Public and Private Health Insurance

Tax Return

April 18, 2018

Banking in Germany

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Opening a Bank Account in Germany

Banking in Germany

Bank Accounts Comparison in Germany

Let’s talk banks! Opening a bank account is necessary for obtaining a visa in Germany, but it can be complicated to accomplish.

I honestly believed that opening an account would be simple because I had cash to deposit, a passport, and job offers; sadly I learned pretty quickly that this wasn’t a simple task. There are many banks in Germany to choose from, but I will only cover the few that I attempted to get an account with and the one I was finally able to open an account with. 

The issues I faced varied with the different banks, but mostly it boiled down to the fact that many foreign banks don’t want Americans as customers due to the strict tax laws the US government has instituted in the last few years.

The US government requires all foreign banks to report every account owned by Americans abroad, which is a lot of work for the banks to do every year, so many banks have decided to stop allowing Americans to have bank accounts with them and just remove the headache of mandatory reporting. 

The second issue I faced when it came to getting an account with a local German bank is that I am a freelancer here in Berlin, and there are a few banks that don’t give accounts to freelancers; I am not sure why this is true but it happens, so be prepared.

April 13, 2018

Having a dog in Berlin

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Dogs Berlin
Part III

There is a reality to having your pets in Berlin that needs to be addressed, and that is the point of today’s post. I covered the logistical information and intricacies of bringing your pets on an international move to Germany (read articles one & two), but haven’t covered the reality of daily life with them in Berlin. 

There are rules to pet ownership within Germany and Berlin that you need to be familiar with once you move here. 

Years ago there apparently weren’t any laws regarding dog ownership in Berlin and there were multiple cases of aggressive dogs causing issues etc, so to combat this and other concerns, the Berlin government instituted a required registration process of all dogs. 

Dogs in Berlin

Each state has its’ own requirements and fees and I won’t cover them all, but I will share what I have learned regarding Berlin fees and requirements. 

First, all dogs must be leashed in the city, no question. 

Second, Berlin’s dog registration fees are pretty outrageous, especially to an American who paid 30 USD per year for my spayed female and 25 USD a year for my neutered male. 

April 7, 2018

Taking Dogs or Cats to Germany

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The airlines and the logistics of flying to Germany with pets

Taking pets to Germany

Taking pets to Germany

Last weeks’ blog post concerned the EU requirements importing pets to Europe, and this week’s will concern the airlines and the logistics of actually flying with them. 

When I moved from the Middle East to Germany last summer I did all the work to import my dogs and my cat with me because I didn’t want to pay the large fees that the relocation specialist at the vet office charged.

There are some things to keep in mind regarding the flights, separate from the regulations of the EU and I will cover the steps I took to prepare for the trip.

First, I contacted both Lufthansa and KLM to inquire if they had availability on the date I wanted to fly with them and what the costs were going to be; it is imperative you contact the airlines as early as you can because the airlines have a set amount of animals allowed to fly in the cargo and in the cabin on a flight. 

I ended up choosing to fly with KLM because they were the only airline that flies out of the local airport of where I lived in the Middle East and because they have a very good track record with flying animals.

dog and cat

I reserved the two dogs for cargo and my cat for the cabin; when reserving the spots for pets they require some information: microchip number, name and weight (with crate included), and the exact dimensions of the IATA approved crate/carrier that the pet will be in for the flight. 

March 30, 2018

Bringing pets into Germany

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Importing pets into Germany

(from the U.S.)

Bringing pets into Germany

Pet travel from the U.S. to Germany

When I decided to move abroad I realized there would be a lot of things I needed to work out, but none more important than what I needed to do for my pets. I knew they were coming with me without question, so I needed to learn what the steps were to bring them overseas with me. 

The steps vary based on the country you are moving to, so be prepared to do some research on your own as I can’t cover every rule for every country regarding importing pets. 


When I first moved abroad I was going to a Middle Eastern country with extremely strict animal import rules, plus, because I was moving in the summertime my dogs couldn’t come until a few months after I left because airlines won’t fly with pets in cargo during the hot summer months. I determined that the safest thing for me to do in regards to bringing my pets with me was to hire a pet relocation company that knew all the rules and did a “door-to-door” relocation service. These companies are truly helpful and do all the work but the cost is very high- it cost me close to $10,000 to import my dogs to the Middle East, and a coworker of mine used a company to relocate their three cats and the cost for their cats was close to $6,000. 

Thankfully because this blog is about relocating to Berlin the costs and amount of work involved are nowhere near as intense as what I faced five years ago. 


To import your pets into Germany these are the steps you need to take (remember that these steps only cover dogs, cats and ferrets); you need to start this process at least 21 days before you travel with the pets. 

March 23, 2018

Documents required for renting an apartment in Germany

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How to rent an apartment in Berlin, or in Germany — the viewing

Renting in Berlin

What documents you need when viewing a flat in Berlin *

(* It’s roughly the same for all German cities!)

When you start the apartment search once you are in Berlin, you need to be prepared with all paperwork and have a file that you take with you to viewings. This file will contain all the required documents and, if you’re smart, you’ll also bring along some extras to make yourself stand out from the other people at the viewings. 

I didn’t initially do this and would show up to viewings with just myself and my hope, but when I saw that all of the other people there had a file and paperwork to hand right over I realized that I was a few steps behind. I immediately changed how I was going about the process and I created my own paperwork file to take with me to all the viewings. 

First, you need a copy of your passport; according to a law the estate agent has to make a copy of your ID even if you are only looking at the flat. 

Second, you need a confirmation of no rental debts (in German this is called a “Mietkostenfreiheitsbescheinigung”); this document only confirms that you owe no money to your previous landlord and that you have always paid your rent on time. 

If you are coming from another country, you can ask your previous landlord to write you a letter stating these two things, and make sure the letter is in English.