Moving to Germany: A complete relocation checklist
Moving to Germany is exciting, but you’ll need some ol’ fashioned German organization for your relocation strategy to succeed. Germany is the business capital of the world, and orderliness is a part of their culture. By creating a to-do list, you’re one step closer to being German!
Should I Learn German?
Absolutely. If you want to adapt to German culture as quickly as possible, you need to learn the official language. Plus, learning German before relocating will give you access to more jobs.
If you’re short on time, take online German classes so you can practice wherever you are. As a positive, the German language uses the same grammar system and Roman alphabet as English, making it easier to learn. Most Germans will be happy to help you tweak your accent.
The Ultimate German Relocation Checklist
The best time to move to Germany is between May and June. You’ll have the widest selection of accommodations, so start planning your strategy sometime in the Winter or early Spring.
2 to 6 Months Before the Move
The first few steps in your move include putting together the essentials. Whether you’re moving to Germany long-term or for a college semester, you’ll need to prepare the following:
A Moving Folder: Prepare an online folder that holds all your travel documents and moving checklist. Use Google Drive to integrate Docs and Sheets.
Visa: A total of 62 countries can enter Germany for touristic purposes, but if you’re staying for longer than 90 days, you’ll need a Visa. To get a visa, you need to complete the application, have a valid passport, health insurance, and much more.
Applying for Documents: You’ll need your passport, certain permits, and documents to relocate safely. Check with your country’s relocation office or a relocation specialist in your college to get the documents you need, like an international driver’s license.
Health Check: Get a checkup from your doctor and dentist to ensure you’re well enough to relocate. Top up your medications, get a note from your doctor (especially if your prescription is illegal in Europe), and ensure your vaccines are up to date.
Search for Accommodations: You need to show proof of accommodations to relocate to Germany. Start looking now to see what options are available.
Sell or Get a Subtenant: If you’re leaving for good and you own a home, start putting your home on the market. Get a subtenant or another roommate if you rent.
Grants, International School ID, Leave of Absence: If you’re a student, you’ll need to apply for a leave of absence, get a school ID, and apply for grants at this point.
Start Learning the Language: The sooner, the better!
8 to 6 Weeks Before the Move
The second step involves getting ready for the move itself and selecting your accommodations.
Health Insurance: Tell your insurance provider you’re moving abroad.
Book the Flight: Flights are typically the cheapest 7 weeks before departure.
Hire a Moving Company: Make sure they’re trusted and have great reviews.
Create a Budget: Make a budget for Germany to avoid financial pitfalls.
Choose a Home: Sign the contract for your new home/apartment 6 weeks before.
Meet With Your New Doctor: Deliver your documents to your new German doctor.
Start Packing: Put everything you won’t need in the next 6 weeks in a suitcase.
4 Weeks Before the Move to Moving Day
The final step belongs to the “finishing touches.” Here’s what to do directly before the move.
• Cancel memberships
• Cancel utility suppliers
• Keep all documents in one place
• Learn how to vote in your home country after you move
• Open a German bank account
• Withdraw cash (in Euros)
• Clean your house/apartment
• Double-check you have everything
Adjusting to German culture may mean looking up traditional festivals, current television shows, and popular music. Researching German culture ahead of time could reduce culture shock and help you adjust. However, there are several cultural nuances you’ll only pick up after the move.