Starting a New Life in Germany

Change is difficult, but sometimes it is necessary. Sometimes things do not go well in life. You make a wrong choice or you fall into some bad luck, and you fall into a hole and it feels like you cannot get out. So, you have to move on, to move forward, and to make a change. Sometimes that’s the path that leads you to this big move. Everything went wrong, so why not pack up and move to Germany? Sometimes it is not quite so tragic. Occasionally the move is for love or even out of sheer boredom. Whatever the reason, while your spontaneity is admirable, you may want to do a bit of research before making such big commitment.

Not everyone who makes a drastic move is totally prepared for it, and that can certainly make life difficult. If you were being spontaneous and decided that you just had to move to Germany, then that is okay. There is nothing wrong with following your heart or your instincts and just going with the flow. However, you should prepare yourself as best you can for the difficult road that lies ahead.

Prepare for your big move

There are certain preparations you can make ahead of time so that your transition goes smoothly. If you have the time, or at least the patience, the best preparations you can make will be to learn German; to save up enough money to live off of for at least three, if not six, months; and to have a useful degree or skill so you can find work when you get there. Showing up in another country with no skills, no money, and no knowledge of the language will most likely turn out to be a devastating experience. So, don’t end up homeless; prepare yourself to be a functioning member of society when you get there.

When you get there

There are some things you will need to take care of right away when you move to Germany. The first thing is to establish residency. Once you get to Germany, you will have to find a job and a place to live. Once you have a residence, you must apply for residency at the local Foreigners Office to receive permission to work and live in the country. Then you must register your residence at the local registry office in the city or neighborhood where you live.

Also, when you get there, you will need to get health insurance. If you get a full-time job in Germany, you should be automatically signed up for health insurance. However, if you are self-employed or work part time, you will need to sign up on your own. Health insurance is not cheap, so you want to make sure that you are making enough money to support yourself, to pay your rent, and to afford the compulsory health insurance. If you make more than €450 per month but are not enrolled in a health insurance program, you could be heavily fined and even deported.

A big move is fun and scary all at once. If you are prepared for it, then things will go smoothly for you as you transition into your new life. However, if you decide to uproot and move at the spur of the moment, at least be informed, so that you can figure out what to do next.


Saskia Petz

Tanja Traut

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