When you come from another country to live in Germany, depending on where you came from or for what you came for, there could be many things to know and to do. But some general steps are the same in all cases. We will check some of the very basic of them and tell you how to do them more easily. Due to the current situation with the pandemic and your vaccination status, you may need to stay in quarantine for a while. Currently, this period is a maximum of 10 days after your arrival.
- Finding an apartment
The first thing to do right after arrival is to find a place to live in. In this case, you should use one of the many online services like ours. Our service, Hominext, is one of the easiest ways and more important, totally free for people who are searching for a place! It has many benefits for tenants like digital contracts, transparent communication channels, an easy-to-use mobile app as well as an awesome website.
- Register your address
Then you should register yourself (in Germany it is called Anmeldung). For this process, you should go to the citizen’s office or the city hall (Rathaus) with your passport. After Anmeldung you now receive two of the most important factors of credentials:
- Registration Address
- Tax-ID (Steuer-ID)
You will need both of them in all other steps. Remember that in Germany many documents are sent to you by Post which takes up to two working days, but the amount of document preparation might vary due to situations like the Covid-19 Pandemic.
- Bank account
Creating a bank account is the next step that you need for your everyday life. There are so many different banks and choosing one can be hard sometimes. For this purpose, you will need a Passport Credential and a Tax-ID and after a simple step, you’ll have a Bank Account. The credit card and its security pin will come in separately in the next few days by Post.
To choose a bank and compare their ratings you can use the Check24 online service. You can do all of the steps in-app with your cellphone like e.g., the video call for authorization.
Selecting proper Insurance and applying for it is also very important for you. Check24 is also very handy in this case. After some simple steps like uploading your Anmeldung and Passport, you will receive a PDF containing your insurance certificate (Sozialversicherung). Of course, you will receive the insurance card and other stuff later by Post again, but that PDF can already help you in many cases.
- Family Doctor
You should also register yourself with one Family Doctor nearby. In this case Passport, Anmeldung and Insurance are required.
- Changing Tax-Class
If you are married, you should apply for a request in the Financial Office to change your Tax-Class. It’s also important because it affects the amount of tax you automatically pay. There is an online service named Elster, that you can change your tax class without going to the Financial office.
Be aware that your Visa duration does not get expired and apply for an appointment with the Citizen’s office asap.
Currently due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, if you want to go to each of these places yourself you may need appointments. You can check their websites for responsible people’s emails and then get in contact with them.
In addition to German language skills, landlords usually also want to see a lot of documents. One of these documents is the Schufa report. Schufa is the largest provider of information on the creditworthiness of private individuals in Germany. Especially in cities where the supply of apartments is limited, the Schufa report is almost always a prerequisite when looking for an apartment.
You can request the form for your Schufa information either online or by telephone from SCHUFA. To verify your identity, a copy of your passport and your registration certificate is required.
Nevertheless, there is also the possibility for foreigners who do not receive a Schufa report to prove their solvency in other ways. For example, you could bring a reference letter from your foreign bank, or better yet, from a German bank account. Another option is to voluntarily offer a guarantee. This is a declaration by a third party that they will be liable for you in the event of default. You could, for example, ask your competent authority.