Are you thinking about immigrating to Germany? Then Berlin could be the place for you! We’re sure you’ll love all that this wonderful city has to offer, but before sampling its many delights, you’ll need to cross some T’s and dot a few I’s. Let us put your mind at ease and cover the basics in the infographic below.
RENTING A FLAT IN BERLIN
The greatest thing about Berlin is: rent here is the lowest of the country’s major cities.
You have three options when it comes to securing accommodation:
- Miete — a long-term rental
- Zwischenmiete — a sublet
- WG or Wohngemeinschaft — flat share
For flat share, search websites like wg-gesucht.de or www.wg-cast.de, or social media.
Main German terms you’ll need to know in relation to flat search:
Kaltmiete: The base rent, without costs such as heating and water.
Warmmiete: The total rent, generally including the base rent and services like heating, water, communal lighting and garbage collection.
Provision: The estate agent’s fee (“Provisionsfrei” means there is no agency fee included).
Kaution: The safety deposit. It is generally equal 1-3 months’ rent.
KIEZ: a neighborhood.
YOUR FURTHER STEPS IN BERLIN:
GET A JOB
Ensure your CV is in good shape and your LinkedIn profile looks professional, and sign up with a recruitment company like Caissa Global who will guide you through the process.
OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT
You’re gonna need a bank account for a multitude of purposes. To open an account, just take your Anmeldebestätigung (see No.4) and passport to the branch.
GET HEALTH INSURANCE
Register with a Krankenkasse (medical insurance fund) of your choice and obtain a Rentenversicherungsnummer (a 12-digit pension insurance scheme number) at your earliest possible convenience.
Right after relocating to Berlin, head along to the nearest Bürgeramt (Town Hall) to register.Plan this in advance to avoid queues. You can find the useful information online.
Bring along: your passport, tenancy contract or a note written by your flatmate.
Your goal is to receive (1) an Anmeldebestätigung (residency registration document), the all-important document, and (2) a Steuernummer (tax ID) which you’ll receive via post at your newly registered address.
LEARN TO NAVIGATE BERLIN
You’ll easily find the city public transportation plans online.
You’ll see that there are three transport zones to be aware of:
— Zone A covers all areas within the S-Bahn circle line,
— Zone B conveys you to the city limits, and
— Zone C connects Berlin with the surrounding environs (Potsdam, Schönefeld Airport, etc.).
Don’t forget to validate your ticket before the ride!
ADJUST TO THE CLIMATE
It ain’t Hawaii, but nor is it a frozen wilderness…
While the average high temperature in July and August is 24º, the average low in January and February is -1º. Which is, well, pretty average.
LEARN THE LINGO
Aim to learn some German every day. Use a language learning app or study with Deutsche Welle. If it’s an option for you, attend classes (info in German!).