moving to Berlin

Moving to Berlin: checklist and first steps

There’s a lot to do when you first move to Berlin and start your job – even for Germans there’s a lot of paperwork that should be done in a certain order. Here’s what you need to know to get started:

1) Registration

Even if you haven’t found a flat yet, you need to register with the authorities that you’ve moved to Berlin and at which address you’re reachable. More details are on the registration page. You can move as many times as you like, there is no fee for the first or fiftieth registration!

It is usually helpful to make an appointment with the registration authorities and then give yourself a full week to go flat-hunting. The market isn’t that huge – even just 3 or 4 days of searching and going to flat viewings is sufficient.

2) Bank account

You’ll need to show your proof of registration and either (1) national identity card if you’re an EU citizen or (2) passport with residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel) if you’re not from the EU. Residence permits after the year 2011 are now in credit card format, so make sure to bring both passport and residence permit card with you.

3) Tax number

This is needed by your employer to deduct your taxes from your pay. You get it from the local tax authorities (Finanzamt) in your district. As always, it’s best to make an appointment to avoid a long wait (either call or arrange on online), but of course you can also walk in during their regular opening hours. There are no fees for obtaining a tax number, but make sure to bring your passport or ID card, address registration slip, work contract, and work visa if you need one.

4) Health insurance

In most cases, health insurance from your home country isn’t acceptable in Germany. For more information about the exceptions (such as interns or workers in Germany for a limited period of time), visit the health insurance page of this website. When you sign a work contract, your employer may already have a health insurance provider that they suggest to you. But you’ll still need to fill out all the paperwork, including tax number, bank account information, address, etc.