How to relocate to Germany?

Guide for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens moving to Germany

(not suitable for citizens from third-party countries)

Last update: August 2020
Moving to Germany

Here below 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. 

If you are a citizen from a third-party country, the below guide isn't for you. Read these 10 steps to sorting your German paperwork

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. 

More info: Apartment Listing Sites for Germany.

If you are looking for a furnished flat, use this free search engine for furnished apartments.


Bürgeramt Registration:

By law, you are required to register your residence at a local citizens office (called Einwohnermeldeamt, Einwohnermeldebehörde, Bürgerbüro 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 hostel and have not found a permanent residence yet, it is sometimes possible to register with your hostel 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, sometimes, 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.: TK, Barmer, AOK...). Please check with an independent insurance adviser 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 (mainly for employees and students) and Private (for everyone, incl. freelancers). 

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.

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

Tax Number (for freelancers)

If you want to work as a freelancer, you need to apply for a German tax number (Steuernummer).

An easy and quick solution  to get your tax number and become a freelancer in Germany would be to use the services of this company. If you do not understand German, you can fill in for FREE the freelancer application form (Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung) online and in English. Once you are ready, they will take care of submitting it directly to the Finanzamt through the official ELSTER interface.


Open a Bank Account

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

On our website, you can open a bank account for free either with DKB, which includes a Free Visa card, or with N26 which includes a Free Mastercard.


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 

German Test for the university: TestDaf explained.



Free Anmeldung Form