Things to do as an expatriate when you arrive Germany

to do when you arrive germany
The things to do as an expatriate when you arrive in Germany

Having to move to a new place is very challenging. If you are moving to Germany as an expat, you need to know some regulations you will have to follow as soon as you land. Germany is a land of laws and regulations. In this article, we have made a list of things to do when you arrive in Germany. You just have to follow the list to settle in Germany.

To do when you arrive in Germany

You may be moving to Germany as an international student, for an internship or for a job, etc. Germany for the last decade had a very high immigration rate. Those who are moving to Germany need to plan ahead. Once you have arrived in Germany after crossing many hurdles there are still more to cross. But do not get overwhelmed because if you plan correctly you won’t face any problem. Following are the things you need to do as you arrive in Germany either a student or worker:

Exchange currency

You need money for everything. It is recommended to exchange money before arriving in Germany. But many being unaware do not carry cash with them. You can exchange your currency at the Airport or currency exchange offices in the city. You need to exchange enough money for at least a month. After landing you have a lot of expenses like commuting.

Accommodation and key collection

If you are moving somewhere you need a place to live. Usually, you need to have an accommodation set before you arrive in Germany. Finding accommodation is one of the main challenges you will find as an expat. Some German universities offer dorm halls but they are very limited. And they may also help you in renting a room. There are several websites available that may help you find an apartment with little research. Finding accommodation is a must as you cannot register or unblock your bank account without it.

If you have found accommodation before arriving in Germany. Then you need to contact your landlord when in your home country. You need to discuss where to get your apartment keys as you reach Germany. Take your documents, sign a contract and get your keys first thing after arriving.

things to do as expat after landing germany

Mailbox name

One thing you need to keep in mind is that in Germany everything arrives in your mailbox. All the official documents arrive through the parcel. When you arrive at your accommodation write your name on the mailbox. Otherwise, you may not receive your mails.

Residence registry

It is law in Germany that anyone living in Germany needs to register their address. So as an expat arriving in Germany you need to register your address within seven days of your arrival. Registration is mostly free of charge but some states charge you an administration fee. You can register your address at the local Aliens Authority (Ausländeramt), the city hall (Bezirksamt or Rathaus) of the city you live in. In case of a busy registration office, you need to make an appointment first. You can do this online. But in other offices, you can simply go and register your address. For registration, you need to fill a registration form. You can either download the form online or get it from the registration office. Documents required for registration are:

  • Registration from
  • Something to proof your identity, usually Passport
  • Your rental contract
  • Sometimes a confirmation document from the landlord is required

In the end, you will be issued your registration document called “Anmeldebestätigung” in German. You have to keep this safe; you will require it for other legal work. For example, when you want to unblock your blocked account. In case you move your accommodation you have to carry out this process again.

Bank account/Blocked account

When you arrive in Germany you need to open a blocked account for any kind of money exchange. There are many banks you can choose from in Germany. To open the bank account you require followed documents:

  • Your residence registration form, the “Anmeldebestätigung”.
  • An identity proof usually your passport

In case you are a student and you already have a blocked account. The one you opened in your country for a student visa. You should visit the bank and activate the blocked account. For this, you will require the same documents and an additional document. You need:

  • Your residence registration form
  • Your passport
  • And confirmation letter from the bank you got when you opened the blocked account.

Health insurance

Getting Health insurance is mandatory by law for everyone regardless of their status. There are two types of health insurances in Germany:

  • Public health insurance
  • Private health insurance

You can get Insurance online or visit the companies. for which you need the following documents:

  • Insurance registration form(online or from the company)
  • residence registration
  • student ID (in case you move as a student)

Germany has an excellent healthcare system but you must have health insurance to get access to it. If you are moving from an EU country, you can use your European Health Insurance Card. But if you are from a country from a non-European state, then you have to purchase one from a Germany. Students can receive a discounted rate.

SIM card

Coming to Germany you will need a SIM card. You cannot survive anywhere without contact details. You need a number for yourself. So that if someone wants to inform you, you have a contact number. In fact, every form requires you to write your number for contact details.

Residence permit

If you are going to stay in the country for a duration longer than 3 months, you will have to apply for a residence permit within the three months of your arrival. For this, you have to apply to the local immigration office of your city. You will require the following documents to apply for a German Residence Permit:

  • A valid passport
  • Residence registration form
  • Health insurance
  • Proof of financial standing(usually a bank statement)
  • A letter from your German employer (if you have a job)
  • The University admission letter (if you are a student)

Specific to student

If you are moving to Germany as an international student, you must also do additional things as soon as you arrive:


If you are moving as an international student to Germany. You must enrol yourself in the program you are offered at the University. The date of enrollment usually written in the contract you got when you were selected for admission. You must enrol yourself on that date. For this, you are required to take documents to enrol. These may vary depending on the university. Mostly this includes:

student to do list in Germany
  • Your passport
  • Your previous degrees
  • The language proficiency proof (usually IELTS)
  • Letter of admission
  • Proof of semester payment

Note: You must take original documents

Semester ticket

When you enrol yourself in a University, you become an official student there. Then you must collect your semester ticket. This is like a university ID card. And also it can act as a pass for your bus, train, tram or metro.

Specific to worker

If you are moving to Germany as a worker you must do the following additional things. These are as follow:

EU blue card

The EU blue card is a temporary residence permit issued for non-EU countries. If you are moving to Germany with a job offer apply for EU Blue card. You must fulfil two requirements for this:

  • You need to have a German degree or foreign university degree equivalent to a German university 
  • And have a working contract or job offer with a certain annual salary specified by the German government.

This card is valid for four years but can be extended.

German tax card

If you are moving to Germany to work you need to apply for a German tax card. You need to apply for a tax ID at your local registration office while doing your residency registration. This is a must if you want to work in Germany. The German tax card is so that the right tax amount would be deducted from your monthly wage.

We hope this article helps you settle well in Germany as you arrive.


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