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Moving to Germany

Moving to Germany Guide

If you are moving to Germany, please read this guide carefully and get to know all the important steps before and during the move.

  • Before moving to Germany you will need 10 passport photos, two for the passport, 2 for the German consulate, 3 for the permanent German visa, and the rest for a student ID or other visas and applications you may need.
  • For help with your visa application, try contacting your future German employer or university. They will also advise you on the type of visa you need and on the duration the German visa will apply for. The website of the German embassy in the US can also help you with these issues -
  • The local German consulate website usually has much helpful informantion on moving to Germany and aquiring a visa.
  • Ask your previous employer and university for references and details. This will help you along the process of moving to Germany in general, and specifically with getting a visa to Germany.
  • Ask your friends and acquaintances if they know of some connection in Germany. This can help you find cheap or even free boarding, employment, social connection and someone to call if you run into trouble.
  • If you can, try to learn German. Not all germans speak English, and this can help you connect with the local population.
  • About a month before moving to Germany it is recommended to travel to Germany in order to choose an apartment to live in. Apartments are hard to find, and realtors are quite expensive in Germany. Apartments in Germany ussualy rent without furniture, so set aside a budget for these items as well.
  • American coins can only be traded to Euros in Germany inside airports.
  • Banks and money exchange places close on Saturdays and Sundays in Germany. You can exchange money in banks only if you have an active account there. Travelers checks will ussualy not be accepted in stores.
  • Get a stock of English books before moving to Germany. If you finish all of these, you can ussualy find books in train stations and English sections in book stores.

Taxes on Imports to Germany

When importing your household goods to Germany you can be free of duties and border taxes if you meet a few requirements.

  • First, you need to give up residence abroad. These can be shown by documents of lease or employment termination, selling of properties, note from employer stating the move to Germany etc.
  • Proof of relocation to Germany and establishing a home here. This can be shown by lease agreement, current German employer etc.
  • Residence of at least 12 consecutive months outside Germany.

You do not have to pay taxes for goods used abroad for at least 6 months. Food and perishable items are allowed free of tax only in home use quantities. Alchohol and tobacco are not duty-free.

You can import a car to Germany only if it is registered in the owner name as a sole owner and used by the owner at your previous residence for at least 6 months before moving.

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