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- 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 : Fees, Speed, and Features
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. How fast is Wise? Wise’s money transfer speeds depend on several factors, such as the amount, currency pair, payment method, and bank processing times. However, Wise claims that most transfers are completed within one or two working days, and some can be even faster or instant. The following table shows some examples of how long it takes to send money from Germany to different countries using Wise, based on the information from their website. **As of drafting this article. As you can see, the transfer time varies depending on the destination country and the payment method. Generally, paying with a bank transfer is cheaper but slower than paying with a debit card, credit card, or Apple Pay. Also, some countries have faster or slower banking systems than others, which can affect the delivery time. You can always check the estimated transfer time before you confirm your transfer on Wise’s website or app. You can also track the progress of your transfer online or through the app and receive email notifications when your money is sent and received. How much does Wise charge? Wise charges a low and transparent fee that depends on the amount, currency pair, and payment method you use. The fee consists of a fixed fee and a variable fee that are calculated based on the mid-market exchange rate, which is the fairest and most accurate rate you can find. The following table shows some examples of how much it costs to send money from Germany to different countries using Wise, based on the information from their website. **Rates as of drafting this article. As you can see, the fee varies depending on the destination country and the payment method. Generally, sending money to countries with more popular or stable currencies is cheaper than sending money to countries with less popular or volatile currencies. Also, paying with a bank transfer is cheaper but slower than paying with a debit card, credit card, or Apple Pay. You can always see the exact fee and exchange rate before you confirm your transfer on Wise’s website or app. You can also compare Wise’s fees and rates with other providers using online tools like Finder. 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! What are the benefits of using Wise for expats in Germany? If you are an expat living in Germany or planning to move there, you might need to send money abroad for various reasons: to pay bills, rent, or mortgage in your home country; to support your family or friends; to save or invest; or to travel or shop online. Whatever your reason, using Wise can save you time and money compared to other options. Here are some of the benefits of using Wise for expats in Germany: You can send money from Germany to over 100 countries in more than 50 currencies, including euros, US dollars, British pounds, Swiss francs, Indian rupees, Turkish lira, and many more. You can get the best exchange rate possible without any hidden fees or markups. Wise uses the mid-market rate that you can see on Google or Reuters, which is usually much better than what banks or other money transfer services offer. You can pay low and transparent fees that depend on the amount and currency pair you are sending. For example, sending 1000 euros from Germany to the UK costs only 4.98 euros in fees (0.5%), while sending the same amount from Germany to India costs 9.90 euros in fees (0.99%). You can enjoy fast and secure transfers that usually take one or two working days, but sometimes even less than an hour. You can also track your transfer online or through the app and receive email notifications along the way. You can access your account online or through the app anytime and anywhere. You can also use biometric authentication (face ID or fingerprint) to log in securely. You can sign up for a Wise debit card that lets you spend in over 170 countries without any foreign transaction fees. The card automatically converts your balance into the local currency at the mid-market rate when you pay with it. The card has a one-time fee of 9 USD (7.62 EUR) and some other fees for ATM withdrawals and currency conversions. You can open a free multi-currency account that lets you hold over 50 currencies and switch between them whenever you want at the mid-market rate. You can also receive money from abroad for free in euros, US dollars, British pounds, Australian dollars, New Zealand dollars, Polish zloty, Singapore dollars, Romanian leu, Hungarian forint, Bulgarian lev, Czech koruna, Danish krone, Norwegian krone, Swedish krona, Turkish lira, UAE dirham, Ukrainian hryvnia. 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. Conclusion Wise is a great option for expats living in Germany or planning to move there who want to send money abroad at a low cost and a fair exchange rate. It offers fast and secure transfers to over 100 countries in more than 50 currencies. It also provides a debit card and a multi-currency account that let you spend and hold multiple currencies without any foreign transaction fees. However, Wise also has some limitations that might make it unsuitable for some expats. It does not offer cash delivery options, it requires you to have a bank account or card in Germany, it does not operate on weekends or public holidays, and it does not have phone support. Some FAQ we often get
- How to get a SIM card in Germany?
Germany's mobile phone network offers reliable coverage across the country, allowing you to stay connected with loved ones back home. The network provides both 5G and 4G coverage, enabling high-speed internet access and seamless streaming. Many providers also offer affordable international calling and texting plans to help you stay connected with friends and family around the world. Whether you're a student, expat, or traveler, having a reliable mobile phone is essential for feeling at home in Germany. It's no surprise that Germany has one of the best mobile networks in Europe. As with other European countries, Germany uses GSM. Therefore, you wouldn’t find a big issue in connecting to a German network. Can I use my mobile phone in Germany? Most international mobile phone operators in the world such as Jio and Airtel from India, or AT&T and Verizon from the US have partnership with German providers. Therefore, if you’ve bought an international roaming plan from your provider and enabled international roaming on your phone, you should automatically get connected as soon as your flight lands in Germany. To avoid surprises, we recommend you check with your home operator about their connectivity and tarif in Germany before traveling. How to get a SIM card in Germany? You may want to consider buying a German SIM card or sign up for a German mobile contract if you are moving to Germany or staying for a short to longer period of time. In our opinion, getting a local SIM card is the most cost-effective option. Unlike some countries, Germany has many mobile operators to choose from. There are some companies that offer discounts when you sign up for their internet, or TV services. The process of getting a German mobile plan is relatively straightforward. In most cities, there will be a store of one of the major operators. Either you can visit one of their local outlets in your town or you can also order a SIM card online or. However, if you visit a store, there’s likely less chance that the shop assistants speak English. Documents required to get a German SIM card Passport - most stores would want you to show your passport and they make a copy on the spot. Copy of your visa or residence permit Shops rarely ask for your registration certificate, or Meldebescheinigung German bank account (IBAN) if you are signing up for the post paid plan Even if you buy online, you'll still have to provide your registration documentation during the activation process. Each provider's activation process will differ, but generally it can be done through a video ID check or a postident through Deutsche Post. With a German mobile bank like Revolut, Wise or N26, you can open a bank account in Germany online. Is it possible to complain about a German mobile operator? Yes! In case of problems about the service of an operator, every German mobile operator will have its own complaints process. This information can be found on their website easily. Nevertheless, if you wish to file a complaint against the operator itself, you can contact the German Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), which is the telecom regulator in Germany.
- What expats need to know about German tax and tax classes
The German tax system is known for its high income taxes and complexity. If you're an expat living in Germany or intending to relocate, you must have an understanding of the German tax system and how you can take advantage of it. You must pay tax on your income if you earn money in Germany. As taxable income increases, the German tax system uses a progressive tax rate. Your Tax ID - Steuer Identifikationsnummer in Germany You will get your Tax ID within a couple of weeks after registering in Germany in the post. This tax ID must be provided to your employer. If you haven't received your tax ID, within 4 - 6 weeks after you register your address, you may need to contact the tax department / Finanzamt to know what happened in your specific case. How does Finanzamt assign me to a tax class? You will be assigned a tax class based on the marital status you provide to the Standesamt when you register. As well as sending you the tax ID via post, the Finanzamt will also inform our employer in a couple of weeks. The deductions from your salary will be calculated correctly based on the tax class sent to your employer from the Finanzamt. In the meantime, you will be taxed at the highest rate in the German tax system. Therefore, check your payslip as soon as you receive them to make sure that you are assigned to the right tax class. The Tax Classes In Germany In Germany, there are six tax classes or Steuerklassen If you are a registered couple and both live in Germany and earn, the person who earns the most money can choose the lowest taxed class, and the other person can choose either tax class 1 or 5. Can I change my tax class in Germany? While it is not mandatory in Germany, you can change your tax class if you change your marital status. The registry office will inform the Finanzamt if you record your marriage or file your divorce in Germany. The Finanzamt needs to be informed when an expat’s spouse joins them in Germany and get their tax class changed. While this may change your tax class from tax class 1 to 3 and give you relatively more income monthly, the amount of tax you pay by the end of the year could be the same. In case you would like to switch to a different tax class, you will have to request the change via a form. While you need to be physically present in the Finanzamt in some towns to submit the tax class change form, you also have the possibility to send it to the Finanzamt by post in most of the cities in Germany. It was only possible to change the tax class once a year. However, this has been changed in 2020 and married couples can request a change in tax class multiple times a year. Is it possible to reduce your German tax? Before you read This article does not qualify me to give any tax advice under German law, despite the fact that I wrote the article. As a media platform, Expatova cannot offer any tax services as well. Before making any decisions regarding the following points, we strongly advise you to consult your professional tax consultant. As I wrote in the beginning of this article, You need to pay tax on the income you earn. As taxable income increases, the German tax system uses a progressive tax rate. Therefore basically, the tax will be reduced if your income is lower. But, that's not how you want it, is it? As I know of, you cannot effectively reduce the tax you pay in Germany. However you can reclaim a portion of the amount you paid for the last year at the beginning of every year. As a resident in Germany regardless of whether you are a citizen or an expat, you have all the right to file a tax return. As per Taxfix, one of the leading tax declaration portals in Germany, France, Italy and Spain, the average tax return in Germany is 1.051 euros. Therefore, we’d strongly recommend you to file the tax return every year without fail. If you haven't already done so, you can also file your tax return for the previous years. Your tax consultant will be able to help you with the process.
- Is it safe to drink tap water in Germany?
In Germany, drinking water is considered to be the number one food item. As part of its most basic provisions, drinking water must not only be free of harmful substances and pathogens, but it must also be 'pure and wholesome' too. Germany's tap water is perfectly safe to drink! It is rated as one of the cleanest tap waters in the world. The tap water is strictly regulated by the Federal ministry of health as well as the Federal Environment Agency. Drinking water quality in Germany In Germany, a high standard is set when it comes to drinking water quality, for the simple reason that if pathogens contaminate the supply, countless people could become ill; therefore, this risk must be reduced to zero. Across the entire drinking water process chain, including abstraction, purification, and distribution, a higher level of anti-contamination safeguards are used. Building, maintaining and operating drinking water distribution systems in accordance with applicable technical standards entails no risk of contamination from active ingredients or legionella growth. It is the responsibility of system operators, such as water utilities and building owners and operators, to accomplish this. Throughout Germany, the authorities responsible for public health monitor the quality of drinking water. In Germany, drinking water quality is regulated by a law known as the Trinkwasserverordnung, along with additional guidelines, recommendations, and rules. What is the source of tap water in Germany? As you know, drinking water is a natural product. 70 percent of it comes from wells and groundwater, 13 percent from reservoirs and rivers, and 17 percent originates from surface water, but is nearly identical to groundwater due to soil passage and bank filtration. In spite of the fact that the taste of drinking water varies from one location to another depending on the minerals dissolved in it beneath the ground, drinking water should be clear, cool, color and odorless. Is bottled water and tap water in Germany different in quality? In spite of the high quality of tap water in Germany, the love for bottled water is very surprising. It is not uncommon to find hundreds of different mineral water brands in German supermarkets. The price per liter ranges from 0.25 to 0.70 euros regardless of the minerals it contains. People prefer bottled water over tap water due to its taste, advertised quality, and added minerals. However, even the expensive bottled water contains a similar amount of minerals compared to the cheapest one. Despite not being advertised, the government regulates that tap water must contain all basic minerals. Another reason could be that sparkling water is more in demand than normal water or otherwise called still water. Is it safe for pregnant women to drink tap water? In Germany, some people are concerned about drinking tap water with lead. A pregnant woman or a child who is exposed to lead could particularly be at risk. Everyone in Germany has the right to have high-quality water at home. If you have concerns about metals in your drinking water, your local health department can provide you with the information. Pregnant women, infants, and children up to the age of six should never drink water from lead pipes. Avoid using tap water for drinking or food preparation if you feel it has been contaminated with lead. It is recommended to use bottled water marked "Suitable for preparing infant formula" in such cases. It is not logical and safe to use filters to remove lead. It is not recommended to drink water from the tap if it has not been opened for some time, regardless of the possibility of lead exposure. Let the stagnant water run out of the line until it is cool and comes without color. Water filters in Germany In our experience, water from any taps or many public fountains out there in Germany is drinkable. At a few public fountains, we've noticed signs indicating that the water is not drinkable. Unless otherwise stated, you can trust the water and drink it safely. You might consider getting a water filter if you feel the water from the tap isn't up to par. Brita Brita is one of the popular water filters in Germany. You can either buy it from Amazon.de or you’ll find different types of Brita water filters in super markets. Brita water filter costs around 35-40 Euros depending on where you purchase it from. It often comes on deals on Amazon.de. It comes with one filter cartridge included when you purchase the can. Otherwise one set (4 pieces) of filter cartridge costs around 19,99 Euros. There are also deals on Amazon.de for the filter cartridge set. AmazonBasics water filter An alternative to the expensive Brita water filter is the filter made by Amazon’s own brand AmazonBasics. It is the same size, shape and design as Brita water filter. However, it costs much less than Brita. While Brita costs 38.00 Euros on average, AmazonBasics water filter costs only 17,99 Euros. A three piece AmazonBasics Water Filter Cartridge set cost only 14,00 Euros only which is still 5 euros cheaper than Brita. We’ve used both AmazonBasics water filter as well as Brita water filter at home and in our experience, the expensive Brita has the quality for the extra amount. The quality, usability, maintainability and more over the taste of the water is much better than the cheaper AmazonBasics water filter. Conclusion We know that pure drinking water is very difficult to obtain in some countries including India where I am from. We are very fortunate to live in a country where drinking water is of the highest quality and we are thankful to the government for that. In my opinion, tap water tastes great and there’s no need to buy bottled water. By not buying plastic bottled water, you are also helping nature.
- How to register your marriage in Germany as an expat
So you've been dating a German or another expat in Germany for a while and finally want to get things on the paper. This guide will help you register your partnership as an expat in Germany. Germany places a high value on relationships and family. Expatriates may already have noticed the several laws, as well as the financial and mental support provided by the country’s social security system when it comes to family and children. Is it easy for expats to get married in Germany? In Germany, you must be at least 18 years old to get married. There are a few extra things to consider if you or your partner is not German. If you wish to give notice of your intention to marry, you must have lived in the town where you plan to get married for at least 21 days before visiting the town hall. It is usually not possible for foreigners who are on a visitor visa to get married in Germany. It is instead necessary for them to obtain a visa that is longer than 3 months. Normally, if you marry a German citizen, you will be able to acquire a residence permit - if you don't have one already. If you want to get married in Germany, make sure you start planning at least 18 months in advance. Documents required to register a marriage in Germany Generally you only need the following documents to register your marriage in Germany. However, please note that the registration office may ask you to present additional documentation if that's necessary. This is a case by case scenario. A valid passport Birth certificates Proof of continuous residence in Germany for at least 21 days (Meldebescheinigung) Ledigkeitsbescheinigung (Affidavit confirming that both parties are single) If applicable, birth certificates of the couple's children Application and questionnaire from the Standesamt Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) (Befreiung vom Ehefähigkeitszeugnis) A copy of a marriage certificate from a previous marriage Death certificate of the previous spouse (if applicable) Confirmation of name change (if applicable) Financial statement How much does it cost to get married in Germany? You need only calculate the fee for the registrar, the fee for the registration, and the fee for a translator if necessary if you are only registering the marriage in Germany. Though this would be different from state to state, you can expect anywhere between 50€ to 200€, When planning a wedding ceremony, the cost will depend on the style of the ceremony, the location, and the number of guests you invite. As we calculate from different forums on the internet, the cost can range from just a couple of thousand euros to more than a hundred thousand euros if you wish to go luxurious. Some couples choose to have their wedding day organized by a wedding planner. Although it may cost more, this will help you run things much smoother as an expat; especially if you don't understand the language. Anyway, a regular wedding in Germany commonly costs between €8000 and €20,000. Final thoughts In addition to the time it takes to get all these documents sorted, you will need to factor in a waiting time of anywhere from six months to a year and a half, depending on your personal case as well as the town you choose to register your marriage. It is more likely that the waiting period will be much lower in a smaller city, based on our friends' experience.
- How to exchange your coins in Germany
Germany, despite promoting digital transactions, still has a strong preference for conventional payment methods such as cash due to cultural traditions and a desire for privacy. Some businesses still do not accept electronic payments due to high transaction fees, so carrying cash is recommended, especially when visiting smaller shops. However, major cities and tourist destinations are becoming more cashless with more businesses accepting electronic payments. Although Germany heavily promotes digital transactions, many shops and people still prefer conventional methods. At many places in Germany, if you like to shop, you will not be able to use your credit card or debit card. This may be because the POS machine only supports EC karte (Euro-Cheque card with 4-digit PIN issued by your bank). The next option you have is to pay in cash. Whenever you want to pay at a restaurant in Germany, the waiter will ask you ‘bar order karte?’ or simply cash or card? Cash payment means you'll probably get a lot of coins back. In any case, while in Germany or Europe generally, you cannot avoid the relationship with the coins. How do I exchange coins at my bank? Almost all German banks have cash deposit machines or coin deposit machines (Einzahlautomat) at the entrance of the branch. The coin deposit tray in the machine allows you to deposit coins in bulk. As soon as the coins are counted by the machine, you will receive a receipt. The money will be credited into your bank account within 2 - 4 business days. It is important to note that you can only deposit cash at your bank's ATM. In other words, you cannot use the Sparkasse deposit machine if you have an account with Deutsche Bank. Despite the fact that most banks offer this service for free, some may charge a small fee. I only have an N26 account in Germany. How do I exchange coins? In collaboration with their partner shops, N26 offers Cash26, which is a cash withdrawal and deposit service. You need to take the coins to one of N26’s partner shops. Then, you need to generate a barcode within the N26 app. Once the cashier counts the coins and scans the barcode in the N26 app, they will deposit the money into your N26 account. However, the minimum CASH26 deposit is limited to €50 per transaction, and you can deposit up to €999 in a 24-hour period. Furthermore, regardless of your deposit amount, you’ll be charged a transaction fee of 1.5% on the total amount deposited. How to exchange coins at Coinstar machines? There are Coinstar machines in many supermarkets throughout Germany. You can put the coins in the coin tray and you will get a coupon. When you bring the coupon to the cashier in the store, they’ll give you the money, or you can even use it to pay for groceries. Coinstar machines, however, have a service charge of around 9.9%. Exchanging coins with them is the most expensive option in Germany. Can I exchange the coins for free in Germany? You can exchange coins for free and instantly at the Deutsche Bundesbank or simply the Central Bank of Germany. However, you can only exchange coins for currency bills and cannot deposit directly into your bank account. Nevertheless, if you have a lot of coins, this is the best way to exchange them to avoid service fees and waiting period. Exchange coins at airports in Germany You can exchange coins at airports in Germany. Most currency exchange bureaus, banks, or coin counting machines at airports (if they are available) will accept euro coins and provide you with cash or other currencies in return. However, it's important to keep in mind that exchange rates and fees at the airport may not be as favorable as other options in the city, so it's always a good idea to compare rates and fees across different exchange services before making a decision. Additionally, it's recommended to exchange larger amounts of coins at a bank or Bundesbank branch to avoid higher fees or less favorable exchange rates at the airport. If you only have a few Euro coins with you, and you don't have time to visit a bank, go to a supermarket and ask the cashier for Euro bills in exchange of the coins. In most cases, they will be happy to assist you. Last but not least, if you don't have a shortage of money or if you can find healthy alternatives when you need them, I would suggest keeping the coins as they are for savings. The last 6 years I lived in Germany, I collected more than 450€ and never exchanged them. I have a 3 liter glass jar almost full of coins! How to Exchange Your Coins in Germany: Some Frequently Asked Questions
- The Ultimate To Do list for Leaving Germany in 2023
At some point in our expat lives, at least some of us will decide to return home or to a better place for good reason. However when it comes to expats in Germany, like you’ve done it when you arrived here the first time, there are certain processes to follow when you leave the country to avoid future bureaucratic headaches. Are you an expat who is planning to leave Germany soon? Whether you are moving to another country, going back to your home country, or just taking a break from Germany, there are some important steps that you need to take before you say goodbye to this beautiful country. In this guide, we will provide you with a comprehensive checklist of what to do when leaving Germany, covering everything from notifying your employer and canceling your contracts to selling your belongings and booking your flight. We will also give you some useful tips and links for each step to make your departure as smooth and hassle-free as possible. Let’s get started! How to Deregister from the city hall and get a confirmation letter An important thing that you need to do when leaving Germany is to deregister from the city hall (Bürgeramt) where you live and get a confirmation letter (Abmeldebescheinigung). This is mandatory by law and must be done within two weeks before or after you leave Germany. If you fail to do this, you might face fines or penalties. You will need to fill out a deregistration form (Abmeldungsformular) and bring it along with your passport and residence permit (if applicable) to the city hall. You can also send the form by mail or email if you cannot go in person. You will receive a confirmation letter that proves that you have deregistered from Germany. Here are some tips and links for this step: Go to the nearest city hall where you can deregister. To download the deregistration form in English or German, you can use this link. Find the guidance to fill the deregistration form here. What Happens If You Don’t Deregister In Germany? A person must deregister when they move abroad permanently. In the event you fail to deregister when leaving the country permanently, whether on purpose or not, you could be fined up to 1.000 euros. Additionally, the authorities may consider you still as a resident in Germany and make you liable to pay taxes. Your health insurance may still charge you as you need to have mandatory health insurance while in Germany. I forgot to deregister in Germany when I left. What to do now? If you left Germany without deregistering your address here, you still have the possibility to send the deregister application from the place wherever you are through post to the city or town where you lived in Germany. You must also send copies of the passports of all persons who lived with you along with the application form. As we know, there are no fines for late deregistration. However, your local citizen’s office will be able to give you a precise answer to that. Opt in for a mail forwarding service It would be a good idea to set up mail forwarding with the Deutsche Post before moving out. Even though you are not expecting anyone to send you a post after you’ve left, there could come some confirmation letters for a service that you canceled or a notice for a service that you forgot to cancel due to missed payments. Deutsche Post offers mail forwarding service within Germany as well as internationally for a fee for up to 12 months. You can either visit a branch and request mail forwarding or do it online in deutschepost.de. Deregister From TV and Radio Tax (Rundfunkbeitrag) When you register in Germany for the first time, your data is sent to ARD - ZDF and they will onboard you automatically for the TV and radio tax in Germany. However, when you deregister from Germany, it's your responsibility to deregister from the Rundfunkbeitrag. To deregister from Rundfunkbeitrag, you can go to their “Abmelden” portal and fill the form. You also need to upload your deregister confirmation from the BürgerBüro as proof. If you don't deregister, they will continue to charge you for the TV and radio license fee. While you are waiting for the last week of your stay in Germany, you are required to do some other things too. Perhaps, you need to start the preparation at least 2 to 3 months before. Make sure the necessary people are informed in advance As you may already know, in Germany you cannot end a contract in a short time. You are expected to inform the necessary people way ahead before the date you actually want to end the contract. Send the notice to your landlord The German rental contracts in general demand a three-month notice period to allow the landlord time to find a new tenant. However, some landlords may let you leave early if you could identify a confirmed new tenant who can move into your apartment when you plan to leave. Most contracts require you to send your notice of termination to your landlord via post. Legally, an email with a signed letter attached, or a PDF is not sufficient. The termination notice must also be signed by all parties listed in the rental contract. Please note that just sending a letter of notice does not make you legally safe. The actual date of notice only begins from the date of receipt of the letter by the landlord. While sending the notice, ask Deutsche Post for an Einschreiben Rückschein or simply the receipt confirmation. Send your resignation to your employer Employees are required to submit their resignation letters to their reporting manager or HR directly when they plan to leave their company. While most companies have a common framework for resigning, at least a few roles in some companies may have additional clauses in the employment contract in terms of resignation. Therefore, carefully read your work contract way ahead to avoid any last minute hastles. In general, the companies in Germany have a notice period of 30 to 90 days before you can actually leave the company How to deregister in Germany as a self-employed? Freelancers and self-employed people in Germany need to deregister their business with the Finanzamt or Gewerbeamt. Each city may have different deregistration processes and application forms. Therefore, please check the citizen portal of the city or town where your business is registered for specific rules. Deregistration of children form the schools in Germany Like you need to send the resignation letter to your employer, you are also obliged to inform the school where your child(ren) studies when leaving the country. The same applies for kids that go to Kindergarten or Krippe. Since different schools, kindergartens or krippes have different rules, please talk to the responsible person and get to know the process ahead in time. Additionally, if you are receiving Kindergeld, you are obliged to inform the familienkasse about your plan to leave the country. In case not informed and you still take advantage of the kindergeld even after leaving Germany, there's a chance that you get fined at some point when the authorities notice that you left. Check out this section of the Arbeitsagentur website and select Veränderungsmitteilung für das Kindergeld (KG45) to get the change information form. You need to fill it out and send it to the Familien kasse in your town. Inform service providers You must also cancel the contracts with various service providers before leaving Germany. A few examples include electricity, internet, telephone contracts, fitness memberships, cable or digital streaming services, etc. The cancellation notice period is determined by the terms of your contract. While you may be able to cancel the contracts online or by calling the customer care service, some service providers require you to send a signed letter by post to make the cancellation. Can I cancel my internet contract? Yes, you can cancel your internet contract if it is older than 24 months. As per the new amendment in the telephone and internet contract regulation passed by the government on 01 - 12 - 2021, you can cancel your internet or telephone contracts with a 30 days notice period if they are older than 24 months. You will have a much harder time canceling your contract early if your contract has not completed the minimum contract length of 24 months. In most cases, the service provider will ask you to provide the proof of you leaving Germany with a confirmation of your deregistration in Germany, or any other proof they suggest. Your phone contracts can usually be canceled at the end of every month. However, make sure to check with your provider for any additional requirements. How to cancel the electricity contract in Germany? Most providers such as Eprimo and SWM let you file your cancellation online in their customer portal. Alternatively, you can also call their customer service and request for support. In general, there are no hard restrictions to change or cancel the electricity contract. However, It is recommended that you update the last reading on the meter in your online customer portal account to avoid overcharging. If possible, take a picture of your electricity meter for future reference. How to cancel your insurances in Germany? Living in Germany requires you to have mandatory health insurance and a couple of additional insurances as per the individual needs. You need to cancel all of them as you wouldn’t need them if you don't live here any more. You can easily cancel insurance from digital providers like Feather Insurance or Getsafe through their website. However, you may only be able to cancel them on a 30 days cycle. For instance, if you sign up with a start date on the 1st, you have to cancel before the 1st of the next month to avoid being charged and covered for an additional month. Please check with the insurance provider for specific policies. In contrast, traditional German insurance companies usually require a longer notice period and only accept cancellations by post. It is also possible that your health insurance requires a letter and proof of you leaving Germany to terminate your policy, as you are legally required to have health insurance in Germany. How to close your German bank account? Usually, there is no notice period or restriction for you to close your German bank account unless you have an outstanding settlement. Most banks in Germany offer online account closure and this is usually an easy process. Just login to your online banking portal and you should be able to find a corresponding link. In some cases, you may be asked to visit the local branch to complete the procedure. Nevertheless, you may still need your regular bank account for some final transactions even after you leave, such as settling your electricity bill, gym membership, or getting your deposit back from the landlord, etc. Prepare to claim your German pension You may be entitled to claim your contributions and interest back from the German pension fund if you contributed while living in Germany. Your nationality, the country where you are moving, and Germany's alliance with that country all play a significant role in claiming your contribution. We’ve written a detailed article on the process of claiming your German pension while leaving Germany. Decide whether you want to ship your possessions to your new country or sell them. It is better to think in advance whether you want to take your possessions to the new country you are moving to or sell them. Think and compare the costs of shipping the items to the new place and selling them in Germany, You can sell your possessions on eBay, eBay Kleinanzeigen, and in expat groups on Facebook, Telegram, and Whatsapp. If you price your items reasonably, they are more likely to be sold. If you plan to ship your possessions, before choosing a moving company to ship your belongings to the new country, compare quotes from different companies. A good Packers and Movers company usually provides transit insurance to protect your goods like valuable furniture, electronic equipments and other fragile items from damage. The terms and conditions may vary from company to company. Therefore, please understand the details well in advance. Usually, you will have to pay an insurance premium which is based on the total value of the goods that you declare and is around 3% of the total value of the goods. In most cases, this amount has to be paid in full before the move. Few popular moving companies in Germany which you can choose from are AGS Movers Germany, Crown Relocations, movinga, etc. Handing over the apartment Most rental contracts would have a section about how the apartment should be prepared for the handover. You should, in general, restore the apartment to the original condition just like how it was when you took over it, no matter how you design and decorate it. Repainting, repairing damages, and covering holes are part of this process. One common question that arises when leaving an apartment in Germany is whether you need to repaint your apartment or not. The answer depends on the terms of your rental agreement. Be sure to check your rental agreement for a provision regarding cosmetic repairs (Schönheitsreparaturen). Cosmetic repairs usually include painting the walls and the ceilings, repairing holes you made in the walls, etc. In the event that your contract does not mention cosmetic repairs, you are very fortunate! You just need to do an extensive cleaning and leave. Additionally, your landlord cannot demand you to arrange a professional cleaning service. Regulated by law, you have the right to do the repairs yourself. Finally, leaving Germany in a rush will only increase your blood pressure unlike leaving from some other countries. In addition to bureaucratic and financial problems, unpaid bills can cause you legal implications as well as unnecessary stress. Gyms, clubs, and telephone companies usually refer your case to debt collection companies, which won't give up so easily and follow you overseas. Make sure to pay your bills on time to avoid any complications in your new life! Furthermore, along with other tasks, make sure you keep enough time to plan and execute the movement much smoothly. Some fequently asked questions about the procedures while leaving Germany
- Expat’s Guide to the German Autobahn
German Autobahns are well known around the world. In any case, a foreigner arriving in Germany will not leave without experiencing it at least once. What is an autobahn? Originally established in 1932, the Bundesautobahn or simply autobahn is the nation's highway network. The purpose of the road was to reach cities as fast as possible by motor vehicle. It is mandatory in Germany for autobahns to have two lanes in each direction. Both lanes must be separated by crash guards or concrete safety barriers, ideally. The autobahn allows only vehicles capable of traveling more than 60 kmph in order to accomplish faster movements. The Autobahn now stretches 13,000 kilometers (8,080 miles), making it one of the world's longest and densest highway systems. The majority of autobahn sections have two, three, or even four lanes in each direction, and a permanent emergency lane. Despite the fact that the Autobahn is an everyday, unremarkable sight for many Germans, true fans still adore it. German Autobahn Speed Limits: How Fast Can You Go? The Autobahn is known for allowing you to drive as fast as your car can go. In some ways, that's true. The highest speed ever achieved on an autobahn was 432.7 km/h by Rudolf Caracciola, a famous German race car driver in the Mercedes-Benz W125 Rekordwagen in 1938 on a closed section. It is possible to drive at maximum speed on the German Autobahn on some stretches depending on your vehicle and your driving skills. Approximately 70% of the Autobahn network has no speed limit. There is, however, a recommended speed limit of 130 km/h on German autobahns in stretches even though the speed is not controlled. My fastest speed on a German autobahn has been 302 km/h on an Audi Q6 between Haar and Munich international airport. Although it was an experimental ride when there were travel restrictions during Corona's peak in 2021, many people take advantage of the opportunity to experience the magic of the autobahn. However, most Germans don't often drive that fast on a daily basis and may don’t recommend driving so fast. Expats' tips for driving on the Autobahn Follow the speed limit The unlimited speed is only permitted in some stretches, as mentioned above. This means that most parts of the autobahn are speed-limited. Be sure to pay attention to the signs. There are speed radars in the autobahn, both permanent as well as temporary speed radars in accident prone areas. Speeding on controlled areas can lead to expensive fines or even the loss of your driving license in the worst case if you exceed the speed limit way too much. If there is a traffic jam, keep an emergency vehicle corridor There are times when traffic jams can occur on autobahns as well. Even if there is no emergency, you should always keep a rescue lane between two lanes whenever there is a traffic jam. If there are three or more lanes, the corridor should be formed between the left most lane and the lane right to it. Don't provoke other drivers and don't let others provoke you While you are on any roads in Germany, especially on the autobahn, never tailgate a car in front of you or get provoked by someone tailgating you. You could get fined up to 400 euros for that. The minimum distance between two cars on an autobahn should be half the speed at which you are going. For example, if you're going 100 km/h, keep a 50 meter distance from the car ahead. Overtake using the leftmost lane; don't drive continuously in it. Cars that drive the fastest typically use the leftmost lane. It's possible that you'll get scared and end up in a worse situation if you stay in the left lane and see a car approaching you at high speed in the rear view mirror. There is a possibility that you will be flashed or honked at by a car behind you. When you're driving at 150 kph, that's the last thing you want. Never overtake a car on the right If you see a car driving slowly on the middle lane while you are in the third lane and there is space in front of you, never overtake from the right. You might see other drivers do this often. But, keep calm and only overtake on the left. On the autobahn, never stop or reverse You are not allowed to stop or reverse on an autobahn. You are driving with the help of Google maps and you missed an exit? Still drive forward and allow the map to recalculate the route. On an autobahn, drivers going at high speeds will not expect you to stop or reverse and might crash into your car if you do. Driving with children in German autobahn If you are an expat and you want to take a taxi ride or drive with your child in Germany, there are certain rules you need to consider before starting your ride. The German law specifies children up to 12 years of age and are less than 1.5 meters in height must only ride in an approved car seat or booster either in a personal car or in a taxi. Controlling in the autobahn The Autobahn has its own police force, the Autobahnpolizei, which often documents speeding violations with unmarked police cars equipped with video cameras. When the Autobahnpolizei need to stop you, they overtake you and drive in front of your vehicle with a signboard stating 'Bitte Folgen' or 'Follow me'. The police car needs to be followed until it stops somewhere appropriate. Keep both hands on the steering wheel while still sitting inside your car. An officer will approach you and instruct you on what to do next. If the officer gives you instructions, you are obliged to follow them. On the autobahn, I was stopped by the police once just because my friends in our car looked into the police car without knowing it was a police car. Although they left us up on checking the IDs and inspecting the car, we had to drive off the autobahn, which cost us both time and fuel. Driving in Germany as an expat If you are planning to move to Germany for a longer period, or if you are here for a short visit, you can use the driving license issued in your country for the first 6 months provided you have an IDP (International Driving Permit). You will need to either translate the IDP to German or request an English version if your IDP isn't in English at your local driving license issuing authority. If you are moving to Germany for a longer period, you may consider converting your non German driving license to get a German driving license (Führerschein). Finally, there are discussions about removing the unlimited speed and setting the speed on the autobahn to 130 km/h. Even though there hasn't been a decision yet, it won't take long for the government to decide. Therefore, if you are in Germany even for a short visit, don't miss a chance to take a spin on the German autobahn. Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Driving on the German Autobahn as an Expat
- 6 reasons why you should consider moving to Germany
Being the strongest player in the European economy, Germany is one of the most preferred among people who wish to migrate abroad. Besides being the 4th largest economy in the world with a GDP of a whopping 4.22 trillion euros, there are many other reasons to choose Germany as your destination. Work - life balance in Germany In Germany, the average working hours are strictly regulated between a sweet spot of 36 and 40 hours per week. Daily working hours are limited to eight hours, and weekly working hours are limited to 48 hours with a lunch break ranging between 30 and 60 minutes. Generally, you are entitled for additional compensation or additional holidays if you work more than the regulated time. For instance, my company offers me 30 paid leaves per year. In 2022, I did carry forward 22 of my paid leaves from the previous year and still had around 45 days of paid time off in 2021 by utilizing the overtime benefit. Despite not being forced to work over hours, my company allowed me to enjoy the additional time I spent for them. Occupational opportunities for skilled workers in Germany There is no doubt that the German economy is doing well; however, it could be doing even better. According to the state development bank KfW's semi-annual 'skilled labor barometer' report, about one in two companies were hampered by the lack of skilled workers in 2022. In the manufacturing sector, skilled workers are in short supply at an all-time high. As of April 2020, there was a shortage of around 320,000 skilled workers, specialists, and academics in the fields of mathematics, information technology, natural sciences, and technology. You Need To Look In The Right Place For Jobs Among many job portals out there, LinkedIn, Indeed, Xing - known as Germany's LinkedIn, Make It In Germany, Munich Startup Jobs, Startuplist, Arbeitnow are few websites that can help you land the right job in Germany without having to know German. Furthermore, if you've already shortlisted a few companies where you'd like to work, check out their own career websites to find opportunities that may not be listed elsewhere. Allianz World Wide Careers, Microsoft Careers, Jobs at Brainlab, Zalando Careers are just a few. In addition, make sure your LInkedIn profile is up to date. On LinkedIn, recruiters contact potential candidates directly, and a lot of great companies post their jobs, so you can apply directly. Alternatively, if you wish to search for a job in Germany, you can apply for a German job seeker visa which is valid for up to six months and the possibility to convert to a residence permit. Get German permanent residency in 21 months You can apply for a German PR if you come to Germany with an unlimited job contract and have an EU Blue Card. Also, you must have made monthly contributions to the statutory pension insurance fund for at least 33 months while employed in a qualified job. Furthermore, you possess a basic understanding of the German language (A1 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)). By demonstrating German language proficiency at B1 level, the 33-month requirement can be shortened to 21 months. Free education in public universities in Germany In Germany, everyone can study tuition-free! No matter whether you are a German or a European citizen. Non-Europeans can also study in public universities in Germany without paying tuition fees. Almost every German public university offers tuition fee free programs. Which means, you have the opportunity to choose from over 1,000 study programmes at almost 300 public universities in Germany. Travel visa free in 40+ countries If you decide to move to Germany, you will have to obtain a Schengen visa. With a Schengen visa, you can travel between 26 Schengen member states without applying for separate visas. Additionally, the Schengen visa also allows foreigners to enter other countries outside of the European Union or the Schengen zone as long as they hold a valid multiple entry visa. A warm and friendly atmosphere Well, the outside world has mixed opinions about the friendliness of Germans. However from my experience, visiting Germany every year since 2012 and permanently living here since 2016, it is likely that when a German makes friends with you, they’ll become your true friend. Germans may be straight to face, reluctant to speak a foreign language and stick to the rules almost 100% almost every time, they are very friendly, keen and understanding people. You may find it hard to make a German friend. But, when you make a German friend, they’ll be your friend for life long. Finally, these are just 6 top reasons you should consider moving to Germany if you are planning to migrate abroad. However, there are many other benefits too such as child benefits, parental benefits, unemployment benefits, strong social security, etc.
- How to become a Veterinary surgeon in Germany?
There is a great love for animals among Germans. There is at least one pet in every two homes in Germany, according to the statistics from 2016. A survey conducted by the Market Research Institute GfK in 2016 reveals that there is at least one pet in every two homes in Germany. The most favorite pets are cats and dogs. Birds, fish, hamsters, and dwarf rabbits are also popular pets to Germans. How to become a Veterinary surgeon in Germany? There are two options to become a Veterinary surgeon in Germany. Study Veterinary medicine in Germany Migrate to Germany as a Veterinary surgeon with a degree earned abroad Study Veterinary medicine in Germany Veterinary medicine is one of the most popular degree courses among German students. It is therefore difficult to find a seat in a university, just like it is for medicine. Due to its popularity, Germany has very strict admission requirements for this subject. Therefore, applicants are required to have high grades in order to qualify. Like many other degrees, Veterinary medicine seats are allocated by the Foundation for University Admissions (Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung). If you are planning to study Veterinary medicine in Germany, it is recommended to check whether you get a scholarship. Although German universities don't charge tuition fees, there are other expenses such as flight tickets, accommodation, food, etc. If you are able to obtain a scholarship, you will be able to reduce your stress and be greatly aided. Veterinary medicine Course structure and practice The veterinary medicine degree takes about six years in Germany. During this phase, students gain both theoretical as well as practical experiences. As part of the program, students are required to complete work placement weeks in food quality and control, the slaughterhouse industry, and public veterinary services. Veterinary medicine students complete their degree with the state examination after completing a work placement year. Many graduates open their own practices after completing the course. Another fact is, the majority of the vets in Germany practice independently and are self-employed. Other people work in medical practices and clinics, in health monitoring, as pharmaceutical industry consultants or as managers and monitors of the cattle trade. Migrate to Germany as an experienced Veterinary surgeon If you have acquired a professional qualification as a veterinary surgeon abroad, you need an official, state-issued accreditation called "approbation" to work in Germany. The approbation is nothing but an unrestricted occupational license and valid across the country. The approbation can be acquired by recognizing your foreign degree in Germany. During the recognition process, the competition authority will compare your degree with a corresponding German degree and certify that your degree is fully or partially recognized in Germany. To practice as a veterinarian in Germany or to open your own practice, the approbation is a mandatory factor. If you have additional veterinary job specialization and a qualification as veterinary specialist, you can also apply for recognition of those specialized professional titles in Germany. However, you need to apply for the approbation for a veterinary surgeon before you can apply for the recognition of your specialized title. What do Veterinary surgeons get to do in Germany? Among other activities related to animal husbandry, the veterinarians perform a wide range of tasks, but primarily examine animals, record findings, diagnose illnesses, specify therapeutic measures, and carry out treatments and interventions. Veterinary surgeons get to work in veterinary practices and clinics, do research and teaching in the institutions, etc. Veterinarians also work for the government veterinary authorities, health authorities and veterinary chambers as well as in pharmaceutical Research. Veterinary degree recognition in Germany Many professions require recognition in Germany. It is not possible to work in these professions without having your degree recognized in Germany. Recognition is a procedure to make sure that the degree you possess abroad is equivalent to a German degree. There is a competent authority for every recognition procedure based on which state in Germany you wish to work in. If your degree is not from any of the EU member states, or from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, you are not permitted to work in Germany as a veterinarian without recognition. How to start the recognition procedure in Germany? To start with, you can get free counseling about the procedure from a ProRecognition agency. If you are from Algeria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, India, Iran, Italy, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, and Vietnam, you have the opportunity to get counseling in your home country for free. Alternatively, you can contact the “Working and Living in Germany” hotline run by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees and the Federal Employment Agency offers telephone guidance. You can reach the hotline Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm (Central European Time). During the counseling, the agencies try to clarify your questions like whether you’ve selected the correct reference profession, the details about the recognition procedure, documents and forms to be submitted, etc Prior to applying for recognition, it is recommended that you seek counseling first. By doing so, any mistakes in the application can be avoided as well as delays in the processing. Recognition procedure for Veterinary degree in Germany To understand the procedure easily, the information portal of the German government for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has prepared a very detailed documentation in English. Please note that this specific documentation is only for the candidates seeking to work in Munich. You can go to the Your place of work section and choose the city you wish to work in. This is because the recognition procedure is different in different states. How to move to Germany as a Veterinary surgeon? As soon as your professional qualification is recognized in Germany, you can start applying to hospitals, medical universities, care homes, or basically any medical organization that requires your qualifications. Alternatively, you can also check LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or Indeed for openings as well as the websites of hospitals and other organizations. Vets can also work in zoos, agriculture, pharmacy, research and veterinary authorities. In Germany, most veterinarians practice privately or run a combined practice with other vets. However, to practice individually or start a clinic with other vets, you need to have a self employment visa. Checkout this detailed article from make-it-in-germany for the requirements and process for a German self employment visa. Do I need to know German to become a Veterinary surgeon in Germany? To get the license to practise / work in Germany, you need sufficient German language skills. Having a good understanding of German medical terms is essential. It is usually necessary to have at least a B2 level of German. Additionally, you may need to take an exam to prove your knowledge of medical terminology. However, precise regulations are defined by the corresponding states which conduct the examination. Temporary permission to work as a veterinarian in germany It is possible to apply for a temporary work permit if you plan to work for only a short period of time. However, you will be restricted to work in a specific location, for a specific period and in a particular field of work. The temporary permission can only be extended in rare cases. Permission will only be granted if you can prove you have completed a veterinary degree. It is important to note, however, that your foreign professional qualification is not recognized as part of your permission to work. On your way to Germany You can find all the information you need about living and working in Germany at www.expatova.com. If you enjoyed the content and feel like you learned something from it, consider supporting us by buying us a Ko - fi
- How to rent tech gadgets in Germany
The convenience and flexibility of renting technology devices have significantly surged in popularity across Germany in recent years, especially across expats. The cost of buying new technology products can be a strain on your budget. It can be further stressful to upgrade your technology every year if you are a technology enthusiast. It is at these times that renting can prove useful. Why rent? Upgrade easily Get the latest tech products and stay up-to-date. Before your outdated tech starts collecting dust, send it back and rent something that's modern. Stay uncommitted Simple monthly payments and flexible plans that you can extend at any time - without the hassle and commitment of financing. Grover Grover allows you to rent all the technology you need for a monthly fee. You don't have to worry about high upfront costs or years of financing. Grover claims to let you rent without worrying about the ownership. How does renting with Grover work? Select your desired product at www.grover.com and simply order it online for rent. Please note that a pre-order or an order for a desired date is not yet possible in Grover. The process goes like this: Choose your minimum rental period of 1, 3, 6, or 12 months. You can switch to a longer term at any time and save. Add your product in the basket, create a customer account and pay for the first month of rental. Your device will be delivered to your home and billed monthly from the delivery date. The rental period begins once you receive your device. After your minimum term has expired, you can continue to rent your device or end the rental by returning it free of charge. A purchase is also possible at any time. You can rent tech devices with Grover in many online shops and branches of Grover's retail partners in Germany. MediaMarkt, Saturn, Gravis, Expert are some examples. How does renting with partners in store work? You can rent many products with Grover in MediaMarkt, SATURN, GRAVIS, Expert, Conrad, COMSPOT, and BetterWorx stores throughout Germany. Choose the device you want to rent and speak to an employee at the partner store. They can help you create a Grover account if you don't already have one. Then select your minimum rental period, make the first rental payment, and then you can take the product home. When your minimum rental period ends, you can return the product to Grover for free by printing the shipping label and sending it back to Grover. You don't need to go back to the store. Is a credit check required in store? When you rent from one of the Grover partners in the store, they conduct an automatic credit check on CRIF Bürgel and Schufa. Documents required for in store rentals Take your ID or passport, credit card or PayPal access, and smartphone so that the employee in the store can verify your identity. If either the identity or credit checks are negative, Grover may not allow the store to create a rental agreement. For privacy purposes, the exact reason for rejection is also not specified.
- Income tax exemption for child benefit in Germany
Allowances for children make the subsistence level of children tax-free in Germany. The allowances for children are more valuable to some parents than the child benefit. Parents either receive child benefit or the child allowance for income tax. During the annual income tax assessment, the tax office determines whether the allowances for children or child benefit paid out are more favorable to the parents. There is no need to apply for this check since it is automatic. Allowance for children has been increased In 2021 and 2022, the child allowance will be 5460 euros (2730 euros per parent). There is also an allowance of EUR 2,928 (EUR 1,464 per parent) for childcare and education. Both allowances are combined when assessing income tax. Tax allowances for children in the individual years are taken into account with the following total if the parents are married and assessed jointly: 2020: 7812 Euro 2021 and 2022: 8388 euros When spouses are assessed separately, each parent is assessed half the amount. Children up to the age of 18 are generally considered during the assessment. In addition, children under 21 who are unemployed and registered as looking for work in Germany are also considered. Adult children under the age of 25 will be considered if they be trained for a profession (apprenticeship, study), are in a transitional period of no more than four months between two training phases, cannot start or continue vocational training due to a lack of training places, do a voluntary social year, a voluntary ecological year, a federal voluntary service or an international youth voluntary service. Children who are physically, mentally, or emotionally incapable of supporting themselves, if the disability occurred before the age of 25, are also considered. On your way to Germany You can find all the information you need about living and working in Germany at www.expatova.com. If you enjoyed the content and feel like you learned something from it, consider supporting us by buying us a Ko - fi
- Become a Dentist in Germany in 2023
As with other medical roles, dentists are in high demand in Germany. Whether you want to become a hygienist, dentist or orthodontist, Germany has plenty of opportunities for you. If you hold a foreign dental professional qualification, and wish to become a Dentist in Germany, you need an official, state-issued authorization, known as "approbation". Approbation is an occupational license which is unrestricted throughout the country. In order to practice dentistry or open your own clinic in Germany, an approbation is mandatory. You can apply for recognition of this specialized professional title in Germany if you possess both a dental specialty qualification and a dental job specialization. However, it is important to note that you must receive approbation as a dentist before applying for specialized title recognition. What does a Dentist get to do in Germany? A dentist examines patients, records their findings, diagnoses diseases of the teeth, mouth, and jaw, and teeth formation on anomalies. A dental treatment or intervention is prescribed based on the therapeutic measures. Dentists in Germany may work in dental practices, dental clinics, medical research and teaching, pharmaceutical industry, health authorities, insurance companies, and dentist’s chambers, etc. How can I become a Dentist in Germany? Mainly there are two options, Study Dentistry in Germany Move to Germany as an experienced Dentist or Dental specialist. Study Dentistry in Germany or Applying to medical school There are many promising higher education opportunities in Germany. A number of universities provide dental and medical services, mostly in large cities like Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt, but also in smaller cities like Essen. The German dental Schools offer both bachelor's and master's programs in Dentistry. The bachelor's program is eleven semesters long (ten semesters plus six months of work experience). The preclinical phase consists of five semesters, with a focus on natural sciences, medicine, and dental materials, as well as a preliminary dental exam. During the remaining five semesters, you will take lectures, seminars, and hands-on training in clinical research. Afterward, professional training in oral surgery, orthodontics, or public health may be required, with a three to four-year training period. It is similar to dental training in all other countries and ends with a state examination. Upon successful completion of the course, you can apply for the EU Blue Card to work in Germany. Do I need to learn German to study Dentistry in Germany? Since it is a medical field and upon completion of the course, you work closely with the people in Germany, it is necessary to have adequate German language knowledge. Initially, knowledge in the B2 - C1 level is required and while you complete the course, it is necessary to have a job specific German language skill. Move to Germany as an experienced Dentist or Dental specialist. The recognition of your professional qualification is likely to be required if you wish to move to Germany as an experienced dentist or dental specialist. In Germany, recognition is essential for many professions, including dentistry. It is impossible to work in these professions without recognition. Recognizing your professional degree is a procedure, and there is a competent authority for every recognition procedure. Competent authorities check whether the professional qualification accrued in a foreign country is equivalent to German qualifications. If you are not from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland, your profession is regulated in Germany and you are not permitted to work in Germany in this profession without recognition. If you learned your profession abroad or if you studied abroad at an institute of higher education or a university, and if you have successfully completed your training or degree, and your university certificate is either certified or recognized in any of the EU states, you can directly apply of a recognition and you have a high chance of passing the procedure. Otherwise, the recognition of your professional qualification is necessary for you to work as a Dentist in Germany. However, you do not meet all the requirements. This means that your application for recognition will probably be unsuccessful and you need to provide additional information or supporting documents for a successful recognition. How to apply for a recognition in Germany To understand the procedure easily, the information portal of the German government for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has prepared a very detailed documentation in English. Please note that this specific documentation is only for the candidates seeking to work in Munich. You can go to the Your place of work section and choose the city you wish to work in. This is because the recognition procedure is different in different states. As soon as your professional qualification is recognized in Germany, you can start applying to hospitals, medical universities, care homes, or basically any medical organization that requires your qualifications. You can check LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or Indeed for openings as well as the websites of hospitals and other organizations. You have a specialization on Orthodontist, Oral surgery or Public health system It is possible to apply for recognition of a specialized dental occupation title in Germany if you have obtained additional dental specialization. However, prior to applying for a specialized recognition, you must already have approbation as a dentist. Depending on their specialization, specialists perform different dental activities. Orthodontists, for instance, identify, prevent, or treat masticatory and jaw malformations. Depending on your skills and open positions, you may get to work in Dental clinics, Centers specializing in dental, oral and maxillofacial medicine, Medical and pharmaceutical research institutes, etc. if you are really skilled, you can even get into the German armed forces or Dentist’s chambers or medical associations too. The process of recognizing dental specialization in Germany The process is the same as recognizing the dental degree and experience. Checkout the detailed process documented in anerkennung-in-deutschland.de. Applicants who do not intend to stay in Germany for more than two years can apply for a permit to temporarily practice dental medicine. The temporary permit to practice dentistry can only be granted upon application, which requires proof of completion of dental education and training. However, if the dental training took place in a member state of the European Union, another state party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area or in Switzerland, a provisional license is not required.
- Can you cancel Rundfunkbeitrag - The Radio Tax In Germany?
Radio and television taxes of 18,36 euros per household per month is mandatory in Germany regardless of the number of people living in the household. Four times a year, you will pay 55,08 euros, since it gets collected every quarter. Rundfunkbeitrag refers to the license fee or broadcasting contribution for German public media or basically TV and radio. Despite being frequently referred to as the TV and radio tax, it is not a tax. German households are required to pay 18,36 euros a month to support the independent public broadcasting. Does ARD ZDF have to be paid? The answer is yes. The Rundfunkbeitrag is now mandatory from 2013 in Germany unless you are in one of the categories below that allows an exception. Whether or not you actually use any services of German public broadcasting services does not matter. Reduction and exemption from Rundfunkbeitrag The Rundfunkbeitrag can be exempted or reduced if you meet one of the following criteria: The BAföG provides you with financial aid for your education. Social security benefits, such as unemployment benefit 2 (ALG 2), or a guaranteed minimum pension, are paid to you. Deaf-blindness is a condition you suffer from. In the event that you have severe disabilities that prevent you from participating in public events, you may be eligible for a reduction to 6,12 euros a month. Rundfunkgebühr: Why Do We Have It? After WWII, the British introduced public broadcasting to Germany. It was believed that propaganda-controlled television and radio contributed to the outbreak of the war. Therefore, a democracy requires independent media which cannot be influenced or financed by politics or economics. Rather, all residents contribute equally to its funding. As a result, the license fee was created. Germany's public broadcasting allows cultural niches to flourish and prevents fake news from spreading. In Germany, what happens if you do not pay the radio tax? In the event that you fail to pay the radio tax in Germany, you will be subject to serious legal consequences. It is likely that you will receive repeated orders for payment, which are likely to result in official collection procedures. Continuing to avoid repeated payment orders may result in the Beitragsservice informing the SCHUFA, which maintains your credit score in Germany, about your failure in the payment. As a result, this will negatively impact your SCHUFA score. As the due amount increases, you will be obligated to pay the entire amount due and any additional fines associated with late payments. The case of a German lady who refused to pay the ARD - ZDF tax was followed across Germany and she was sentenced for 6 months and was released after spending 61 days in prison. Read more about this story in Bild.de. How do I cancel the TV and Radio tax in Germany? Your ARD - ZDF subscription is automatically canceled when you deregister in Germany with your local Bürgeramt. Unfortunately, there is no other way to cancel it if you do not fall into one of those categories mentioned above.
- How to Plan Your Relocation to Germany in 2023: Tips and Advice from an Expat
You have been offered a job in a German company, and you would like to know how to relocate smoothly. You will find this article to be helpful in navigating the relocation process. If you already got a job offer and you are looking for the tips to relocate to germany, findout whether your salary offer is considered to be a good salary in Germany. While already in your home country, after applying for your German visa and work permit, you can look around in Google maps and decide on the area you want to live in the city you are moving to. You should consider the distance from your workplace, supermarkets, doctors, and schools nearby, or anything else that matters to your life. By the way, have you already been offered a job in Germany, congrats! Come to one of the most beautiful, liberal, and safe countries in the world! On the other hand, have you checked whether the salary offered to you is considered to be a good salary in Germany? If not, it is still not too late to speak to your HR department and make the necessary adjustments. Finding a place to live As you await the decision on your German visa application, you can already take advantage of the time you have left. Find an apartment that meets your requirements and desires by browsing the many online real estate portals. Among other real estate portals, the most popular in Germany is immobilienscout24. Most German landlords use this portal to advertise their properties. They offer both free as well as paid programs. Alternatively, you can create your search profile in Immomio and get suggestions that suit your requirements. It is recommended that you try out the free program for a while before jumping into the paid programs. The free plan is likely to provide you with what you're looking for. For those in a hurry and able to afford it, you can opt for the paid program. As soon as you find a place that suits your requirements, shortlist it and contact the landlord. You shouldn't wait until you have your visa in hand since if your documentation is complete, you won't have to worry (generally) about the embassy rejecting your application. When it comes to communication, most landlords prefer German. Therefore, make sure your message is in German and that you include personal information such as your smoking habits, if you own a pet, etc. Documents required Copy of your passport Copy of your offer letter SCHUFA-Auskunft or simply your credit score : One of the most requested documents by the landlords in Germany is your credit score. Since you are only just moving in, this is not necessary. It may be necessary for you to convince your landlord as you haven't opened a bank account yet. Proof of income - Since you cannot present a salary slip or bank statement, your offer that shows salary details would suffice. Bringing your possessions to Germany Once you know that your work permit has been granted, you should begin organizing the moving of your possessions. Research logistics companies and ask them for an estimate of the price and arrival time. Ideally, the arrival should take place three months after your arrival in Germany, so you have time to settle in. In addition, if you can simply get rid of things by selling, giving away, or storing them somewhere safe, you can buy good quality used furniture in Germany for cheap, or you can rent furniture as well. If you are considering the costs of transportation and damage to your possessions while bringing them to Germany, you may want to think about shops like Ikea and Pocco that sell very fine quality furniture and utensils for less money. Get your address registered Hopefully, by now you've already received your visa and you’ve landed in Germany. In accordance with immigration regulations, you must register your place of residence at the local citizens office within 14 days of arrival. As soon as you register in Germany for the first time, your official records will be created in the Tax department (Finanzamt), ARD - ZFD (German radio and TV broadcasting service), etc. After you've secured a place to live, however, it's easy to obtain an Anmeldung. Understand more about How to Register in Germany or How to get meldebescheinigung in Germany more. Apply for your German residence permit Applying for your German residence permit should be considered only after your address is registered. Otherwise, you’ll have to reapply to update your new address in the residence permit which is usually sticking a piece of paper with your new address on the plastic card. Make an appointment with the Ausländerbehörde, the office for foreigners. In spite of the fact that this is the foreigners department, they communicate only in German. You will need a translator or a friend who understands the language to help you. Usually, the first residence permit you get will be valid for three years. A permanent residency can be applied for later if you meet certain criteria. Get your Steueridentifikationsnummer - Tax ID in Germany For anything involving the Finanzamt, you need to get your Steueridentifikationsnummer. Your tax ID number usually arrives in your post after you register in Germany. But if you are wondering about the process, check it out here Open a bank account in Germany Expats living, studying or working in Germany must get familiar with the German banking system from anytime they move in - no matter whether they need to open a bank account to receive their salary or simply want to transfer money to and from abroad. In Germany, there are many options for banking; you can choose from new generation online-only banks, traditional banks or hybrid banks. Get familiar with the German way of banking. Shortly, we recommend Wise - formally TransferWise - or N26 if you desire a simple and easy account opening process. Get necessary Insurances There is insurance on everything in Germany, unlike many other countries. Whether it's your pet or an appliance in your kitchen, almost everything can be insured in Germany. Generally your employer offers health insurance for you and your dependents. We cover almost every possible scenario in this article. So, make sure to check it out. Get your German driving license Though the public transportation is great in Germany compared to other countries in the world, it's always nice to get your driving license in Germany. Your license is still valid if it was issued in the EU. Otherwise, you are not allowed to drive after 6 months and you will need to convert it to a German driver's license. If your non-EU license is not converted to a German one and you are driving in Germany, you won't have insurance coverage and may owe thousands of Euros if you get into an accident. Driving without a valid license can get you into even more serious trouble. It is also necessary to translate all non-German licenses, and you should carry that translation around with you at all times. If your driving is about to expire, you need to renew your license well in advance to avoid an unnecessary waiting period. The German integration course Despite the fact that many cities in Germany are considered international, if you wish to live in Germany, you should learn German. The language knowledge will be useful for you if you want to mingle with locals, fill out application forms, when receiving letters from authorities, or support your children at school. You should also know certain things about Germany, such as its history, culture, and legal system. In the BAMF portal (Federal Office for Migration and Refugees), you can find the nearest integration centers. Finally, the process of moving to a new country might seem long and complicated at first. In spite of their long and complicated nature, Germany's processes work in the end! As you settle into this wonderful country, you'll enjoy its excellent quality of life!
- Become a pharmacist in Germany
To work as a pharmacist in Germany, you will need the permit to practice as a pharmacist otherwise known as approbation. Currently, Germany has one of the most employable healthcare sectors in the world. As long as you have a license as a pharmacist and meet certain conditions, you should have no trouble finding employment. How to become a Pharmacist in Germany There are two options to become a pharmacist in Germany. Study pharmacy in Germany in a German university Migrate to Germany as an experienced Pharmacist Study Pharmacy in a German university This is probably the most expensive way to become a pharmacist in Germany. However, the chances of getting hired in a German hospital, apotheke or other organizations are much higher than the other options. It is the same process as coming to Germany to study any other courses. As soon as you’ve completed your higher secondary school, you can explore diploma or degree courses in pharmacy in Germany and start applying. In addition, you may be able to get scholarships that cover your entire stay in Germany, including your flight tickets, accommodation, and health insurance. Therefore, don’t forget to explore how to get a scholarship in Germany. Migrate to Germany as a professional Pharmacist If you have completed your degree in Pharmacy in a non EU member state or Switzerland, you need to get your academic credentials recognized in Germany. The process evaluates whether your education is equivalent to a German degree. Those who have earned degrees in another country are entitled to have their degrees equivalence assessed. It will be easier if you have already had your degree recognized in an EU-member country. The process for assessing equivalency As part of the equivalency assessment, the competent authorities compare your degree with the corresponding German degree to determine whether the two are comparable in terms of content or duration. If there are no significant differences, the authorities will certify equivalency. You don't receive a German degree certificate. However, it grants you the same legal rights as someone who has completed the corresponding degree in Germany. Pharmacist degree recognition Procedure in Germany To understand the procedure easily, the information portal of the German government for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has prepared a very detailed documentation in English. Documents required for the recognition procedure in Germany To start with you need to translate your degree certificates and your experience certificates to German. You can find translation services in your home country which might be cheaper. However, make sure that they are certified translators for official purposes. Alternatively, here’s a list of translation services listed in muenchen.de, an official website of the city of Munich. In addition to the application form, the following documents and additional supporting evidences must be submitted: Proof of identity - copy of passport Proof of work experience, education, and training If applicable, evidence of your right to practice in your country of origin Fitness certificate from a certified doctor Certificate of good conduct (Führungszeugnis) from a certified doctor Proof of German language skills. Please note that you only need to send the certified translations of your certificates for the recognition process. The competent authority will let you know if they need to see any original documents. The cost of your degree recognition process will be depending on the state you choose. The corresponding competent authority will inform you about the actual costs. When your degree is only partially recognized in Germany If substantial differences between your education and the German standard are determined, you can prove that you have the occupational knowledge and skills necessary to practice the pharmacist profession as per paragraph 3 of the Federal Pharmacists Regulation by taking the assessment exam. The assessment exam’s content is similar to that of the final state exams for German pharmacists. It covers the pharmaceutical practices as well as some legal points related to pharmacies. Additionally, it will touch the subject that was determined to have considerable differences by the competent authority. As per our research, the classes offered to intern pharmacists (PhiP) to prepare for this exam could help you too. The pharmacist's chamber offers the classes to help the pharmacist trainees to prepare for their state exams. You can get more information from the Chamber of Pharmacists in the state where you wish to work. You may also apply for a permit to practice pharmacy in Germany for a period of up to two years. This Permit is granted to persons who have completed pharmacy studies outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland. However, you may be limited to certain types of activities. In general, you may be restricted to working in a specific pharmacy or under the supervision of another pharmacist. Please note that the permit does not represent the recognition of your degree or qualifications obtained in a foreign country. It does not, however, prevent you from receiving approbation too! You can only practice limited tasks during this practice period. You can, however, gain first-hand practical experience while preparing for the language or other assessment exams. German language skills required to become a pharmacist in Germany In order to obtain approbation as a pharmacist, your general and occupational German language skills must be sufficient. It is required that you have a level B2 knowledge of German according to the Common European Reference Framework. Additionally, you must pass the specialist language examination at level C1. The specialist language examination is administered by the chamber of pharmacists in most federal states. You are not required to prove language skills when initially submitting the application for approbation. It is sufficient to prove these during the process. The occupational language exam has no effect on the process of having your degree and education recognized and pharmaceutical knowledge is not tested as part of this examination. It is, however, not too difficult to learn German these days. You can find many courses online or you can even come to Germany for a short period to learn the language if you find that practical. This will help you get a first impression about the culture, the people and the system. Furthermore, you can also make connections in Germany that will help you land a job in the future. How to prepare for the occupational language examination in Germany as a pharmacist? For people who are preparing for the occupational language exam, a community pharmacy is a good place to start. You can improve your occupational German skills through observational work-shadowing. This involves observing a pharmacy team at work but not actively participating in pharmaceutical activities. As well as observing colleagues consult patients, you can learn about pharmaceutical packaging, medicinal product information, as well as the general processes and routines involved in working in a German pharmacy. The best places to find German Pharmacist jobs According to the ABDA - The Federal Union of German Associations of Pharmacists, the following job and recruitment portals are available and provide information about pharmacist jobs. Please note that this is not a complete list and only contains, primarily, positions available in community pharmacies. Job portals of the Chambers of Pharmacists and Pharmacist Associations and Societies Pharmazeutischen Zeitung Job Market European Job Mobility Portal - EURES workeer (Training and Job Portal for Refugees) Visa for Pharmacists to Germany As a citizen of the European Union, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland, you require neither a visa nor a residence permit to work in Germany. Citizens of other countries on the other hand require a residence permit. Once you have successfully completed an interview and secured a job offer, you can apply for a German visa and work permit. The procedure is not different to other job categories. Upon completion of your professional training, you can also come to Germany to look for a job for up to 6 months on a German job seeker visa. On your way to Germany You can find all the information you need about living and working in Germany at www.expatova.com. If you enjoyed the content and feel like you learned something from it, consider supporting us by buying us a Ko - fi
- Study in Germany, can I get a scholarship?
Although there are many scholarship options you may see on the internet to pursue a degree in Germany, the DAAD funding opportunity is the most popular among them. DAAD scholarship is the largest funding opportunity for international students from the developing countries in the world. Founded in 1925, DAAD helped millions of students to study in Germany. There are a wide range of degree programmes offered by the DAAD and are available in both German and English. Why should I choose a German University? With a large number of internationally recognized universities, a wide variety of course options, and an affordable living cost, Germany is a great place for students. Degrees from German universities are highly valued worldwide, and German universities offer students enormous professional and personal benefits. Furthermore, the German job market is always seeking talented individuals who can contribute to the growth of the country. Despite having free tuition fees, there are costs involved in studying here. Scholarships are therefore necessary for students from the majority of developing countries. Compared to other European countries, Germany is not particularly expensive. However, to be able to study here successfully, you must correctly estimate the costs and be able to cover them. Do I need to learn German to pursue a degree in Germany? It depends on the course you choose. If you choose a course where German language proficiency is necessary, you may need a certain level of German language knowledge and might also need to submit the corresponding certificate during the application. DAAD scholarship requirements Students who want to pursue a full-time course in Germany may apply for DAAD scholarships. Students who qualify for the scholarship will receive a monthly stipend to cover their expenses during their studies. The applicant must, however, have completed their Bachelor degree within the last six years in their country of residence. There may be additional requirements, such as a German proficiency certificate or English proficiency, depending on the course you choose. At the time of application, you must have lived in your country of residence for at least one year if the length of your course is up to six months. For a stay of more than six months, you must have completed your last degree in your home country. Preparing your DAAD application form The application has to be submitted online. To start with, you need to register on the DAAD website. During the course of filling out the application form, you may need to upload the documents that prove your nationality, the course you completed in your home country, language proficiency, work experience, etc. There are clear guidelines about the supporting documents in the application form. Furthermore, you must submit a letter of motivation when applying for a Study Scholarship. In order to qualify for a Research Grant, you must submit a detailed proposal. Also, you may need to submit a letter of recommendation from a professor from the university where you earned your degree. Please make sure to check DAAD’s website for information that might have changed. How much is the DAAD scholarship stipend? Students enrolled in doctoral degree courses will receive 1,200 euros. The stipend for postgraduate students is 850 euros per month. DAAD scholarships also include free accommodation in university dorms. In addition, DAAD covers the health insurance of Postgraduate and Doctoral students. They might also get a travel grant. Basically, your monthly stipend covers your living expenses, health insurance, and some travel expenses. An additional benefit of DAAD scholarship is that you may also get the opportunity to take your spouse and children along with you if your course duration is more than 6 months. Unlike most universities in Germany, some might have a tuition fee. However, the DAAD scholarship does not cover tuition fees. While on your scholarship, if you wish to work part-time, you must first request approval from the DAAD. You should also get the consent of your supervisor or from the course coordinator. Make sure, however, that the part-time employment does not interfere with your scholarship. The income that exceeds € 450 gross per month will be deducted from the monthly stipend. Preparing the documents for your DAAD scholarship Apart from the duly filled online application form, your academic and work experience certificates, you also need a couple of additional documents to support a successful DAAD scholarship. How to prepare the letter of motivation for DAAD scholarship In less than three pages, explain why you want to study in Germany for personal and professional reasons. Additionally, it may include information about your academic background, skills and work experience (if any). Information about your degree, how many semesters you completed, your professional experience, your language skills, and any recognitions you have won. You may also include the reasons why you want to pursue the course you have chosen, the university you prefer, and your academic and personal expectations. How to prepare the testimonial for DAAD scholarship The letter of reference or testimony must be written by a professor in your university. It may include a professor's view about you as a scholar, your academic achievements, the significance of the scholarship for your career, etc. How to prepare the project proposal for DAAD scholarship Applicants should submit a detailed project proposal when applying for a Research Grant. Details about the project you will be working on should be included in the proposal. Your research field, your research in the past about the chosen topic, the theories, etc., and the reasons for using them. Additionally, if you anticipate any difficulties related to data collection or any obstacles you may come across during the execution of the research, etc. Basically, your detailed project proposal should include all the information you have currently available. Application Once you have the documentation ready, you may apply for the scholarship on the DAAD website. Both the quality of the project and the applicant's academic achievements determine whether you get the scholarship. Don't worry if you didn't pass the assessment. The application has no maximum limit. Improve your proposal, testimonial, and motivation letter, gain more experience, and reapply! The DAAD website has a very comprehensive FAQ section. Make sure to check it for more detailed and up-to-date infomration. On your way to Germany You can find all the information you need about living and working in Germany at www.expatova.com. If you enjoyed the content and feel like you learned something from it, consider supporting us by buying us a Ko - fi
- How to become a Nurse in Germany
Despite Germany having a very stable healthcare system, nursing professionals remain in high demand and their contribution is more vital than ever. In order to meet the increasing demand in the healthcare and nursing professions, hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities are searching for nursing personnels with different levels of qualifications and experience. According to forecasts, this demand will rise in the near future. What are the requirements to become a nurse in Germany? Nurses who wish to work in Germany require official authorisation to practise the profession in the country. In order to work in the nursing profession in Germany, you must meet the following requirements. Qualification to become a nurse in Germany To become a nurse in Germany, your nationality does not matter. However, your degree or diploma needs to be recognized in Germany in order to determine whether it meets German standards. If your certificate is not recognized, you may take an assessment test or undergo an adaptation period to demonstrate an equivalent level of knowledge. A professional recognition application can be submitted to the competent authority in the state where you intend to work. Professional recognition obtained in Germany is valid throughout the country. German language skills to become a nurse in Germany As a medical professional, you need strong and in-depth knowledge of the German language, as you will be working closely with patients. Depending on where you intend to work, you will need a level equivalent to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) B2 or B1. It is, however, not too difficult to learn German these days. You can find many courses online or you can even come to Germany for a short period to learn the language if you find that practical. This will help you get a first impression about the culture, the people and the system. Furthermore, you can also make connections in Germany that will help you land a job in the future. Physical and mental fitness to become a nurse in Germany A German doctor must certify that you are physically and mentally fit before you can be hired as a nurse. Furthermore, you will have to prove that you don't have a criminal record. It may be sufficient to provide a certificate of good conduct from your country of origin or a German certificate of conduct (Führungszeugnis). How to become a Nurse in Germany There are three options to become a nurse in Germany. Study nursing in Germany in a German university Vocational nursing training and apprenticeship in Germany Migrate to Germany as a professional nurse Study nursing in a German university This is probably the most expensive way to become a nurse in Germany. However, the chances of getting hired in a German hospital or other care facilities are much higher than the other two options. It is the same process as coming to Germany to study any other courses. As soon as you’ve completed your higher secondary school, you can explore the nursing courses in Germany and start applying. In addition, you may be able to get scholarships that cover your entire stay in Germany, including your flight tickets, accommodation, and health insurance. Therefore, don’t forget to explore how to get a scholarship in Germany. Nurse apprenticeship in Germany You have completed your higher secondary and are currently pursuing a degree in another field, or you have already completed your degree in another stream, but you still wish to become a nurse in Germany, you may be able to do that by applying for a nurse apprenticeship. A positive about this program is that you will be paid during the training, so that you can live comfortably in Germany until you begin receiving your regular salary. However, there may be limited apprenticeship vacancies and a high number of applicants. Therefore, you should demonstrate your skills clearly, noticeably, and understandably. Where to find Nurse apprenticeship openings in Germany If you Google Nurse apprenticeship in Germany or ‘Ausbildung zur Krankenschwester in Deutschland’, among the genuine recruiters, you will see millions of websites with advertisements and most of them only waste your time, steal your money or sometimes even endanger you. Therefore, always be careful when planning your career. We suggest you shortlist the cities or towns you want to work and live in Germany. Once you have a final list, start searching for the hospitals and medical universities around there. Frequently check their web pages and follow them on LinkedIn, Indeed, Xing, etc and apply for the apprenticeship as soon as you see an opening. This way, you can avoid middlemen, save some money on commissions, and take advantage of being an early bird. Migrate to Germany as a professional nurse Applicants from EU member states may directly apply for relevant positions in German hospitals, clinics, etc. Many of these institutions offer nurse training programs to help you onboard. Additionally, applicants from any EU country can start an apprenticeship as a nurse in Germany. If you are interested in one of these options please apply directly. However, you need to demonstrate German language skills at least on B1 level. How to get a job in Germany as a nurse? If you already have finished your diploma or degree in Nursing in your home country and you have practical working experience, there might be an option to start as a nurse or nursing helper in Germany. However, your foreign degree must be recognized in Germany. Please note that despite your experience, you must have German language skills of level B1 or B2 in order to work as a nurse in Germany. To start with you need to translate your degree certificates and your experience certificates to German. You can find translation services in your home country which might be cheaper. However, make sure that they are certified translators for official purposes. Alternatively, here’s a list of translation services listed in muenchen.de, an official website of the city of Munich. Once the certificates and documents are translated, you need to send them to the competent authority in the province of your choice by post. Please note that you only need to send the certified copies of Originals. Recognition procedure as General nurse in Germany To understand the procedure easily, the information portal of the German government for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has prepared a very detailed documentation in English. As soon as your professional qualification is recognized in Germany, you can start applying to hospitals, medical universities, care homes, or basically any medical organization that requires your qualifications. It is also worth noting that there’s no age limit to migrate to Germany as a nurse. As long as you fulfill the criteria of academic comparability, work experience and language skills, you can always give it a try. How to find Nurse vacancies in Germany? As mentioned earlier the easiest method is to shortlist the cities or towns you want to work and live in Germany. Once you have a final list, start searching for the hospitals and medical universities around there. Frequently check their web pages and follow them on LinkedIn, Indeed, Xing, etc and apply as soon as you see an opening. Finally, you may also approach any reputed recruiters you trust and seek help. They mostly charge you a fortune. If you are able to afford this option, consider it only as your last resort. How to get a German visa for nurses? As a citizen of the European Union, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland, you require neither a visa nor a residence permit to work in Germany. Citizens of other countries on the other hand require a residence permit. Once you have successfully completed an interview and secured a job offer, you can apply for a German visa and work permit. The procedure is not different to other job categories. Upon completion of your professional training, you can also come to Germany to look for a job for up to 6 months on a German job seeker visa. On your way to Germany You can find all the information you need about living and working in Germany at www.expatova.com. If you enjoyed the content and feel like you learned something from it, consider supporting us by buying us a Ko - fi
- How to claim your German pension - a complete guide
The process of getting your pension back may seem difficult. Nevertheless, if you follow the rules correctly, you could potentially receive thousands of euros from your German pension. There are a number of factors that should be considered for claiming your pension refund. It depends on your : Nationality Place of current residence How long did you work in Germany? What was your gross salary? To find out how much you can claim back, check out the many German Pension Refund calculators available online. Alternatively, you can check out Pension Refund's pension refund calculator. Documents required for German pension refund Completed application form Your pension insurance number Personal ID (identity card, passport, birth certificate or family register in copy) Your insurance history (of all insurances you had while in Germany) Income tax certificates for each financial year you worked in Germany. Your tax identification number Your international account number IBAN and the international bank code BIC A power of attorney if you are applying on behalf of someone Meldebescheinigung zur Sozialversicherung It is important that you fill out the additional form V0105 if you answer "yes" to the question regarding gaps in insurance in section 5. Just for you to note, you may be required to submit supporting documents when applying for a pension refund. That may include some of the documents listed below Your insurance period completion documents. Birth certificates of your children Proof of professional training A written authorization is required if there are an authorized representative A determination sheet from the corresponding agency is required if civil servant times are available Evidence of training periods Evidence of periods of unemployment and illness Your birth certificate and, if applicable, the birth certificates of your children Even if the apprenticeship was terminated or you failed the exam, you should have your apprenticeship contract and journeyman or commercial assistant certificate. What is the process for claiming my German pension? Wait 24 months after your last pension payment You must wait 24 months before applying for a pension refund after your last mandatory payment. The documents can, however, still be prepared while you wait. Preparing the documents while you are in Germany makes the whole process easier for you. Download the application form and fill it out To complete the form, visit deutsche-rentenversicherung.de and download the package of forms You can book an appointment with the deutsche rentenversicherung if you need help filling out the forms. Alternatively, you can also call them. The telephone support is, however, only available in German. Application Though the application form is available in different languages including English, we recommend you fill out the German version (V0900) to make the process smoother. Bank details You need to fill Zahlungserklärung (the payment information form). Please note that the refund process will take approximately two months longer if you use a bank in another country. If your bank account is in Germany use the form A1310. Otherwise, fill the form A1313. Alternatively, we recommend you not to close your Wise - formally TransferWise or N26 accounts even if you leave Germany. Having a German bank account will get your refund much faster. If you don't have a Wise or N26 account yet, we recommend you create one while already in Germany. Sending your application Once you complete all the applications and you’ve waited 24 months after leaving Germany, you are ready to post everything to deutsche rentenversicherung. Please note that you cannot send the documents before the end of the 2nd year. Sending your documents too early may result in them being returned to you. Await an answer. The Deutsche Rentenversicherung will review your case as soon as they receive your application. In case of a need for supporting documents or additional information, they will contact you. In order to contact you, they will only use the postal service, that too in German. To prove that you live in the country you stated in the application, you might need to visit the German embassy or consulate. Finally, it all depends on the person who’s processing your application at DRV. Each person wants different information. It is important to be patient.