FAQ for Expats Moving to Berlin

Updated on
September 21, 2022

Moving to Berlin, Germany is a very exciting, yet challenging experience. The whole move in itself may be stressful, however, one of the largest challenges is that you will be arriving in an unkown location, in which you have to start a new life in. Most of the time, ample research and knowledge about the location, makes it easier to integrate and get used to your new way of life!

To make this whole process easier for you, we included the most frequently asked questions, by expats, when first moving to Berlin and getting settled. Most of the answers below link to more detailed and longer articles on the subject discussed.

What is ‘Anmeldung’?

The word ‘anmeldung‘ translates to ‘registration’ in English. In the context of moving to Berlin and registering as an expat, it means registering your residential address. When moving to Berlin, you must register your address before you do anything else.

The ‘Anmeldung’ is required for any of the following;
– Moving into another apartment in Berlin
– If you are traveling within Germany to another address for 6 months
– Moving from another country and intending to live in Berlin for 3 months.
– Within 2 weeks of living in your apartment in Berlin, you must apply.

Once your registration is complete, you will receive a certificate called an Anmeldebestätigung or a Meldebescheinigung and a Tax ID known as Steueridentifikationsnummer.

What documentation do you need to register in Berlin?

To register in Germany, when moving to Berlin you need the following documents:
– Your passport
– A completed registration form
– Proof of your address
– A ‘Wohnungsgeberbestätigung’ signed by your landlord or your property’s owner ( a signed document, confirming that you are allowed to live at your address)
– Birth certificates or other identification if you have any children
– Non-EU citizens need a residence permit
– Certain application types require a marriage certificate

How to get an Anmeldung appointment during coronavirus?

Due to the pandemic, and the desire for people to maintain as much social distance as possible, the Bürgeramt is only allowing an Anmeldung in cases of emergency. Find the closest Bürgeramter in Berlin!

While moving to Berlin, getting an appointment at your local Bürgeramt is simple. Get in touch with them by calling or emailing and tell them you need to get Anmeldung. Due to the pandemic, you must provide a reason why your appointment is urgent.

What types of visas are there in Berlin, Germany?

When moving to Berlin, the following visas and residence permits are available:
Freelance or Self-Employed VISA
The German Jobseekers VISA
IT specialist VISA
German Blue Card and Residence Permit
employment VISA for Qualified Professionals
VISA for the Recognition of Qualifications
German VISA for Research Purposes

Who needs a German VISA?

Thanks to special agreements, the citizens of specific countries are capable of entering Germany without a VISA. They are:Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, The Republic of Korea, The United States of America.

However, citizens from these countries must apply for a residence permit before they can apply for any work. After you arrive in Germany, you can obtain a residence permit from the local Foreigners Authority. There are no differences between the requirements of these listed countries and those of other third-country nationals.

Citizens of countries that are not included in the above list cannot enter Germany before submitting a VISA application. There is more information available online about applying for a German work VISA or, you can visit your local German Consulate or Embassy and ask about the requirements there.

Who needs health insurance in Berlin?

Everyone who lives in Germany must have health insurance. It will cover the cost of all medical treatment, particularly treatments where the patient is unable to pay for the doctor due to their illness.

View a helpful guide on How to get German Health Insurance When Moving to Berlin.

What types of health insurance are there in Germany?

Germany has three different types of German health insurance. There is the Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung or GKV, which is a public health insurance system regulated by the government. Alternatively, you can pay for Private Krankenversicherung or PKV, private health insurance from a health insurance company. Last but not least, it is possible to have a combination of both of these two types.

Is the cost of living expensive in Berlin?

Berlin is one of the more affordable European cities to live in. In 2019, the Mercer Cost of living survey ranked Berlin as the 81st most expensive city to live in around the world, out of 209 countries in total. When comparing Berlin to other German cities, the survey found that both Frankfurt and Munich have a higher cost of living.

Is housing in Berlin affordable?

While Berlin’s rent prices have risen by more than 100% in the last ten years, they are still cheaper than many other cities in Western Europe. It is possible to find a one-bedroom flat in Berlin for around 550 Euro per month and meanwhile, a studio apartment located in Paris will cost around 1,150 Euro per month.

View a full guide on finding an apartment in Berlin.

Do you need to speak German to live in Berlin?

Berlin is an international city and Germany is welcoming more skilled workers from abroad every year. Despite this, English is not as commonly spoken in the workplace as you might hope. You will have a much easier, and much more enjoyable time if you learn the  German language of the country that might be your new home.

How do you learn German in Berlin?

Berlin has a lot of different opportunities for people who wish to learn German in Berlin. You can try any of the following:
– German classes at the Community / People’s University called the VOLKSHOCHSCHULE.
– You can learn at the German Goethe Institute.
– There are private language schools based in Berlin.
A quick search online will reveal plenty of German Language Apps

How do you find a job as a foreigner in Berlin?

There are different requirements for working in Berlin depending upon your country of origin. European citizens can live, work and study anywhere in Germany without a VISA. Citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, Israel, New Zeland, the Republic of Korea or the United States can visit Germany VISA-free for up to 90 days. Citizens of these countries cannot work without permission, but they can use their 90 days to look for work while obtaining permission. Citizens of any other country need a job seeker VISA before they can begin looking for work. If you want to work in Germany, make sure you apply for the right kind of VISA first.

How to start working in Berlin?

1. Obtain a residence permit, you cannot work without one.
2. Figure out which industry you want to work in.
3. Start searching for online opportunities.
4. Go to networking events.
5. Find a recruiter or an agent.
6. Keep your CV and cover letter up-to-date.
7. Make a good first impression.
8. Start the process of moving to Berlin

View our full guide on finding a Job in Berlin

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