The actual relocation to Germany can be a little confusing. The country has a complicated education system and foreigners require several work permits to get started. Several other things also come into play when you are moving to Germany. The first thing that strikes you is the strict restrictions to importing household goods.
Moreover, you must also declare any cash over 10,000 EUR. Organising your visa is also very important. Working visas are the most popular with foreigners. You would require your ID, proof of employment and payment of approximately 80 EUR.
Moving to Germany has numerous health and financial benefits. While you will be expected to make high contributions to social security (employees pay 21% of the annual gross income), there are many more benefits that come with working in the country such as the healthcare. The country has an efficient and very reliable healthcare system, which includes over 1,000 public hospitals.
The cost of healthcare is fairly high in Germany. However, the living costs in any of the large cities across the country is quite low when you compare with other large cities across Europe. Here is a detailed guideline on how to relocate to Germany.
Before you pack your items and buy an air ticket to Germany, get to know factors that come into play when you want to ship and store household goods. In Germany, your items will get through the customs office smoothly if they have fulfilled certain requirements. Here is an example; If you have lived in the country of origin (where you are relocating from) for at least 12 months and has owned the item for the last six months, you can bring in the item.
If you want to bring your pet along, you should ensure that you meet the requirements. First, your pet must have been given all the standard vaccinations. Small pups and kittens must also come with proof of immunization. In addition, there are dangerous breeds that are banned from the country, which includes the English bull terries. Have the right information about your pet breed in writing before relocating.
It may be easier to take a few personal items and not the bulk of your household goods behind. In Germany, you will find several appliances and furniture shops where you can purchase all the basic furniture and appliances.
However, if you rather bring your bulky items to the country, you have several considerations to make such as insuring the items. Fortunately, you can pick one of the many basic insurance plans (also called Hausratsversicherug) and it protects your belongings for a small yearly price. Get a cover as soon as you relocate to Germany.
Visas and Permits for Work and Stay
One of the things that should be in your priority list when moving to Germany should be getting a visa along with a work permit. The complexity of the process depends on the country of origin. If you come from an EU country, the process should be easy and fast. All that is required of you is registering with local authorities once you have settled down in Germany. However, if you are moving from a non-EU country, you must make an application for the work visa.
There are several types of visas with various requirements and costs. The process can be complicated. Here is a restriction, you cannot take up a paid employment before you have the work permit and there could be restrictions on how long you would stay in the country. Before you start your process, read of the various German visas, their requirements and restrictions so that you are sure on what to expect.
Keep in mind the getting a residence permit is not a guarantee that you will get a work permit in Germany. If you are an EU national, you can automatically take up employment when you settle in the country. However, other expats from non-EU countries have to apply for the work permit. If you are one of them, check if your skills qualify for the “Blue Card” visas as they get processed quite fast. These are visas only given to people with highly valuable skills.
When it comes to accommodation, you will need to determine whether you need to buy or rent a home. Going for renting is quite popular among the locals and expats, and is the cheaper option. The cost of renting a house varies from one location to the other. However, you expect higher prices in big cities like Munich and Berlin. It is best that you check for an apartment online rather than through a real estate agent. Most of the agents charge large fees that include two months’ rent and VAT for the houses they manage.
In addition, a rental contract in Germany does not include utility costs. However, you have a wide range of options from various suppliers. For energy contracts, the suppliers need the meter number, the reading of meter and your bank details. It is a standard for energy suppliers in Germany to take meter readings once annually.
If you go for buying a property in Germany instead, keep in mind the several things that you have to keep in mind. Most expats find mortgages tricky, as they would require a history of the regular savings that is documented. The lenders also require a 30 per cent down payment on the property purchase price. Moreover, it is not a must that you buy the house along with the land that it is on. You can just purchase the home and have to lease the ground it is on. In the year of purchasing the home, you will be required to pay a property acquisition tax.
Germany has high ratings for their healthcare, which includes healthcare services and health insurance. It is mandatory that 7.3 per cent of the social security contributions go to health insurance. This amount is then matched up by the employer. If the employee earns a gross salary of less than 64,350 EUR per year, a public healthcare provider insures them. However, any employee that earns beyond this amount has to choose between private and public insurance.
Once you get registered as an employee in Germany, you are required to sign into a GP program as soon as you can. Go online and search for one or make use of the local directory to check for doctor contacts. When you have a GP, you can get quality advice on treatments of specific health problems. He will also advise you on the best hospitals to seek treatment in Germany. Your health insurance covers the GP appoints along with two dental check-ups. These check-ups cover basic dental procedures that include fillings.
This German healthcare provides a healthcare system where expectant mothers get between ten and twelve check-ups. These checkups include urine and blood tests. They also get ultrasounds in their third, sixth and eighth week of the pregnancy. When it comes to the time of giving birth, mothers have a choice of several options that include a birthing clinic, hospital or home birth. Some conditions apply in each of the above choices.
Private health insurance in Germany is available only to those employed in certain professions and who have an income over a certain amount. The private and compulsory styles of insurance differ in substance, and require an understanding of the variations.
Taxes and Banks
Germany has two major types of banks, co-operative societies and saving banks. Each offers several accounts tailored to specific needs. Your choice of the account depends on various factors that include the fees, interest rates and any other special offers.
Opening a bank account is rather easy. All you need is your ID and a proof of registration at the address. The cities have a large network of ATMs some of which can be used across various banks while others are limited their banks.
Unfortunately, Germany has fairly complex tax rates. Each of the employees must have the ‘PAYE’ tax automatically deducted from the salary. All one is required to do is to furnish the employer with the tax ID. However, you can be liable for tax deductions if you are raising children, regularly donates to charity, or is a single parent. Check these deductions before filing your returns, which are due by 31st May of each year.
The school’s system varies from one state to another. However, all of then require the kid to be in school up to 14 years of age. Elementary school starts when the child is six years old and high school at the age of around 12 years. The choice of high school depends on whether the child wants to pursue vocational studies or go to university.
You can take your child to an international school. However, expect a long waiting list to a good school with most being quite expensive. Some charge as much as 2,000EUR a year. Others offer diplomas, International Baccalaureate or/and German Abitur.
You may find it hard to get employed if you do not fit the business culture and don’t speak the German language. However, you can get information on how to get started from the federal Employment Agency. Once you get employed, 21 per cent of the income will go to social security.
If you decide to go for self-employment, you must have a permit to live and work here. If this is the reason for relocation, the business credentials will have to be checked by the German Embassy. If you can invest at least 250,000 EUR in the business immediately, this process can be fast.
Metropolitan cities in Germany are significantly cheaper than their counterparts in Europe. However, the cost varies from one area to the other. Some of the very expensive are Munich and Frankfurt while Jana and Leipzig are more affordable.
Employees have to pay 1.3 per cent to pension and 7.3 per cent to health insurance. However, the self-employed are only required to pay the pension. If you would like to import a vehicle, be prepared to pay 10 per cent import duty and 19 per cent VAT.