Moving to Berlin: the definitive guide

Moving to Berlin: the definitive guide

The definitive guide to settling in Berlin, Germany. Everything you need to know about starting a new life in the German capital.

So it's official, you're moving to Berlin! This guide is a starting point for people who are settling in Berlin. It links to all the useful guides we have written on this topic.

Find a job

It's better to find a job offer before coming to Berlin. When you arrive in Berlin, you can focus on finding an apartment, registering your address, getting a tax ID, and getting health insurance.

  • If you a European Union citizen, you can live, work and study in Germany. You do not need a visa
  • If you are a citizen of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, or the United States, you can visit Germany without a visa for up to 90 days. You can't work without a residence permit, but you have 90 days to find a job and apply for a residence permit. If you want to work in Germany, you must apply for a work visa, a freelance visa or another type of visa. Use this tool to know which visa you need.
  • If you are a citizen of any other country, you need a job seeker visa to look for work in Germany. If you want to work in Germany, you must apply for a work visa, a freelance visa or another type of visa. Use this tool to know which visa you need.

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    Open a bank account

    As soon as you arrive in Berlin, you need a bank account. If you don't have a European bank account, open one now. You need a bank account to pay your rent, to get a cellphone contract, and for many other things.

    Many banks will require an Anmeldebestätigung to open a bank account. You must register your address to get this document. If you don't have a registered address, you can still open an account with these banks.

    N26 is a good bank if you just moved to Germany. They offer service in English, they do not require an Anmeldebestätigung, and they have very low fees. You can open an account online even before you arrive in Berlin.

    If you are a student and need a blocking account (Sperrkonto), you don't have many options. Most students choose Deutsche Bank when they need a blocking account. Fintiba and X-patrio also offer blocking accounts.

    If you need to transfer a lot of money to your German bank, use TransferWise or They have better exchange rates and lower fees than banks or wire transfers. I use TransferWise a lot. It works really well.

    Related guides:

    Find a place to live

    Finding an apartment is the hardest part of moving to Berlin. It can take weeks, and even months. If you want to find a place to live, you must be well prepared.

    Having an official address in Germany is important. When you register your address, you get a tax ID, and an Anmeldebestätigung. You need those to get paid by your employer, get a cellphone contract, apply for a residence permit, open a bank account etc.

    Related guides:

    Get health insurance

    Health insurance is mandatory in Germany. Choosing the right type of health insurance can save you a lot of money. An independent health insurance broker can help you choose the right health insurance. Their help is free.

      You can also use websites like Tarifcheck to compare health insurance options, but talking to a broker is a better idea. The cheapest option is not always the best option.

      If you are an EU citizen, you are covered by your EHIC card until you start working. Once you start working, you must have German health insurance.

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      Get liability insurance

      There are two types of insurance you really need in Germany: health insurance, and liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung). Liability insurance is not mandatory, but most Germans have it.

      Liability insurance protects you from damage claims. For example, if your washing machine breaks and floods your neighbour's apartment, the insurance company will pay for the repairs. If you accidentally send someone a virus that breaks their computer, they can sue you for damages. Liability insurance will pay for your lawyer, and for computer repairs.

      Liability insurance is very cheap, usually less than 5€ per month. Popsure and Coya offer liability insurance for 4€ per month. They are both based in Berlin, and they speak English. Use Tarifcheck to compare liability insurance options.

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      Send your children to the Kita

        The Kita or Kindertagesstätte is a type of preschool or daycare centre for children who are under 6 years old. Finding a Kita for your child is very difficult., You must start looking as soon as possible.

        Related guides:

        Find English-speaking specialists

        If you need help with settling in Berlin, these lists of English-speaking professionals will come useful.

        Related guides:

        Get used to life in Berlin

        There are lots of little things you must get used to after moving to Berlin. No one tells you the simple things like sorting your trash and safely watching pirated movies. We are here to help.

        Daily life:

        Paperwork and bureaucracy:

        Where to find...

        Get your German driver's licence

        6 months after settling in Germany, your foreign driver's licence becomes invalid. You can usually trade your foreign driving licence for a German one. If you don't have a driving licence, you can enroll at a driving school.

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        • Ayad

          I am now in Berlin .. All the information here need to be updated ..
          Without Anmeldung you can do nothing here , You can not open Bank account and you can not buy mobile package or sign contract ..
          N26 need mobile phone number , Berliner Sparkasse: Just now I went there in Kundenservice .. they told me they need anmeldung ..
          To make the Anmeldung you must find apartment .. which near to impossible !!!

        • Ayad

          Hallo ,
          I sent an E mail to berliner-sparkasse to open up an account without Anmeldung , But the answer was I need an Anmeldung .. What Should I do ? I need a bank account to rent a flat then to get an address and the bank account need the address Again i am in the empty circle ..?!!
          Below the Answer from berliner-sparkasse:

          Sehr geehrter Herr Atteyah,

          vielen Dank für Ihre Nachricht und Ihr Interesse an einem Girokonto der Berliner Sparkasse.

          Für eine Kontoeröffnung benötigen wir eine persönliche Legitimation mit einem Personalausweis oder Reisepass sowie eine Anmeldebestätigung (deutsche Adresse).

          Bei Fragen erreichen Sie uns telefonisch rund um die Uhr im 24-Stunden-Service unter 030 / 869 869 69 oder in unserem Live-Chat Mo-Fr von 8 bis 19 Uhr (

        • Ayad

          I really got lost ..
          Which is my first step .. How can I register my name in Burgeramt if I am in a hotel ? , I need time to find an apartment , Then How I can pay for the rent and if I do not have a bank account because bank account need anmeldung at Burgeramt .. then I come back to the first point
          and How I can get a mobile phone plan because I do not have an Ameldung ... ???!!! :-(