Welcome to Munich!
It is great living in Munich! There will be moments where you will say “I am in heaven!”. But maybe, not in the beginning. In the beginning you have bad business to deal with! A lot of bureaucracy, a lot of paperwork, and a tough housing market! If you are not fluent in German, might be even tougher.
When I moved, I had a support from a German friend, who was also my manager to deal with all the bureaucracy and things to do. But still, there were some cases I had to deal myself and find the right information. Now I know and wrote down what I know. So you can follow the steps and settle in quicker and easier. Here are your to-do list for moving to Munich:
Things to do before you move to Munich:
1-Get your visa sorted out.
If you want to live here, you should first apply for a visa at the German consulate in your home country. Get the right visa for your purpose (work, family, study). The visa you will get from the consulate will be short-term, you will get the long term residence permit once you are in Germany.
2-Get your appointment from the Ausländersbehörde (foreigners’ office) even before travelling.
You should apply for your residence permit 6 weeks before your temporary visa expires. So do the appointment request way before than that, do it as soon as you get your visa. The appointment schedule may be full and you don’t want to be late.
Be aware that you should have done your registration to the city (Anmeldung) before going to your appointment to get the residence permit.
To request an appointment from the Ausländerbehörde (foreigners’ office) you should send an email to the designated email addresses with the following details :
- Familienname und Vorname (Surname and Name)
- Geburtsdatum (Birthday)
- Telefonnummer (Telephone number)
- Grund für die Terminanfrage (Reason for the appointment) : In this case Aufenthaltstitel (residence permit) or Blaue Karte Beantragung (Blue Card application – see section Blue Card for details)
Designated email addresses for the residence permit are listed below according to the first letter of your surname:
- A-D: firstname.lastname@example.org
- E-K: email@example.com
- L-R: firstname.lastname@example.org
- S-Z: email@example.com
To take appointment for Blue card, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. (if you are qualified workforce or manager, see the section Blue Card)
3-Get an apartment, get an address if you can
Rent an apartment or a room in a shared apartment before your move if it is possible. This would save you a lot of time and trouble. Then you can do your registration to the city (anmeldung) on the same day of your arrival and do all the rest of the paperwork easily. You can get short term rental for the beginning and look for an apartment for longer term once you are in Munich.
That is what I did. I found a furnished apartment on the website of Mr. Lodge. My friend visited the apartment for me and approved that it was all right. I signed the contract, transferred the money. When I landed in Munich I moved directly to my furnished flat and could do all the paperwork very quickly.
I should warn you about the cost of renting an apartment. When you rent an apartment, you are required to pay 3 times your rent (without expenses) as a deposit and as you will also pay the first month of the rent, you should have 4 rents- money available.
Things to do when you arrive to Munich:
1-Get yourself a German mobile phone number
Getting a phone number is the first thing you should do as you need to give this information for applying for a bank account, applying for an apartment and so on. The easiest way to get a phone number is getting a prepaid SIM card from a store at or around Hauptbahnhof (main train station).
You can get your prepaid SIM card from one of the following operators:
A technical term that is good to know when comparing different mobile plans is “FLAT”. “FLAT” means that you can make unlimited calls with your plan.
2- Get yourself an apartment
If you haven’t already done it before you move here, you should urgently do it. See the blog post about how to find an apartment in Munich.
3-Anmeldung (Registering yourself as a resident)
You are required to register your location of residence (Anmeldung) in 2 weeks after your move. If you fail to do the registration on time, there is a fine of 1000 Euro.
Once you get the Anmeldebescheinigung (confirmation of registration), secure it somewhere. For making sure you always have it, make a photo of it or scan it and save it as digital document too. You will need this document for a lot of occasions such as when you apply for a service or when you register to a library.
4-Get yourself a health insurance
There are two types of health insurances: Public and private.
Read the post comparing these two options and decide which one would best suit you.
Once you are registered to insurance, you will get your public insurance number. You have to give it to your employer.
5-Get yourself a German tax ID
You should automatically get your tax ID by post a few weeks after the Anmeldung. If you need it urgently (As your company needs it to pay your salary) you may visit Finanzamt in your region, show them your passport and get your Tax ID.
6-Apply for a residence permit
- You need to have done your anmeldung.
- You need to have signed up for health insurance.
As discussed in the section “Get your appointment from Auslaenderbehoerde”, you will travel to Munich with a temporary visa and need to apply for your residence permit once you are in Munich. Get an appointment by sending an email to the foreigner’s office (See section things to do before you arrive) if you haven’t done already.
7-Get yourself a bank account
You need a German bank account to pay your utilities, to receive your salary and to pay your cash-less expenses. As told in the blog post, you have rarely the possibility to pay with a credit card. Instead you will use your bank card (called EC-Karte in Germany) for your transactions and to get one you will need a bank account.
Read Opening your first bank account in Munich post to see my tips and get yourself a bank account ASAP.
Now that you know what to do, you can start getting your appointments and looking for an apartment. I hope things move smoothly for you and drop me a message if you need any help!