Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Moving to Germany

Germany has much to offer, from the snowy Alps of Bavaria to the beaches in the North, to images of barmaids and Lederhosen to modern skyscrapers and ultra-efficient transport, or the famous Autobahn. It is not a totally unified country, split by Protestantism and Catholicism, and also the residual Soviet-esque effects on Eastern versus Western regions. Among the questions of national unity, there are also many foreigners on German grounds, most of which come from Turkey (Berlin as the third largest Turkish city in the world!)

The process of moving to Germany is very official. Make sure you have at least 10 copies of your passport made for all of the different submissions. It is much easier for EU citizens to move to Germany than applicants from elsewhere.

If you wish to move to Germany as a spouse, you may need to take a special language aptitude examination.

Click here for a list of practical information about moving to Germany.

Click here for an Expat Checklist on various topics.

Visas in Germany

Work Visa in Germany:

To obtain a work permit in Germany, citizens of the EU, along with American, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and Switzerland have the option of applying for a residence permit after their arrival in Germany. Those from other countries must apply from outside the borders. You must submit your application in person to Alien Office, and it takes 1-3 months to process. The Embassy/Consulate issues a residence permit, which then allows you to work.

Click here for more details.

In order to apply for a visa, you must submit:

  1. Two fully completed application forms and required declaration in duplicate
  2. Two passport photos
  3. Copy of passport
  4. Employment contract or letter from Germany
  5. US certificate of good conduct
  6. Visa fee

If you are only visiting Germany for a short business trip, you must obtain a Business Visa.

Student Visa in Germany:

Only citizens of certain countries must apply for a student visa if they intend to stay in Germany for up to 90 days. You must submit your application in person, which takes about 25 days to process, and you will be given a residence permit. You must then register it upon your arrival to Germany.

To apply for a student visa in Germany, you must submit:

  1. Two fully completed application forms and required declaration in duplicate
  2. Two passport photos
  3. Copy of passport
  4. Letter of acceptance from German school
  5. Evidence of sufficient funds
  6. Visa fee

Moving Pets to Germany:

If you want to bring your cat or dog to Germany, you must have it vaccinated for rabies at least 30 days before but no more than 12 months before your entry. The EU requires that your pet has an ID number with a tattoo or microchip. For travel between the EU, pets must have a passport. Owners of pets must maintain responsibility of anything the pet does.

Only certain breeds of dogs are permitted in Germany. Most states have bans on Pit Bulls, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and sometimes Rottweilers.

Other Information:

The German Missions in the United States contains very much official information.

Lonely Planet contains many resources about different cities in Germany, and How To Germany has many specifics about matters like Insurance, Driving, and Postal Services.


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