Moving to Germany: The complete Guide

If you’re planning to move to Germany, you might be wondering what you need to do to get settled in. While there are lots of perks to living in Germany, it’s also known for its complex bureaucracy. But fear not—you’ll find everything you need to know about the process here. 

Read on to learn what you need to register in Germany, how to find an apartment, open a German bank account, and much more!

German flag and barcode.

No two experiences are alike, which is why the information in the infographic above is for general reference only. Processes and procedures may differ depending on your situation, which is why it’s important to conduct your own research, and seek professional advice as needed. Oh, and the creators of this infographic are not liable for any errors or damages resulting from its use.

illustration of residency.

Getting your German residence permit

If you’re an EU citizen, you won’t need a visa or residence permit to move to Germany. However, if you’re coming from outside the EU, things look a little different. There are various types of residence permits, depending on whether you want to study, find a job, or start your own business. 

Here, you’ll learn more about the different criteria, processes, and how to get a residence permit in Germany.

How to do your Anmeldung

Is German bureaucracy already driving you nuts? You’re not the only one! And yet, there’s one more item to check off your list: Every person in Germany has to officially register the address where they live—a process known as “Anmeldung.”

Since deadlines are pretty tight and appointments hard to come by, read our guide on how to register in Germany and get through the process quickly and painlessly.

illustration of italian visa.

Opening a German bank account

In order to manage your money effectively, the first thing you’ll need is a German bank account. The good news? Once you’ve compiled all the documents, opening an account is easier than you might think. With N26, it takes just 8 minutes—right from your smartphone.

Learn all about the different account types, cards, and how to open a bank account in Germany here—and discover the best accounts for expats.

How to get health insurance in Germany

Whether you’re a student, freelancer, or full-time employee, health insurance is a must for everyone living in Germany. Although insurance costs can be high, it’s worth it, as you’ll get access to a wide variety of healthcare services.

Moving to Germany is already complicated enough, so we’ve done all the research on the German health insurance system for you. Discover which type of insurance you’re eligible for, and what to keep in mind when enrolling.

illustration of health insurance.
illustration of someone looking for home.

How to find an apartment in Germany

With all the complexity of moving to a new country, you’ll need a cozy place to rest your head at the end of the day—and to store all the paperwork you’ll need for your new life in Germany!

It’s worth noting that the German housing market can be complex to navigate. Luckily, there are ways to make the most of your apartment hunt. Here, we’ve gathered some tips on finding a rental flat in Germany, including the most important terms you’ll need to know.

Becoming a freelancer in Germany

There are plenty of reasons to relocate to Germany, including its strong economy and excellent job market. Or maybe you want to start your own business instead? If so, you’re in luck—innovative business ideas and freelancers are in high demand here, too!

However, becoming self-employed in Germany isn’t without some signature red tape. But fear not—filing your tax return in German might sound daunting, but we’ve got you covered with our guide to freelancing in Germany.

illustration of a freelancer.
illustration of working contracts.

What is the Schufa?

No matter what you plan to do in Germany, the term “Schufa'' will almost certainly enter your vocabulary. It’s a document that you’ll need if you’re renting an apartment, opening a bank account, or applying for a loan. 

But what is the Schufa anyway, and why do banks and landlords care about it so much? Read on to find out how to get your Schufa score!

The cost of living in Germany

No matter where you’re coming from, it’s worth taking some time to check the cost of living in Germany. For example, you might pay less for coffee and drinks, but could face higher gas and electricity bills than you’re used to. And, getting a handle on your future monthly spending will also pay off in that upcoming salary negotiation.

From rent and food to leisure activities, you’ll learn how expensive it is to live in Germany and how to stay within budget.

illustration of cost of life.

Find a plan for you

N26 Standard

The free* online bank account

The N26 virtual card.
Virtual Card
  • A virtual debit card
  • Free payments worldwide
  • Up to 3 free withdraws
  • Deposit protection

N26 Smart

The bank account that gives you more control

N26 You card, Rhubarb.
  • Free Virtual Card
  • Up to 10 Spaces sub-accounts
  • Support Center phone number
  • Round-ups

N26 You

The debit card for everyday and travel

N26 You card, Petrol.
  • Up to 5 free withdrawals in the Eurozone
  • Flight and luggage delay cover
  • Medical emergency cover
  • Winter activities insurance

N26 Metal

The premium account with a metal card

N26 Metal - Charcoal Black.
  • An 18-gram metal card
  • Up to 8 free withdrawals in the Eurozone
  • Purchase protection
  • Phone insurance

Learn more about moving to Germany

How do you move to another country? 6 steps to get you ready for moving abroad

If you’re thinking of moving abroad, read on to discover our checklist of what to consider before starting your big adventure.

Moving Cost Calculator

The easiest way to get an estimate for your move with our moving cost calculator.

How to open a bank account in Germany the easy way

Open a German bank account without any paperwork or bureaucracy, and without even needing to speak German. Perfect for expats, foreigners and non-residents from abroad.