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- How to Choose the Best Health Insurance Plans for Expats in Germany
PAID PARTNERSHIP Germany is renowned for its excellent healthcare system, providing top-notch and affordable medical care to its citizens. However, understanding and maneuvering through the German health insurance system can be bewildering, particularly for foreigners unfamiliar with its rules and regulations. Let's explore the primary health insurance options in Germany, their functioning, and the factors to consider when selecting a plan that meets your requirements and financial constraints. Germany is known for having one of the best healthcare systems in the world, offering high-quality and affordable medical care to its residents. However, navigating the German health insurance system can be confusing and overwhelming, especially for foreigners who are not familiar with the rules and regulations. Let’s understand the main types of health insurance in Germany, how they work, and what to consider when choosing a plan that suits your needs and budget. The German Health Insurance System The German health insurance system is divided into two tiers: public and private insurance providers. By law, everyone who lives in Germany must have some form of health insurance coverage, either statutory (public) or private, issued by a licensed medical insurance provider. The type of health insurance you can get depends on your income, citizenship, family size, employment status, and overall health. Public Health Insurance in Germany Public health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung – GKV) is the most common form of health insurance in Germany. It is funded by social security contributions from employers and employees, as well as taxes from the government. Public health insurance offers a comprehensive range of benefits, such as: Free choice of doctors and hospitals within the public network Free preventive care and screenings Free or subsidized prescription drugs Free or subsidized dental care Free maternity care and childbirth Free family insurance for spouses and children Sick leave and sick pay Long-term care insurance The monthly premium for public health insurance is based on a percentage of your gross income (around 14.6% in 2023), which is split equally between you and your employer. There are over 100 public health insurance providers (Krankenkassen) in Germany, each offering slightly different services and rates. Some of the most popular ones are: Techniker Krankenkasse Barmer AOK DAK-Gesundheit You can compare the different public health insurance providers and their benefits on krankenkassen.de To apply for public health insurance in Germany, you need to register with a provider of your choice and fill out an application form. You will also need to provide some documents, such as: Your passport or ID card Your visa or residence permit (if applicable) Your registration certificate (Anmeldung) Your employment contract or proof of income Your bank account details Once you are enrolled, you will receive a health insurance card (Gesundheitskarte), which you need to present whenever you visit a doctor or hospital. Private Health Insurance in Germany Private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung – PKV) is an alternative option for those who are not eligible or do not want to join the public health insurance system. Private health insurance offers some advantages over public health insurance, such as: Shorter waiting times and faster appointments Access to more doctors and hospitals, including private clinics More personalized and flexible coverage options Higher reimbursement rates for medical expenses Better-quality facilities and equipment Once you switch to private health insurance, you cannot go back to public health insurance unless your income drops below the threshold or you change your employment status. The monthly premium for private health insurance depends on various factors, such as your age, gender, health condition, coverage level, deductible amount, and provider. Unlike public health insurance, private health insurance does not cover your dependents for free; you have to pay an additional premium for each family member. Private health insurance also does not include long-term care insurance; you have to purchase it separately. There are many private health insurance companies in Germany, offering different plans and rates. Some of the private health insurance companies in Germany are: Allianz Care Cigna Global DFV Feather Ottonova You can also compare the best private (as well as public) health insurance providers in Germany and get personalized advice and quotes for free on MW Expats. To apply for private health insurance in Germany, you need to contact a provider of your choice and fill out an application form. You will also need to provide some documents, such as: Your passport or ID card Your visa or residence permit (if applicable) Your registration certificate (Anmeldung) Your employment contract or proof of income Your medical history and health questionnaire The provider will then assess your application and offer you a quote based on your risk profile. You may also have to undergo a medical examination or provide additional information. Once you accept the offer, you will receive a confirmation and a policy document. Expat Health Insurance in Germany Expat health insurance is a special type of private health insurance designed for foreigners who are living or working in Germany temporarily or permanently. Expat health insurance offers some benefits over public or private health insurance, such as: Worldwide coverage for medical emergencies and treatments No waiting periods or restrictions for pre-existing conditions No minimum income or residency requirements Flexible contract duration and cancellation options Multilingual customer service and support Expat health insurance is suitable for anyone who wants to have comprehensive and flexible coverage while living in Germany, regardless of their income or employment status. It is especially recommended for those who travel frequently, have chronic or complex health issues, or do not qualify for public or private health insurance. There are many expat health insurance companies in Germany, offering different plans and rates. Some of the expat health insurance companies in Germany are: Feather Cigna Global Foyer Global Health Mawista Swisscare To apply for expat health insurance in Germany, you need to contact a provider of your choice and fill out an online application form. You will also need to provide some documents, such as: Your passport or ID card Your visa or residence permit (if applicable) Your registration certificate (Anmeldung) Your proof of travel or relocation (if applicable) The provider will then assess your application and offer you a quote based on your personal and medical information. You can then choose a plan that suits your needs and budget. Once you accept the offer, you will receive a confirmation and a policy document. Factors to Consider When Choosing a Health Insurance Plan in Germany Choosing a health insurance plan in Germany can be challenging, as there are many factors to consider and compare. Here are some of the most important ones: Coverage: What services and treatments are included in the plan? Are there any exclusions or limitations? How much reimbursement do you get for medical expenses? Cost: How much is the monthly premium? Are there any co-payments or deductibles? How does the premium change over time or with age? Eligibility: Do you meet the income, residency, or health requirements for the plan? Are there any waiting periods or restrictions for pre-existing conditions? Flexibility: How easy is it to change or cancel the plan? Can you choose your own doctors and hospitals? Can you adjust your coverage level or add-ons? Quality: How reliable and reputable is the provider? How good is the customer service and support? How fast and easy is the claim process? To help you make an informed decision, you can use online tools and resources to compare different plans and providers, such as: MW Expat Solutions Krankenkassen.de Check24 If you wish to get much more comprehensive and personalized advice and guidance based on your situation and needs, you can use the service from MW Expats who provide English speaking support. Tips on What to Watch Out for When Signing Up for Health Insurance in Germany Signing up for health insurance in Germany can be a smooth and easy process if you follow the steps and requirements of your chosen provider. However, there are also some potential pitfalls and challenges that you should be aware of and avoid when signing up for health insurance in Germany, such as: Not having health insurance at all: This is illegal and risky, as you will have to pay for all your medical expenses out of pocket and may face fines or penalties from the authorities. You should always have some form of health insurance coverage as soon as you arrive in Germany or before you apply for a visa or residence permit. Not having adequate health insurance coverage: This can lead to unexpected costs and gaps in your medical care, especially if you have special needs or conditions that are not covered by your plan. You should always check the details and benefits of your plan carefully and make sure it meets your needs and expectations. Not informing your provider of any changes: This can result in your plan being invalid or canceled, or your premium being increased or decreased. You should always inform your provider of any changes in your personal or medical information, such as your income, address, marital status, health condition, or family size. Not comparing different plans and providers: This can result in you paying more than you need to or missing out on better options and deals. You should always compare different plans and providers before you sign up for health insurance in Germany and look for the best value and quality for your money. Not reading the fine print: This can result in misunderstandings, disputes, or disappointments with your plan or provider. You should always read the fine print and terms and conditions of your plan and contract carefully and ask questions if anything is unclear or confusing. By following these tips, you can avoid common mistakes and problems when signing up for health insurance in Germany and enjoy a hassle-free and secure healthcare experience. Conclusion Health insurance in Germany is an essential and mandatory part of living and working in the country. Whether you choose public, private, or expat health insurance, you can benefit from a high-quality and affordable healthcare system that covers most of your medical needs. However, choosing a health insurance plan in Germany can be challenging, as there are many factors to consider and compare. Therefore, you should do your research, use online tools and resources, consult with experts, and read the fine print before you sign up for health insurance in Germany. By doing so, you can find the best plan and provider for your situation and budget and enjoy a smooth and easy healthcare experience in Germany. About MW Expat Solutions At MW Expat, we are more than just an independent insurance broker. We are your trusted partner for creating and protecting your financial future. We understand how hard you work to grow your investments and retirement funds, and how important it is to safeguard what you have already achieved. That’s why we offer you tailor-made insurance and pension solutions that suit your needs and goals. We help you prepare for the unexpected risks that can derail your financial plans, such as accidents, illnesses, or other emergencies.
- How can temporary rentals help you when you first move to Germany
PAID PARTNERSHIP Temporary rentals provide a degree of versatility that conventional apartments cannot offer. Initially relocating to a foreign country may make it challenging to determine the ideal housing requirements. Choosing a temporary apartment enables individuals to have the liberty of exploring diverse housing alternatives before committing to a long-term lease. Moving to Germany can be an incredible adventure, but it can also be overwhelming. It can take time to adjust to a new country, culture, and way of life. One of the biggest challenges is finding the right place to live. Many people overlook the option of temporary rentals when they first move to Germany. Short term rentals offer flexible lease terms Temporary rentals offer a level of flexibility that traditional apartments simply can't match. When you first move to a new country, you may not know exactly what you're looking for in terms of housing. By renting a temporary apartment, you have the freedom to explore different options before committing to a long-term lease. Temporary rentals also offer flexibility in terms of lease length. If you're not sure how long you'll be staying in Germany, or if you don't want to commit to a long-term lease, a temporary rental can be a great alternative. You can rent for as little as a month or as long as a year, which gives you plenty of time to figure out your next steps. Temporary rentals are more affordable than other alternatives Moving to a new country can be expensive, and finding affordable housing can be a real challenge. However, temporary rentals can offer significant cost savings. Many temporary rentals come fully furnished and include utilities, which means you don't have to worry about buying furniture, kitchen appliances, or paying extra bills in your initial days. Temporary rentals also often have lower up-front costs. Most traditional apartments require a security deposit and the first and last month's rent up-front. With temporary rentals, you may only need to pay a small deposit or even no deposit at all. This can be a big relief when you're just starting out and trying to manage your finances. Temporary rentals let you live your life uninterrupted When you move to a new place, one of the biggest challenges is finding reliable, comfortable housing. Many people overlook temporary rentals as an option and opt for hotels or other short-term accommodations. However, temporary rentals offer many advantages that make them a great choice when moving to a new country. One of the biggest benefits of temporary rentals is that they usually come with everything you need to continue your normal daily life uninterrupted. Most temporary apartments are fully furnished and come equipped with all the necessary kitchen appliances, wardrobes, and other furniture, as well as access to the internet and other amenities. This means you don't have to worry about buying furniture or living out of suitcases until you find your ideal long-term rental. In addition, some temporary rental companies even offer additional services such as cleaning services or pet sitting. This can help make the transition to German life smoother and provide peace of mind knowing that you're taken care of during your first few weeks in a new country. They give you time to choose the right neighborhood When moving to a new city or country, you might not know exactly which neighborhood would be best for you. This is especially true if you've never been to the place before. By choosing to live in a temporary rental, you can give yourself time to explore different neighborhoods and get a feel for what each one has to offer. You can spend time walking around, checking out local shops and restaurants, and talking to locals to get a sense of what it's like to live in that area. This is a great way to help you make an informed decision on where to settle in more permanently. Plus, you won't be locked into a long-term lease in a neighborhood you end up not liking. Overall, choosing a temporary rental when moving to a new place can give you the flexibility and freedom to make the right decision on where to live. It can take the pressure off and allow you to fully explore your new home before settling in for the long haul. They allow you to start the Anmeldung process sooner One thing that is very important to know when moving to Germany is the process of Anmeldung. This is the process of registering your address with the government, and it is legally required if you plan to stay in Germany for three months or longer. Anmeldung is important because it affects your ability to do things like opening a bank account, enrolling in healthcare, or getting a residence permit. When you first move to Germany and start looking for a place to live, many landlords of temporary rentals understand the situation and will allow you to use their address for Anmeldung registration. This is because they know you won't be living there long-term and that Anmeldung can be a tricky process when you first arrive in Germany. You can use Homelike’s online rental agreements for the Anmeldung process. Registering for Anmeldung is simple and involves filling out a form at your local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt). You'll need to bring your passport or ID, your rental agreement, and a copy of your landlord's ID or passport. You may also need to bring proof of your health insurance and your tax identification number. In short, doing Anmeldung is very important for anyone planning on staying in Germany for three months or more. Just be sure to get your appointment and take all the necessary documents to the registration office. With Anmeldung under your belt, you'll be able to fully enjoy all that Germany has to offer. How to find short term rentals in Germany? Finding a temporary rental in Germany can be a daunting task, but there are many options available. One of the best options is Homelike, a platform that connects you with temporary rentals of all kinds. Homelike offers thousands of fully equipped apartments, from studio apartments to larger family-friendly options. The process is simple: just enter your desired location and length of stay, and Homelike will give you a list of available properties. You can filter your results by price, location, and amenities to find the perfect temporary home. Homelike also offers virtual tours of many properties, so you can see exactly what you're getting before you book. Homelike is a great option because it offers both flexibility and convenience. With properties all over Germany, you can find a temporary rental that meets your specific needs. Plus, Homelike allows you to book and pay for your rental online, so you don't have to worry about dealing with currency conversions or navigating foreign banking systems. So why not explore the many temporary rental options on Homelike and find your perfect home away from home in Germany? In short, choosing a temporary rental when you first move to Germany can offer many benefits as you’ve seen above. It makes your move stress-free and enjoyable. If you're considering moving to Germany, be sure to explore the option of a temporary rental as your first step towards your new life in this amazing country.
- How to change tax classes in Germany?
Taxes are one of the major deductions from your salary; especially if you are in the higher tax paying category. However, you can still make an impact in your monthly drawn salary by moving to a lesser tax paying class. Most things about taxes in Germany are a hot topic and not very easy when it comes to managing axes on your own. However, not every topic needs to be very hard. It is rather easy to change your tax classes in Germany and we’ll walk you through the process. Tax classes in Germany In Germany, your tax class will not affect your tax amount, but rather, depending on your income, the amount you pay will vary. Taxes are, however, calculated based on the amount of income you earn each month. Your overall tax bill remains the same over the course of the year. Singles are taxed in tax class I. This includes widows, divorcees, and civil partners. A married person who is not in class II, III, or IV can also be in class I. Unmarried expats in Germany or those whose spouse lives in a different country will automatically be assigned to tax class 1 upon arrival. Single parents living separately are taxed under tax class II. Those who are married and whose spouses are classified under tax class V or who have recently died are in tax class III. Tax class IV will be assigned to both spouses. A couple earning nearly the same amount should fit into tax class IV. You will automatically be assigned class IV if you arrive in Germany with your spouse or if you marry in Germany. If you are married to someone who has tax class III, you fall under tax class V. Those earning multiple wages from multiple employers are considered to be in tax class VI.. How do I know my tax class? On your payslip, you can find your tax class in the left upper corner, marked SKI. The tax class numbers range from 1 to 6, or from I to VI in Roman numerals. What is the process for obtaining a tax class? Your tax ID and tax class will be assigned to you by the Finanzamt (tax office) after you are registered in Germany. While the tax ID will be valid during your stay in Germany, the tax class depends on your marital status. What are the steps to change your tax class in Germany? German tax classes can be changed quickly and easily. 1. Fill out the form for changing your tax class You will need to submit the Antrag auf Steuerklassenwechsel bei Ehengatten if you want to change to the tax class combination III/V. It is possible to do this online or to print out the form from the website of the Finanzamt and fill it out. Unfortunately, the form does not come in English. Alternatively, you can use Google translate’s document translate option to translate the form to English or to a language you understand. However, make sure you submit only the German form to Finanzamt. 2. Send the form to the tax office (Finanzamt) The tax office will inform your employer of the changes within five days of the next month if you send the form in before the end of the month. When to change my tax class in Germany? It is easy to change your tax class in Germany. Most expats become concerned about tax class when they marry or move to Germany alone if they are married. Separation, divorce, the birth of a child with full custody or a change in employment or income can also result in a change in tax class. It will usually be the spouse who files the request alone who signs the form in these cases. In the event that one spouse passes away, the tax class of the other spouse will be changed automatically. Even during a single year, tax classes can be changed a number of times depending on the circumstances.
- How to adopt a dog in Germany as an expat?
As a dog owner in Germany, it is important to be aware of the legal requirements and regulations that apply to owning a dog. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about registering your dog, obtaining dog liability insurance, obtaining a dog license, obtaining a dog passport, and adopting a dog in Germany. Firstly, an expat adopting a dog is no different from a German adopting a dog. The process and legal compliance are similar. How can I adopt a dog in Germany? If you are interested in adopting a dog in Germany, there are several options available. You can adopt from a shelter or rescue organization, or you can purchase a dog from a breeder. It is important to do your research and find a reputable organization or breeder. When adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue organization, you will typically need to fill out an application and may undergo a screening process. This could involve an interview, a home visit, or a background check. The purpose of the screening process is to ensure that the dog is placed in a safe and loving home. When purchasing a dog from a breeder, it is important to choose a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs. You should ask to see the breeder's facilities and meet the dogs in person before making a purchase. In order to adopt a dog, you could reach out to places like animalhouseshelter.com, or tierschutzverein-muenchen.de, etc. If you are looking for a breeder, you could google the breeder next to your town or city. Alternatively, you can look for breeders in your area via the official German dog breeder association (VDH). Only breeders who are official members of the VDH can legally sell dogs. Some good to know facts about owning a dog in Germany Registering Your Dog in Germany In Germany, it is mandatory to register your dog with the local government authorities. This is done at the local town hall, or "Einwohnermeldeamt". When registering your dog, you will need to provide information such as your dog's breed, age, gender, and proof of ownership, such as a sales contract or vaccination record. The registration process usually involves paying a fee, which varies depending on the local regulations. Registering your dog is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it ensures that your dog is identifiable and traceable if they go missing. Secondly, it helps to prevent dog theft, as registered dogs can be traced back to their owners. Finally, in Germany it is a legal requirement to register your dog, and failure to register your dog can result in a fine. If you move to a new address in Germany, you need to register your dog within 2–4 weeks. In most cases, you can do this in person at the Bürgeramt. You can find out how it works in your region by contacting your local Burgeramt. Additionally, dog owners must pay an annual dog tax of €90-150 per animal. You may receive a fine if you fail to have your dog's Steuermarke when walking. Whenever your dog is in public, it must wear its dogtag (Hundesteuermarke). You could get fined if your dog is not registered Dog Liability Insurance In Germany, it is mandatory to have dog liability insurance. This insurance protects you if your dog causes injury or damage to others. If you own a dog in Germany without liability insurance, you could be subject to hefty fines. The cost of dog liability insurance varies depending on the breed of dog and the insurance provider. It is important to shop around and find the best deal for you and your furry friend. Dog License A dog license is required in Germany, and the process varies depending on the state or region in which you live. In some areas, a dog license is obtained by registering your dog with the local authorities. In other areas, you may need to take a test to prove that you are a responsible dog owner. The cost of a dog license also varies depending on your location. The purpose of a dog license is to ensure that dog owners are responsible and that their dogs are well-behaved. The license may require proof of vaccination, training, or other evidence of responsible dog ownership. Some areas also have breed-specific regulations that apply to dogs, such as restrictions on certain breeds or mandatory muzzling. Dog Passport If you plan to travel with your dog outside of Germany, you will need a dog passport. A dog passport is an official document that lists your dog's identification, such as microchip or tattoo number, as well as vaccination records. To obtain a dog passport, you will need to have your dog microchipped or tattooed, and then visit a veterinarian to have them fill out the necessary paperwork. The dog passport is important for traveling with your dog because it allows you to prove that your dog has received the necessary vaccinations and is in good health. Without a dog passport, you may not be able to bring your dog with you on your travels. Banned dog breeds in Germany In Germany, there are certain breeds of dogs that are considered to be potentially dangerous due to their size, strength, and temperament. As a result, these breeds are either completely banned or restricted in some regions of the country. The German government and animal welfare organizations believe that these regulations are necessary to protect public safety and prevent dog attacks. The most commonly banned breeds in Germany include : Pit Bull Terrier American Staffordshire Terrier Staffordshire Bull Terrier Bull Terrier Tosa Inu Dogo Argentino Fila Brasileiro Akita Inu Mastiff Bullmastiff These breeds are often associated with aggression and have been involved in several high-profile attacks in Germany and around the world. However, it's important to note that not all regions in Germany have the same restrictions and regulations when it comes to these breeds. Some regions may have stricter laws than others, while some may have no restrictions at all. Additionally, some regions may have different rules for mixed-breed dogs that include one of the banned breeds. Overall, it's important for anyone considering owning a dog in Germany to be aware of the laws and regulations in their specific region. It's also important to note that even if a breed is not officially banned or restricted, owners are still responsible for ensuring that their dog is well-behaved and does not pose a threat to public safety. Finally, it is expected that dogs in Germany adhere to the Ruhezeiten, which are designated quiet times during the day. During these periods, dog owners are expected to limit their dogs barking. Additionally, outside of the quiet times, dogs should not bark continuously for more than a certain amount of time. This might sound surprising, but it is a real regulation. In fact, neighbors have the legal right to take action against owners whose dogs do not comply with these rules.
- If a flight is delayed or canceled, what are your rights as an expat in Germany?
If your flight is delayed or cancelled in Germany, you should know your rights as an airline passenger. In some cases, you may be entitled to compensation from the airline. As an airline passenger in Germany, you have certain rights protected by EU law if your flight is delayed or cancelled. These rights are designed to ensure that you are adequately compensated for any inconvenience you may experience as a result of flight disruptions. Here is an overview of what you can expect. Delayed Flights If your flight is delayed, you may be entitled to care and assistance from the airline. This can include free meals and refreshments, free access to communication (e.g., phone calls or emails), and free hotel accommodation if necessary. The exact type of assistance you are entitled to will depend on the length of the delay and the distance of the flight. Cancelled Flights If your flight is cancelled, you have the right to choose between a full refund of the ticket price or rerouting to your final destination. In some cases, the airline may offer you a replacement flight, but you are not obligated to accept this option. If you opt for a refund, the airline must provide it without undue delay and, in any case, no later than seven days after the cancellation. Compensation for Delayed or Cancelled Flights In addition to the assistance and compensation outlined above, you may also be entitled to compensation if your flight is delayed or cancelled. The amount of compensation you are entitled to will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the length of the delay. Generally, if the flight is delayed for more than three hours, you may be entitled to compensation of up to 600 euros, although this will depend on the distance of the flight and other factors. How do I complain or get compensated? Know your rights before talking to the airline or tour operator. Ensure that you keep a record of all conversations. You can contact your country's European Consumer Centre, which can assist you with cross-border flights, or a national consumer center for domestic trips if you are not satisfied with the airline's response. A formal EU airline complaint form can be filled out if you believe your airline owes you compensation. In conclusion, if you are affected by a delayed or cancelled flight in Germany, it is important to be aware of your rights as an airline passenger. You are entitled to care and assistance from the airline, as well as compensation in some cases. To ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to, it is advisable to keep all relevant documentation and to contact the airline as soon as possible.
- What is the cost of living in Germany in 2023?
Moving to a new country usually involves wondering about the cost of living in the city in which you plan to live. The cost may vary from city to city, but when you compare it to another person's expenses, you might get a sense of what you might expect to pay. Germany is known for its strong economy and high standard of living, but what does it actually cost to live there? In this article, we'll take a closer look at the cost of living in Germany and what you can expect in terms of expenses. I only lived in Stuttgart and Munich in Germany. Therefore, I wouldn’t be able to define the real cost of living in different cities in Germany. However, I can tell you how much it costs for a 3 member family to live in Munich - one of the most expensive cities in Germany. Before talking about the expenses, let’s take a look at the average salary in Germany. The average salary in Germany is around €47,000 per year, but this can vary depending on the industry, location, and level of education and experience of the individual. For example, a recent study showed that the average salary in the finance industry in Germany is around €80,000 per year, while the average salary in the retail industry is around €30,000 per year. We’ve published an article on how much a good salary in Germany looks like. Check it out to understand the minimum wages and different salary scales in Germany. There are a number of ways in which it can be categorized in terms of the cost of living. However, we are trying to categorize the most common categories here in order to make it easier for you. I have included my monthly expense calculator at the end of this article, so that you can easily compare your monthly expenses with someone who actually lives in Germany and get a glimpse of real life here. What is the average cost for accommodation in Germany in 2023? The average cost of accommodation in Germany in 2023 can vary greatly depending on the type of housing, the location, and the individual's preferences. Here are some average costs for different types of housing in Germany: Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in a city center: The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in a city center in Germany is around €800 to €1,500 per month, although the exact cost can vary depending on the location and the type of apartment. Rent in major cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich tend to be more expensive than in smaller cities or rural areas. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside of a city center: The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside of a city center in Germany is around €500 to €1,000 per month, although the exact cost can vary depending on the location and the type of apartment. Rent for a shared apartment: Renting a room in a shared apartment in Germany is an affordable option for many people, with the average cost ranging from €300 to €800 per month, depending on the location and the type of apartment. It's worth noting that the cost of accommodation in Germany can vary greatly depending on the type of housing, the location, and the individual's preferences, so it's important to research and compare the different options before making a decision. Additionally, there are often additional expenses associated with renting a home, such as utility bills, Internet, and insurance, so it's a good idea to factor these costs into your budget as well. What is the average electricity cost in Germany in 2023? The average electricity cost in Germany in 2023 is around €0.30 to €0.40 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). This means that the monthly electricity bill for a typical German household can range from €70 to €120, depending on the usage and size of the home. It's worth noting that electricity prices in Germany can vary depending on the region and the provider, so it's important to compare prices and select the best option for your needs. Additionally, there are various ways to reduce electricity costs, such as using energy-efficient appliances, implementing energy-saving measures, and taking advantage of renewable energy options. What is the average heating cost in Germany in 2023? The average heating cost in Germany in 2023 can vary depending on the size of the home, the type of heating system used, and the location. However, on average, a typical German household can expect to pay around €500 to €1,500 per year for heating expenses. This cost includes the cost of fuel, maintenance, and any upgrades or repairs to the heating system. It's worth noting that the cost of heating in Germany can be influenced by various factors, including the weather and energy prices, so it's important to budget accordingly. What is the average internet cost in Germany in 2023? The average cost of internet in Germany in 2023 can range from €20 to €50 per month, depending on the type of service and speed. For basic internet services with speeds of up to 100 Mbps, you can expect to pay around €20 to €30 per month. For faster internet speeds and more premium services, such as unlimited data usage, you can expect to pay around €40 to €50 per month. It's worth noting that the cost of the internet in Germany can vary depending on the provider and region, so it's important to compare prices and select the best option for your needs. Additionally, there are various discounts and deals available, so it's a good idea to research and compare the different options before making a decision. What is the average cost for Food and Groceries in Germany in 2023? Eating habits, dietary requirements, and lifestyle may make a significant difference in the average cost of food and groceries. However, here are some estimated average costs for food and groceries in Germany: Groceries: The average cost of groceries in Germany is around €200 to €400 per month, depending on the individual's eating habits and dietary requirements. Fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat, and bread are generally available at reasonable prices in Germany. Dining Out: The average cost of dining out in Germany is around €15 to €30 per person per meal, depending on the type of restaurant and location. Fast food and street food are generally cheaper than sit-down restaurants, while gourmet restaurants and high-end eateries can be more expensive. It's worth noting that the cost of food and groceries in Germany can vary greatly depending on the individual's eating habits, dietary requirements, and lifestyle, so it's important to budget accordingly and keep track of spending. Additionally, there are often discounts and deals available for various types of food and groceries, so it's a good idea to research and compare the different options before making a decision. What is the average transportation cost in Germany in 2023? The average cost of transportation in Germany in 2023 can vary depending on the mode of transportation and the region. Here are some average costs for different types of transportation in Germany: Public Transportation: The average cost of public transportation in Germany is around €40 to €120 per month, although the exact cost can vary depending on the city and the type of pass. Monthly passes for public transportation are usually available for a discounted rate, making it a convenient and cost-effective option for many people. Taxi: The average cost of a taxi in Germany is around €2 to €4 per kilometer, although the exact cost can vary depending on the city and the time of day. Additionally, there is usually a starting fee of around €5 to €10, as well as a fee for luggage and additional passengers. Car: The average cost of owning a car in Germany is around €200 to €400 per month, including expenses such as fuel, insurance, maintenance, and parking. The exact cost can vary depending on the type of car and the driving habits of the owner. It's worth noting that transportation costs in Germany can vary greatly depending on the mode of transportation and the region, so it's important to consider the different options and budget accordingly. Additionally, there are various discounts and deals available for public transportation, so it's a good idea to research and compare the different options before making a decision. What is the average insurance cost in Germany in 2023? The average cost of insurance can vary depending on the type of insurance, your age, and other personal factors. Here are some average costs for different types of insurance in Germany: Health Insurance: On average, health insurance in Germany costs around €100 to €180 per month, although the exact cost can vary depending on the type of coverage and the insurance company. Everyone who lives and works in Germany is required to have health insurance. Car Insurance: The average cost of car insurance in Germany is around €600 to €1,500 per year, although the exact cost can vary depending on the type of vehicle, driving history, and other personal factors. Home Insurance: The average cost of home insurance in Germany is around €100 to €600 per year, although the exact cost can vary depending on the value of the property, location, and other personal factors. Life Insurance: The average cost of life insurance in Germany is around €20 to €50 per month, although the exact cost can vary depending on the type of coverage, age, and other personal factors. It's worth noting that insurance costs in Germany can vary greatly depending on the type of coverage and the insurance company, so it's important to compare prices and select the best option for your needs. Additionally, there are various discounts and deals available, so it's a good idea to research and compare the different options before making a decision. How much will loans cost on average in Germany in 2023? The average cost of loans in Germany in 2023 can vary depending on the type of loan, the lender, and the borrower's credit score and financial history. Here are some average costs for different types of loans in Germany: Personal Loans: The average interest rate for personal loans in Germany is around 2% to 4%, although the exact rate can vary depending on the lender and the borrower's credit score. The overall cost of a personal loan can be estimated by multiplying the loan amount by the interest rate and dividing by 12 to get the monthly payment. Mortgage Loans: The average interest rate for mortgage loans in Germany is around 1% to 2%, although the exact rate can vary depending on the type of mortgage, the lender, and the borrower's credit score. The overall cost of a mortgage loan can be estimated by multiplying the loan amount by the interest rate and dividing by 12 to get the monthly payment. Car Loans: The average interest rate for car loans in Germany is around 2% to 4%, although the exact rate can vary depending on the type of loan, the lender, and the borrower's credit score. The overall cost of a car loan can be estimated by multiplying the loan amount by the interest rate and dividing by 12 to get the monthly payment. It's worth noting that the cost of loans in Germany can vary greatly depending on the type of loan, the lender, and the borrower's financial history, so it's important to compare prices and select the best option for your needs. Additionally, there are various fees and charges associated with taking out a loan, so it's a good idea to review the terms and conditions carefully before making a decision. What is the average cost for Leisure and Entertainment in Germany in 2023? The average cost of leisure and entertainment in Germany in 2023 can vary greatly depending on the individual's interests and lifestyle. However, here are some estimated average costs for leisure and entertainment in Germany: Cinema: The average cost of a movie ticket in Germany is around €10 to €15, depending on the location and time of day. Theater: The average cost of a theater ticket in Germany is around €30 to €50, depending on the performance and location. Sports: The average cost of a gym membership in Germany is around €30 to €70 per month, depending on the gym and location. Other sports activities, such as football or basketball games, can range from €10 to €50 or more, depending on the event and location. Music: The average cost of a concert ticket in Germany is around €30 to €100, depending on the performer and location. Museums: The average cost of a museum admission in Germany is around €5 to €15, depending on the museum and location. It's worth noting that the cost of leisure and entertainment in Germany can vary greatly depending on the individual's interests and lifestyle, so it's important to budget accordingly and keep track of spending. Additionally, there are often discounts and deals available for various leisure and entertainment activities, so it's a good idea to research and compare the different options before making a decision. What is the average tax in Germany? Depending on a person's income and other factors, the average tax in Germany in 2023 will vary greatly. However, here is some general information on taxes in Germany: Income Tax: Germany has a progressive income tax system, which means that people with higher incomes pay a higher tax rate. The average income tax rate in Germany in 2023 ranges from 14% to 42%, with a special 45% rate for income above €260,000. Value-Added Tax (VAT): Germany also has a value-added tax (VAT), which is a consumption tax that is included in the price of most goods and services. The standard VAT rate in Germany in 2023 is 19%, although there are reduced rates of 7% and 0% for certain goods and services. Social Security Contributions: In addition to income and value-added taxes, most people in Germany are required to pay social security contributions, which help to fund various social welfare programs, such as pensions and health insurance. The average social security contribution rate in Germany in 2023 is around 13.5% to 15.5% of an individual's income, depending on their insurance coverage. It's worth noting that taxes in Germany can vary greatly depending on a person's income, insurance coverage, and other factors, so it's important to research and consult a tax professional for more detailed information. Additionally, there are often tax breaks and deductions available for various expenses, such as education and housing, so it's a good idea to take advantage of these opportunities to lower your overall tax bill. Our article on What expats need to know about German tax and tax classes will give you a thorough understanding about different tax classes in Germany and how you can benefit from the annual income tax returns. Therefore, make sure to check it out. Additionally, you can use an online German tax calculator to calculate your tax returns at the end of the year. Real life expenses I used Google Sheets to create a monthly house expense calculator and below is a screenshot of it. In this example, I am trying to give you an idea of how much a family of three spends a month. In conclusion, the cost of living in Germany in 2023 is relatively high compared to other countries, but it's worth it given the country's strong economy, high standard of living, and excellent public services. If you're planning to move to Germany, it's important to carefully consider your expenses and budget to ensure that you have enough money to live comfortably.
- What happens when you lose your job in Germany?
Getting laid off at an unexpected time can be stressful and difficult, but knowing your rights can make it easier for you to get back on track after a layoff. Losing your job in Germany can be a difficult and stressful experience. While unemployment can happen to anyone, it is important to know what to do when it occurs and what your rights are. In this article, we will explore what happens when you lose your job in Germany and what steps you should take to get back on your feet. What happens when you lose your job in Germany? Get started as soon as possible Getting laid off is devastating, especially if it comes as a surprise. However, you must act immediately. In Germany, you have three weeks from the day you receive a written termination notice to file a dismissal protection suit (Kündigungsschutzklage). All employees who have passed their probationary period (usually six months) are eligible to file a dismissal protection suit. The dismissal protection suit can be filed by you on your own or by a lawyer. Generally, a dismissal protection suit seeks to have you reinstated. Most often, however, both parties agree on severance pay packages. Depending on the number of years you worked for the company, your severance pay could equal your monthly gross salary multiplied by that number. The rate can be even higher if you have only been employed for a short period of time. What steps should you take when you lose your job in Germany? Inform the job center: The job center will help you find a new job, provide you with job search support and offer training and education opportunities. Register as unemployed: To receive unemployment benefits, you must register as unemployed with the job center. You will need to provide proof of your employment and earnings, as well as proof that you have been laid off. Those who are unemployed in Germany are entitled to unemployment benefits, which are funded by contributions from employers and employees. Based on your previous earnings and length of employment, you will receive around 60% of your previous net salary on average. Start searching for a new job: While receiving unemployment benefits, you are required to actively search for a new job. This means you must attend job fairs, send out applications and attend job interviews. Consider additional training or education: If you have difficulty finding a new job, you may consider additional training or education to improve your chances of finding employment. The job center can provide you with information on available programs and how to apply. Seek legal advice: If you feel that your rights have been violated or if you have any questions about your rights, you can seek legal advice from a qualified lawyer. In conclusion, losing your job in Germany can be a difficult and stressful experience, but it is important to know your rights and what steps to take to get back on your feet. With the support of the job center and unemployment benefits, as well as a commitment to actively searching for a new job, you can find employment and get back to work as soon as possible.
- N26 Review 
N26 is a great choice for anyone who wants a convenient, affordable, and secure digital bank in Germany. With its cutting-edge technology, user-friendly interface, and innovative financial services, N26 is quickly becoming one of the most popular banks in Germany. N26 is a German digital bank that has been making waves in the banking industry since its launch in 2015. The bank has become extremely popular in Germany and throughout Europe, thanks to its cutting-edge technology, user-friendly interface, and innovative financial services. In this review, we will take a closer look at what N26 has to offer and why it has become such a popular choice among German consumers. First and foremost, N26 is all about convenience. The bank has a sleek, intuitive app that makes it easy for users to manage their finances from their smartphone. From opening an account to making transactions, everything can be done from the comfort of your own home. This is particularly appealing for younger generations who are used to conducting their lives through their phones. N26 also offers a range of financial services that are designed to suit the needs of modern consumers. For example, N26 offers its customers the ability to open a bank account in just a few minutes, without having to visit a physical branch. Additionally, the bank provides overdraft protection, which means that customers can spend up to 10000 euros more than their account balance without incurring any fees. This is a feature that is particularly useful for those who sometimes struggle to balance their finances. Another great thing about N26 is its focus on transparency and affordability. The bank has no hidden fees, and it is always clear what customers are paying for. This makes it easy for people to budget and keep track of their finances. In addition, N26 offers competitive interest rates on savings accounts, making it an attractive option for people who want to save money. In terms of security, N26 is a very safe and secure bank. The bank uses state-of-the-art security measures to protect its customers' finances, and it is fully licensed and regulated by the German Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin). This means that customers can be confident that their money is safe and secure, and that their personal information is protected. Finally, N26 is a great choice for people who are looking for a bank that is always evolving and improving. The bank is constantly updating its services and adding new features, making it a smart choice for people who want a bank that is always adapting to meet their changing needs. Benefits of N26 Easy and Quick Sign-Up: N26 makes it incredibly easy to open an account, with the process taking just a few minutes and can be done entirely online. User-Friendly App: N26’s app is user-friendly, intuitive, and offers customers a range of features, including account tracking, card management, and the ability to view transactions in real-time. Overdraft Protection: N26 offers overdraft protection, which means that customers can spend up to 10000 euros more than their account balance without incurring any fees. Competitive Interest Rates: N26 offers competitive interest rates on savings accounts, making it an attractive option for people who want to save money. No Hidden Fees: N26 is transparent about its fees, making it easy for people to budget and keep track of their finances. Secure: N26 uses state-of-the-art security measures to protect its customers' finances and is fully licensed and regulated by the German Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin). Disadvantages of N26 Limited Services: Today, N26 can only offer basic banking services and does not have a branch network, which may not be suitable for everyone. No Physical Checks: N26 does not offer the option to write physical checks, which may be a drawback for some customers. Limited Customer Support: N26 offers limited customer support, with the only option being email or through its in-app support center. Limited Credit Options: N26 does not offer a wide variety of credit options like traditional banks offer, which may not be suitable for everyone. Not Yet Available in All Countries: N26 is currently only available in Europe and a few other countries, meaning that it may not be a suitable option for everyone. In conclusion, N26 is a great choice for anyone who wants a convenient, affordable, and secure digital bank in Germany. With its cutting-edge technology, user-friendly interface, and innovative financial services, N26 is quickly becoming one of the most popular banks in the country. Whether you're a young person looking for a bank that is easy to use, or you're looking for a bank that offers great savings rates, N26 is definitely worth considering.
- Why should expats in Germany have an American Express Payback credit card?
Payback is a valuable rewards program for expats living in Germany. It offers a great way to save money on everyday purchases, provides a wide range of rewards, is easy to use, and supports local businesses. Whether you’re looking to save money on groceries, gas, or other expenses, Payback is a great choice for expats in Germany. So why not sign up for an account today and start earning rewards for your purchases? American Express, or Amex, is one of the world's largest credit card issuers. The company has a long history of providing high-quality credit products and services to its customers. In Germany, one of Amex's most popular offerings is the Payback Card. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the Amex Payback Card, including its features, benefits, and drawbacks. Features of the Amex Payback Card The Amex Payback Card is a credit card that provides a variety of benefits for its users. Some of the key features of this card include: Reward program: The Amex Payback Card offers a generous rewards program that allows cardholders to earn points for every purchase they make. These points can then be redeemed for a wide range of rewards, including merchandise, travel, and statement credits. Welcome bonus: First-time cardholders are eligible for a welcome bonus of up to 10,000 points, which can be redeemed for valuable rewards. No annual fee: Unlike many other credit cards, the Amex Payback Card does not charge an annual fee. This means that cardholders can enjoy the benefits of the card without incurring any additional costs. Worldwide acceptance: The Amex Payback Card is accepted at millions of locations around the world, making it a convenient option for international travel. Customer service: Amex is known for its exceptional customer service, and the Payback Card is no exception. Cardholders have access to 24/7 support, and can take advantage of a variety of benefits and services, including travel insurance and extended warranty protection. High Level of Security: The American Express Payback Card uses state-of-the-art security measures to keep your personal and financial information safe and secure. This means that you can have peace of mind knowing that your information is protected, even when shopping online or using the card abroad. Access to Travel and Insurance Services: The American Express Payback Card provides cardholders with access to a range of travel and insurance services, including travel accident insurance, emergency assistance, and travel services. This can provide added peace of mind when traveling and can help ensure that you are covered in the event of an emergency. Easy to Use: The American Express Payback Card is designed to be easy to use, with an intuitive interface and simple online account management tools. This means that you can easily keep track of your spending and manage your account from anywhere in the world. Benefits of the Amex Payback Card In addition to its features, the Amex Payback Card also offers several benefits to its users. Some of the key benefits of this card include: Generous rewards program: The rewards program offered by the Amex Payback Card is one of the most generous available. Cardholders can earn points for every purchase they make, and can redeem these points for a wide range of valuable rewards. No annual fee: The lack of an annual fee makes the Amex Payback Card an affordable option for consumers who are looking for a credit card that provides great rewards and benefits without additional costs. Worldwide acceptance: The Amex Payback Card is accepted at millions of locations around the world, making it a convenient option for international travel. Exceptional customer service: Amex is known for its exceptional customer service, and cardholders of the Payback Card can take advantage of 24/7 support and a variety of benefits and services. Is it possible to cash out my Payback points? You can cash out your Payback points on the Payback website. Before logging in, you must make sure that you are on the official website. You can also use the Payback app. If you go to www.payback.de/pb/bargeld, you will be able to cash out your Payback points. When you log in, you will be able to check your bank details. Ensure that the data is entered correctly. When you click on "Confirm", the payout process begins. From 200 points collected, it is possible to pay off the credit balance. The points are worth one cent each, so at least two euros must be paid out. There is no need to pay off the entire credit balance. Also, you can decide to cash out only part of your points and invest the remaining in Payback rewards. Credit balances are repaid relatively quickly. If your credit is approved the next day, it can be on your account the very next day. Usually, it takes one week for your credit to be approved. Drawbacks of the Amex Payback Card While the Amex Payback Card offers many benefits, it also has a few drawbacks that potential cardholders should be aware of. Some of the drawbacks of this card include: High interest rate: The interest rate on the Amex Payback Card is relatively high, which could make it an expensive option for those who carry a balance. Limited rewards redemption options: Although the rewards program offered by the Amex Payback Card is generous, the redemption options are limited. Some cardholders may find that they are unable to redeem their points for the rewards they want. Foreign transaction fees: The Amex Payback Card charges a fee for foreign transactions, which could make it an expensive option for international travel. Conclusion The Amex Payback Card is a great option for consumers in Germany who are looking for a credit card with a generous rewards program and a range of benefits. While this card has a few drawback.
- An Indian's checklist to relocate to Germany
If you are an Indian citizen and relocating to Germany, this checklist will help you make your relocation much more relaxed. Relocating to a new country is quite a big decision and could be very challenging. However, you could make it much more relaxed and exciting if you plan ahead. Four to six weeks prior Booking flights in advance can save you money It takes at least 8 hours to fly from India to Germany (not including connection time), depending on where you start your journey and where you go. Flight rates tend to be quite high between Germany and India since there are no budget airlines operating between the two countries. Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, and Etihad are the most affordable airlines between India and Germany, while British Airways and Emirates are quite expensive. Among other operators, Qatar Airways consistently provides better service when it comes to keeping timings, in flight services, and airport services, etc. Qatar also provides better rates compared to other operators considering the services offered. Try to find a relocation agency If you are relocating to another country for the first time and don't have any contacts there, it is better to seek help from a trustworthy relocation agency to help you make the relocation tension free. In general relocation agencies help you move your stuff from your home country, find an apartment for you in Germany, receive you at the airport or arrange transportation from the airport, help you register in Germany as soon as you arrive, help you open a bank account and basically they help you with all the bureaucratic processes. If you are looking for a relocation agency and not sure where to look, in the last 25 years TM Relocation Services GmbH has successfully established itself in the world of relocation. The company was founded in 1996 and initially concentrated its efforts on and around Munich. More and more locations were added eventually. TM Relocation is currently present in the following cities and their surrounding areas: Munich, Berlin, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Mannheim and Stuttgart. If you are moving to Munich or Bavaria, check out this list of relocation services published by muenchen.de; the official citizen’s portal in Munich. The price for relocation agencies generally starts around 200€. The price varies depending on the services provided. Start searching for an accommodation If you haven’t found a relocation agency or you’d like to manage yourself, you need to start looking for an accommodation as soon as possible. Expatriates often rent temporary apartments when they move to Germany for the first time. Most newcomers don't buy or rent a single house when they move for the first time. In Germany, you have the possibility to rent an unfurnished apartment, a serviced apartment or a fully furnished apartment according to your budget. The best and most popular way to find a place to live in Germany is to make use of the real estate portals. All of them operate in a freemium way by providing the best service with a free account and exclusive services on a paid account. We have detailed the best ways to find an accommodation in Germany and the things to note when renting an apartment in Germany on our article How to find an apartment in Germany Inform your local bank If you are permanently moving from your country, it is better to convert your savings / salary account to an NRI account. This way, you can get rid of the unnecessary taxation paperworks. Changing your salary account to an NRI account also allows you to transfer money from your local bank account to your overseas bank account when necessary. An additional benefit is that your account or cards will not be blocked when you attempt to access them from abroad. Ensure that your passport is valid Most countries only allow people to enter if their passport has at least six months of validity left. Therefore, it's a good idea to check your passport’s expiration date well in advance. Generally, passports with less than six months' validity can't be used for travel. Although it's comparatively easier to get your Indian passport renewed in Germany, it's better to renew it from India itself to avoid any unwanted delays at the immigration. You can use the Tatkal facility and renew your passport within 2-3 weeks from India. Find a German language school and apply for an admission Although it is not necessary to learn German to work in Germany in a variety of professions, having a conversational level German language knowledge would become handy when it comes to socializing in Germany. Especially, when you are required to call the customer care or dealing with your landlord or even when buying something from a local bakery. People expect you to speak in German by default. There are many types of courses offered by a number of language schools here, including intensive courses (up to six months or lesser), evening classes and regular classes, as well as specialized courses such as exam preparation, German integration courses, etc. 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. Two to four weeks prior 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. Consider travel health insurance seriously Everyone who lives in Germany is legally obliged to have health insurance. Generally, your employer in Germany will provide you health insurance. However, you only need to have travel insurance for your flight to Germany. Nevertheless, we suggest getting a good travel health insurance which covers every possible scenario that can occur to you. One week prior to the travel Ensure to get attested copies of important documents Before traveling, it might be a good idea to get copies of original documents such as your academic certificates, aadhar, etc and get it attested by a gazetted officer. Your family members will be able to present it when necessary if they have it. Schedule your appointments Book any important appointments in Germany early so you can complete your registration (Anmeldung) as soon as possible and get your residence permit. Upon registering, you can open a bank account, get a phone contract, get a tax number, and start your new life. It can take quite a lot of time to get an appointment at the registration office (Bürger Büro). Therefore, it would be a good idea to register your appointment as early as possible. If you’ve already booked the service of a relocation agency, they’ll get the appointments for you and help you with the paperwork. 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. Just before leaving your home Make sure you have all documents in one place It is recommended to keep all your travel documents in one folder or file. Therefore, it would be easier for you to access it to present to the emigration counters both in India as well as in Germany. These documents generally include your passport, job contract, proof of accommodation, proof of travel insurance, work permit, etc. Finally, the things listed above are what I did when I moved to Germany six years ago. It is my hope that you will also find this useful at some point.
- The proper way to separate waste in Germany
If you have ever wondered how to separate household waste while in Germany, here are some tips to help you out. In Germany, you can get a fine of up to 1.500€ if you do not follow the waste management procedures. One of the confusing questions you may have in your first week relocating to Germany would be how to separate the household waste. The reduction of residual waste allows us to use smaller or fewer residual waste bins, which can reduce the cost of disposal. Materials that are not recyclable The term residual waste refers to waste that can no longer be recycled. Most of these wastes are burned in thermal power stations and converted into electricity and district heating. Unfortunately, a large number of recyclable materials end up in the residual waste bin. The amount of residual waste can be significantly reduced by consistently separating waste at home itself. Nevertheless, using smaller or fewer residual waste bins will reduce your waste fees if you separate your waste better and throw less waste into them. What can be thrown in the gray residual waste bin? Vacuum cleaner bags Litter for cats and small animals Sanitary paper and diapers Carbonless paper and paper wax Etc… Paper wastes Paper and cardboard should be disposed of in the blue bin. Separating paper waste from non recyclable waste saves energy and water and protects forests because waste paper is reused in new paper production. What can you put in the blue paper bins? Newspapers, magazines, catalogs, prospectuses Letters, envelopes Forms, office paper Note books, books without covers Folded cardboard boxes, wrapping paper without tape Clean paper bags paper packaging Pizza box without leftovers Bio or organic waste Kitchen and garden waste should be disposed of in the brown compost bin. It is not allowed to put plastic bags in the organic waste bin! Compost is made from organic waste. Some cities produce green electricity from the fermentation process at the same time. Tree and shrub cuttings can, however, be sent to your city's local recycling depot for disposal. What can you put in the brown bin? Leftover vegetables, salads, and fruits (both raw and cooked) Leftover meat and fish (both raw and cooked) Peels of potato, egg, nut, and fruit Bread and baked goods that are old Ground coffee, coffee filters, and coffee pods Potting soil, flowers and plants (without pots) Trimmings from trees, shrubs, grass, and leaves Newspapers and kitchen paper can also be disposed in bio bins to soak up moisture Bottles and aluminum packages Separate packaging for recycling since it can be reused. In order to put the glass bottles in the packaging, it is necessary to empty it of its contents, no rinsing is required. It is important to separate different materials, such as the aluminum lid of the yogurt pot. What can you put in the glass disposer? Glass bottles. There is no need to remove the lids Containers, plastic packaging, plastic bottles, plastic cups, polystyrene, packaging films (e.g. beverage cartons, plastic packaging) Aluminum foil, aluminum cans, aerosol cans, crown caps, screw caps on bottles and jars, tinplate, tin cans, etc. Shoes and old clothes Unfortunately, there are still a lot of old clothes ending up in the residual waste bins. There is simply no point in throwing away old clothes in non recyclable waste bins. At the recycling depots or in the city area, you will find many containers for old clothes. What can you put in the clothes disposer? Any type of wearable clothes Wearable, clean shoes Gloves and hats Items such as tablecloths and bath towels. Curtains Bed linen Duvets Furthermore, there are recycling depots in every city where bulky waste, problematic materials, and green waste can be dropped off free of charge. Fines for not separating waste in Germany You could end up paying a huge fine if the administration discovers you fail to separate waste and do it regularly. However, the amount of the fine varies from state to state. Bussgeldkatalog has a comprehensive list of offenses and the fines against them on their website.
- How to choose the best personal liability insurance in Germany in 2023?
In Germany, it is essential to have personal liability insurance as you are completely liable for any damage you cause to others and their property. People in Germany will go to any length to get the compensation for the damages they have suffered. If you are already an expat in Germany or planning to relocate to Germany any sooner, you need to understand why getting personal liability insurance as soon as you arrive is so important. What Is Personal Liability Insurance In Germany? The purpose of personal liability insurance is to provide protection for you and your family in the event that a third party suffers injury or property damage due to an action committed by you or your close family members. Generally, personal liability refers to legal costs and damages that you are required to pay in compensation. Personal liability insurance is optional in Germany. However, we recommend you seriously consider purchasing a good personal liability insurance plan to protect against any unforeseen financial risk. Is personal liability insurance necessary in Germany? In Germany, it is essential to have personal liability insurance as you are completely liable for any damage you cause to others and their property. People in Germany will go to any length to get the compensation for the damages they have suffered. Even if you think you are in a good position to pay for any damages you may cause to somebody, sometimes things can go far beyond your control. For instance, you may be able to cover the cost of a television you broke in your friend's apartment. However, if your actions caused someone to seek medical care or any serious issues, the compensation amount could go up to millions. Personal liability insurance in Germany: a real-life example When I first moved to Germany, I lived in a friend's apartment. He had an old washing machine which was a bargain deal he bought from somewhere, and I had to use it one day. After I had put the clothes in it, I turned it on and left the room for some other tasks. After an hour, the washing was finished and I returned to the bathroom to pick up the clothes. I was shocked to see water spilled over the floor of the bathroom from the washing machine due to a damage in the waste water hose. In a few minutes, I had cleaned up the water and turned on the room heater to warm the floor. From my perspective, the situation appeared to be under control. My doorbell rang the next morning, and the person who lived downstairs invited me to his apartment to show me his bathroom roof. As the roof absorbed the water from my bathroom floor, I was shocked to see that the roof had been damaged. After that, I had to pay 450€ in compensation because I did not have personal liability insurance. Which causes are covered by personal liability insurance? The general coverage of personal liability insurance in Germany includes but not limited to, Damage to rented apartments Lost keys Damage caused by small pets Unintentional damage to others and properties of others However, the liability insurances generally do not cover, but not limited to, Broken glass Damage to your own property Fines and penalties Locksmith Are There Any Good Personal Liability Insurances In Germany? We’ve compared a handful of plans from different insurance providers. Finally, we think the Personal liability insurance provided by Feather insurance covers almost every cause and is rated good in many platforms. However, it is recommended that you consider the benefits and drawbacks of different liability insurance providers before choosing one. The Berlin-based Feather Insurance Company was founded in 2018. Their focus is exclusively on expats in Germany, and they are an insurance aggregator. They are therefore able to conduct their entire process in English and with great efficiency. You can get liability coverage for up to 50 million euros for as little as 4,94€ a month for a single person and 8,94€ for your spouse and children. Why should you choose Feather Insurance? English speaking customer service Cancellation is possible at any time Coverage is easily accessible Worldwide coverage No waiting period to file your first claim Feather does not cover Broken window glasses Damage to your own belongings, to belongings in a rental property, or to your own home is not covered. Any fines and penalties Payment to locksmith to break into your apartment Finally, after reviewing several liability insurance providers, Feather liability insurance offers the most things covered under a comparable cost. They have great English speaking customer service support, transparent and fast claiming procedures, and cover up to 50 million euros.
- Which is the Best electricity provider in Germany and how to change?
As soon as you move into a new apartment in Germany, you will automatically be signed into a contract with the basic electricity provider in your building. This is convenient to start with, as you move into a place with electricity. However, it is best to compare the plans from different providers and select the one that meets your needs. It is rare for some builders to only use connections from a specific provider. Therefore, you have to choose between the different plans offered by that provider. However, the majority of apartments in Germany have connections from different providers, so you can choose offers from different providers that suit your needs. There is never a time when you will be without electricity in Germany. You will always have electricity from your basic city provider regardless of whether you change providers or have a gap in your contract. In Germany, how can I switch electricity providers? You can change the electricity contract either as soon as you move to a new apartment, or at the time when your current contract period ends. However, it would be difficult for you to choose a different provider if the electricity cost is covered within your rent or additional costs. Germany has more than 1000 electricity providers. There are, however, not all of them in every state or city. Previously, the companies focused only on Germans. Startups such as Ostrom, however, are taking over the energy production and distribution in Germany while providing expat friendly services. Ostrom is the first electricity provider in Germany to offer a website, and customer service in English. The only plan offered by Ostrom is the 100% renewable energy plan. It is all digital and very much flexible. Your contract won't be locked in for one or two years and you can cancel the service online at any time. Ostrom also got many great reviews in Trustpilot. Unlike other service providers, Ostrom does not require you to calculate your monthly energy consumption cost. Instead of this, you pay a flat fee. They offer electricity plans throughout Germany, so moving from place to place is also very simple. Unlike many traditional energy providers, Ostrom charges live market prices. As a result, your monthly price will increase if the energy price rises. However, Ostrom also lowers your monthly bill if the energy price falls. Step 1: compare electricity providers in Germany Using a comparison tool like Tarifcheck will enable you to compare various electricity providers the traditional way. The disadvantage of most comparison tools is that their websites are in German. If you want to see it in English, you'll need to use your browser's translation feature. Go to www.tarifcheck.de, click on Storm und Gas (Electricity and Gas) from the menu and open Stromvergleich (Electricity Comparison). In the next page, enter your postcode and how much energy are you planning to consume a year (this is usually 2500 Kwh for a two person household). The result will show you the list of electricity providers available in your area. Step 2: choose the provider of your choice Tarifcheck will show you many offers from the providers signed up with them. However, in order to make your decision, you may need to know some names. The following are some of the popular electricity providers in Germany Stadtwerke München (SWM) EON Energie Yello Strom Eprimo Vattenfall The current climate change is causing German consumers to embrace renewable energy more and more. It is often more cost-effective and easier to sign up for renewable energy than traditional sources of electricity. You might like to consider renewable energy sources than conventional ones if you prefer them Ostrom NEW Energy Eprimo Stromee Naturstrom Knauber Strom The first year you switch providers, you typically benefit from bonuses offered by them. You may also get unexpected offers from the existing provider when you tell them that you are switching! Perhaps, you need to do this every year to keep getting bonuses. Anyway, once you compare the prices, features offered and decide on a provider, select the desired provider (weiter) and fill out your personal details in the next section and submit. Step 3: Confirm the new contract and cancel the old one You usually get an email confirmation about the new contract in the next few days either by email or by post. In some cases, a representative of the electricity provider may contact you to discuss further about the offer. To cancel your current electricity contract, you do not need to do anything as the cancellation will be handled by the new provider. If you move to a new apartment or take on a new electricity contract, be sure to inform the existing electricity provider to avoid misunderstandings and double billing. What to consider when switching to a new electricity provider in Germany? There are several providers with almost similar features listed in the comparison tools. However, there are some specific points you should keep in mind. Bonus and offers provided Length of the contract - 12 months is a safe and recommended contract term Payment frequency - Choose only monthly payment Contract-long price guarantee Notice period when canceling the contract - 3 -6 months recommended Customer reviews that are positive Finally, switching to another electric provider in your apartment can save you hundreds of euros per year. I was charged more than 70 euros per month by the default electric provider when I moved into my new apartment. Afterward, I switched to Eprimo for 24€ per month, and I am planning to switch to Ostrom at the end of my Eprimo contract.
- What you need to know about moving to Germany with kids
After overcoming the initial challenges of moving to Germany with kids, expats with children get to enjoy a wide range of benefits. Relocating to a new country especially with children is quite a big decision and could be very challenging. After you overcome your initial anxiety about the kids' transition, moving to Germany with children can be way more relaxing with the great support offered by the government. When you have been hired or accepted into a German university, and you want to bring your family, especially your kids, to Germany, how do you proceed? Obtain the visa for kids If your nationality requires it, arranging visas for family members is a first step when moving to Germany with kids. In addition, your children also qualify for a German residence permit if you are authorized to live in Germany. Children who are citizens of a member state of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) don't need a visa to live and study in Germany. The citizens of third countries will generally need a visa to enter Germany. To obtain a German residence permit as your depended, the children must be under 18 years of age. Single parents can also apply for visas for their children with the consent of the other parent who is entitled to the custody of the child. Applying child benefits and parental benefits You can apply for both child benefit as well as parental benefit as soon as you register in Germany. Every parent who is a resident in Germany regardless of being a German citizen or not is entitled for child benefits (Kindergeld) if they have children which are registered in Germany. The kindergeld is provided by the Familienzentrum (Local Family Office) upon submitting an application form. We’ve already detailed the application procedure in another article. You may also be eligible to receive Elterngeld - a social benefit provided from the German social security system. Parental benefit is given to all parents to have the loss of earnings caused by the time off work due to the birth of your child under certain conditions. If you live in Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein or Thuringia, you can apply for parental allowance online. A detailed description of the application process can be found here. Once accepted, both the child benefit as well as the parental benefit, or any other social security benefits are transferred to your bank account monthly. German school admissions for expat children After you register in Germany, you can approach the schools in the area you live. Generally, the childrens go to the primary school of the area where you live. However, if you make a special request, you may be able to get to a primary school outside your neighborhood. In Germany, a child can start school at the age of six. It is common for school authorities to hold Schulanmeldung (school registration days) around six months before the start of the new academic year. There are, however, differences in the procedure between schools in different states. You may contact the schools by email or phone to get more details about their specific admission procedure. It is important to note that in Germany, failing to send a child to school is a punishable offense. In every state, preschools and schools have different registration processes. In some states, registration forms must be submitted to the local registry office (Bürgeramt). Depending on the state, the local registry office may assign children to schools, while other states require parents to register their children directly with the school. Documents required for the school registration in Germany Passport Birth certificate A health certificate from the State Health Office (Staatliches Gesundheitsamt) A residency permit, if applicable, is also required Meldebescheinigung If both parents or you as a single parent are working, and there’s nobody else to take care of the children, you can send the children to a kinderkrippe. Krippes are nurseries that look after the children in the day time. There may be several public and private ones in your area, depending on your location. While the seats will be limited in the kinderkrippe and the demand is higher, it's better to contact them as soon as you arrive. Additionally, Germany has numerous private and international schools for expat children. The majority of German students attend local schools for free, but many expat families consider sending their children to an international school to help them ease their transition. The reason for this is that the students can continue their education in a language and curriculum that they are familiar with. Moreover, German international schools usually have small class sizes, excellent facilities, and high academic standards. Some international schools in Germany are part of the public system, but most are privately run. Welcome center Germany has managed to list down a few major international schools in different cities with their contact information. Parenting in Germany In general, Germany is considered to be a great place to raise children. Children in German families are taught to be independent as adults by their early ages itself. Rather than raising children under the parents' wings, they see the home as a place to develop children’s individuality and aspirations. There is a general tendency in Germany to treat children like adults. Consequently, people, including parents, will greet them and speak to them with that in mind. As young adults go to university or become financially independent, most move out of their parents' homes. The challenges of childcare As a parent moving to Germany with young children, you should prepare yourself for the fact that securing a place for them in a kindergarten can sometimes be challenging. Although childcare is becoming easier to pay for considering the benefits you may get from the government, getting into a kindergarten would become a challenge. Despite the city council's central enrolment system, there would hardly be any seats available until the school year begins. Depending on when you move to Germany, you may have to wait until the beginning of an academic year for a school to confirm your child has a seat there. The kindergartens in Germany are generally better than those in other European countries, according to many expats. As well as being well organized, they have a well-trained staff pool as well. An additional and perhaps unforeseen challenge every parent may face is the illness of their child. Generally, kids get sick when they start school or kindergarten. Therefore, it is important to learn about insurance in Germany. Child welfare payments in Germany A major incentive for parents in Germany is the generous financial support they receive from the government. A concern about the declining birth rate in Germany and the country's demographic future motivated the program. As compared to most western countries, Germany's social security system offers generous welfare payments to parents with various benefits, tax allowances, and deductions. As of first January 2021, the first two children who are under 18 years get 219 euros each. The third child gets 225 euros and every child from the fourth child gets 250 euros each until they turn 18. It is also possible for parents to receive a tax-free child allowance under certain conditions. Finally, expats with children moving to Germany might be frustrated by the long school admissions waiting period, or finding a kindergarten or kita. In spite of this, they find that the various benefits and support they receive from the government is very helpful.
- What is the best way to learn German in 2022?
Today, you can learn German in a number of ways. From words to phrases to sentence construction, there are apps that help you learn the language, and there are also old-fashioned classrooms where you learn the language together. However, how do you choose between these options? Being an expat in Germany for the last six years, I have tried almost every method to learn German. Initially, I took German A1.1 in a classroom with 17 other people and later used apps and online training. Using my own experience and that of others I know, I try to describe what to expect from each option. Learn German online It was way before the pandemic that people were learning languages online, either through live sessions or through an app. There has only been an increase in the trend since the pandemic began. German learning apps Duolingo In terms of apps that help people learn languages, Duolingo is among the most popular. Over a billion people are learning a language to gain access to better opportunities and living experience. For most people, learning a language is expensive and unaffordable. Duolingo was created to give everyone access to free language learning without hidden fees or premium content. It's just free to start. Duolingo can be used by anyone, regardless of their proficiency in the language they want to learn. As per Duolingo, many public school students in developing countries use it to learn a language on a daily basis. However, in my experience, it's rather difficult to get further when you reach a point in Duolingo. Babbel Babbel offers two modes of learning. With the Babbel app on the one hand, you can easily stay engaged with content that is relevant to real-life conversations. It helps you build an effective routine and learning habit that fits into your schedule. The courses are tailored to your level of proficiency, so you can learn at your own pace. Babbel Live on the other hand provides live online language classes. You can learn with the support of teachers and in small groups. With live, you gain confidence quickly with classes focused on real-life conversations. You get to choose from different classes and keep practicing with the self-study app. In my experience using the Babbel app for quite some time, the learning experience is much more mature compared to other learning platforms. The Babbel method is quite close to the real life scenarios and it's rather easy to remember what you learned when it comes to the actual real life scenario. We recommend online self paced classes only to the ones those don't have time to go for a regular class or to strictly organized people. Otherwise, it's quite difficult to keep the drive and use the app daily. A private language teacher You can find private tuition for German quite easily. Most institutes as well as online platforms like Lingoda offer one on one German language tuition. There are also self employed teachers that offer tuition to individuals or small groups. In most cases, the classes are taught by native German speakers with experience and qualifications in teaching languages. Private tutoring tends to be more flexible and tailored to the student's needs and goals than learning in groups. However, the one on one tuition is way more expensive than the group study; either in an institute or through an app. Its quite easy to find private German tutors online. You can check the expat German Facebook, WhatsApp and Telegram groups or apps like Lingoda, italki, etc to find a one on one tuition. The company I work for once arranged private tuition for me and three of my colleagues before the pandemic. The teacher was very old (around 70 years) and not so familiar with online meetings. Therefore, we could not continue that during the pandemic. One 90-minute session cost around 200€ per person, as I recall. Choosing this option allows you to learn German more flexibly and personalized, and to learn at your own pace if you can afford it. German language schools There are many types of courses offered by language schools, including intensive courses, evening classes and regular classes, as well as specialized courses such as exam preparation, German integration courses, etc. It is easy for a newcomer to make initial contacts in Germany since most language schools run their classes in relatively small groups of 5-10 people. A four-week intensive group course at a language school generally costs around €250 and above, depending on where you live. When it comes to working in a relaxed environment with small groups, a language school would be the best choice for you. In Germany, you can choose from several language schools. Volkshochschule, Goethe Institute are the best and most popular in Germany. Each of them offers a wide range of courses at different levels and available at various times and lengths. Finally, I have found that learning German isn't necessary these days to live in Germany. People are more than willing to help you in English if they find that you don't speak German. It would, however, be very difficult to socialize with others without speaking German in Germany. Therefore, if you plan to stay here for a long time and eventually become a citizen, you should seriously consider learning German.
- How to become a German citizen?
In general, it takes at least eight years for a person to become eligible to apply for German citizenship. However, this can be shortened to as short as seven, six, or even three years in some cases. Among other countries in Europe, Germany has strict citizenship rules, which require expats to live in the country at least for eight years before being eligible to apply for its citizenship in a normal scenario. How do I become a German citizen? If a person has lived legally in Germany for at least eight years and possesses the appropriate residence permit, they are eligible to apply for German citizenship. Applicants for naturalization must also declare their allegiance to the constitution of Germany and know the German language well. For integration into German society, German language knowledge is essential. A candidate for naturalization must understand the legal system, society and living conditions in the Federal Republic of Germany and be able to support themselves without social assistance, unless circumstances beyond their control prevent them. There should also be no serious criminal offenses on the candidate's record. Additionally, when you apply for German citizenship, you must renounce your previous citizenship. However, multiple nationalities may be considered in some cases and for certain groups of people. How to get German citizenship by derivative naturalization It is also possible to speed up your citizenship application by applying for derivative naturalization. This basically means that, in a registered relationship, someone who has not completed the required period of residence in Germany can still apply for citizenship at the same time as their other partner who has completed all citizenship requirements. Similarly, minors can apply with their parents at the same time. Read more about Derivative naturalization in the Federal Ministry of Interior and Community’s website Apply for German citizenship after seven years You have the possibility to apply for German citizenship after completing 7 years in Germany if you pass the German integration course. In this special integration course, you will gain a thorough understanding of German culture, laws, and everyday life. Moreover, you may be exempt from the integration course costs. To apply, you must write to your contact person at the Federal Office for Migrants and Refugees. Local integration course organizers can be found by searching for integration courses (available only in German). Alternatively, you can obtain their addresses from the Foreign Nationals Authority or a migrants' advice center. Otherwise, a 700-hour German integration course would cost €1,540, which is about 2.20 per teaching hour. Apply for German citizenship after six years The refugees and specially integrated are the two groups eligible for citizenship after six years. Asylum seekers, refugees, and stateless adults who have lived legally in Germany for at least six years, including the period of time they waited for a decision on their asylum application, are considered refugees. Additionally, this group of people benefits from the fact that Germany generally allows dual nationality. In the second category of applicants, those who can pass a B2 level of German language examination will generally be eligible to apply for citizenship after six years. Additionally, you can still try to apply for citizenship if you hold a master's degree or doctorate from a German university, complete a vocational training in the country or showcasing high professional or academic achievements even if you don’t have a B2 certification. Apply for German citizenship after three years You will be eligible to apply for German citizenship if you marry a German citizen. However, you must be in a registered partnership or have been married to a German citizen for at least two years when you file the application. Additionally, other citizenship requirements, such as proficiency in the German language and passing a citizenship test, also apply. Finally, the coalition government parties pledged in the election campaigns in 2021 that the residency requirements for citizenship would be reduced from eight to five years, and that the residency requirements for exceptionally integrated people would be reduced from six to three years. It's unclear when this legislation will become law, but it's considered a priority project by the Interior Ministry. Which means, as long as all other requirements are met, people with B2 German language skills may be eligible to apply for citizenship after just three years in the country.
- A guide to avoiding rental scams in Germany
Scams involving rental apartments are becoming more prevalent as the rental market in major German cities becomes more competitive. What can you do as an expat in Germany to avoid becoming a victim of these scams? I was in search of a new apartment in Munich after the arrival of our baby in 2021. A fake advertiser contacted me offering a rather costly apartment for a lower price in a relatively expensive area. As I read the emails received from the advertiser, I understood the scam and played him a little bit. After a couple of emails with me, he should have realized that I found out about his foul play, so he stopped contacting me. Beware of fake advertisers A common scam involves advertising for apartments that don't exist. It has been found that these types of ads appear on all of the major rental portals, including Immowelt and immobilienscout24. In order to attract potential victims, fraudsters often advertise apartments for surprisingly low rents in relatively hot areas. It might be a good idea to be skeptical if the rent offered is much lower than similar offerings in the same area. Additionally, read the description carefully and compare it with the images in the advertisement. There is a high chance that the advertisement is fake if the images and the description contradict each other. Furthermore, do your research before contacting the advertiser for a viewing appointment. A fraud involving an advance payment The practice of requesting advance payments is particularly prevalent in Germany. Often fraudsters request the victims to transfer a portion of the deposit to their bank account or paypal in order to offer a viewing. They convince you by telling you that the deposit is to filter and reduce the number of people coming for the viewing. In addition, you will be told that if the apartment isn't offered to you, the money will be refunded. You should never pay anything before the contract is signed. No legit owners ask you to pay in advance before signing the contract. Unless you are absolutely sure that the owner is legit, do not pay by cash. Instead, use bank transfers. It is very unlikely that you will get your money back if you pay in cash or use another form of money transfer. Taking advantage of your identity This is what I was asked to do by the fake advertiser. They do not ask you to transfer money to a bank account abroad. You are instead asked to provide copies of your passport, visa, pay stubs, and bank statements. Additionally, you will be asked to send a picture of yourself holding your passport or national ID and claim that this is for verification. This personal information can then be used by fraudsters to open bank accounts, obtain loans, apply for credit cards and leave you high and dry. These kinds of scams are very difficult to identify at an early stage as some of these documents are often requested by landlords and other real estate agencies before preparing the contract. Therefore, it is recommended that personal documents are not shared unless the landlord specifically requests them. Make sure that the person asking for your passport and visa is trustworthy before sharing them. What should I do if I believe I have been scammed? If you are contacted by a scammer, or if you’ve come across a potential fake advertisement on an online portal, make sure to report it at the earliest. Thus, you are probably taking precautions to ensure your safety and that of others using the platform as well In the event that you have been the victim of a scam, you should contact the police immediately. You can either walk into a nearest police station or file a complaint online. Some frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the rental scams in Germany
- What should you do if you receive a parking fine in Germany?
Prompt payment is recommended for parking fines in Germany to avoid extra processing fees. However, if the decision is disputed, an appeal can be made within the given timeframe, including relevant evidence. Taking responsibility for violations while also exercising rights to contest unjust fines is important. In the event that you fail to buy or showcase a parking ticket in a controlled area, you are most likely to get a parking fine in Germany. Issuing parking fines It is usually the Ordnungsamt who issue parking fines in Germany. Their power is limited to finding out public offenses, issuing fines and dealing with small disturbances. Despite this, they cannot make arrests. A white slip (Verwarnung) will usually be placed under your windscreen wipers if you are accused of parking illegally. Tickets can cost anywhere from 5 to 60 euros. However, this ticket is only a warning. You will receive an official notice via post if you do not pay the warning fine within the specified time period. It is recommended to pay the warning as soon as possible to avoid incurring any additional fines. In most cases, the ticket contains the payment details of the local authority. You can pay the fine using online banking. However, make sure to include the ticket reference number in the customer reference area to avoid any confusions. Even if you believe you have been wrongly accused, appealing the parking warning fine is usually not possible. If you wish to challenge the warning, you need to wait until you receive the official notice of offense (Bußgeldbescheid). You will usually receive it in the post within one to three months. The Bußgeldbescheid will be 20 - 25 euros higher than the warning notice as it includes the processing charges as well. Appealing your parking offense If you can prove yourself that you haven't committed the offense, you can take it to the next level by appealing against the fine. Usually this is proved by different photos of your vehicle parked on the location in question. As soon as you receive the official notice of offense by post, you have 14 days in which to appeal the offense in writing to the issuing authority. If you miss the appeal deadline, you will lose your chance to appeal. Therefore, It is best to send the appeal with a tracking number in order to avoid any future conflicts with the authority. Do I need a lawyer to appeal against the parking fine? The fine can generally be appealed by you on your own. You can prepare your appeal letter by using one of the many templates available online.. In the event that you wish to appeal against the fine, it is recommended to hire a lawyer who specializes in traffic violations. However, the cost of hiring a lawyer would be much more expensive if you do not have lawyer insurance. Your appeal will be replied to with a stiffly worded letter referring to the laws that uphold the offense. They will typically request payment within 14 days of receiving your appeal. The fine will then increase significantly if you are still not willing to pay. If you wish to defend your case, you can inform them of your intention If the authority understands and accepts the appeal, you will receive another letter stating that the fine has been waived. There have also been times when the authority did not respond to the appeal. Choosing a lawyer can be a daunting task if you don't know where to begin. Yourxpert provides a variety of options to seek legal and tax advice and a free initial assessment and consultation in Germany. You just simply enter your question with a brief description about your situation on their website and they will get back to you. Finally, we recommend that you think very carefully before seeking legal counsel to contest a relatively small fine. The costs can easily reach hundreds of euros. In most cases, it's more trouble than it's worth unless you are very sure about your innocence. Some frequently asked questions about parking fine in Germany
- What you need to know about Germany’s ‘Green Card’ like Opportunity card (Chancenkarte)?
The German government is considering introducing its own green card to address the shortage of skilled labor. The program aims to make finding work in Germany a lot easier for non-EU nationals. German officials are preparing to unveil their new immigration strategy in the autumn, and details of the policies it is likely to include are beginning to emerge. According to what we know so far, Besides making it easier to become a German citizen, the German government’s idea to introduce a new points-based immigration system would help migrants to come to Germany without a confirmed job offer. Germany's opportunity card requirements Labor Minister Hubertus Heil presented this week a new "opportunity card" that will allow foreign nationals to search for employment in Germany without a job offer, as long as they fulfill three of four requirements: A university degree or professional qualification Professional experience of at least three years Language skill or previous residence in Germany Aged under 35 There are similarities between the criteria used in Canadian points systems, but the weight system is more complex and includes limits and conditions. Depending on demand on the labor market, the German government will limit the number of cards issued each year. With the new opportunity card, the government will introduce its own version of America's "green card," which uses a points system to target immigration to the most in-need sectors. German opportunity cards vs. jobseeker's visas In order to get their visa accepted, most foreign workers need a job offer from a German company. It is possible to apply for a visa for jobseekers, but the process is often long and bureaucratic. Germany allows citizens of certain countries to enter without a visa for up to 90 days, but they can't enter into long-term employment agreements. Instead of having to apply from abroad, the Chancenkarte will make it easier for non-EU citizens to find work and get a residence permit in Germany. A workers' plight in Germany It is a daunting task for Germany to address its growing workforce shortage while also overhauling bureaucratic and paper-based systems that slow immigration processes. For instance, obtaining official recognition of foreign qualifications is difficult in Germany, which even discourages people from applying. 44 percent of businesses, according to a German Economic Institute report in June 2022, perceive worker shortages as a hindrance to growth. Since the survey began in 2011, this proportion has been the highest. Germany's most staff-short industries As shown in an IFO survey, the service sector has been hit hardest - particularly the hotel and event industries. In the next four sectors, we see warehousing and storage, service providers, and manufacturing, especially in food, data processing equipment, machinery, and metals. A shortage of staff is also being reported by many retail businesses, construction companies, and wholesalers. Skilled workers are in short supply in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries as well. A slight shortage is also seen in the automotive and mechanical engineering industries.
- How to find a tax consultant in Germany?
Both native Germans and expats find the German tax regulations confusing. While you have many advantages of hiring an expert to handle the task for you, how do you pick the best one? If you have ever attempted filing a tax return in Germany, you know how tedious it can be. Despite the hassle of preparing the documents and filing the tax return, it pays off in the end. There can be a lot of difficulty in finding a tax consultant who has the space to accommodate you and can also communicate with you in a language you both understand well. What to look for when searching for a tax consultant in Germany? There are a couple of professions including tax consulting that are strictly regulated in Germany. Therefore, the consultants can only charge you up to a limit depending on the services offered, such as your income, the intensity of the complication of your specific case, etc. If you have a lot of income and different sources of income, or if you make only a small amount, different tax consultants cannot charge you significantly higher or lower for the tax filing service. However, if they provide additional services to you, such as calculating the income you earn abroad, or the income you earn in Germany from sources other than salary, the amount charged to you and another person with a similar income may vary. Therefore, we recommend you look for other areas such as how good the consultant is able to communicate or how much experience they got, etc. You won't need to search for the lowest price as the variation would not be significant. Where to find the best consultant in Germany? When I moved to Germany for work six years ago, I had no idea how the German tax system worked, what all things I could claim as deductions, or even where to find an English-speaking tax consultant! Asking around was the first thing I did. I asked my friends who moved before me, my German co-workers, even my neighbors. Among the few tax consultants they suggested, I shortlisted a few and contacted them by phone and email. Finally, I chose the one who spoke relatively good English and was fine with having me on board. As of today, she still does my taxes and I am very satisfied with the service she provides. In addition, you can search for tax consultants in your city on LinkedIn or Xing, and view their profiles. If they speak English or even your mother tongue, that should give you a better idea of how well you can communicate. Furthermore, choosing a tax consultant who has connections with legal advisors or if the tax firm itself has an on site legal advisor that may come handy for you when legal advice is required. However, keep in mind that every additional service could cost you. If you find your tax consultant from the internet or through your friends and colleagues, we recommend you to meet them at least once before you hand them over your case. Because, trust is built when you meet them in person. It is even better if they are already doing taxes for someone you know. Meeting with them is not to just see if the tax advisor can handle your case, but also to make sure you get on well.
- How to get more out of your tax return in Germany in five easy steps
Tax returns in Germany can be complicated, tedious, and time-consuming. Tax authorities don't seem to make things easier for expats, despite the fact that the number of expats continues to increase year over year. If you have ever attempted filing a tax return in Germany, you know how tedious it can be. Although preparing the documents and filing the tax return is a hassle, knowing how much you will get back is a relief. The following five tips could prove to be the icing on the cake. Child care and school fees You may be able to claim tax exemption for your children's school fees if you live in Germany with your family. It may be possible to claim the tuition fee for a deduction if your children attend a school where the tuition fees need to be paid. It is common for international schools in Germany to charge tuition and other categories of fees. However, you need to keep the invoices when you pay the bills as the tax authorities require evidence for the fees that are paid. Additionally, childcare costs can also be deducted from your tax return. However, you need to provide the bills and invoices as supporting documents while filing the tax return. Training and education for jobs Usually job related training or any education that prepares you for your job are paid by the employer. However, in the event that you need to pay for a training or a course of your own, then you can claim this for a deduction when filing your taxes. The expenses for your transportation to the destination where the course is conducted, accommodation, food, any other related costs can also be considered. However, you need to show the invoices as supporting evidence. Work from home Since the pandemic began, most German companies had provided their employees with office desks, chairs, laptops, and other equipment to set up their home office. On the other hand, some companies offered additional payments to their employees so that they could purchase the necessary equipment. However, it is possible to claim up to 600€ for the expenses incurred to you to set up your home workstation if the bills are paid by you. Therefore, make sure to include the invoices as supporting evidence when filing your tax return. Supporting a second home abroad The amount that you spend on financially supporting your elderly parents who are living abroad can be claimed for your tax return. However the parent who owns the bank account into which you transfer the money should be over 65 years old and not earn a living. While preparing the documents, you need to include the bank account statements of both the sender and the receiver highlighting the corresponding monthly transaction. Additionally you also need to submit the maintenance declaration (Unterhaltserklärung) and Confirmation of receipt of money (Geld-Empfangsbestätigung) forms. Travel expense to the home country You can claim the expenses for the flight tickets if you paid them yourself when you travel back home to visit your parents or for any other purposes. However your trips to anywhere else cannot be considered. As always, make sure to keep the flight tickets as well as boarding passes as supporting evidence while filing the tax return. SteuerGo SteuerGo is one of the easiest options to file your annual tax return online. Whether income tax, capital gains or childcare costs, SteuerGo is a good choice. They help to secure overpaid income taxes. It is easy to enter your data with SteuerGo since it provides everything you need to get it done correctly and securely. With their online form, you can get started right away and keep track of everything, from personal information to useful tax tips. SteuerGo checks all data automatically for accuracy and plausibility. Then you can securely submit your tax return to the tax office. Additionally, SteuerGo allows you to check the subsequent tax assessment notice from the tax office. Another benefit that SteuerGo offers apart from the english speaking customer support is, you can try it before you actually file your tax return. You simply follow the questions, enter the data or any supporting evidence and see how much you will get back.
- What are the best ways for expats to save money in Germany in 2023?
It is often necessary to take a closer look at your spending habits and lifestyle if you want to save money. While still living the same lifestyle, can you actually save money while living in Germany? No, we ain’t asking you to give up dining out, or Friday night outs, nor are we asking you to reduce your shopping habits. You can still save money without sacrificing any of these. Rethink about your insurances On your very first days in Germany, you should’ve noticed, there's insurance for basically everything in Germany. Most landlords would want you to have house insurance before you can rent an apartment in Germany. Even though securing a potential future risk is a good idea, you perhaps need to rethink about the policies you’ve bought. Think about whether your financial stability can withstand the costs resulting from an accident, damage, or theft. For instance, my house insurance covers any damage caused to my kitchen appliances, whether the damage is caused by me, someone else outside the family, or by natural calamities. Therefore, I do not need the individual insurance offered by the seller when buying the refrigerator and can save that money. It's only an example. Find out if you need insurance for your phone, laptop, or television, or you can afford the cost if they are broken or stolen away. You can also check if there are other providers who provide similar insurance at a cheaper cost. Check24 provides comparisons to different insurance providers in Germany. Additionally, there are good insurance providers like Feather insurance who provide insurance specialized for expats. Since their products are mainly focused on expats, their website as well as customer support is fully in English. Get rid of Church Tax if that’s not important to you Every employee in Germany who is a member of a church is supposed to pay church. The amount deducted depends on the location they live. Germany's church taxes are deducted directly from the salary just like the income tax. You will find the relevant information on your salary slip. The process of unregistering from Church Tax varies state to state. Therefore, enquire with your local citizen’s office how you can get rid of the church tax. Consider Flea Markets and eBay Kleinanzeigen over Amazon When you plan to buy something new, just take a moment to search eBay Kleinanzeigen for the item you are planning to by just to see if a used item is available for a cheaper price. Often, people sell good quality items on eBay Kleinanzeigen for a much cheaper price compared to Amazon. You don't need to be sheepish to buy a second hand item. If it is not hurting your bank, it's a good thing. Alternatively, you can also check Flea Markets in the town you live in. Most towns in Germany have a Flea Market mostly on a particular day in a week at a common spot and people bring things from their home and sell at unbelievably cheap prices. I have a friend who often buys from Flea Markets and cracks great deals without even negotiating with the seller. You may also find antique objects and rare pieces of art from very old times in a Flea Market. Save on daily shopping The variety of supermarkets in Germany should be familiar to anyone who has lived in the country for a while. You should have already noticed the differences in the product pricing if you had already visited a few. Many supermarkets sell popular items in their own label. Interestingly the prices for those items would vary greatly between different stores. For instance, both DM (drogerie markt) and Alnatura produce purees for babies. While DM prices it around 1€, Alnatura’s price is around 2.5€. Alternatively, you can try Flink or Getir for online grocery shopping and delivery. Both offer signup bonus and occasional reduced prices. Another way to save on daily shopping in Germany is by using the Amex Payback card. The Payback program is a loyalty program that allows you to collect points when you make purchases at participating retailers, including supermarkets, gas stations, and online stores. By linking your Payback account to your Amex card, you can earn additional points when you use your card to make purchases. These points can then be redeemed for discounts or cashback on future purchases. In addition, the Amex Payback card often offers exclusive discounts and promotions to cardholders, allowing you to save even more on your daily shopping. Check if your bank charges you monthly for account maintenance Traditional banks may charge you an account maintenance fee for your savings account. If you wish to have a separate savings account to keep your monthly savings, choose a bank account that doesn't charge you for account maintenance. N26, Germany’s most popular digital bank, offers free savings bank accounts for almost all nationalities. Although N26 is new generation and fully digital, sometimes the transfers from or to N26 takes upto 4 working days. Therefore, choosing an e-money institution like Wise or Revolut is a much better option. Wise is a widely popular multi currency money transfer service with record transfer time and great reviews. With Wise, you can hold and convert money in 50+ currencies. It only takes a few seconds to open a new account in the currency you need. Additionally, You can use the money in your multi-currency account to send to around 80 countries; all with just one account! The most attractive feature about wise is, it’s completely free! No subscription required. Revolut on the other hand is also an e-money institution for business customers. They intend to offer banking services to EEA customers in the near future, as well as seek banking licenses in many of the other regions where they operate. Filing your taxes yearly can give you unexpected returns In Germany, employees without additional side income are not required to pay taxes. If you knew, the average tax returns in Germany are typically around 1000 euros. Therefore, we recommend you calculate whether you can save money by filing tax yearly. There are several apps that offer free tax return calculation in Germany and help you file and get your tax return. Some of them are, SteuerGo SteuerGo is one of the easiest options to file your annual tax return online. Whether income tax, capital gains or childcare costs, SteuerGo is a good choice. They help to secure overpaid income taxes. It is easy to enter your data with SteuerGo since it provides everything you need to get it done correctly and securely. With their online form, you can get started right away and keep track of everything, from personal information to useful tax tips. SteuerGo checks all data automatically for accuracy and plausibility. Then you can securely submit your tax return to the tax office. Additionally, SteuerGo allows you to check the subsequent tax assessment notice from the tax office. TaxFix TaxFix is one of the popular income tax calculation and filing services in Germany. The app offers to complete your tax return in just a couple of minutes using the simple question-and-answer procedure. The highlight of Taxfix among other applications is that they offer you the opportunity to have 50% of your calculated tax refund in your account the next day . So you can get your money in your bank account early. Lohnsteuer-kompakt Lohnsteuer-kompakt is a web based income tax calculation and return filing service. Therefore you don't need to install software on your PC or phone. It works platform-independent on any computer, tablet or smartphone. With Lohnsteuer-kompakt, you can either submit your tax return online or print out the completed tax forms. You have the possibility to see how each item affects your tax refund Immediately after each entry. Steuererklaerung-Student.de Steuererklaerung-Student.de helps students create their annual tax return online. You can document and offset all study costs even without income, as soon as taxes are paid. They claim to help to secure overpaid income taxes. Steuererklaerung-Student.de offers everything you need to enter your details correctly and securely and calculate your refund live. Steuererklaerung-Student.de checks all information automatically for correctness . Then you can send your tax return securely to the tax office and then check the tax assessment. Additionally, you may get an unexpected amount back when you file your taxes. Some years ago, I got back a couple of thousands of euros by filing a tax return! Public transport Public transport in Germany has a wide acceptance due to its high efficiency, punctuality, reliability and affordability. In 2022, the government has decided to experiment with a reduced 9€ ticket on public transport valid across Germany on all public transport mediums for Jun, July and August. Followed by the huge success of Germany’s 9€ ticket, there are plans to introduce cheaper tickets in the coming months. Even if you own a car, get a monthly ticket for public transport and use the car only for unavoidable situations. Therefore, you save on fuel, parking and potential maintenance. Additionally, most employers in Germany provide monthly public transport rebates. For instance, my company provides almost 50% offer on monthly tickets on public transport. Therefore, check if your employer has any such offers. Alternatively, switch to cycling if that's an option for you. Small trips, such as going to the supermarket, fitness, and trips covering short distances, can be done on a bike. It is both cost effective as well as healthy. Lucky Bikes, one of the popular bicycle sellers in Germany, has often provided great offers for bicycles. They also offer a wide range of bikes in their online shop. Internet, electricity and heating costs If you have a high speed internet connection at a large monthly cost, check if you really need a connection that fast whether there is another provider who charges less for the same speed. For instance, Vodafone has plans for 1 GB/s and the first 6 months, the connection is totally free and they only charge from the 7th month. Similarly, Telekom, a major player in the telecom and internet industry in Germany also has low cost and fairly high return plans. Their 500 Mb/s plan is free for the first 6months and 20€ from the seventh month. Maybe M-Net is a great deal for you if you live in Bavaria. They have plans that have 600 Mb/s download speed for 15€. Like the other providers, they also give it for free for the first six months and you will only be charged from the seventh month. Likewise, check how much your electricity provider charges you. In general, many providers can give you an attractive and much cheaper plan than the default electricity provider in your building. For instance, the default electricity provider in my building charged me over 40€ per month. However, I moved to Eprimo Green Electricity for 26€ per month and saved almost 20€. Eprimo Eprimo promotes certified green electricity in Germany at a cheap and very uncomplicated procedure. Eprimo's 81 kWp solar system produces around 68,000 kWh of electricity per year. As per Eprimo, some days in summer there’s a power requirement of up to 150 kW. They cover a good 50% of this with their solar system. With their battery storage, they manage to store the excess energy in order to be able to charge their electric company cars. Ostrom As far as we know, Ostrom is the only provider that offers expat friendly English speaking customer service in Germany. In addition, their website as well as the iOS application is also available in English. Moreover, Ostrom offers only one plan based on 100% green energy with the possibility to cancel anytime. Finally, the ideas just don't stop with these. If you find some time analyzing your bank statements, you’ll still find many things you can either find an alternative or put an end to it. For instance, my internet bill was 79€ until mid 2022 and I was shocked when I realized it. I then went to my internet provider’s outlet and found out that I was paying for their digital TV service even though I have never used it. The plan also had an increased speed of 1 GB/s. I immediately requested for a cancellation of the TV service and reduced the speed to 150 Mb/s and my bill came down to 29€. **We would like to inform you that this article contains affiliate links. Expatova gets a small commission if you click on them and buy a product. However, you will not be charged any extra amount as a result.
- How to rent short term apartments in Germany?
It is common for people to travel to Germany for a short period of time, whether for business, a course exchange, or for an extended vacation. However, most suffer to find an ideal apartment that suits their needs. Expatriates often rent temporary apartments when they move to Germany for the first time. Most newcomers don't buy or rent a single house when they move for the first time. In Germany, you have the possibility to rent an unfurnished apartment, a serviced apartment or a fully furnished apartment. Temporary accommodation in Germany If you're planning to stay in Germany only for a few months, there are a few options you can consider rather than booking a regular hotel. The options include serviced apartments, renting an apartment, or finding an Airbnb, etc. In Germany, you can find fully furnished apartments at a cheaper cost. In comparison to living in a hotel, these apartments provide a better and more personalized lifestyle. Regular Hotels Hotel rooms are your best choice for short visits or vacations in Germany, if you want to be mobile. There are numerous hotels, both international hotel chains and local hotels, that operate in big cities as well as in small towns across Germany. You’d find big names even in the countryside small towns. As you do usually, just login to one of those travel booking sites and book your stay. However, when it comes to traveling in Germany, or Europe in general, my personal experience, whether in terms of price or deals, with Booking.com is much better compared to other travel aggregators. Serviced apartment in Germany Often, business travelers book serviced apartments because their days start early and end late. Furthermore, serviced apartments are most suited for business travelers as they can leave the hassle of cleaning the apartment and making bed every day. One additional benefit of serviced apartments is that most of them offer free breakfast and snacks. Otherwise, they offer breakfast for a relatively cheaper price. Where to look for serviced apartments in Germany? TempoFlat With tempoFLAT, you can find a wide selection of furnished apartments offered at base cost by individuals who are not looking to make a profit. Since you can sublease your apartment while you are away, your sub-tenant gets to enjoy a wonderful stay in your flat, and you get to save on your rent. Private subletting means that there are fewer business apartments being taken off the rental market – this is your contribution towards counteracting the housing shortage. Booking.com Most people don't know that, just like regular hotels Booking.com lists serviced apartments too. With Booking.com, you can find and book serviced apartments across Germany just like how you book a hotel room. Additionally, Booking.com often provides seasonal as well as regular offers for serviced apartments. Short term rentals in Germany If you’d like to have your own space, but don’t want to buy or rent furniture and other household items, then you can opt for a short term rental apartment in Germany. The short term apartment rentals usually come from one up to six months contract and mostly include furniture, television, and other kitchen as well as living electronics equipment. Wunderflats Wunderflats offer furnished apartments that give you all the freedom you need. With Wunderflats, you can choose your apartment and rent it by signing the contract online. Their processes are optimized to save you time. Wunderflats often verify listings and visit apartments to make sure the pictures on the portal are the same as the actual property. Once a Wunderflat has been reserved for you and before the rental agreement is signed, Wunderflats also offer viewing appointments if you request. Spotahome Spotahome offers an easy online renting experience for you to spend time on what really is important to you and forget the hassle of everything else. Spotahome verifies their listings occasionally to get rid of fraudulent listings. Mr.Lodge If you are planning to stay in Germany, then Mr.Lodge would be the best choice for you. Mr.Lodge provides fully furnished apartments in great locations in Munich at affordable cost. It was Mr.Lodge that I used to find my first apartment in Germany back in 2016, and it has been the best place in Germany where I've lived. In addition to short-term rental portals, you could also use general German property rental portals as well. Immobilienscout24 or Immowelt are two popular property rental services in Germany. However, since landlords who advertise in immobilienscout and immowelt expect tenants to stay for a long time, it may be difficult to find a short-term rental. The cost of renting in Germany The cost of living in German cities is also rising every day, just like in other parts of the world. In spite of the signs that have been present since the end of 2021, the recent events contributed to the rise in living costs. As Iamexpat reported, Munich has been ranked the most expensive city in Germany in 2022. It's evident to me as someone who lives in Munich. Approximately 1200 euros would have been enough to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Munich when I moved here in 2016. Despite raising my budget to 1700 euros, I cannot even get a viewing appointment for a 2 bedroom (3 room) apartment in 2022. Therefore, make sure to plan your budget accordingly. Finally, when you leave the comfort of your home and home country and decide to come to Germany, don’t you worry! There are plenty of options to choose from whether you are a business traveler who has been assigned on a project onsite or a nomad who wishes to stay in Germany and know the culture. Short-Term Apartment Rentals in Germany: Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Online Streaming in Germany: How to Watch Your Favorite Shows and Movies
As an expat, it's common to miss TV shows or movies from your home country, but torrenting copyrighted content is illegal in Germany and can lead to legal repercussions. To avoid this, it's recommended to explore legal alternatives such as subscribing to streaming services that offer global content, purchasing digital copies, or contacting the creators or distributors for legal access. It might surprise you to know that torrent streaming is illegal in Germany. Streaming torrents may result in fines of thousands of euros. Does Germany have a streaming ban? Pirated streaming became illegal in 2017 after a ruling by the European Court of Justice. In Germany, copyright violations are illegal in general; streaming content is no exception. 123movies, 0gomovies or similar sites that violate copyright laws are examples of illegal streaming sites in Germany. Conversely, services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Twitch, and YouTube are completely legal. Further, if you upload copyrighted content or download torrents to anywhere in the internet without having proper consent, you risk a fine of around 1000€ if you do it with or without knowing it. In addition to illegal streaming, Germany also banned the use of torrents. What are some legal streaming services in Germany? Online streaming services that either produce content or purchase copyrights to stream content are legal throughout Germany. That includes, Amazon Prime Netflix Apple TV YouTube Magenta TV by Telekom WOW Sky Rakuten TV Is VPN legal in Germany? Yes! Germany is one of those countries that consider privacy seriously. If you are looking to unblock geo restricted content in Germany or to protect your privacy while surfing the web, you can use VPN services. Which VPN Is The Best In Germany? From hundreds of VPN services available on the internet, we've selected the three we consider to be the best in our experience. NordVPN NordVPN is considered one of the best VPNs in Germany. In addition to offering service in almost every country, they also provide the fastest speeds and can unblock almost any geo-blocked content! However, sad news to Indians living in Germany. Due to the recent amendments in the cybersecurity directives in India, NordVPN along with few other VPN services has removed its servers from India. Besides seasonal offers like Halloween and New Year, NordVPN often offers reduced prices on its website. Take advantage of their current offer by visiting their website. PureVPN PureVPN claims to have you bypass internet restrictions. It allows you to bypass internet censorship and geo blocked content. Therefore, you have unrestricted access to websites, streaming services, live events, and much more. PureVPN has found a way around the latest cybersecurity regulations in India. They route the traffic to India via Indonesia. With a limited speed, you still have the possibility to watch content from India with PureVPN. Surfshark Surfshark proves its worth with a large collection of privacy tools, an excellent app, and unlimited device connections. Like NordVPN and others, Surfshark also had to remove its servers from India due to the regulations. Conclusion Despite Germany's strict laws protecting privacy and preventing piracy, people try to find alternatives every day. It is important to keep in mind, however, that every piece of content is made with a purpose and must be viewed at its best quality possible. In our experience, Spending a couple of euros on quality streaming services is far more worthwhile than watching content in poor quality visuals and audio and paying thousands euros in fines. It is important to note that you can still be fined if you live with others in your flat who use torrent or pirated streaming services. If the contract is in your name, the authority will not ask you whether it was you or somebody else in your apartment who used the illegal service. If you receive a fine, you need to prove that it was your flatmate who had used the illegal service. However, to prove this, you may have to go to great lengths.
- Wise money transfer review 
As an expat myself in Germany since 2016, I have used Wise, formerly known as Transferwise, to send money home. Now that there are a handful of online money transfer services available, is Wise still up to par? In the past, I have used the international money transfer service offered by my bank in India to send money home and to my non-resident Indian (NRI) bank account when I moved to Germany to work. However, the service was miserable and sometimes took up to more than a week to get the transferred amount credited in the bank account in India. This usually happened during the holiday seasons. Wise, formally TransferWise was suggested to me by one of my cousins who lived in the UK back then and ever since I started using it, I never had to look for another money transfer service. What is Wise? Wise was founded in 2011 with the aim of making international money transfers cheap, fair and easy. Today, their multi-currency account is helping millions of people and businesses manage their money around the world. If you are interested, you can read a more detailed story about how, why and who built Wise on their website. Who needs a Wise account? Anybody who needs to transfer money to an international bank account can open an account on Wise. Your German bank may provide international money transfer service as an ad-on to your account. However, Wise claims to provide the cheapest and the fastest money transfer service. They are brave enough to list the live comparison on Wise money transfer rates with other major services on the homepage of their website. What services does Wise offer? While Wise focuses on international money transfer, they are also a registered payment institution in Europe. Which basically means that you can use a Wise account as your salary account, and use it the same way you use your German bank account. With Wise, you can hold and convert money in 50+ currencies. It only takes a few seconds to open a new account in the currency you need. Additionally, You can use the money in your multi-currency account to send to around 80 countries; all with just one account! The most attractive feature about wise is, it’s completely free! No subscription required. Our experience with Wise As mentioned above, I have been using Wise since 2016 and my wife uses it since 2018. We both never had any issues with wise until today. Every month, I transfer money to home using Wise and with most banks in India, it only takes just a couple of seconds to a couple of minutes to get the amount credited in the recipient bank account in India. In the last six years, I only had one issue with Wise. I transferred some money on 23rd of December and the amount was credited after the New year. As I recall, this incident happened back in 2017. Their transaction fees are also cheaper. In one instance, I sent a 12000€ payment to my sister in Dubai for a fee less than 80€, and it arrived the next day! Advantages with Wise money transfer Wise so far is the best money transfer service I have used. Whenever I travel to a country with a currency other than Euro, I use Wise to make payments and cash withdrawals. The fact that Wise does not charge a fee for transactions in the same currency always makes it a good choice while traveling. Additionally, Wise is a better choice due to its Record faster transfer times Cheap transfer fees English customer care Very user friendly, easy to use futuristic web, iOS and Android apps Convenience to hold multiple currencies at the same time No fee for same currency transactions Provision to hold multiple digital debit cards at no additional cost Transparency Moreover, with Wise, you can get an overview about your expenses. With the Wise app, you can easily see where your money really goes by getting an overview of your expenses. Each expense can be tagged with a custom tag to create a new category for your convenience. Disadvantages of Wise Honestly, my wife and I took a minute to think about the disadvantages of Wise and we couldn’t really find any. However, some people mention that the transfer to the US is slower than other providers. Nevertheless, we never had to transfer money to the US. Therefore, we do not know whether it was just the matter of a couple of transactions at a specific time period or all transactions have the same problem. Anyway, we think that there are a couple of more features which Wise could provide such as cashback for each transaction, point collection on each penny spent, investment options such as the ones services like Revolut provides, etc. If you already use Wise and identified any disadvantages of it, please comment below to help other expats. Wise referral program If you already have a Wise account, you can create a referral link from your Wise app and share with your friends. If 3 of your friends join Wise with the link you shared and transfer over 250€, you can get 90€ as a referral bonus instantly in your Wise account. Additionally, every friend that you invite to Wise will get a discount on their first transfer. Wise will also reward you for inviting a bunch of friends Finally, in our experience, Wise is one of the best money transfer services that we rely on in our daily life. With its transparent, cheaper and comparatively faster service, Wise keeps their users loyal to the company. We ask, however, that you understand how exchange rates work and how to find the best rate that works for your specific needs. Before making a transfer, check the rates on other providers as well and choose the best one in terms of fees as well as transfer time. Some FAQ we often get