• Anne-Kathrin Hauschild

Moving to Berlin - what to expect and how to prepare

Aktualisiert: 20. Jan 2020

If you’ve have unanswered questions before your move to Berlin Germany, you’re not alone. We’ve got answers to help make you get settled in. Starting a series about what to expect and how to prepare your move.

Before your move to Berlin

1 | Get your visa sorted out

In order to move to Berlin, you may need a visa, work or residence permit. You can first apply for a visa at the German consulate in your home country. The visa you will get from the consulate (work, travel, family) will be a short-term visa. You can apply for the long term residence permit once you are in Germany.

2 | Make your appointments

Book your appointments at the Bürgeramt and Ausländerbehörde ahead of time. You're supposed to register your place of residence within 14 days of arrival. And you should apply for your residence permit 6 weeks before your temporary visa expires. Make your appointments way ahead of time, as the schedule can be full.

NOTE, that you should have done your registration to the citizen office (Bürgeramt Anmeldung) before going to your appointment to get the residence permit.

Bürgeramt Anmeldung (citizen office, registry office). A necessity for all: make an appointment (Link) to get a registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung).

You’ll need to register your place of residence within 14 days of moving into the apartment. Everybody — including EU nationals and German residents need that certificate. You can register at one of the more than 40 Berlin citizens' offices; or you choose the closest to your apartment.

You will need your Passport/ID, the contract of your lease and confirmation of your landlord (Einzugsbestätigung des Vermieters), your completed registration, and confirmation of residence. If you do not want to pay church tax, leave the box for ‘Religion’ blank. No fees; this also applies to the confirmation of registration.

NOTE, to register you need to fill out various forms.

These forms only exists in German.

We at HANTZSCH Personal Assistant can help you with the formalities. Contact us.

Ausländerbehörde (foreigners’ office/ immigration authority):

All citizen from countries outside EU must apply for a residence permit at the foreigners’ office (Ausländerbehörde) within 3 months of entering Germany.

To do this, you need to take the following steps:

  1. To request an appointment (Link) from the foreigners' office you can fill out an online form.

  2. Register your place of residence at the Bürgeramt (Registry Office).You will need to show the rental agreement/lease for your apartment.

  3. Personal appearance at the immigration authority on the date as fingerprints for the residence card are taken .

List of documents to bring to the appointment:

  • valid passport

  • biometric photo

  • proof of health insurance (not travel insurance)

  • proof of means of subsistence

  • business plan including financial plan

Your HANTZSCH assistant can collect the electronic residence card from the immigration authority after approx. 4–5 weeks.

3 I Finding an Apartment

If you could rent an apartment before your move, it may prevent you a lot of headache. If you are decided in which Viertel – neighborhood – you want to live, you can start your search on the property market. The gradual process of gentrification has led to rising rents in Berlin. No matter your location, you will likely face a lot of competition in the rental and property market. You may often face a viewing with 10 other people, to speak German mostly required for the interview.

The most popular websites to find a place to rent a property are:

Berlin's best neighbourhoods (Viertel)

I Prenzlauer Berg

This northeast Berlin neighborhood is frequently voted as one of the best places to live in Berlin – ideal for young families and foodies alike. However, property isn't cheap in Prenzlauer Berg. If you can afford the property prices in the heart of Berlin, go for it!

I Friedrichshain

This district is very popular with young people and families looking for culture, cuisine, art, yoga studios and nightclubs.

I Kreuzberg

The ideal place to live for those who enjoy being part of a vibrant culture scene. Kreuzberg is one of Berlin’s areas with the densest population of immigrants; creating a great mixture of different cultures.

Stay tuned. More articles to follow:

  • Getting around in Berlin

  • Setting up a bank account

  • Getting health insurance (private/ public)

  • Getting social security number and tax id

  • Learning German in Berlin

  • Where to find the fun in Berlin

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