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Living in Germany: Moving To Berlin

Everything one has to go through when relocating to Berlin -- alternatve title: All the shit I went trough

🕒 5 min read

Category: About me

Tags: berlin, germany, apartment, housing

This is it folks, I am now officially a resident of Berlin, Germany! After over 2 years in Paris, it was about time for me to move. Here's to a new adventure!!!

But wait a second. An international move doesn't happen with a snap! In this article, I list all the tasks I had to go through to make my move as smooth and painless as possible.

Months in advance

First, I recommend reaching out to https://www.expath.de/, they're specialized in helping people move to Germany. I used their services. They also assign you a "coach", a person who will help you once you make it to Berlin. This person is going to help you register, find an apartment, etc. They can assist over emails too.

Also, I suggest you start selling the furniture you don't want to keep as soon as possible, as it can take days or weeks for people to buy it. If you wait too long, you'll most likely end up underselling your stuff.

Weeks in advance

Days ahead

Finding a short-term flat

Useful PDF

Days after moving

Registration (Anmeldung)

You must ask your temporary landlord to provide you with a document called Wohnungsgeberbestätigung. Ideally get the original document, not a scan. This is the document you'll be bringing to the Bürgeramt (police station or city hall) on the day you register, alongside your ID.

Make sure to book a slot for registration ASAP, as it usually takes weeks to get an appointment. Bring the following documents:

If you are married or in a civil partnership, and moving together from one place to another, you can fill one registration form for two people and show up together at the same appointment. Otherwise, make 2 appoitments et one form per person.

Also note that you are required to notify the Bürgeramt when you leave (Abmelden).

More on the topic: here, here and there.

Register for the TV tax (Rundfunkbeitrag)


Finding a long-term flat

Apartment hunting is no different than in Paris. Except that here, almost all landlords will ask for a German-specific document: your SCHUFA (or credit score in English).

There are two types of SCHUFAS: the one with the actual credit score (called SCHUFA BonitätsAuskunft), and the one that only states whether you have any debts or not (called SCHUFA Bonitätscheck). In most cases, the latter is enough. You can get it for 30 euros at www.immobilienscout24.de.

Regarding the actual search now, here are the most used websites:

Beware of scams on these websites, as you would do in any other country. When it's too good to be true, it's most likely a scam. Also, you should never send any private document before going to a viewing.

Speaking of which, go to viewings prepared. Bring a file with the following documents:

You may also be asked to send these documents digitally after the viewing.

Here you'll find additional advice about the apartment search.

Weeks after moving

Bank account

Consider opening a German bank account, you might need it to get paid for example. The easiest solution remains N26 though.

Various insurances

Germans are known to like insurances, so much that many various ones exist. Only a few are required by law though:

Other optional insurances but highly recommended are:


That's it!

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