New to Germany? Follow these steps to get settled in a new city

Coming to live in a new German city? Exciting! However, before you discover precisely what Frankfurt or Hamburg (for example) have to offer, there are a few things that you'll have to take care of.

Published: Mon 26 Feb 2024 13:41 CEST
New to Germany? Follow these steps to get settled in a new city
Frankfurt is one of Germany's most exciting cities. Here's how to get started there. Photo: Unsplash

No need to fear; together with the urban living concept, HAVENS LIVING by International Campus, we're laying out the most essential steps you'll have to take when arriving in a German city to live and work - and one great lifehack. 

Step One - Get registered 

No matter who you are and where you plan on living, you must register with local authorities within two weeks of arrival. This is done at the local citizen's service centre or Bürgeramt. 

To register, you'll need your passport and associated ID, as well as completed forms from the owner of the property that you're staying in. Once you've done this, you'll receive a registration certificate called an Anmeldebestätigung that acts as your registration record. 

This document proves that you legally reside in Germany, and it's also required when you try to set up things like your bank account, utilities and other critical everyday services. 

Navigating German bureaucracy is a skill. With International Campus, registering yourself at a German address becomes easy

Step Two - Open a bank account

After getting registered, you must ensure you have a German bank account. Again, having a German bank account with a German IBAN account number is essential for many aspects of everyday life - from timely payment of your salary to accessing vital services. 

Organising a German bank account used to be more complex, as many banks required proof of residence before opening an account for you. However, easing financial regulations has meant that online banks such as Bunq, Revolut or N26 allow you to set up an account before arrival. Once in Germany, you'll have a set amount of time - usually three months - to provide a copy of your Anmeldebestätigung.

Step Three - Take care of your utilities

Once you've got registration and your bank account sorted out, you'll need to find a place to live. This is a massive topic, and The Local has often written about securing a rental property in Germany. 

Let's say you've found a place for our purposes. Next, you have to sort out your utilities - gas and power, as well as the internet. There are many regional gas and electricity providers in Germany, and plenty of smaller outfits promising that their energy is sustainable or customer service is very international-friendly. There's also a dizzying variety of internet packages available. 

What you have to know is the length of any prospective contract you're offered and how you can shift your tariff or cancel your service if you decide to move. 

German contract law is notoriously complex and unforgiving. This means you should have someone with fluent German read through your contract and explain the terms and conditions so you don't cost yourself extra money. 

Finding your feet in a new German city is a lot of work. Take the pain out of getting started, with HAVENS LIVING as your new home in Frankfurt or Hamburg.

HAVENS LIVING's new Bockenheim location - located centrally to business, culture and recreation destinations. Photo: HAVENS LIVING

Step Four - Learn how to get around and start making friends! 

Once you're settled into a new apartment, getting to know your new home is time. Cities like Frankfurt and Hamburg are easily explored using their public transport system. Still, it's also essential to research and find the kind of ticket that makes sense to you. 

You may use enough in your daily commute to justify a subscription with the local OPNV or public transport provider. Many of these subscriptions come with additional benefits, like subsidised entrance to museums or attractions, so it's worth exploring the idea. 

If you're in an international city, you'll find it reasonably easy to meet people in a similar situation to yours. There are also several websites and Facebook communities for international students and workers to answer your questions - don't discount how useful these can be in helping you find your feet. 

Your lifehack to settling in a new German city

Speaking of finding your feet, if you're about to start a new life in Frankfurt or Hamburg, apartment solutions such as HAVENS LIVING can help you avoid many of the challenges of getting started in a big city.

With HAVENS LIVING, not only can you use their Frankfurt Bockenheim (opening Spring 2024) and Hamburg Altona properties to help you get registered, but they take care of your utilities - all-inclusive - and act as your concierge and guide, giving you the kind of insider advice and knowledge that only locals can provide. 

Need an English-speaking doctor? They'll help you make an appointment. Looking for salsa dancing? They'll know the best places. 

Each International Campus property offers a range of living options, each stylishly fully furnished with everything you'll need to be comfortable and relaxed. With each apartment option, there's flexible leasing, meaning whatever your situation is, there's something that suits you.

HAVENS LIVING properties also provide a gym and other communal spaces where there's always something happening, helping make new friends that much easier. It's like a boutique hotel as your base to explore and build a life in a new city.. 

Getting settled in Germany can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be. With a little bit of research - and someone on your side like HAVENS LIVING- it can be the start of something truly exciting. 

Streamline you German move, and begin your next great adventure. Learn more about HAVENS LIVING's apartment solutions in Hamburg and Frankfurt


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