Moving to Germany: Tips for Your Overseas Move

Planning | Packing | Shipping | Moving Companies

Moving overseas is an exciting time in your life. However, without the correct preparations it can be extremely daunting. If you are one of the many international citizens who have decided to relocate to Germany, arranging your packing and transportation logistics should be a top priority.

moving day

When moving day arrives, you want to be prepared and know what to expect in your overseas move. PHOTO: (License)

Being well informed about your transport rights will make your move a lot easier. If you are from outside of the EU and plan on becoming a permanent German resident, it can be possible for you to bring your own vehicle without having to pay import turnover tax and import duties. However, to do that you need to prove that you have been living outside of Germany for at least 12 months, you have given up residency in your non-EU country, and that you are establishing a new residence in Germany. It is also important to note that non-EU cars must conform to German standards for things such as headlights and tires.

Because there is a lot to consider when transporting your belongings to Germany from international countries, here are some important packing and travel tips to help the process run smoothly.

Packing and transporting your goods:

A professional removals company can help with your moving and storage requirements. Not only does a professional service guarantee that your belongings get there safely, but it also frees up time for you to negotiate other aspects of your move. Regarding the transportation of large appliances, removals professionals recommend that you leave these at home. Appliances like refrigerators and washing machines are costly to ship, and non-EU residents may also encounter complications with rewiring.

Most people like to be in control of every part of their move (which is understandable), but sometimes it just isn’t viable to do everything on your own. A reputable removals company such as Pickfords can offer you a reliable helping hand while ensuring your belongings reach Germany in good time.

Large removals companies also usually offer a range of storage solutions, so you don’t have to move everything all at once. This type of service is particularly useful given the fact that furnished rental apartments in Germany are rare; even in the larger cities such as Munich, Hamburg, and Berlin. This is largely because many foreign citizens come to work in Germany on a temporary basis, meaning that furnished accommodation has become standard practice. Thus, putting your own belongings in a professional storage facility can provide a handy solution, especially if you have already sold or are renting out your previous home.

It is also useful to know that if you are moving to Germany from a fellow EU country, any household goods that you have owned for longer than six months can be imported duty free. If you do choose a professional groupage (consolidator) service, all of your items will be bar coded before they are loaded into the container. This means that everything can be accounted for and nothing gets left behind.

Completing the paperwork:

Citizens from certain EU countries such as Britain do not need a visa to enter Germany, however you will require a valid passport. EU citizens must also be in possession of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel to the country. An EHIC proves that you are eligible to receive state healthcare services while in Germany. Non-EU citizens should provide proof of valid health insurance cover. For international residents who are planning on staying in Germany for more than three months, it is advised that health insurance is obtained from a German provider. More information on healthcare in Germany can be found here.

If you are not a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will require a visa to stay in Germany for more than 90 days. Depending on whether your stay is short-term or long-term, as well as the nature of your stay, you will be able to choose a visa option that is right for you. Americans and Canadians should see our Germany visa information for North Americans.

Germany for Beginners: The German Way Expat Guidebook – written by expats for expats. Learn from people who have been there and done that.

Once you arrive in Germany you will need to apply for a German tax card (also known as your tax ID). This is called a Lohnsteuerkarte, and it should be given to your employer so that you can pay taxes. Within seven days of your arrival you must also legally apply for a Certificate of Registration — known as an Anmeldebestätigung. The document is a declaration of your official German address, and it can be obtained from the local authority offices (Bezirksamt in larger cities; at the Rathaus in smaller towns).

So, if you are considering moving to Germany, or you have already decided to do so, make sure you plan out your travel logistics well in advance. A professional service will alleviate any potential stress and help keep things organized. Before you move, it is also recommended that you carry out initial research on the legalities and customs of the specific area in Germany that you will be living. This means that when you arrive, you will be well prepared to complete the necessary paperwork, allowing you to get settled into your new home in no time.

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For more on this topic, also see: “Moving to Germany: The Top 10 Things to Consider.”

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