Relocation to Berlin | What You Need to Know
Relocating to Berlin? Here Are thryve’s Top Tips To Ensure You’ve Got Everything You Need To Know.
Relocating to Berlin to us, is a no-brainer.
Berlin has a fantastic reputation as a young and fun city, attracting plenty of tech professionals, amongst others. As fun and exciting as it is to think about moving to such a creative city, we also know how stressful it can be to think about the actual logistics and planning the move.
There seems to be so much unclear guidance online, and we want to set the records straight for you if you’re thinking about relocating to Berlin. We’ve plenty of candidates that relocate to Germany, especially Berlin. We’re more than clued up when it comes to the relocation logistics, and we want to make it crystal clear what you need to think about ahead of the big move.
Do not underestimate the importance of registering an address in Berlin
Although on the face of it, registering an address sounds easy, we’ve got to be honest and say it’s not always the most straight-forward process.
Why is registering an address in the first place so important?
You must register an address to be able to apply for a visa in Berlin.
Immigration requires you to have completed your registration for an address in Berlin.
No matter what type of relocation you’re hoping to get, you will not be able to get any type of visa without registering for an address first.
You must register your address to receive your “tax ID”, which is what’s needed by anybody hoping to work in Berlin.
Firstly, you’ll have to find accommodation that will let you complete the registration with them. We’d say this should be the first thing on your priority list, as you can’t really move much further in your relocation process without doing that first. Better finding that out now than later down the line after spending time trying to work your way through many of the other relocation steps.
Do not overlook the importance of your visa requirements
Unless you are an EU/EEA citizen, you’ll need a work visa for Germany in order to legally obtain work in Berlin. When it comes to work visas for Berlin, you will likely have 3 main options, which vary greatly with regards to eligibility and application requirements:
Working Holiday Visa
EU Blue Card
Obviously, determining exactly how to apply for a visa, the length and type of visa you need is an essential consideration. We’ve written a piece in more detail around visa application and which visa you might need to consider. You can check it out here.
Make sure you get your health insurance
Health insurance in Berlin isn’t optional. In order to start working for any German employer, they will require that you have signed up for German health insurance. Of course, there are different insurers, but the average you’ll look to pay is around 8% of your gross salary.
When considering looking for work in Germany, make sure to factor in this monthly outgoing that will come straight out of your pay cheque every month.
Terminology you need to get ‘in the know’ with when moving to Berlin
Even though there are plenty of English-speaking jobs in Berlin, there will be some terminology that you just need to know. We wanted to list the most popular terms and processes you should know about before heading over to Berlin.
1. Bürgeramt – the Bürgeramt is similar to a town hall. This is the place you’d register your address, apply for your driving license and apply for a police check. You might hear this phrase crop up a lot particularly at the beginning stages of your application process.
2. Anmeldung – when researching your move to Berlin, you’ll almost certainly come across the infamous Anmeldung process. We’ve covered this under “Do not underestimate the importance of registering an address in Berlin” - otherwise known as the Anmeldung process.
3. Steueridentifikationsnummer – your Steuer-ID is your personal ID number in Germany. It’s not a tax number or tax ID but it is used to process everything regarding your income tax. Again, another phrase that will crop up a lot particularly during the stages of securing employment.
4. Steuernummer – you require a Steuernummer if you wish to engage in freelance work while living in Germany.
5. Finanzamt – the Finanzamt is the German tax office.
6. Public and Private Health Insurance – Germany has a private health insurance system - when people talk about ‘Private’ and ‘Public’ insurance they are in fact both forms of private insurance.
7. SCHUFA Auskunft – a SCHUFA Auskunft is a credit report. Many landlords will request to see your SCHUFA when you apply for an apartment in Berlin. As a foreigner moving to Berlin, a SCHUFA will automatically be created once you have registered your address (Anmeldung) and opened a bank account.
Speaking the German Language
It’s possible to live in Berlin without actually speaking the German language. It’s very easy for you to be able to get help when you need it such as visiting the doctor, renting a flat, filing your taxes etc. as most speak English. This means that learning the language is absolutely not essential, however, we also believe that it would certainly make life easier. For example:
Should you want to get social, Germans are more than happy to speak English, although it can feel quite strenuous to communicate in a language that is not their mother-tongue.
If you’re in an office that is predominantly German-speaking, you might start to feel isolated if you do not decide to invest any time or effort into learning the language.
Should you plan to raise a family in Germany, they will attend school. Although there are schools in Berlin where English is spoken, it’s less taxing on your kids to send them to a German speaking school.
Should you find yourself in a situation where you need to get your car fixed, or something in your apartment sorted, you should not expect the workers to be fluent in English every time. It helps to know the language so you can communicate with these workers effectively too.
Political discussions in media and forums that might directly affect you will mostly be in German.
We hope that’s given you a bit of a deeper insight into everything you need to know when considering relocating to Berlin. Our team is on hand to help and assist you with your relocation should you need it.