers a vibrant multicultural community and a wide variety of social and cultural activities to enjoy.

And that's it, you're ready to live in Germany!

From starting to look for a place to finding your way around each city can be an exciting and unforgettable experience, but each step also requires planning and preparation. Follow these tips and find out about the necessary processes and requirements, they will ease your transition and you will start to enjoy all that this fascinating country has to offer. But don't forget that we are also here to help you.