If you are an Indian citizen and relocating to Germany, this checklist will help you make your relocation much more relaxed.
Are you in the process of moving to Germany from India? You are not alone. Many Indians choose Germany as their new home for various reasons. Maybe you want to pursue higher education, find a better job, or explore a different culture and lifestyle. Whatever your motivation, Germany has a lot to offer you.
But before you can enjoy the benefits of living in Germany, you need to do some homework. Moving to a new country is not easy. You have to deal with many things like visa, education, health, money, housing, and more. It can be overwhelming and stressful if you don’t know what to do.
In this article, we will give you a handy checklist of everything you need to prepare before and after relocating to Germany from India. We will guide you through the steps and provide you with useful tips and resources. By following this checklist, you will be ready to start your new adventure in Germany.
12-9 Months Before Departure:
Research and Decision:
Before you embark on your journey to Germany, it's crucial to thoroughly research the country's culture, lifestyle, and cities. Understand the unique characteristics of different regions and consider factors such as climate, job opportunities, and quality of life. Take time to decide on the city that aligns with your personal and professional goals.
Learning German is a significant advantage when relocating to Germany. Not only will it make your daily interactions smoother, but it will also help you integrate into the local community and workplace. Consider enrolling in language courses, using language learning apps, or engaging in language exchange programs to build your language skills gradually.
Try to find a contact who can help you in Germany
Moving to a new country always brings new challenges too. Despite having numerous articles and video guides out there on the internet for you to refer to, you probably lack confidence and have a lot of questions unanswered.
It is recommended to find a contact who can help you clarify your questions, and help you with the initial processes up on arrival. If you don’t know someone, just ask your friends and relatives if there are people in their contacts.
If you feel like you need in person support to discuss your concerns and could not find someone from your contacts, Expatova offers one-to-one meetings to help people relocating to Germany for a small fee.
9-6 Months Before Departure:
Passport and Visa:
Your passport is your gateway to international travel. Ensure that your passport has a validity of at least six months beyond your intended return date. Research the specific visa or residence permit you'll need based on your purpose of relocation – whether it's for work, study, or family reasons. Carefully review the requirements and prepare the necessary documentation for the visa application process.
You can use the Tatkal facility and renew your passport within 2-3 weeks from India.
If you're moving to Germany for work or study, this is the time to actively search for job openings or apply to universities. Tailor your CV and cover letter according to the expectations of the German job market. Reach out to professional networks, attend job fairs, and research potential employers or educational institutions that align with your career aspirations.
Moving to a new country involves initial financial commitments. Estimate the cost of living in your chosen city and plan your finances accordingly. Set up a separate savings account dedicated to your relocation expenses, including accommodation, transportation, and initial settling-in costs. Opening a German bank account before you leave India can help streamline financial transactions once you arrive.
Remember to convert some rupees to Euros
You should also get some Indian rupees converted to Euros before you travel. You can get a better rate by exchanging money in India. Since many German stores still prefer cash over swiping cards, it would be a good idea to take some cash with you.
As soon as you register in Germany, you can open a Wise account and use it to convert money at a great rate.
6 Months Before Departure:
Health insurance is a mandatory requirement for most visas in Germany. Research and purchase health insurance coverage that meets the country's standards. Compare private and public insurance options, understanding the coverage they offer for medical emergencies, doctor visits, and medications. Having proper health insurance ensures your well-being throughout your stay.
Researching neighborhoods and housing options in your chosen city is essential for a smooth transition. Understand the rental market, popular residential areas, and average costs of different types of accommodations. If you can, consider booking temporary accommodation for your initial arrival to provide a base while you explore more permanent housing options.
4-3 Months Before Departure:
The visa application process can be intricate, involving various documents such as proof of financial stability, visa application forms, passport-sized photos, health insurance confirmation, and official employment or university acceptance letters. Make appointments with the German consulate or embassy well in advance to submit your application and allow ample time for processing.
Inform Current Authorities:
Notify local authorities, banks, and institutions about your planned move. Inform tax authorities about your change in residency status, close or transfer existing bank accounts, and settle any pending bills. Informing these entities ensures a smooth transition and prevents potential complications later.
Before packing up, declutter your belongings. Decide what items you want to take with you, what you want to sell, and what can be donated. Consider the practicality of shipping larger items and furniture versus purchasing them anew in Germany. This process not only lightens your load but also helps you start afresh in your new home.
3 Months Before Departure:
By this time, you might receive your visa or residence permit approval. This exciting milestone means you're one step closer to your relocation journey. Confirm your travel dates based on your visa's validity and your personal plans.
Once your visa is approved and you have confirmed travel dates, book your flight tickets. Booking in advance can often lead to better deals and more flexible options. Consider booking a one-way ticket, especially if you're unsure about your return plans.
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1 Month Before Departure:
Inform utility services such as electricity, water, and internet providers about your move-out date. Settle any outstanding bills to avoid complications. Cancel or transfer subscriptions like magazine memberships, streaming services, and gym memberships.
Begin packing your belongings systematically. Label boxes based on their contents to make unpacking easier. Prioritize essentials and items you'll need immediately upon arrival, like clothing, toiletries, and important documents.
Gather essential legal documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and academic transcripts. If these documents aren't in German or English, consider having them translated and authenticated for use in Germany.
Consult your doctor
It might be a good idea to schedule a checkup with your doctor before you travel. Make sure you are in good health and your medical records are current. Your Hausarzt (personal doctor) will have a much easier time understanding your medical history if you bring a copy of your medical records to Germany since the records are often unavailable to access online.
If you regularly take medications, it's also a good idea to get a prescription from your doctor in India. Therefore, you may bring a limited number of medications to help you until you can find an alternative in Germany.
2 Weeks Before Departure:
Take time to bid farewell to friends and family. Organize gatherings or intimate get-togethers to create lasting memories before you embark on your new adventure.
Share your new contact details, including your German address and phone number, with close friends and family members. This ensures they can reach you in case of emergencies.
1 Week Before Departure:
As departure nears, ensure you have all essential travel documents within easy reach, including your passport, visa, flight details, and health insurance information. Pack any necessary medications and prescriptions, and keep them in your carry-on luggage.
Notify New Address:
If you have a confirmed place of residence in Germany, inform your future landlord or housing agency about your expected arrival date. This ensures a smooth check-in process upon your arrival.
Arrival in Germany:
Upon arriving in Germany, your initial accommodation will provide you with a temporary base while you settle in. This could be a hotel, Airbnb, or a temporary rental. Use this time to get acclimated to your surroundings and prepare for the next steps of your journey.
Register your address at the local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) within a week of your arrival. This is a mandatory step in Germany and is important for various administrative purposes.
Open a German bank account to manage your finances conveniently. Many transactions in Germany are cashless, and having a local bank account is essential for salary deposits, bill payments, and everyday financial transactions.
Enroll in language courses to enhance your German language skills. Not only will this assist with daily interactions, but it will also help you feel more comfortable and integrated in your new environment.
1-2 Months After Arrival:
Begin the search for long-term accommodation if you haven't already secured it. Attend viewings, interact with potential landlords, and consider factors like proximity to work or university, transportation options, and local amenities.
Complete any remaining formalities related to your job or university enrollment. This might include submitting additional paperwork or attending orientation sessions.
Actively engage in local events, clubs, and activities to meet people and become part of the community. Exploring your new city and forming social connections will enhance your overall experience in Germany.
And there you have it, fellow explorers! We've covered the whole shebang, from researching your dream destination to settling into your new life in Germany. The journey might have seemed like a roller coaster, with twists and turns aplenty, but armed with our comprehensive checklist, you're now primed for success.
Remember, moving to a new country is more than just packing bags and hopping on a plane. It's about embracing the unknown, immersing yourself in a new culture, and creating memories that'll last a lifetime. With your paperwork in place, your language skills on point, and your spirit of adventure ready to roll, you're set to conquer Germany, one pretzel at a time.
So go on, make friends, explore corners you've never seen before, and make this chapter of your life a story worth telling. From the stunning landscapes to the charming streets, Germany is yours for the taking. Here's to your journey, your new beginnings, and the countless adventures that lie ahead. Prost to the excitement ahead and auf Wiedersehen to the worries – it's time to take the plunge!