Request a Free Quote (Public or Private Health Insurance)

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


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?

7 Steps to live in Germany:

Look for a place to live

Your options are: Students halls of residence, Shared flats (Wohngemeinschaft – WG) or Private apartments. 

Bürgeramt Registration:
the Anmeldung process to register your address in Germany

  • By law, you are required to fill in an Anmeldung form to register your residence at the local citizens office (called Einwohnermeldeamt, Einwohnermeldebehörde, Bürgerämter or Bürgeramt). You have to register within 14 days of relocating to your new German address. Everyone living in Germany, even if temporarily, has the obligation to register/re-register at one of the many Bürgerämter

  • If you are staying in a hotel and have not found a permanent residence yet, it is often possible to register with your hotel address. Ask your hotel for further details. 

  • You will need to provide the Bürgeramt official with a valid ID or passport, the 'Landlord Confirmation Letter' and the lease or sublet contract. At the end of the process, you will get a proof of registration (called Meldebestätigung or Meldebescheinigung) from the Bürgeramt official. Do not lose this important document as you will need it, for instance, to open a bank account.

  • When to de-register? Only when you move abroad or move from a secondary residence back to the main dwelling. 

More info: the Anmeldung process explained

You are now allowed to work or study in Germany!

Looking for a job? Here is a Job Listing Sites for Germany

German Health Insurance 

  • If you are working as an employee, you would certainly want to be covered by a public health insurance (e.g.: Barmer, TK,...). Please check with your employer about the different possibilities. 


  • If you are a freelancer or want to enroll at a university, your next step will be to obtain a German Health Insurance:
      • While your overseas travel insurance was sufficient until you reached Germany, a German insurance is mandatory while in the country. You cannot be enrolled at the university unless you have a German insurance. 

      • You need to apply for it after registering your address in Germany. There are two kinds of health insurances: Public (for employees and students) and Private (for everyone, incl. freelancers). The Public insurance is likely to be more economical than a private insurance and easier to apply for.

      • If you are a resident in the EU, you should apply for your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) before travelling to other European Union Member States. The EHIC is valid for holidaymakers and temporary visitors who need to use the state health system while in another EU country.


Tax ID & Tax Number

Tax ID
The German tax authority will send the tax ID (IdNr.) automatically to your registered German address within 2-3 weeks after you've done your Bürgeramt registration.

As an employee, you will have to provide your employer with your tax ID before the start of a new calendar year or at the time you begin a new employment.

Tax Number
If you want to work as a freelancer, 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 probably not be able to claim any tax back in the future. 

>>More details about the German Tax System<<

In case you've lost your tax ID, you would have to fill in the online form on our website:

Open a Bank Account

If you speak German you can just search for a bank near you and enter during opening hours. 

MGE recommends DKB


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.

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.

Integration: It's time to learn German!

Yep, this is the hardest part. Eventually, you will have to start, even if you don't need it during your work or your studies. Now the question is: How long can you stay without needing German? :-p