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October 18, 2013

Working in Germany: Job Listing Sites

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The Top Job Listing Sites in Germany

Last update: January 2018
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? 

Which occupations are in demand?

Check it out here

July 29, 2013

10 Steps to sorting your German paperwork

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Practical Guide to sorting your German Paperwork

(for non-EU nationals - long-term stay)

Last update: August 2015
German Paperwork

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.

July 3, 2013

4 Steps to leave the German Church

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How to leave the German Church?

Last update: October 2014 
Church Tax

Do you have enough of paying Church Tax each month?

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 

June 20, 2013

10 Facts about German Church Tax

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10 things you should know about the Kirchensteuer

Last update: March 2014 
Church Tax Germany

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A church tax (in German: Kirchensteuer) is a tax imposed on members of some religious 
congregations in Germany.


The system has been in place since the 19th century. 

The church tax is historically rooted in the pre-Christian Germanic custom where the chief of the tribe was directly responsible for the maintenance of priests and religious cults. 

During the Christianization of Western Europe, this custom was adopted by the Christian churches (Arian and Catholic) in the concept of "Eigenkirchen" (churches owned by the landlord) which stood in strong contrast to the central church organization of the Roman Catholic Church. 

Despite the resulting medieval conflict between emperor and pope, the concept of church maintenance by the ruler remained the accepted custom in most Western European countries. 

In Reformation times, the local princes in Germany became officially heads of the church in Protestant areas and were legally responsible for the maintenance of churches. 

Not until the 19th century were the finances of churches and state regulated to a point where the churches became financially independent. At this point the church tax was introduced to replace the state benefits the churches had obtained previously.

May 7, 2013

Anmeldung: the German address registration explained

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How to register your address in Germany

Last update: February 2018
(in German: Anmeldung) 

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What's the Anmeldung?

Anmeldung bei der Meldebehörde (Anmeldung process for the Bürgeramt office): you are required by law to register your residency within 14 days of relocating to your new German address. The exception to this deadline is if you are a "visitor" in Germany for stays up to 2 months.

The registration process is called Anmeldung or Bürgeramt Anmeldung and it’s mandatory if you want to live legally in Germany (even as a student).

It applies to everyone who lives in Germany, citizens and foreign residents alike. Without official registration of your local address, you cannot get a residence permit, nor can you complete your enrollment at the university or do other official things that require proof of residence. In German, the proof of residence is called Anmeldebestätigung or Meldebescheinigung (see image below).

Example of an Anmeldebestätigung from Berlin

In all Germany, including in Berlin, you have to register at your local Bürgeramt in its Einwohnermeldeamt (resident registration office). In the suburbs, the Einwohnermeldeamt can vary from town to town. 

In some city, the Bürgeramt will be called Bürgerbüro or Kundenzentrum. For Munich addresses, you need to register at the Kreisverwaltungsreferat (KVR).


Anmeldung Guide

In November 2015, the German law for the registration process changed. 
Read our new updated Anmeldung Guide in here.


March 25, 2013

How to get a Tax ID Number in Germany?

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The German Tax ID & German Tax Number Explained

Last update: January 2018
Note: This is not for businesses!

What is a Tax Identification Number or Tax ID?

Tax Number (in German: Steuernummer)

The "Steurnummer" and the "Steuer-Identifikationsnummer" are 2 different numbers for tax purposes. The Steuernummer is currently only being used for tax returns & freelancers!

If you want to work as a freelancer, you need to apply for a German tax number (Steuernummer) at your local Finanzamt (check the procedure in here). 

Tax ID (in German: Steuer-ID or IdNr or Steuer-IdNr or Steueridentifikationsnummer)

An Identification Number, called also National Identification Number, is a unique number issued to you by the German Taxation Office to administer tax and other German Government systems. 

Important: The tax office will send you the tax ID automatically to your registered German address within three weeks after you've done your Bürgeramt registration.

Your employer will always need the Steueridentifikationsnummer (IdNr). This number will never change!!! If you've lost it, you can apply for it here

Employees have their income tax deducted from their salary at source. If you don't receive that tax number, you will be taxed at the maximum rate possible and would have to try & claim a tax back in the future. 

Important: Most companies are doing their best to accommodate the needs of their new employees who start their new life in Germany, so they will usually wait for your tax ID and not tax you at the full rate.

March 11, 2013

The Rummelsburger Bucht - Berlin

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Rummelsburger Bucht

Rummelsburger Bucht

If you saw it today, you really wouldn't believe it, but this now idyllic residential area in the East of Berlin used to be a place of repression and persecution. Like so many places in Germany, it really leaves the spectator unsuspicious to its past. It draws people in, because of its beauty and serenity. Only when you stop and look behind the new façade do you realize its historic enormity. 

Städtisches Arbeitshaus (City Workhouse) 1879 – 1933

Rummelsburger Bucht

This original complex in the Rummelsburger Bucht consisted of 19 plain brick buildings, of which 15 survived. The people interned had generally lived on the margins of society. They were homeless, beggars, tramps, prostitutes, the “work shy”, old and infirm people of disreputable characters, or men and women arrested for minor offenses. They were in the workhouse to be adjusted to societal norms through “work and corrective measures”. Opened in 1879 the institution was designed to hold 1.000 inmates, but was already overcrowded by 1887 with over 1.600 men and women registered there. Only during the Weimar Republic were conditions eased by reforms, that lowered the concentration of inmates. 

Arbeits- und Bewahrungshaus (Workhouse and Protection Hostel) 1933 –1945 

Rummelsburger Bucht
The assumption of power by the Nazis in 1933 brought an abrupt end to the reforms and signalled a turn for the worst for the homeless, and people stigmatized as “asocial” and “psychologically disturbed”. 
The period of stay in the workhouse was extended considerably and inmates able to work were forced into labour. New “Special Departments” were established for homosexual and Jewish inmates and compulsory sterilisation under the “Erbgesundheitsgesetz” (Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring) was regularly performed. Remember, that the whole complex was only designed for 1.000 people? In 1940 it held almost 2.000.
In line with the Euthanasia campaign of the Nazis, documents were drawn up in late 1941 to prepare inmates for extermination. Evidence shows that, in 1942, a “sampling survey” took place that scheduled 314 inmates of the “Workhouse and Protection Hostel” for extermination. 

Arbeits- und Bewahrungshaus (Workhouse and Protection Hostel) 1945 – 1951

The institution continued operating even after the end of WWII with about 280 remaining inmates. Refugees were also accommodated here for a while. Then, from 1949 to early 1951, the Magistrate of (East) Berlin ran approved schools for young people, as well as a youth detention centre. After the German Democratic Republic was founded, the Minister of the Interior took over the site and began transforming it into penal institutions: “Penal Institution Berlin I” and “Pre-trial Detention Centre I”.

Strafvollzugsanstalt Berlin I (Penal Institution Berlin I) 1951 – 1990 

Rummelsburger Bucht
Most of the inmates during this time came from the German Democratic Republic, but some were West Germans or detainees from other states. Political imprisonment did not officially exist, but many fell into the wheels of the law for political reasons and received heavy punishments.
Conditions at the detention centre were worse than ever. The number of inmates had now risen to 2.500, even though the complex only provided 900 jail spaces. “Political” and “criminal” prisoners were mixed indiscriminately. The daily routine was governed by despotism, military drill and a sophisticated penal system. Prisoners had to endure inadequate hygiene and care. All this was designed to suppress any political behaviour that deviated from the norm. Furthermore, prisoners were employed as cheap labour for monotonous, physically hard, or health threatening work. 
At the end of October 1990, Rummelsburg Prison was finally closed and remained unused for years. In 2007, it was converted into a residential complex.

Rummelsburger Bucht Today

Rummelsburger Bucht
How the place has changed. Now parents with their children and pet dogs, people on a leisurely stroll, joggers, bird feeders and anglers set the tone of the area. It has become the perfect place to bring up a family in the middle of the city and to enjoy a bit of the outdoors away from the strain of the big city life. The old red-brick buildings that survived from the first institution have now been turned into flats and are inconspicuously strewn in-between modern new-builds. This makes it even more important to pause and take in the history of the place. It only makes you enjoy the transformation, and what it stands for today, even more.

Rummelsburger Bucht

March 5, 2013

Visa requirements for Germany (forms incl.)

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Need a Visa for Germany?

Last update: August 2015
Visa for Germany

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Read the requirements below & fill in the visa application forms at the end of this article.


  • EU nationals do not require a visa to enter the Federal Republic of Germany. 
  • Non-EU nationals, generally speaking, require a visa for stays in Germany. A visa is not required for semi-annual visits of up to 90 days for nationals of those countries for which the European Community has abolished the visa requirement. 

  • Schengen visa 
    • never issued in Germany
    • valid 3 months 
    • valid for tourism & transit purposes or studies not lasting more than 3 months in a 6 months period. 
  • EU citizens do not require any kind of visa or permits (incl. Romanian, Bulgarian & Croatian citizens).
  • As a citizen from Switzerland, Iceland (EEA) or Liechtenstein (EEA), you can also live, work and study in Germany without any visa. However, once in Germany, you may apply for a residence permit at the Ausländerbehörde in your town of residence.
Note: The residence permit issued to Swiss nationals and their family members merely certifies the right to freedom of movement. If you are a family member of an EU or EEA citizen and therefore covered by the right to freedom of movement, you will be issued with a corresponding residence card.

  • As a citizen from Norway (EEA country), you can live, work and study in Germany without any visa or permit restriction.

  • Entry visa (leading to a National visa) 
    • valid for longer stays and/or stays entitling the holder to take up gainful employment 
    • when applying for a National visa, the German mission abroad would first issue a short visa with a purpose of staying longer 
    • it entitles the holder to enter in Germany before acceptance of the electronic residence permit 
    • it may be converted by the local "Ausländerbehörde" into a longer permit if the student or work permit is accepted 
    • when in Germany: in order to obtain the residence title, the visa holder must register first with the local "Einwohnermeldeamt" or "Bürgeramt"
  • Australian, Israeli, Japanese, Canadian, South Korean, New Zealand and US citizens (exception for the Green card holders) can apply for a residence permit while in Germany (within 3 months) and they do not need an entry visa.

February 25, 2013

Blue Card for Germany: work & live in Germany

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On June 2012, the EU -and thus Germany- launched an offensive to attract skilled workers and boost the labour market. Here is the result:

Blue Card Germany
Last update: December 2014

6 Facts about the Blue Card

1. The EU Blue Card is a new residence permit for non-EU nationals who have an academic or equivalent qualification and a defined level of minimum salary. Through the EU Blue Card, non-EU nationals can be granted a German residence permit with the right to work and live in Germany.

2. If you wish to work in Germany under the Blue Card scheme, you first need to apply for a work visa at the embassy or consulate responsible for your place of residence (Exception: Table of countries whose citizens require/do not require visas to enter Germany). The German authorities will then issue the Blue Card once you are living in the country; it means once you have a permanent accommodation in Germany and have registered your address (Anmeldung process) at your local Bürgeramt.

February 19, 2013

Five things to think about when doing TestDaf

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Sooo, do you want to study at a German university in the near future? Ja?
If so, there is a LOT of options for you. Germany is practically exploding from excellent universities and mind blowing courses. There are just a few (which in Germany means "many") papers to fill in and one long language test to sit through. Here are five useful tips for when you take the TestDaf - Test of German as a foreign language, a necessity for most educations in Germany.

Last update: October 2014

First thing's first, and this is an important one. Not even a finger print or a drop of fresh blood will get you out of the sticky situation that will appear if you don't have your ID with you. If you don't bring the same identification that you used when you registered for the test you will not be allowed to take it. Might seem like a relief, since the test is about 5 hours long and extremely intense, but after paying roughly 170 euro it will definitely feel a bit sour to miss out.

February 10, 2013

The 10 German movies you must see

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German movies

It's a tough job, but we decided to watch a bucket load of German movies and debate tirelessly among our team to figure the top 10 German movies out there. So, for all you Ausländers, make sure you can tick all these films off your check list before getting into a discussion with a German about their movies. We know there's a few red herrings in there, but fish is good for you in moderation. 


Das Leben der Anderen

1. Das Leben der Anderen

Few would doubt the number one spot. Set in 1984 DDR East Germany, we get a peek at what life was like both for the secret police and the secretly policed. Over the backdrop of East Berlin, we follow the lives of a notorious writer, his lover and the Stasi agent who details and monitors their every move. Grippingly intrusive, this movie makes one shudder at the thought of how recently this all occurred. Expect incredibly stylish DDR clothes and retro furniture to make an appearance. Do not expect any CGI, Coca-cola placements or cameos from David Bowie.

February 6, 2013

The top 44 apartment listing sites for Germany

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How to find an apartment in Germany

Last update: January 2018
Finding an apartment in Germany

Are you looking for a place to live in Germany?

Your options in Germany are: 

  • Students halls of residence
  • Shared flats (Wohngemeinschaft – WG)
  • Private apartments
  • Temporary accommodations (hostel, B&B,...)

Before signing a rental contract you may be asked to present any of these documents or a combination of some of them to your future landlord. 

If you are flat-sharing or sub-renting, you will likely be spared this bureaucratic procedure:

  • Last 3 payslips or letter from current employer stating how much you earn; 
  • Last 3 bank statements; 
  • SCHUFA (this is a letter with your credit score) You can apply online for the print out; 
  • Letter from your current German landlord saying you are up-to-date with your rent; 
  • A proof of your Privathaftpflichtversicherung (personal liability insurance) or an equivalent insurance, that pays in case of damage to the rented property; 
  • Contact information for a guarantor, someone who could pay your rent in case you get into financial difficulties; most often only a German contact will be accepted.

January 7, 2013

10 things you should know about German health insurance

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German Health Insurance Explained

Last update: February 2017
German Health Insurance

What you should know about health insurance in Germany

Since 2007, expatriates in Germany are obliged to be covered with a registered 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 (except for the citizens from EU & EEA) or apply for a residence permit unless you have a German insurance. 

You need to apply for it after registering your address in Germany (Anmeldung process). 

There are two kinds of health insurances: Public (GKV – Krankenversicherung) and Private (PKV – Private Krankenversicherung). The Public insurance is likely to be more economical than a private insurance and easier to apply for, but the private option is likely to give you more coverage.

Almost all employees in Germany are compulsory members of the public health insurance. If your gross salary is below 53,550€ per year (for 2014) then membership in the GKV is compulsory; if your gross salary is above that current threshold then it is voluntary. 

If you are an employee, your company pays half of the insurance contributions, the other half comes out of your's salary. 

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 would be denied.

Go safe and choose a German insurance company that is well known by the visa authorities!

In case you choose to join the compulsory health insurance, you can register with any of the available Krankenkassen which are all public.

If you are a citizen from the European Union or the European Economic Area and you intend to study in Germany or be an intern, you can get your public health insurance in your home country approved by a public health insurance company in Germany. 

If you are a student, please ask your insurance company to give you the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card).

Foreign students participating in language courses in Germany as well as grant holders or graduate students at German universities cannot join the public health insurance scheme (e.g. Barmer, TK or AOK). 

In these cases you'll need to look for a convenient private health insurance for students.

Up until now it was common in Germany to pay a consultation fee of 10 euro when seeing a doctor. 

As of January 2013, this will no longer be required and seeing a doctor will be for free. This also applies to seeing a dentist, who had to be paid separately in the past.

If you have to be hospitalized, you would have to pay a maximum of 10 euro personal contribution per day; the rest will be paid by your German health insurance.

You are allowed to choose your doctor and all doctors should inform you explicitly in advance of any additional expenses you may incur, then it is up to you to decide whether or not you use these services.


Did you enjoy this article?

Read also our 'Complete Guide to Health Insurance in Germany'. Find it here.

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How to get a free German sim card?

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Free German SIM card

As this Tron based advert illustrates - there are free sim cards to be had. By simply doing your 'Anmeldung', you can get a free sim card sent to your German address. We can help you with the Anmeldung on our site.

Really, it's just pure luck that you have found this site. 

The advantages at a glance

Free SIM Card
  • No shipping fee
  • No order fee
  • No monthly fee
  • Free Incoming calls
  • 9 Cent/Minute
  • 9 Cent/SMS
  • Free EU Roaming

Vodafone only ships to German addresses. 
Make sure to have your name on the mailbox to get the SIM card delivered.

The SIM card usually comes in Standard-, Micro- or Nano-SIM size. 

Free SIM Card

All advantages on this page.

All products and tariff details at: