Moving to Germany

Last updated: Dec 2, 2019

If you’re planning on moving to Germany, this page will give you all the information and advice that you will need for your move. If you’re interested in finding a mover, take a look at our top 10 international movers page for advice.

Visas to Germany

As Germany is under the Schengen agreement, you will have to apply for a Schengen visa. If you’re planning on immigrating to Germany permanently, then you will need to have a visa and a means of living. Below are the Schengen visa requirements for your application:

  • Schengen visa application form
  • Original and copy of your SA passport
  • Two colour photographs
  • Proof of employment

Below you can find the types of short-term visas you can apply for:

  • Single-entry visa
  • Double-entry visa
  • Multiple-entry visa

These visas allow you to stay in Germany for up to 90 days. However, if you are planning on living in Germany for a longer period, then you may need help from your employer or university to apply for a long-term visa.

You will have to submit your visa application to one of the Visa Application Centres which are in Centurion, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein. For more information on applying for visas to Germany, take a look at the Schengen Visa website.

Moving to Germany Guide

There is a lot of things to think about when moving abroad, which is why it’s best to plan ahead. Here is a brief guide on what you should organise before moving to Germany.

Moving Costs to Germany

Size of HouseTimeCost
1 bed house6-10 weeks38,900R-67,000R
2 bed house4-7 weeks53,000R-88,400R
3 bed house4-7 weeks90,100R-150,200R

Above are the average moving costs to Germany from Cape Town via sea. There are two main factors of price when transporting your belongings abroad, which are the distance and the volume of your move. You can use our furniture volume calculator to save time when requesting quotes.

If you would like to get a mover to help you transport your belongings, then fill out our online form to receive up to five free removal quotes.

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Jobs in Germany

If you’re moving to Germany for work, then you will have to have a job secured before you leave. This will then entitle you to apply for your visa, which can be sponsored by your company. In terms of skills shortages, there is a shortage of qualified engineers, IT specialists, health and social workers.

To be allowed to apply for jobs in Germany, you need to either have a work or residence permit and a social security number so that you can be paid. The typical working week is around 38 hours and the German work environment is traditionally hierarchical with strong management. It is very important to be very punctual in any professional work setting.

If you are interested in finding jobs in Germany, here is a list of some job search websites:

Moving to Germany

Housing in Germany

Finding your dream home in Germany can be quite hard from so far away, which is why we recommend that you first go into rental. This way you can go view the houses yourself and can better consider the location, price etc. Buying a house is a big deal and shouldn’t be rushed!

House prices in Germany are relatively cheaper than houses in the UK, however, renting may be more expensive than buying property. If you want to find somewhere to live in Germany, you can look in local newspapers or the websites below:

Healthcare in Germany

The healthcare in Germany is comparable to many excellent healthcare systems within Europe, including Sweden and the UK. Firstly, all foreigners living and working in Germany are entitled to subsidised health insurance. However, you must have some form of health insurance in order to be entitled to this.

It is compulsory to register with either a statutory German health insurance scheme or a private health insurance. It is also important to have German health insurance in order to apply for a visa or residence permit. You can take out private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung or PKV) to replace or top up your GKV (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherun).

Living in Germany

Germany has a lot to offer expats, so you may be interested in finding out what living in Germany can offer you. In this section, you’ll find information on what life in Germany is like, how to find housing in Germany and what the education system is like.

Culture in Germany

Germany is a very popular place for expats, especially due to its beautiful cities and friendly people. The country has a varying landscape with big cities, like Berlin, to the Alps in the South. Germany has a high standard of living and is known for having an abundance of culture whether that be in the arts sector, historic sites or celebrations.

If you’re moving to Germany for work, then it’s best to know being punctual and working hard is very important. Germans are famous for their precision and reliability when it comes to work, so keep this in mind when applying for jobs.

Moving to Germany from Australia

Living costs in Germany

With Germany having a higher average salary than South Africa, it’s no wonder that moving to Germany is attractive for a lot of expats, despite the cost of living in Germany being slightly higher. Below you can see the difference in the cost of living in Berlin compared to Leipzig:

ItemCost in BerlinCost in Leipzig
Average Monthly Salary33,600R22,300R
Rent for 1 bed apartment in centre14,000R8,300R
Basic Utilities4,000R3,800R
Inexpensive Meal144R128R
Milk 1 Litre14R11R

Living costs in Germany can vary depending on where you live. In large cities, living costs can be very high. Some of the cheapest cities to live in are Leipzig, Bochum, Kiel, Siegen, Jena, Osnabruck and Bremen. Moving to Berlin or Hamburg will mean that you will have to consider the higher living costs.

Banking in Germany

If your planning on living in Germany for a long period of time, then it will probably be a wise idea to open a German bank account. This will make it easier with day to day transactions, paying rent etc. Here are some of the main banks within Germany:

Education in Germany

Maybe you’re interested in learning more about the education system in Germany for your children or perhaps you’re moving to Germany to study. Either way, this section briefly explains what education in Germany is like.

All primary and secondary schools for children are free. There are 16 states within Germany and each are responsible for their education policy. Here is a brief description on how the general education system works in the early years for children:

  • Kindergarten (nursery school): Children can start from the age of one-six
  • After the age of six, children enter the Grundschule until they are 10
  • There are then four types of secondary school that a child may enter after Grundschule

If you’re moving to Germany to study at university, then you may be attending some of the best in the world. Nine universities in Germany are ranked in the top 100 globally and most courses are offered in English. Below are some of the best in Germany:

  1. LMU Munich
  2. Heidelberg University
  3. Humboldt University of Berlin
  4. Technical University of Munich

What Next?

We hope that you have found this article informative and that we have helped you in the process of moving to Germany. Here are a few more pages that may be of interest to you: