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Moving to Germany from India checklist: How to plan your relocation

Updated: Jan 15

Being an Indian who moved to Germany from India a couple of years ago and now helps others with their relocation questions, I think it's a good idea to put together a checklist that lists both important and common points.

Checklist to move to Germany from India

I moved to Germany in 2016. Back then, it was hard to find information in English about what to consider when moving here. However, has put together a complete list of things to do before and after moving to Germany. If you are someone planning to move to Germany, you can download their checklist for free here. They also provide many other useful templates for free on their website. 

What to consider when moving to Germany from India?

While many general topics are covered in Settleingermany’s moving to Germany checklist, there are specific things that need to be considered while moving from India. 

Before moving

Visa and Residence Permit

By the time you are looking for a checklist, I assume you’ve already applied for your visa in India. If not, the first thing you need to do is to apply for the German visa in the German consulate near your town. 

If you’ve already applied for the visa, make sure you follow up with the consulate and get your visa at least 2  - 4 weeks ago. Therefore, if you find any mistakes (just in case) you have enough time to rectify it. 

From India, you can initially get a visa for up to three months. After you arrive in Germany, you have to apply for a residence permit. This permit, once you get it, can be valid for up to four years.

Flight tickets

It's a good idea to check the flight ticket prices to Germany from where you live at least two months prior. Waiting too long, especially for flights to big airports like Munich or Berlin, can make it a lot more expensive.

From traveling about twice a year since 2012 (since the first time I came to Germany before moving here permanently in 2016), I feel that Qatar Airways provides quality flights at comparable prices.

In my experience, they fly to most Indian cities and the timings are also very flexible.

For people who fly from Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore to airports like Berlin, and Frankfurt, Lufthansa might be an option as they provide direct flights in both directions. 

Document Translation

If important documents such as your birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc., are not in English or do not have an English version, make sure you get an English version of them. If it is not possible to get an English version, have them translated into English and get them attested by a notary or a gazetted officer.

This is very important for the future, as you'll need to provide your birth certificate as well as your spouse's birth certificate when applying for a residence permit for your child, or for a birth certificate for your newborn in Germany.

Additionally, any official documents that are not in English or do not have an English version, have them translated and get them attested by a notary or a gazetted officer.

Expat Health Insurance

When I moved to Germany, I wasn't aware that I needed Expat health insurance to cover my medical costs in Germany. So, I just bought the regular travel insurance from Bajaj Allianz. Luckily, I didn't need to see a doctor until I got my German health  insurance.

If you regularly take medication, or think you might need to see a doctor soon after moving to Germany, it's important to get the right Expat Health Insurance before you travel.

Expat health insurance is nothing but a temporary health insurance that covers your medical expenses before you get the proper full German health insurance.

Below table provides a short comparison between the expat health insurance and the normal travel insurance.


German expat health insurance

Travel insurance


Wider range of medical expenses, including pre-existing conditions, chronic illnesses, and elective procedures

Limited range of medical expenses, typically covering emergency treatment, accident insurance, and lost luggage


Typically covers as long as you are living or working in Germany

Typically covers for a specific trip

Repatriation costs

Typically covered

Typically not covered

The below table summarises when to use German expat health insurance and travel insurance. 


Use German expat health insurance

Use travel insurance

You are living or working in Germany



You are visiting Germany for a short trip



You have pre-existing conditions or chronic illnesses



You need coverage for elective procedures



You need coverage for repatriation costs



Based on this information, you can decide whether to get a cheaper travel insurance or slightly expensive expat health insurance for the time you are permanently insured in Germany.

Either way, please keep in mind that you will get your permanent German health insurance within 2 - 4 weeks up on arrival depending on what type of insurance you are opting in and the insurance provider.

Feather, one of the new generation insurance providers in Germany has comparatively cheaper expat health insurance than others covering many features including Sudden illness and hospitalisation. 

Currency exchange and Bank account

No, you don't need to open a German bank account before traveling. But, it's a good idea to convert some rupees into euros, as you might need to pay for things like taxis, restaurants, and other expenses.

If you convert currency at airports or other exchange services, you'll likely end up paying much more than expected.

One alternative to currency exchange centers is online multi currency accounts.You can try Thomas Cook’s borderless prepaid visa card, or ICICI’s Forex prepaid card. If you already have their accounts, you can simply load currency and use it while you are here. 

However, the best way to convert currency would be to open a Wise account. Wise offers live conversion rates which are always better than the rates you get in any currency exchange centers. 

Wise also offers bank accounts in different currencies like US Dollar (USD), British Pound (GBP) and Australian Dollars (AUD). All these accounts are free of charge and you can manage everything in one single app.

Best currency convert app from Indian rupees to Euro

They also received a 4.2 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot, based on over 204,000 total reviews.

Since 2016, I've been using Wise and I'm very happy with their rates, service, and the account. Every time I go on vacation to another country, whether it's in Europe or elsewhere, I use Wise and have always had a pleasant experience.

International Driving Permit

As you may already know, Indians can drive in Germany for the first 6 months without having a German driving license. However, it is only possible if you have an International Driving Permit (IDP). Usually, it takes around 2 weeks to get an IDP. Therefore, apply for an IDP from the date of your arrival. So that you can conveniently move within Germany and convert your Indian driving license to a German license with some experience driving in Germany.

Social integration and help

There are many Indians living in Germany and thousands of Indian groups on social platforms like Facebook, Telegram, and WhatsApp. Make sure to browse them and join any relevant groups. Perhaps you can find people from your hometown and get help upon your arrival.

Packing and Essentials

For most people from South of India, the weather in Germany will be a totally different experience than what they're used to. However, people from the far north might have some ‘winter’ experience. 

Anyway, consider the items in the below list according to your personal needs.

  • Clothing: Pack a mix of casual and formal attire suitable for the German climate. Consider packing items that you can layer up for seasonal changes. If you are not travelling in core winter, you can buy quality winter jackets from Germany at a much cheaper price than in India. Checkout TK Maxx, H&M, S.Oliver or C&A for affordable winter jackets. Zalando - the best online shopping site is also an option if online shopping is your preference. 

  • Toiletries: If you are not staying in a hotel in the beginning, bring your essential toiletries, including shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, and shaving stuff.

  • Electronics: Pack your laptop, phone, chargers, and any other essential electronic devices. However, keep in mind that the plug socket in Germany is different to the ones in India. Therefore, try to get an international travel adapter - if possible, an European travel adapter.

  • Cooking Essentials: If you plan to cook at home, pack spices, condiments, and any specialty ingredients you regularly use. I prefer not to bring any utensils as those are very cheap in Germany and you can buy them from local shops like Ikea, or any supermarkets in Germany. Additionally, the German cooktops are 99% electric and gas cooktops are very rare here. Therefore, if the utensils you bring from India are only ‘gas compatible’ you cannot use it here. 

Rest of the items in the checklist

As mentioned at the beginning, this article only covers items specific to Indians. However, there are many things you need to know before traveling. Settle in Germany's checklist covers all those important points in their ‘Moving to Germany checklist’. Therefore, don't forget to download their free checklist.


This checklist should give you a pretty good head start on your big move from India to Germany. Remember, moving countries is a bit like going on a big adventure – it can be a bit scary but also super exciting. It's all about being prepared. So, make sure you've got all your important stuff sorted – like your visa, flight tickets, and that all-important health insurance. Don't forget to change some cash into euros and maybe join a few online groups to connect with fellow Indians who've already made the leap. Lastly, pack smartly – remember, the weather in Germany can be a real change from back home. And hey, if you feel overwhelmed, just download the free checklist from Settle in Germany for a little extra help.

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