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 guide we have written on this topic.

Find a job

It's better to find a job offer before coming to Berlin. It allows you to focus on other things once you arrive in Berlin. It's also easier to find an apartment when you have a work contract.

If you are not a resident of the European Union, you need a visa to live, work and study in Germany. A visa is also called a residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel). There are different ways to obtain a German visa, and the requirements depend on your nationality. You can use this tool to find which visa you need.

If you need some time to look for a job, you can apply for the job seeker visa. It gives you up to 6 months to look for work in Germany.

If you want to freelance or start a business in Berlin, you need to apply for a freelance visa. In this case, it's easier to apply for the visa once you are in Berlin. This is not possible for everyone; it depends on which country you come from.

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Open a bank account 

As soon as you arrive in Berlin, you need to open a bank account. You need a bank account to find an apartment, as landlords expect to be paid by bank transfer.

Many banks will require a Meldebescheinigung to open a bank account. Ironically, you get this document by registering your address, and you can't get an apartment without a bank account. Fortunately, N26 and a few other banks do not require a Meldebescheinigung.

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Find a place to live

Finding an apartment is the hardest part of relocating to Berlin. The market is extremely competitive, and finding a place can take weeks, if not 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 (SteuerID), and an Anmeldebestätigung. You need these to get a cellphone contract, apply for a residence permit, open a bank account etc.

Our guide on finding an apartment in Berlin explains everything you must know on this subject.

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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 can be extremely difficult, so you must get started as soon as possible.

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Find help

If things become a little too hard to manage alone, you can call for help. We have compiled a list of useful communities and English-speaking professionals that can help you relocate to Berlin.

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Get used to life in Berlin

There are lots of little things you must get used to after settling in Berlin. No one will explain the simple things like sorting your trash and safely watching pirated movies, so we wrote guides to help you.

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 won't be valid anymore. Fortunately, you might be able to trade your licence for a German one. Depending on the country in which you got your licence, you might even get it without taking any driving tests!

If you don't have a driving licence, you can enroll at a driving school.

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