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Germany is a popular destination for those looking to find a new home. Its position as a major economic power in the EU gives the country significant advantages: good standards, diverse job opportunities and more. In our short guide, you could find the most important aspects of moving to Germany.

Do you speak German?

German is the official language in Germany. It is part of the German language family along with English, Dutch and the Scandinavian languages. Hochdeutsch, or Standard German, is the language used in the media, official correspondence, government and educational institutions.

Several main German dialect families are found in different regions of Germany: Bavarian (bayerisch), Upper Saxon (sächsisch), Lower German (plattdeutch) and Berlinerisch (berlinerisch). They vary considerably in pronunciation, and some have grammatical differences. Before you move to Germany, start learning Standard German and you will eventually master the local dialect in everyday communication with colleagues, neighbours and friends.

German is also accepted as an official language in the European countries of Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Specific dialects, such as Swiss (Schwiizerdütsch) and Austrian (österreichisches deutsch), are distinguished there.

Moving to new accommodation

The property market in Germany is highly competitive and it is important for you to be well prepared. When looking for your new home, pay attention to its size and the exact designation of the rooms. Square meters of living space are known as Wohnfläche, bedrooms are Schlafzimmer and bathrooms are Badezimmer.

There are two main types of tenancy in the country: fixed-term (befristet) and open-ended (unbefristet). The former has a date for vacating the property. This is most often chosen by people who will stay in the place for a short period.

If you intend to move to Germany on a long-term basis, opt for open-ended contracts. These can be terminated easily by the tenant, but the landlord can only request that you leave for good reason. During the first 12 months, the landlord is not allowed to change the price of your rent, which will give you extra security. Many long-term properties are rented unfurnished - without curtains, light fittings or kitchen appliances. Before you move to Germany, it's a good idea to think about how you will transport your belongings to your new home.

Your rental can be cold (Kaltmiete) or warm (Warmmiete). The cold rent only includes the housing costs, while the warm rent includes utilities such as gas, electricity, water, internet, phone bills, etc. If you opt for shared accommodation, you will share these costs and some rooms with the other residents. These are common around the country because of their affordable prices and are most easily found on shared housing websites, groups and forums.

Find your new job when moving to Germany

The country is the powerhouse of Europe and deservedly gets this nickname for its fast-growing economy. Finding a job is easy and working conditions are very good. The minimum wage is EUR 10.45 per hour and the average monthly salary in Germany is EUR 3,810. The salary varies according to the field of development, the length of working experience and the place of residence. Keep in mind that taxes in the country take up a relatively high percentage of the gross salary. Make sure that the remainder of it will be enough for you, given the high standard of living.

If you are moving to Germany from another EU country, EFTA or Switzerland, you do not need a work visa or residence permit. In contrast, citizens from the UK and other third countries need the relevant documents. In Germany, work visas can be used for short- and long-term periods. Short-term ones are valid for up to 90 days and cannot be reissued, while long-term ones can be renewed and are valid for 1 to 5 years, depending on the type and field of work.

In Germany, there is a strong separation between corporate and private life. The working environment is very formal and hierarchical. Punctuality is an inherent trait for Germans and you must always be on time.

The average working week is just over 34 hours, but it varies depending on the working sector. Working hours are usually from 09:00 to 17:00, and include a lunch break. More and more companies are adopting a four-day working week and allowing employees to work remotely from the comfort of their own homes. It is difficult to find shops open on Sundays because this is the day to spend time with family and friends.

Moving to Germany with children

The country maintains a high standard of education and you should be familiar with the different types of schools and learning opportunities before moving to Germany. The education system includes pre-school, primary, secondary and higher education. Education for children aged 6 to 15 is compulsory, which includes primary and secondary levels. Most state schools are free to attend but are taught in German. If your child does not speak the language, you can also choose between fee-charging private, international and bilingual schools.

Children under three can attend nursery school, while those aged 3 to 6 can attend pre-school, but neither is compulsory. Childcare can be private, public or church-based with some being free and others charging fees. If you are moving with a child this age, these types of education are suitable. Through them, they will naturally adapt to the environment faster, make friends and learn the language.

Higher education institutions in the country offer quality and globally recognised training with a strong practical focus. Many state universities are free and have comprehensive programs in English.

View of city infrastructure - skyscrapers, residential buildings and a temple in Germany

Moving to Germany with a pet

Before moving with your pet, you should familiarise yourself with the rules for entering the country. Your cat, dog or ferret must have a valid passport, microchip or clearly readable identification tattoo. A rabies vaccination and blood test proving its effectiveness is mandatory. You will also need to obtain a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian.

Once you move to Germany, you must register your dog with the local civil service within 2 weeks. Each time you change address, you will have to repeat this procedure. Note that you will also be obliged to pay an annual tax (Hundesteuer) for your dog. As the owner of one, you are fully responsible for its behavior. To avoid unpleasant situations, you should train it well, and additional liability insurance would help you to deal with unexpected payments in case of damage. Similarly, you can also provide your pet with health insurance covering veterinary care.

Dogs can travel on public transport for free and for a low fee on trains. Most cities have various restrictions in relation to leashes and muzzles in public places, and you should research these in advance. There are strict restrictions on watching after breeds of dogs prone to aggression. Bringing Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers and crossbreeds between them into Germany is prohibited.

There are no strict restrictions on pets such as hamsters, rabbits and guinea pigs. Poultry must be vaccinated against avian influenza or quarantined for at least 10 days after arrival. Before you move to Germany with your pet, make sure you know in detail the requirements for your pet.

Driving in the country

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals can drive in Germany using their existing licence. They can subsequently renew it for a German one. If you come from a third country, you can use your document or international licence for the first 6 months after you move to Germany. After this period, you must renew it with a German equivalent. Some countries have special agreements with Germany regarding the written and practical examinations. Check whether the country you are moving from has these and what are the details around them.

You can drive your own car in Germany without registering it for up to 12 months and then you must register it with the local office. To import a car from a non-EU country and not pay duty and VAT, you need to prove that you will be working full-time in the country. You need to keep the car for at least 12 months after you import it. You can only use your registration plates for up to 12 months after you enter the country if you have a German-translated registration document and proof of insurance.

The transport network in Germany is well developed and public transport is widely used. Buying tickets and season tickets is easy and the infrastructure is well integrated throughout the country. More and more cities are using fewer private cars and turning to the environmentally friendly transport offered by municipalities.

Health insurance in Germany

If you move from another EU country, EEA country or Switzerland, you can use your EHIC card for the first 6 months. After that, you must register for health insurance and get a social security number (Sozialversicherungsnummer). You will receive a health insurance card (Krankenversichertenkarte), which you must carry with you when you visit the doctor or dentist.

If you move to Germany from a third country, you must take out private insurance (Private Krankenversicherung - PKV). When you start working in the country, you become eligible for registration for public insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherun - GKV). This includes primary medical care with registered doctors, hospital care and basic dental treatment.

Medicine dispensing in Germany happens under strict rules. Depending on the type of health insurance you have, you may only pay part or all of the cost of prescription medicines. If your prescription is issued on a pink sheet of paper (public insurance), you will have to pay a one-off fee of around 5-10 euros. If you have private insurance, you will receive it on a blue sheet. You will pay the pharmacy the full amount of the medication and then you will have to claim reimbursement from your insurer. Over-the-counter medicines are not covered by health insurance and you have to pay the full cost.

Nature and climate

Due to its location and size, Germany has a temperate and highly seasonal climate. The northern and north-western parts of the country are characterised by an oceanic climate with high humidity, warm summers and cold winters. The climate in eastern Germany is predominantly continental and dry, while in central and southern Germany it varies from temperate oceanic to continental. The mountain regions are cooler and wetter and have the highest annual rainfall in the country.

Germans like to spend time with their family and practice various sports in nature. They take care of it by recycling almost all waste. Thinking green helps them to maintain a clean and pleasant living environment. Once you move to Germany, you will be convinced that people follow the set rules. They love delicious food, beer and the festival season. This is one of the most favorable periods to move to the country. It predisposes to quick socializing and making new contacts.

Once you become familiar with all the rules, you will realize that an orderly life is much easier and more enjoyable to lead. Moving to Germany can go just as easily if you trust a professional transport company. Movega Removals is on hand to organise your move and answer all your questions. Contact us for a free consultation via our contact form or chat bot.

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