Welcome to Berlin!

Check out all the information about Berlin below!

 

“Berlin, the greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine.”

– David Bowie
Check out all the information you need to know to move to Berlin!

 


VISA


How to apply for a visa in German?

  • You don’t need a visa if you come from:
    • European Union
    • European Economic Area (EEA)
    • Swiss Citizens 
  • If you come from outside of those above, you can apply for: 
    • German Student Visa: (Visum Zur Studienzwecken) which is for those who have already been accepted into a university 
    • Language Course Visa: for those accepted into a language preparatory course that lasts between three months and one year
    • Student Applicant Visa: (Visum Zur Studienbewerbung), which is for those who haven’t chosen their course yet, or who are still awaiting confirmation of acceptance from their choice university.
  • Documents you’ll need: 

– Health insurance 
– Proof of funds
– Qualifications (high school diploma) 
– Language certificates

Keep in mind that all official documents, if not in the required language for the application, must be translated by a sworn, official translator who works with the embassy.  They will be able to provide details regarding this.

  • Cost:

Applying for a student visa in Germany has a fee of €75

  • Timing:

Normally it takes 6 weeks for your visa application to be processed. In case of incomplete or imprecise documentation though it can take up to 12 weeks. Make sure to apply for you German visa at least three months before your moving date. In case of short term visas, it will only take 2-10 days. Note that on a short term visa you are only allowed to stay for 90 days and can not work (make money).

Who to contact:

For more information about visa and specific country requirements visit the website: 

https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/einreiseundaufenthalt/visabestimmungen-node#content_1

Check out the Visa Navigator:

https://visa.diplo.de/en/#/vib

Make sure you do not try to get your long stay visa through a certified agency, it should be directly through the respective government authority (embassy, consulate, etc.), double check, always!

What now?

Do not procrastinate, get done as soon as you arrive in the country.

Even though Germany is said to be very straightforward and well functioning, there is some stuff you have got to do after arriving in Germany. If you are travelling on a visa (not EU students), you will have to get a registration certificate and a residence permit. Without these you might not be able to f.e. open a bank account.

    • Registration certificate: As soon as you have found your dream apartment in Germany, you have to make your way to the Einwohnermeldeamt (residents registration office) or Bürgeramt (citizens office) within the first two weeks of moving in. Also Germans have to do that all the time, even when they move within the same street. Once registered, you will receive your registration certificate. This simple paper confirms that you are living at a specific address in Germany. You’ll need that one for: opening a bank account, applying for a library card or a parking permit. Required Documents:ID card/passport, with visa (if required), Rental contract and a confirmation by landlord that you moved in.

       

TIP: Sometimes additional documents such as your certificate of matriculation are required. Large cities like Berlin have multiple offices for that matter. You have to find the one in your district by typing “Bürgeramt” or “Einwohnermeldeamt” + “Name of your district” into maps.

    • Residence permit: Moving to Germany not coming from EU countries, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Icelandand Norway, you have to obtain a residence permit. This one you can get at the “Ausländerbehörde” (foreigners office). In order to obtain the permit, you have to be enrolled at a uni. Otherwise, you could apply for a residence permit only valid for the application process of your uni, which can later be converted. You will receive a chip card which contains your information in most of the cases. Usually it will take between 4-6 weeks for this chip card to get ready.

       

Documents required: Passport with visa (if required), Certificate of enrollment from your uni,Registration certificate, Proof of secure livelihood (For the initial issue: e.g. blocked account (Sperrkonto) at a German Bank with 9,936 euros / submission of a declaration of commitment by a third party on an official form / scholarship / notarized declaration from parents securing the livelihood for the duration of the studies with proof of the income of the parents in the last six months, For the extension: bank statements of the last six months),Health insurance , Cash for the fee (up to 110 EUR), 1 Biometric photocopy (35mm x 45mm) TIP: Student residence permits are issued for up to 2 years but have to be extended. If you don’t take university serious enough (f.e. Don’t take exams…) you will have trouble obtaining the next permit.

    • Drivers License: You like taking a car to go when you are in a rush? Might not be the best idea if you do not want to get arrested! Check if your driver’s license is valid in Germany if you come from outside the EU. For some countries you may have to convert it or even have to retake the test in order to operate a car or motorbike in Germany. If you have your main residence in Germany, your license from outside the EU will be valid for 6 months, open to extension. All of these things can only be done through an appointment.(http://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/121598/) You have to go to the related authority and hand in your documents yourself (or someone with power of attorney) and pay at the counter (35-42,60€).

 

     

     

     


    HOUSING


    How to rent a flat in Berlin?

    • List of documents: 

    Copy of passport and ID Confirmation of no rental debts (“Mietkostenfreiheitsbescheinigung”)

    A signed document from your last landlord confirming that you’ve paid your rent in full and on time during the course of your tenancy

    Confirmation of salary / proof of income – last three months 

    Schufa Records (German Credit Record, starts as soon as you open a bank account, even if its blank (doesn’t hurt your file), shouldn’t be expired)

    • Budgeting housing: 

    Depending on area and city:

    Expensive cities: Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart

    Cheaper cities: Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, Nuremberg, Tübingen, Mannheim, Heidelberg

    Expensive cities student residence: 500-650 Euros 

    Expensive cities apartments: 2 people apartment: app. 1,500 Euros 

    Cheaper cities student residence: 300-500 Euros depending on location 

    Cheaper cities apartments: 500 Euros for two people apartment

    • Utility costs average

     Average is 1,250 Euros per year for a 2 people household 

     

    • Where to live: 

    Kreuzberg: known to be the student district! Very popular, multicultural & many cheap cafes/restaurants.

    Friedrichshain: one of the newer student districts, which is very similar to Kreuzberg!

    Prenzlauer Berg: another student district, but a bit more expensive and further away! Has the famous „Mauerpark“, where mostly students gather, especially on the weekend.

    Schöneberg: nice and diverse district! Close to many things and every now and then you can find something cheap. Caution: a part of this district is known to the gay part – only gay bars, clubs, etc. 

    Charlottenburg (the ESCP district): a very beautiful district with many cultural things! Quite expensive, but if you‘re lucky you can find something cheaper.

    Try to avoid Grunewald and Zehlendorf: very rich areas, filled with families and older people.

    Mitte: very popular, but super touristy and rent is very expensive.

    • Platforms to search on: 

    German platforms (Nr.1 Platforms for Germany):       

    https://www.immobilienscout24.de   

    https://www.immowelt.de


    BUDGETING


     What is the budget I need to live in Berlin?

    • Berlin Cheap / Expensive per month        (in euro):

    Housing: 400 / 650 

    Food: 200 / 400

    Transport: 60-80/depending on transport, for example, Uber is still expensive 

    Leisure: 250/ in general going out in Berlin cheap

     Exclusive sports such as tennis, golf, horseback riding, etc. might be expensive and hard to get in 

    Other: 250/++

    Total

    1160 / should stay below 1900, otherwise your doing something wrong

    Tips

    Use the app Unidays for discounts (restaurants, supermarkets, fashion, technology…) 

    Whenever you purchase something ask for student discounts


    BANKING


    How to open a bank account in Germany?

    • Should you even open one?

    If you are a European citizen, you won’t need an extra bank account for Germany.  The only thing is the fees at the ATM when you withdrawal cash.  As cash is still king in Germany, you will be spending quite a lot of time at the ATM, especially when going out (bars really dislike debit and credit card payments).   ATM fees at banks other than your own can rise up to 5 euros, even for German citizens.  Due to this, you should consider opening an account at a German bank that has as many offices as possible. 

     

    • Documents required:

    – ID 
    – Proof of residency 
    – Schooling certificate (for student account

    • Which bank?

    “Junges Konto” at the Deutsche Bank

    (open online, then everything is sent to you by mail)

    Pros:  free, online banking, apple pay, debit card, good and fast German service

    Partner banks: in Torino (Deutsche Bank Italien), Paris (BNP Paribas), London (Barclays), Madrid (Deutsche Bank Spanien)

    Partner banks provide free money withdrawal

    Even in most German banks free money withdrawal 

     

    https://www.deutsche-bank.de/pk/konto-und-karte/konten-im-ueberblick/das-junge-konto.html


    TRANSPORTATION


    What is the local subway company in Berlin?
    How can I get around Berlin?

     

    • Drivers license :

      Depending on which German city you are going to live in, you should consider a car or motorbike as your primary mode of transportation.  In general, the German public transport is built very well, especially in cities, but as soon as you’re coming to smaller cities without a subway, it can get a bit annoying. 

    Talking about Berlin, it is really unnecessary to have a drivers license because you can get anywhere with public transportation, and even if you want to reach something outside of the center, which is not significantly close to a subway stop you can still take an Uber.

     

    • Public transportation:

    https://www.bvg.de/images/content/abo/anleitungen/20190702_BVGAnleitungSchuelerticket_EN.pdf

    ( Berlin guideline for students )

    The Dein gewähltes Abo is the subscription for the students.

    Monthly costs: € 30.42 *
    Total costs: € 365.00

    • Emergency services contacts :

    – Police: 110
    – Any Emergency: 112  (Fire/ Ambulance)


    INSURANCE


    How to apply for in insurance in Germany?

    For what do I need an insurance in Germany?

     

    • Health:

    – most Germans are members of the government health system
    – if your salary is less than 62,550 euros per year membership in the GKV (Government Health System) is mandatory

    – government health insurance is administered by 108
     “Krankenkassen” (public health insurance companies)

    – general minimum period of membership with any Krankenkasse is 18 months 

    – as voluntary member of the GKV, you can opt out at any time with a 2 month cancellation notice.

    • Personal Insurance:

    Third-party Private Liability Insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung)

    – the most important and the least expensive insurance coverage you will need in Germany 
    – coverage for you, or to any insured member of your family in the event that you commit an act for which a German court would consider you ordinarily negligent.

    https://www.hellogetsafe.com

    • Renters Insurance:

    Household contents insurance (Hausratversicherung)

    – necessary to indemnify you for loss of, or damage to your possessions 
    – includes all belongings contained in your home, such as furniture – including (optionally) built-in kitchen units, clothing, collectibles, sports equipment…
    – fixtures and fittings attached to the building and not owned by you are generally excluded (these are the responsibility of your landlord house owner under their own separate insurance)

    –> Home contents insurance starting at 1.37€ per month.

    https://www.hellogetsafe.com

    https://www.coya.com/en

    Health insurance is required for everyone in Germany, either public or private. Europeans can use their EHIC Health insurance card. 

    • Companies (public)

    AOK
    https://en.zuwanderer.aok.de/home/

    TK
    https://www.tk.de/en 

    SBK
    https://www.sbk.org/sbk-en/

     

    • Private Health Insurance:

    – cover wider choice of medical and dental treatment
    – patient can expect to receive a higher level of service 
    – patient can often request doctor who speaks his/her native language 
    – customizable to suit many budgets and cover only your needs

     

     

     


    SAFETY


     Is Berlin a safe city?

     

    Germany is one of the safest countries in the world.  In general you don’t have to worry about assaults or thieves on the streets when you are casually walking around the city.

    But of course, as Berlin is one of the biggest cities in Europe and is the techno capital of the world, there are some less beautiful sides of Berlin.

      At night, there are some areas that aren’t the safest due to drug dealing.

    • Areas that aren’t super safe at night are: 

     – Alexanderplatz
    – Kleiner Tiergarten
     – Görlitzer Park 
     – Warschauer Brücke 
     – Kottbusser Tor 
     – Leopoldplatz 

    These are tips for very precautions people though, in general you should live your life as in every capital or bigger city.

    https://www.bmi.bund.de/EN/topics/security/security-node.html

     


    PHONE


    How to apply for a phone subscription in Germany?
    What are the phone operator in Germany?

    • Best providers:

    Quality 

    Telekom (https://www.telekom.de/mobilfunk/tarife/smartphone-tarife) , 

    Lower prices 

    Vodafon (https://www.vodafone.de/privat/handys-tablets-tarife/alle-tarife-mit-vertrag.html )

    Phone bills are sent monthly and are typically due within seven business days of the date of issuance. You can pay by cash at any German post office or bank, although a nominal fee for the bank transfer (Überweisung) may apply.  Similar to most European countries, the default and preferred payment method is to your monthly bills automatically debited directly from your bank account through a direct debit (Lastschriftverfahren).

     

    • WIFI

    Good providers will always require a minimum contract of 12 months, however usually 24 months, there are options available from 12-20 Euros per month.

    Cheaper but lower quality contracts without fixed contract start at about 20 Euros.

    Cheap

    https://www.fonial.de/dsl/preise/

    Cheap, but after 12 months expensive, and contract, best quality,

    https://www.telekom.de/zuhause/tarife-und-optionen/fuer-junge-leute

     


    FUN FACTS


        Things you should know about Germany

     

    1. 65% of highways have no speed limit
    2. Germans love their cars 
    3. University is free for everyone 
    4. There are over 2,100 castles
    5. There are 35 different dialects, that are very, very different 
    6. Oktoberfest is only a southern german thing 
    7. Cash is king 

    We designed you a checklist to help you through your preparation!

    If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us!

     

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