Frankfurt as an Expat Destination

Updated on
May 31, 2024

Frankfurt, Germany, a city with a rich cultural heritage and dynamic economic landscape, offers a unique experience for expatriates looking to put down roots. This guide aims to provide expatriates with a comprehensive understanding of the steps necessary for a successful transition to life in Frankfurt. From financial planning and cultural integration to employment opportunities and family considerations, this article delves into the key aspects that expats face when establishing themselves in Frankfurt.

Key Takeaways

  • Frankfurt's role as a financial hub offers abundant job opportunities in banking and finance, making it an ideal fit for expats in these sectors.
  • The city's diverse cultural landscape facilitates social integration, with language learning and participation in local festivals enhancing expat life.
  • Family-friendly amenities, including international education options and accessible healthcare, provide a supportive environment for expat families.
  • A thriving startup scene and a supportive legal framework make Frankfurt a hotspot for expat entrepreneurs and professionals seeking growth.
  • With a unique property market driven by its cosmopolitan nature, Frankfurt presents expats with various real estate options, from renting to homeownership.

Time Zone in Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt, Germany, operates in the Central European Time (CET) zone during standard time and Central European Summer Time (CEST) during daylight saving time.

Central European Time (CET):

  • Offset: UTC +1 hour
  • Period: Last Sunday in October to the last Sunday in March

Central European Summer Time (CEST):

  • Offset: UTC +2 hours
  • Period: Last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October

During daylight saving time, clocks are set forward by one hour to make better use of daylight during the evening hours, extending the amount of daylight experienced after typical working hours​​.

The current time in Frankfurt is: 10:06:30

Sunrise and Sunset

In Frankfurt, sunrise and sunset times vary significantly over the course of the year due to its location in the northern hemisphere. For instance, during late spring and early summer, the city enjoys long daylight hours with sunrise around 5:20 AM and sunset around 9:25 PM. In contrast, during winter, days are much shorter​​.

Daylight Saving Time

Daylight saving time in Frankfurt begins on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October. This practice helps to make better use of daylight during the longer days of summer. The clocks are set forward one hour at the start of this period and set back one hour at the end​.

A Financial Hub Tailored for Expats

Navigating the Job Market in Banking and Finance

Frankfurt's reputation as a financial hub is well-earned, with a plethora of opportunities in banking and finance. The city's dynamic job market is a magnet for expats with a background in these sectors, especially in the wake of Brexit, which has seen a surge in international banks relocating to maintain EU market access.

For those looking to dive into this vibrant job scene, here's a quick guide:

  • Start with a thorough job search tailored to your skills.
  • Prepare a German-style resume and cover letter.
  • Approach job interviews with cultural awareness.
Frankfurt is not just about the big names in banking; it's a city where your career can truly flourish. With institutions like the European Central Bank and a host of international banks, from Credit Suisse to JPMorgan Chase, the opportunities are vast and varied.

Finanz2Go®, the top English-speaking financial planner in Germany, can be a valuable resource in understanding the nuances of the German job market. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out, the support systems in place make Frankfurt an ideal location for expats seeking career growth in finance.

Understanding the German Taxation System

The German tax system can seem daunting at first, but with a bit of know-how, expats can navigate it successfully. Understanding your tax obligations and the benefits of tax treaties is crucial for financial stability in Frankfurt. Here's a brief checklist to ensure tax compliance and optimization:

  • Consult with a financial planner to understand your tax obligations.
  • Keep abreast of tax treaty benefits that may apply to you.
  • File a German tax declaration to potentially reclaim overpaid taxes.
  • Consider the tax implications of any investments or pensions.

By taking these steps, expats can establish a solid financial foundation in Germany. > It is imperative to have a clear understanding of the terms and conditions of employment, including salary, benefits, and working hours, to ensure a smooth transition into the German workforce. Remember, consulting a tax professional can help clarify the eligibility criteria for different tax brackets and inform you about important deadlines for tax submissions.

Budgeting Smartly in a Dynamic Economy

Frankfurt's dynamic economy offers a wealth of opportunities, but it also requires savvy financial planning. Expats should research living expenses in Frankfurt and create a comprehensive budget to ensure a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank. Understanding the local taxation system is also crucial to manage finances effectively.

To streamline your financial planning, consider these steps: Research neighborhoods to align with your lifestyle and budget. Utilize online platforms and local networks to identify potential rentals. Prepare necessary documents in advance for a smoother application. Explore temporary housing options like Airbnb as an interim solution.

In addition to these steps, it's important to be aware of the various industries that could impact your budgeting. Frankfurt is not just a banking city; it's a hub for accountancy, law firms, and real estate services, among others. Here's a quick overview of key sectors:

  • Central banks: European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank
  • Commercial banks
  • Frankfurt Stock Exchange
  • Frankfurt Trade Fair
  • Aviation
  • Other industries: Accountancy and professional services, Credit rating agencies, Investment trust companies, Management consultancies, Real estate services companies, Law firms

Remember, while the cost of living can be high, maintaining a work-life balance is essential. Take advantage of local amenities and services, and don't forget to enjoy the leisure activities that Frankfurt has to offer.

Cultural Melting Pot: Embrace the Diversity

Cultural Melting Pot: Embrace the Diversity

Language Learning and Social Integration

Frankfurt's expat community often cites the challenge of language barriers, but with the right approach, this can be turned into a rewarding journey of cultural integration. Engaging with the local language is key to feeling at home in Frankfurt.

To facilitate this process, consider the following steps:

  • Engage with language learning resources tailored to expatriates.
  • Participate in local events and traditional festivities.
  • Practice the language daily, even in simple transactions.
  • Seek out cultural exchange opportunities with locals.
Social integration is not merely a social nicety; it is a strategic necessity for those who wish to lay down roots in a new country.

By attending local festivals and engaging with neighbors and colleagues, expats can foster a sense of belonging. This not only enriches personal lives but also cements a place within Frankfurt's diverse community.

Celebrating Local Festivals and Customs

Frankfurt's calendar is dotted with vibrant festivals and public celebrations that are perfect for expats looking to dive into the local culture. Embracing these traditions is a fun and meaningful way to show respect for your new community.

  • Attend local festivals to feel the community spirit.
  • Join interest-based clubs or groups.
  • Explore the culinary scene at markets and food events.
Practical immersion in daily life, from sorting trash to respecting quiet hours, is essential for adapting to Frankfurt. These small acts, coupled with participation in local customs, enrich the expat experience and foster a deeper connection with the city.

Other festivities in the city offer a glimpse into the diverse cultural tapestry that makes Frankfurt unique. Whether it's the arts, sports, or technology, there's always an event or a group that can make you feel part of something bigger.

Building a Social Network with Locals and Expats

Frankfurt's vibrant expat community is a treasure trove of opportunities for making connections and building lasting friendships. Networking isn't just about professional growth; it's about creating a home away from home.

  • Engage with local expatriate groups and German neighbors alike.
  • Participate in community events and local traditions.
  • Volunteer for causes that resonate with your values and those of the community.
In our quest to become part of the community, we've learned that integration is a two-way street. It requires us to be proactive in understanding and participating in the local culture, while also contributing our unique perspectives and experiences.

Whether you're a fan of art, sports, or simply enjoy a good chat over coffee, there's a group or event in Frankfurt for you. From casual meetups to structured clubs, the city offers a plethora of avenues to mingle with both locals and fellow expats. And remember, every new acquaintance is a potential friend!

Family-Friendly Frankfurt: A Place for Everyone

Family-Friendly Frankfurt: A Place for Everyone

Education Options for Expat Children

Frankfurt's educational landscape is a testament to its international flair, offering a variety of schooling options for expat children. Choosing the right school is crucial, as it can significantly impact your child's comfort, integration, and academic success in a new environment.

  • International schools cater to a diverse student body and offer curricula in English, following various international standards.
  • German public schools immerse students in the local language and culture, operating under the German education system.
Deciding between an international or local German school involves weighing language proficiency against long-term educational goals.

It's not just about the language; consider the curriculum, cultural integration, and the potential for your child to continue their education seamlessly should you relocate again. With Frankfurt's high-quality educational offerings, you can rest assured that your child's academic journey will be enriching and globally oriented.

Healthcare Services and Accessibility

Frankfurt's healthcare system is a beacon of efficiency and comprehensive coverage, making it a stress-free aspect of expat life. Navigating the healthcare landscape is straightforward, with services that cater to the entire family, including specialized care like child psychology and developmental therapies.

By familiarizing ourselves with the healthcare benefits and allowances, we ensure our families are fully supported in Frankfurt.

For those unexpected situations, it's good to know that help is just around the corner:

  • Dental Emergency Service: Available at Kaiserstraße 1, with contact via email or phone.
  • Pharmacy on Duty: Find the nearest open pharmacy outside normal hours online or by calling the provided hotline.
  • Poison Centre: A dedicated line for Hessen is available for urgent consultations.

Understanding the medical vocabulary and knowing the locations of places of worship can also play a significant role in feeling at home in a new city.

Recreational Activities for All Ages

Frankfurt is a playground for those who love to stay active and engaged, no matter their age. From sports to arts, there's an abundance of activities to dive into. Whether you're into running, yoga, or team sports like basketball and beach volleyball, you'll find a community here that shares your passion.

  • Join a local sports club or fitness group
  • Participate in community arts, theater, and dance events
  • Explore the outdoors with hiking, biking, and rock climbing

With over 5,000 members from more than 30 countries, the social scene in Frankfurt is as diverse as it is vibrant. There's always something happening, from meditation retreats and personal growth events to wine tastings and jam sessions. Families and kids are not just welcome, they're an integral part of the community fabric.

Embrace the opportunity to be proactive in building your social network. Engaging in these activities not only enriches your leisure time but also connects you with like-minded individuals and families, fostering a sense of belonging in your new home city.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Heart of Europe

Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Heart of Europe

Thriving Startup Scene and Support Systems

Frankfurt's startup ecosystem is buzzing with energy and opportunities. The city is a beacon for entrepreneurs looking to make their mark in the heart of Europe. With a range of resources tailored to support new businesses, from consulting and mentoring to financing options, Frankfurt is an ideal location for expats with a vision.

  • Consulting & Mentoring
  • Financing
  • Start-up Competitions
  • International Programs
  • Accelerators & Incubators

These resources are designed to help you navigate the complexities of starting and growing a business in a new environment. Frankfurt's commitment to innovation is evident in the support systems available to expats.

We understand that the journey to entrepreneurship is multifaceted, involving a deep understanding of the local market, adherence to legal requirements, and establishing valuable connections.

Networking is a critical component of the startup culture here. Building a strong social network that includes both expatriate and local communities is not just about cultural etiquette; it's about creating opportunities and opening doors. Whether you're seeking advice, funding, or just a friendly conversation, the connections you make can be the key to your success.

Legal Framework and Business Resources

Frankfurt's entrepreneurial ecosystem is bolstered by a robust legal framework and a wealth of resources designed to support new businesses. Navigating the legalities and tapping into these resources can set the foundation for a successful venture.

  • Research the market to identify a viable niche for your business.
  • Develop a comprehensive business plan.
  • Choose the appropriate legal form, like a GmbH.
  • Register with the Handelsregister and Gewerbeamt.
  • Ensure compliance with German tax regulations.
The journey to entrepreneurship is multifaceted, involving a deep understanding of the local market, adherence to legal requirements, and establishing valuable connections.

For those looking to dive into Frankfurt's diverse sectors, here's a snapshot of the professional landscape:

SectorOpportunities for ExpatsManagement ConsultanciesHighReal Estate ServicesModerateLaw FirmsModerateAdvertising AgenciesHighFood IndustryHighAutomotiveHighConstructionModerateProperty and Real EstateHighTourismHigh

These sectors offer a range of opportunities, and with the right approach, expats can thrive in Frankfurt's dynamic business environment. Additionally, the city provides a variety of support systems such as consulting, mentoring, financing, start-up competitions, international programs, and access to accelerators and incubators.

Networking Opportunities and Professional Growth

Frankfurt's vibrant professional landscape is a fertile ground for networking and career advancement. Expats find that the city's events and meetups are prime opportunities for making connections that matter. Whether you're 'New in Town' or looking to expand your professional circle, events like the 'Open Expat Meetup Frankfurt: "Inti Culti"' offer a fun and inclusive environment for networking.

  • Consulting & Mentoring
  • Financing
  • Start-up Competitions
  • International Programs
  • Accelerators & Incubators

These resources are the backbone of Frankfurt's entrepreneurial ecosystem, providing support and guidance for those embarking on new ventures.

In the heart of Europe, Frankfurt stands out as a beacon for professionals seeking growth. Its international programs and startup support systems are designed to foster innovation and drive success.

Your Home Away from Home: Navigating Real Estate

Your Home Away from Home: Navigating Real Estate

Understanding the Property Market in Frankfurt

Diving into Frankfurt's property market can be quite the adventure for expats. With the city's unique position as Germany's financial heart, the real estate landscape here is vibrant and diverse. Frankfurt boasts the highest concentration of homeowners in the country, a fact that's not just due to the bustling financial sector but also its cosmopolitan flair, with a quarter of the population being expatriates or immigrants.

When considering a move to Frankfurt, it's crucial to grasp the nuances of the local property market. Here's a quick rundown of what you need to know:

  • The market is dynamic, with prices varying significantly from one neighborhood to another.
  • Popular neighborhoods each have their own story and charm, influencing demand and value.
  • Long-term investment in Frankfurt's real estate is generally seen as a worthy endeavor.
In Frankfurt, the property market often operates differently than the rest of Germany, with generally flatter prices across the country. As an expat, understanding these differences is key to making informed decisions.

Whether you're looking to rent or buy, getting a handle on the property scene is essential. It's not just about finding a place to live; it's about making a smart investment in your future in this dynamic city.

Renting vs. Buying: What Expats Need to Know

Deciding between renting and buying in Frankfurt is a significant decision that hinges on your long-term plans and financial situation. Renting offers flexibility and less responsibility, ideal for those not ready to commit to a permanent residence. On the flip side, buying property can be a wise investment and provide stability in a city that's growing in popularity among expats.

The cost of living in Frankfurt is a critical factor that shapes your expatriate experience, influencing not only your budget but also your lifestyle choices and opportunities.

Here's a quick comparison to help you weigh your options:

  • Renting: Lower upfront costs, no maintenance worries, and easier to relocate.
  • Buying: Potential for property value appreciation, long-term cost savings, and a sense of permanence.

To streamline your financial planning, consider these steps:

  1. Research neighborhoods to align with your lifestyle and budget.
  2. Utilize online platforms and local networks to identify potential rentals or properties for sale.
  3. Prepare necessary documents in advance for a smoother application process.
  4. Explore temporary housing options like Airbnb as an interim solution while you decide.

The Cosmopolitan Advantage in Homeownership

Frankfurt's real estate market is a unique landscape, shaped by its diverse population. Homeownership here offers a cosmopolitan advantage, with a vibrant community of expatriates and locals creating a dynamic living environment. The city's high concentration of homeowners reflects its financial prosperity and international character.

Frankfurt stands out in Germany with its property market dynamics. While the rest of the country may show more stability in prices, Frankfurt's market is influenced by its global population, making it an exciting place for expat investors.

For those considering making Frankfurt their long-term home, the benefits are clear:

  • A diverse community that welcomes expatriates.
  • A property market that's accustomed to international buyers.
  • The potential for property value appreciation in a dynamic economy.

Understanding the nuances of this market is crucial for anyone looking to invest in a home in Frankfurt. It's not just about finding a place to live; it's about making a smart investment in your future.


In the end, Frankfurt emerges as a stellar choice for expats from all walks of life. With its rich cultural tapestry, buzzing economic scene, and welcoming community, it's a city that offers a little something for everyone. Whether you're drawn by the promise of career growth in its diverse job market, the allure of integrating into a vibrant local culture, or the practicality of a well-structured city life, Frankfurt stands ready to embrace you with open arms. So, pack your bags, learn a few phrases of German, and dive into the Frankfurt experience. It's not just about finding a new place to live; it's about discovering a place where you can truly thrive.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Frankfurt an attractive city for expats in the finance sector?

Frankfurt is home to the headquarters of the European Central Bank, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and Deutsche Bank, making it a prime location for those in banking and finance. The city's dynamic economy provides plenty of job opportunities and a community that understands the financial industry.

How can expats integrate into the local culture in Frankfurt?

Expats can integrate by learning the German language, attending local festivals and events, and engaging with neighbors and colleagues. This fosters a sense of belonging and opens doors to new social and professional opportunities.

What are the options for expat children's education in Frankfurt?

Frankfurt offers a range of educational options for expat children, including international schools that provide various curricula and languages, ensuring a smooth educational transition for families.

What kind of support is available for expats starting a business in Frankfurt?

The city has a thriving startup scene with various support systems, including legal frameworks, business resources, and networking opportunities that can help expats in professional growth and establishing their businesses.

Should expats in Frankfurt consider buying property or renting?

Understanding the property market in Frankfurt is crucial, as the city has a high concentration of homeowners and a unique market due to its cosmopolitan nature. Expats should weigh the pros and cons of renting versus buying, considering their long-term plans and financial situation.

Are permanent residency and citizenship attainable for expats in Frankfurt?

Permanent residency and citizenship are attainable goals for expats, with clear eligibility criteria and benefits. Understanding the processes and social integration plays a significant role in achieving these milestones.

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