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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.

* 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.

Apply for a visa at the German mission abroad

If the visa gets accepted, you are allowed to enter Germany temporarily (entry visa).

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

Look for a permanent place to live

This is mandatory: if you don't have a permanent place, you will not be allowed to stay in Germany and proceed with the registration process.

Here is a complete Apartment Listing Site for Germany.

Register your German residence at the "Bürgeramt" by
filling in an Anmeldung form

You can fill in your "Anmeldeformular" in English, French, Spanish or Italian here and bring it to the local citizens office in order to get an important paper called "Anmeldebestätigung" (proof of residence).

Read more about that process here: Registration in Germany.

Obtain a German Health Insurance

The public health insurance is the cheapest and easiest choice, especially for students under the age of 30.

Here is a German Guide to Health Insurance (2016).

Request a Free Insurance Quote Now!

Apply for the residence permit at your local Ausländerbehörde (LABO)

Your visa was only allowing you to enter Germany and sort out your Anmeldung registration; your electronic permit will allow you to stay in the country for at least a few years (specified on your permit).

Provisional document

If your permit is accepted, you will get a provisional certificate allowing you to work or enroll at the university. It will take some weeks to issue a proper electronic permit.

Apply for a German Tax ID & a German Tax Number

 Tax ID
This step is not anymore necessary, you only need to follow it if you've lost your tax ID! The tax office will send you the tax ID automatically to your registered German address within 2-3 weeks after you've done your Bürgeramt/Bürgerbüro registration.

In case you've lost your tax ID, you can apply for one online:
>>Tax ID Application Form<<

Tax Number (for freelancers)
If you want to work, you need to apply for a German tax number (Steuernummer) at your local Finanzamt.

 Employees have their income tax deducted from their salary at source. If you don't have a tax ID (no Anmeldung), you will be taxed at the maximum rate possible and will not be able to claim any tax back in the future. 

Your Residence Title for Germany

After 3 or 4 weeks of waiting (for the student or work permit), you will finally get your Residence Title (all-in-one card: "Visa and Permit").

Open a German Bank Account

This is mandatory if you want to get paid by your employer. 
Do not forget to bring your proof of residence to the bank.

Please be advised that the processes described in this article were simplified on purpose. We didn't want to go into detail and elaborate on exceptional cases.

If you already have some basics in German or feel confident enough with Google translator, we recommend DKB (Deutsche Kreditbank Berlin). DKB Cash is one of the few German bank accounts that are totally free of charge (there are no set up fees and no monthly fees). Furthermore, you will get a DKB Visa Card that is also completely free of charge. The biggest advantage of the DKB Visa Card is that you can withdraw money free of charge from any ATM worldwide (€50 min. withdrawal).

How to open an account with DKB? You will need a webcam, a valid proof of identity, your Steuer-ID (tax ID) and, if applicable, a proof of enrollment to the university. If you're not employed, you'll also have to show some proof of income.

Enjoy your stay in Germany!

From your residence registration to your tax ID, from your health insurance to your bank account – myGermanExpert is the easiest way to get settled in Germany.