Anmeldung in Berlin: Call this number to book a Bürgeramt appointment within a few days: 030 90 24 990 (Mo-Fr, 7-20).

Health Insurance in Germany


The Healthcare System in Germany 

Everything you need to know about the German insurance system


Health-Insurance-Germany

Health insurance is compulsory for the whole population in Germany. Germany has a multi-payer health care system with two main types of health insurance:

'Statutory Health Insurance' 
(Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) 

and
'Private Health Insurance' 
(Private Krankenversicherung).



German-Health-Insurance-System


Can I live in Germany without any health insurance?

No, it's illegal to be without insurance! By law, you cannot live in Germany, even temporarily, without being covered by health insurance. If you are not insured, your visa request or university enrollment will be denied.

But what if I have the EHIC?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is issued by your national health insurance provider and is only valid during a temporary stay in Germany (as well as in any other EU & EEA country). If you're a EU resident, you should apply for your EHIC before traveling to Germany. You need to get information from your insurance provider in your country of origin for all terms & conditions.

More info about the EHIC here.

Important: If you decide to work in Germany, even for a short period, you must apply for a German health insurance!

Can I move to Germany with an international health insurance?

This could be quite risky, because most of the foreign insurance companies are not registered with the financial regulatory authority in Germany, or BaFin. Even international companies that are authorized in Germany often do not meet the requirements & standards decided upon in new reforms. Currently, almost none of the major international health insurers provide a German-language certificate recognized by the visa authorities in Germany, thus your visa or residence permit could be denied.

April 2016 Update: The Ausländerbehörde (LABO) in Berlin is already denying most of the international health insurance plans. 

Do I automatically get insured when I start to work or study in Germany?

No. In Germany, you do not automatically get an insurance card when you start working or studying. You must first register with a 'Krankenkasse' (German health insurance fund). As an employee or a student, you must inform your employer/university which health insurance company you have chosen.

There are two different types of German health insurances: the public health insurance (GKV) and the private health insurance (PKV). While most people could be eligible for the public health insurance, being accepted by a private health insurance is more difficult and tricky (many conditions).

I don't have a German address yet, can I apply for a German health insurance?

It depends. If you don't have a German address yet, you'll not be able to become a member of a public health insurance company (e.g. Barmer GEK, TK, AOK). By law, you need first to do the so-called 'Anmeldung' (German address registration). Once your German address is registered at the 'Bürgeramt' (local citizens office), you'll be able to apply for a proper German health insurance. More details in here.

If you're applying for a German visa, you'll need to prove to the German authorities that you already have a recognized health insurance. In this case, you'll need to apply for a travel health insurance (scroll down to the 'Travel Health Insurance' category).

Bürgeramt Registration Checklist


What's the Anmeldung?


Anmeldung’ means ‘to register’ in German. It's basically the fact of registering your residence in Germany.

If you plan on working or attending a College/University, you are required by law to register your residence in Germany. This is achieved by submitting in person an Anmeldung form to your local registration office called ‘Bürgeramt’, ‘Bürgerbüro’ or even ‘Kundenzentrum’. This is required for any change of address and needs to be done within 14 days of relocating to your new German address. 

If you don't register in Germany, you'll not be able to get a residence permit, apply for a tax ID, open a bank account or take out German health insurance.

Here below is a checklist on what to bring to the Bürgeramt when registering your residence in Germany.

[Important changes in law starting from November 2015]
Anmeldung-Checklist
Last Update: June 2016

Need more details about the Anmeldung process? 
Read our Anmeldung Guide in here.


Newsletter



Freelancing in Germany


How to become a freelancer in Germany

Last update: February 2016
Freelancing-in-Germany
[This Guide is not for self-employed owning a business, but for freelancers with "non-commercial" activities!]

Can I be a freelancer in Germany (Freiberufler)?

As per the Income Tax Act (§ 18 I Nr.1 EstG) a freelancer work includes the following activities: Independent scientific, artistic, literary, teaching or educational activities, and the independent professional activities of physicians, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, notaries,...

Here is a non-exhaustive list of freelancing professions: 

Choreographer, designer, photographer, cameraman, artist (visual and performing), musician, director, singer, actor, writer, dancer, copywriter, interpreter, translator, journalist, reporter, photo-journalist, video-journalist, historian, architect, urban planner, interior designer, landscape architect, pilot, biologist, chemist, geographer, computer scientist, engineer, surveyor, restaurateur (with university degree), notary, patent attorney, lawyer, business consultant, economist, tax consultant, tax agent, doctor, psychotherapist, veterinarian, dentist, pharmacist, physiotherapist, masseur, dietitian, teacher, lecturer, educator, kids nanny, programmer (freelance work for another company), customer services agent (freelance work for another company),...

Important: Please be aware that the field of activity is what counts and not the qualification. An architect running a construction firm will normally not be considered as a freelancer. Ultimately, the tax office decides whether the activity is "commercial" or categorized as a "liberal profession". It is often a case by case situation!



Parenting and Paperwork in Germany


The old woman and the sea (of paperwork) or, advanced parenting in Germany

[by Nicolette Stewart]

Kindergeld


Every since Baby Pickles arrived I have felt like I’m being buried alive. Letters, forms, papers, confirmations, more forms, more forms, and more fucking forms. Welcome to parenthood in Germany. Not so pleased to meet you, but thanks for the mad cash that you keep telling us we will someday get for working on your shrinking population problem. (“Problem.”)

I suck at paperwork. Though I vaguely enjoy filling out forms in a sort of obsessive compulsive way, I have trouble filling them out and getting them to the post office on time because at the end of the day I just don’t care. Taxes, registering my address, getting visas—how do people manage to give enough fucks to get this shit done before the very last second? At least some of Pickles’ paperwork will result in money in the bank, but still, paperwork is paperwork is hell, and I always procrastinate getting to the post office for as long as possible, and I am very, very good at forgetting things.

The paperstorm began immediately after Pickles’ was born. Her birth certificates could be picked up at the Standesamt, we had been told. We were supposed to pick them up right away, but I could barely walk because I’d just had fucking abdominal surgery you assholes, and duh, we were pretty fucking busy just trying to stay alive those first weeks. When I finally made it there, they told me that I needed to “order” the birth certificates, and I could pick them up later. Futile trip to the ugliest building in town! Thanks Standesamt!

Registering in Germany: Anmeldung Guide


The Anmeldung Guide

(New Anmeldung law as from 01.11.2015)


Anmeldung
Last update: June 2016


This Anmeldung Guide was written to help foreigners start their life in Germany. The Anmeldung is the most important step when relocating to Germany. Here are 8 things you should know about the Anmeldung to start off well in Germany.

Anmeldung-Guide

Place to Live
The first step to live & work legally in Germany is to find an accommodation as soon as possible. In fact, you cannot live in Germany more than 3 months without having an officially registered address. 

There are some exceptions: the Anmeldung may not be a necessary step if you plan to stay in Germany as a tourist for a few months, but bear in mind that you will not be able to open a bank account and get any electricity or internet contract without registering your residency.


In brief, who is obliged to register at the Bürgeramt?
* People who intend to live in Germany for more than three months;

* People who want to work or study in Germany;

* People who want to sign any kind of contract in Germany (open a bank account, register with a German health insurance, get an electricity or internet contract, and so on).



How to relocate to Germany?


Guide for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens moving to Germany

(not suitable for citizens from third-party countries)


Last update: November 2015

Moving-to-Germany

Here are the steps to follow if you want to live in Germany and are free to move inside the EU without a visa



Where do you come from?

  • As an EU citizen, you can live, work and study in Germany without any visa or permit restrictions (incl. Romanian, Bulgarian & Croatian citizens);
  • As a citizen from Switzerland, Norway (EEA), Iceland (EEA) or Liechtenstein (EEA), you can also live, work and study in Germany without any visa or permit restriction. 
  • Important: we recommend you check this visa requirements before you take any further steps;

More details about visas for Germany.



What's next?


How to get married in Germany?



Getting married in Germany? 


Last update: October 2014
Getting-married-in-Germany


Here is a Marriage Guide written by an expat couple (American-Italian) living in Berlin


My name is Emma, a US citizen from Kansas City, MO. I came here in Berlin in Winter 2010/11 and got engaged to Gianni the following Winter. We started the necessary bureaucratic processes in February 2012, and the first step was taken by having a look at the US Embassy website. This, in fact, already lists the documents to be presented to the German authorities, even though the list may change for different cases and for each of the 16 different German states.



First of all, one needs to go to the local Standesamt (registrar’s office) to see what documents they require you to submit. In Berlin, we were told that all non-German couples need to go to the Standesamt Mitte (Klosterstrasse U2). There, among hundreds of cheesy wedding magazines (showing jewels, dresses, new homes, etc.), each couple is called one by one. In our experience, we always waited for quite some time. In my case, I was asked to collect and come back with the following documents:


  • US passport.
  • German visa: the one valid at that time (even though I always had it with me, my visa is not stamped on my passport but is a separate document).
  • Registration certificate from our Local Registration Office (Bürgeramt) issued no more than 14 days before our second visit to the Standesamt. In German, it is called "Bescheinigung aus dem Melderegister". Be careful, this document is NOT the Anmeldebestätigung issued by the Bürgeramt when doing your Anmeldung!
  • Affidavit: a sworn declaration that I have been never married, which I received and had notarized at the US embassy. If you have been married previously, official proof of divorce is needed. To get either document, you need to make an appointment at the US embassy's website.
  • Proof of income: that was a bit tricky and pricey for me, because I am self-employed (a freelancer). So I needed to have my tax declaration, invoices, and receipts of the previous year certified by an accountant.
  • Birth certificate: Certified copy issued within the last six months.


On the Embassy website, there is much information on how to obtain a document from the US Authorities (for example, a birth certificate). If you don´t speak fluent German, it is recommended to be accompanied by someone who is fluent, as none of the employees we encountered could speak English.


As for Gianni, being a citizen of the European Union, not many documents were required:
  • Passport or ID.
  • Registration certificate from our Local Registration Office (Bürgeramt) issued no more than 14 days before our second visit to the Standesamt (this is not the Anmeldebestätigung from the Bürgeramt!).
  • Freedom of Movement Certificate (automatic for an EU citizen, Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung in German), showing his right to reside in Germany.
  • Birth certificate: Certified copy issued within the last six months.
  • An international Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage issued by Italy or the Italian embassy in Berlin within the last six months (to obtain this, both of us needed to be present at the Italian embassy). Also, I had to bring the German translation of my birth certificate, my passport, visa, and registration certificate. He had to show his passport and birth certificate (previously obtained). This certificate shows that neither of us had been married before. In the case of a previous marriage, this document confirms that either a divorce has been finalized or that the previous spouse has passed away.


All documents not in German needed to be translated in German by a sworn translator. An important advice to all: pay attention to the copies a sworn translator provides you! The translator I used messed up on my birth certificate, and when I went back to the translator, she was irritated by my complaints and my request to have a proper translation of the document... Well, apart from that it went smoothly.


Once you have gathered all necessary documents, you should return to the office and set the date. You can book any date (and a room) 6 months in advance at the most. This means that if you have all documents in mid-April, you can book a date no later than mid-October. Also, you will be asked if you would like the Standesamt to provide an interpreter for the ceremony, or if you know someone who will translate for you. If you choose the former, then you should pay an extra fee. So after confirming that, as well as a date and room, they will send you around in the Standesamt to pay some fees or get a stamp from another colleague, and finally return to the person in charge to have everything confirmed.


Then you only need to prepare and wait for the day!
Emma ♥

----

Many thanks to our friends Emma and Gianni for sharing their experience with myGermanExpert. Here is also a nice video found on the internet on how to get married in Germany. Enjoy it! 





Working in Germany: Job Listing Sites


The Top Job Listing Sites in Germany

Last update: January 2016
Working in Germany

Looking for a job in Germany? And you have no idea where to start?


First of all, it helps a lot to have some sort of special skills and/or be a highly qualified worker, since an employer in Germany will need to be able to justify why you, a foreigner, could be the best applicant for the job instead of the German competition! Luckily for you, fluent English (and possibly German) can count, as there are many startup positions available. Obviously, specialized and advanced degrees can help too, as well as relevant working experience.



What are your chances, as a qualified professional, of migrating to Germany and to continue your career over here? 


Do the quick test right now



Which occupations are in demand?


Check it out here



5 Steps for moving to Germany:



10 Steps to sorting your German paperwork

Practical Guide to sorting your German Paperwork
(for non-EU nationals - long-term stay)

Last update: August 2015
German Paperwork Help
10 Steps to sorting your German paperwork 

Apply for a job or university (of course, not from within Germany)

If you get a job or get accepted by a German university, you are then allowed to apply for an entry visa. 

Here is a Job Listing for vacancies in sectors where Germany has a shortage of qualified professionals.

Exceptions:
* If you are a citizen from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand and USA (exception for the Green card holders), you can apply for a job while in Germany (within 3 months) as you do not need any entry visa.
* If you are a citizen from Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino, you do not need an entry visa if your only purpose is studying, so you can apply for a student permit while in Germany. However, you will not be allowed to work at all. If you want to work, you need to apply for a visa before entering Germany.


Check out the Table of countries whose citizens require/do not required a visa to enter Germany.

4 Steps to leave the German Church


Do you have enough of paying Church Tax each month?

Last update: October 2014 

How to leave the German Church
How to leave the German Church?


If you do not want to pay Church Tax of 8 or 9%, you need to leave the German Church as soon as possible. Not ticking the Church Tax box in your Tax ID application form (former Tax Card) may just be enough to avoid it, but it is no guarantee.



Here is the procedure for leaving the church for tax purposes




Ask the "Bescheinigung für den Lohnsteuerabzug" (for 2010 or 2011) in original version from your employer (see screenshot below). As from 2012, the Tax ID number is electronic so no need to request it anymore.


Bescheinigung für den Lohnsteuerabzug
Bescheinigung für den Lohnsteuerabzug




Depending on where you live in Germany, you have to go either to the Amtsgericht (Local Court) or to the Standesamt (Civil Registry). 

Only your passport/ID and your Anmeldebestätigung (proof of registration) are needed. In case you are married or have been married, you would need to bring the Heiratsurkunde (certificate of marriage).