Moving to Germany from USA
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Germany and all its splendor is indeed a place worth moving to. Think about the universal healthcare, the excellent and free educational system and all the schöne Ferien (beautiful holidays); why wouldn’t you, as an American, fancy moving to Germany from USA?
Germany has long been the center of most economic activities in Europe. With its woodlands, Berlin, and outdoor lifestyle, it has proven to tug at the heartstrings of people all over the world.
Can you imagine how amazing it would be to visit 46 World Heritage Sites? It would be a wunderbar and new experience for you if you decide to move to Germany from US.
But what is even more appealing to most US expats is that the cost of living in Germany, compared to the US, is lesser and more affordable.
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Cost of Living in Germany vs USA
Unlike the US, the cost of living in Germany is lesser and gives you the privilege of saving some money for other essential things in your life.
However, this doesn’t mean that everything in Germany is cheaper when compared to the US. So, before going right into the estimates or average cost of living in these two countries, you must first understand what is cheaper and more expensive in Germany.
In Germany, healthcare is cheap, and with only a little payment on health insurance, you can get the free and unlimited universal treatment you need.
Most people who have lived in the US and later decided to migrate to Germany from USA have testified that Germany’s healthcare system is way cheaper and better than that of the United States.
This lower price significantly reduces living expenses. Also, education in Germany is affordable to citizens/permanent residents and foreign or international students.
Germany offers free education to all. However, this isn’t 100% free. You will still need to pay the administrative fee, which could be as low as $145 (€119) per semester at the Technical University of Munich. This is way cheaper than the average cost of $2,527 in the US.
Conversely, some things like electronics, houses, and gas or petrol are more expensive in Germany than in the United States. So, if you plan to move to Germany from US, you will have to get used to spending a little above what you are used to for these amenities.
So, here is a comprehensive analysis of the cost of living in Germany vs. US.
Average Cost Per Month
Average Cost Per Year
Even with these estimates, the cost of living could increase or reduce depending on your lifestyle, family size, or education choice.
Suppose you chose to attend a public university. In that case, your living expenses could reduce drastically, but if you decided to attend a private university, your costs would increase.
So, the cost of living, hugely, depends on you and how you intend to spend your money.
Moving to Germany from USA Checklist
Before immigrating to Germany from US, there are some things you have to do to ensure that you land in Germany successfully.
Of course, it is not hard for an American to move to Germany from US, but without doing the right things or having the right things beforehand, your immigration to the land of Wunderbar could be ruined.
So, here is your checklist for moving to Germany from USA.
To migrate to any part of the world, especially to the land that’s 3000 miles away from the US, you will need to have enough money for what is to come afterward.
Money facilitates your migration to Germany because it makes it possible to get your visa, health insurance, and other essential things that you will need in the process.
Even after having the cash for your trip to Germany, you still need to plan.
Moving to Germany from USA requires planning. You need to plan your visa, lifestyle in Germany, your education, job, and even your apartment in Germany.
That’s why it is often advised to get the numbers right before taking the giant leap.
Fortunately, the cost of living in Germany is low, so you won’t spend so much time planning how you spend your cash in Germany.
No matter how you hate rigmarole, you still have to bear in mind that you need to cross this bridge before moving to Germany from USA.
Whatever documents you know will be required should be available beforehand. All paperwork is expected to be authentic.
Of course, you can never move to Germany without having a visa. So, having this in mind and getting all the things needed to obtain your permit to Germany will indeed help you considerably.
5. Get a home
After obtaining your visa, you can start making plans for your home in Germany.
Most people prefer to look for areas that they’d feel comfortable in and, more importantly, that they can afford. If you are a student, you can consider living in a dormitory or with a host family—that’s if you have a family or relative in Germany.
But if this isn’t for you, you can choose between renting an apartment or living in a dormitory.
Conversely, if you are moving to Germany from USA because of employment, you might consider renting an apartment that isn’t so far from your office.
6. Ship your belongings
If you have successfully gotten your new home in Germany, you can begin shipping your belongings down to your home in Germany.
You should let a professional relocation company such as Earth Relocation take care of your belonging. Start your move by getting a free quote here.
7. Solve all financial issues
As with all immigration, you will need to solve all long and short term financial issues.
This entails opening a bank account in Germany either with an international bank or their national banks like Volkswagen Bank, Deutsche Bank, or Commerz Bank.
There are also mobile banking options available in Germany. You should also sort out all the insurance, tax, and pension issues you might want to tackle before leaving for Germany.
8. Get your pets to Germany.
Before moving to Germany from USA, you will have to know what Germany’s pet restrictions are like.
But not to worry, Germany is a home for pets because they are treated well and appreciated; that’s why you can get your pet free on public transport in Germany.
However, no more than five pets are allowed in Germany for non-business purposes.
To successfully get your pet to Germany, you need to get all the paperwork ready.
You will have to vaccinate your pet for rabies at least twenty-one days before you leave. You must also provide proof of vaccination and other documents to prevent your pet from being quarantined.
9. Health insurance
10. Learn German
German is the most widely used language in Germany. If you are so keen on immigrating from Germany to US, you will need to learn German.
You can do this by downloading an app on your phone or computer or taking a course.
11. Get your kids to school.
The German education system is among the best in the world. One thing you have to do is get your kids a good school before you relocate.
Public education is free, but you might have to pay in a private school, so the choice is yours.
12. Get a job
Before you migrate from Germany to USA, you must make sure that you have gotten employment in Germany.
That way, you will feel comfortable and assured about moving to Germany from USA.
Ready to Move to Germany?
Visa Process and Requirements
To get a fantastich experience in Germany, you need to get yourself there to ensure that your plans and dreams of moving to Germany from USA become a reality.
But how do you get yourself to the land of splendor as an American? Do US citizens need a visa for Germany? How long can a US citizen stay in Germany? And do US citizens need a student visa for Germany?
All these are the questions you might need answers to. So, to answer your questions, you can get yourself to Germany by obtaining a resident permit.
However, as a US citizen, you can visit Germany for 90 days without a visa. The visa is only needed when you intend to move permanently, study in Germany, and work in Germany.
If you are a US student who wishes to study in Germany, you will need to get a student visa after gaining admission to any university in Germany.
Germany has a list of visas that you might find intriguing, which include:
- Job seekers visa.
- Freelancing visa.
- German language visa.
- Training/Internship visa.
- Au pair visa.
- Student visa.
- Guest scientist visa.
- Medical treatment visa.
- Business visa.
- Family reunion visa.
- Visa for the film crew, cultural events, religious events, and sports.
So, to obtain a visa for Germany, here is the list of required documents.
- Visa application form.
- Valid passport.
- Recent photographs. Note that the photo must be taken within the last three months.
- Proof of financial means.
- Health insurance.
- Birth certificate.
- Travel itinerary or proof.
To obtain your visa, you will have to follow the following steps.
Get and fill your application form.
Book an appointment
To ensure that your signed application form is accepted, you will have to schedule an appointment with the embassy.
Be punctual to the embassy.
If you genuinely want your application form to be accepted, be punctual to the embassy on the scheduled day.
Your visa application will be validated, and you will be issued a token.
After the verification, your application will be examined to ensure that all documents are arranged in the right order, according to the checklist.
Also, it will be assessed to ascertain if all the required documents are attached. Please note that you may be issued a token if your papers aren’t appropriately arranged according to the checklist.
When your application is complete, you will have to leave your passport and application form with the embassy for some time. Taking your passport would mean a termination of your initial visa application, and you would need to re-apply.
Verification of personal information
Here, your data will be uploaded to the German Consulate’s website or portal, and a printed copy of your personal information will be given to you to confirm that your name and other information are correct. After that, you will be asked to sign the form, but your parents or guardian will have to sign if you are a minor.
You can now make visa payments, and a receipt will be issued to you to confirm payment and enable you to retrieve your passport after the entire process.
Biometric Data Collection
Your fingerprint will be scanned. Ach du meine Güte! Your visa application is complete and will be forwarded for processing at the consulate the next working day. However, you still need to keep the receipt to collect your passport.
Healthcare Options in Germany
Germany ranks #25 in the world for the best healthcare. This indeed gives you, an American moving to Germany from USA, a variety of healthcare options. But since 2007, every resident of Germany is expected to get health insurance.
So, since healthcare in Germany is 100% free, you might decide to get public-regulated health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung, GKV).
However, you have two other options: private health insurance from a local or international health insurance corporation (Private Krankenversicherung, PKV).
The last option is to get a combination of public and private health insurance.
Public Transport in Germany
The transportation system In Germany is quite affordable and straightforward. On average, a single ticket costs €2 ($2.45), which is relatively cheaper than the $2.75 single day pass in New York.
There are five major public transportation modes in Germany: S-Bahn, Tram (Straßenbahn), U-Bahn, Bus, and Regional trains. Here is a detailed description of the five major modes of transport in Germany to fully understand what these transport systems mean.
Germans also know this mode of transportation as Untergrundbahn. It is the same as the US metro or subway. Most U-Bahn in Germany usually operate above ground and are represented by a broad white letter “U” on a blue sign.
The S-Bahn, commonly known as Schnellbahn, is the fastest form of transportation in Germany. It is simply the suburban or urban rail system that you might already be used to in the US. The S-Bahn is represented by a big letter “S” on a green sign.
Germans commonly know tram as Straßenbahn, and it is what most Americans call the streetcars. Trams operate on regular roads, rails and have several stops in different cities. Tram is visually depicted by the word “Tram” on a red surface.
4. Regional trains
Deutsche Bahn manages the regional trains in Germany. Deutsche Bahn manages most train stations in Germany.
If you intend to move to Germany from US, you have to use buses to transport yourself, your family, and your pet if you don’t own a car. Buses are the most common form of transportation because they run into the night when other modes of transportation have stopped operating.
Need to Relocate to Germany?
Jobs for Americans in Germany
Immigrating to Germany from US for employment purposes is one of the most common reasons Americans move to Germany. But can you move to Germany without a job?
Yes, you can move to Germany without a job. However, you have to obtain a job seeker’s visa after confirming that you have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, enough funds to cover all your expenses, and at least five years’ experience in your field of study.
You will also need to have medical insurance covering you throughout your stay until you obtain the Work Permit.
Note that the job seeker’s visa lasts for six months and only allows you to search for a job. You are not permitted to work with the job seeker’s visa.
If you are interested in working in Germany, here is a list of some professions and their salaries available to you as an American. But note that most jobs in Germany require that you understand German.
- Insurance engineer (average salary €71,000)
- Specialist doctor (€78,000)
- Corporate finance manager (€75,400)
- Lawyer or regional adviser (€69,000)
- Patent engineer (€72,000)
What are the Pros and Cons of Living in Germany?
You might be excited about moving to Germany from USA, but you have to know that as an American moving 3000 miles away, there are certain things you might not like or enjoy in Germany.
It isn’t always beautiful, but it is worth immigrating to Germany from US to taste all the beautiful events, history, culture, and nightlife.
Pros of Living in Germany
Cons of Living in Germany
Public health is usually slow.
The difficulty level of German grammar is high.
Reduced work hours
Customer service is not as good as it is in the US.
Low cost of living
Houses are costly
Attractive Christmas market
Excessive tax deduction (40% of one’s income)
Lots of job opportunities
German is the most used language, hence language barrier
Numerous public occasions
Germany doesn’t have so many beaches.
22nd peaceful country, 2019.
Germany still has its fair share of insecurity.
Germans are punctual
Germans are not nice and friendly.
Germany Travel Restrictions Covid-19
Owing to Covid-19, the global pandemic that struck the world, Germany has placed some travel restrictions to curb the virus’s spread. Here are some of the travel restrictions.
- Only EU citizens, residents, and other specified countries are allowed to travel to Germany—US citizens aren’t permitted to travel to Germany unless they have a valid reason.
- US citizens who have met the narrow exceptions to enter Germany must be quarantined.
- US citizens in Germany must call 116 117 to get a Covid-19 test.
Best Places to Live in Germany as an American
Moving to Germany from USA entails that you consider the best place to live as an American to enjoy all the wonders of Germany. So, check out this list of the five best places to live in Germany as an American.
To ensure that you actualize all your plans of moving to Germany from USA, you have to follow all the steps in this guide to help you obtain your visa, ship your belongings, move your pet, and ultimately, get yourself in the beautiful financial center of Europe, Germany. Good luck!
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