Moving to Berlin and my situation or question is unique

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I was only kidding on the hubby working situation - I guessed it was something like you explained. Anyway, something else to remember is that Germany and the UK have a double taxation agreement - this means that in the year that you move, you get your full tax allowances in both countries. So if you are currently working in the UK and paying tax, you will be able to reclaim overpayment at the end of 2008-2009 tax year (5 April 2009), while in Germany you will get full year tax allowances for 2008 (German tax year is 1 Jan to 31 Dec) - so your tax burden in 2008 will be lower as you will have accrued tax allowances since Jan 2008.

 

With regard ot your hubby's UK PhD grant, I suspect that it depends on who pays the grant. If it's the local council, then if you leave, I doubt they will want to continue - whereas if it is some external source such as an industrial partner, they may continue to pay. One way or the other, I don't see any reason why the German tax authorities need to know anything, as from their perspective your hubby is a "kept man", and as long as he is not looking to claim any German social benefits, then I don't think they are interested.

 

Colin

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Just thought further about my last post - as you will be looking to claim the joint tax allowances, hubby will also have to register for tax, and get his tax card ("Lohnsteuerkarte"). However from memory this is just an administrative procedure, and I don't think there is any requirement to state your job. When you get a job, you give your Lohnsteuerkarte to your employer, and they use that to pay your tax - just like PAYE in the UK.

 

Colin

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Regarding kitchen in berlin flats: If you want a whole kitchen in the flat, look for EBK (Einbauküche). Most of the new buildings (last 50 years) have one in different quality. Old buildings normally only have EBK if they're shortly and expensive renovated.

We are staying in a lively and young neighbourhood and pay about 650 euro (including extras/telephone/internet flat) for our medium sized 2-bedroom flat, but you'll have to be lucky to find such a rather cheap flat. Be prepared to pay about 700 to 850 (including most of the stuff mentioned).

eating and drinking can be ridiculously cheap, if you know where to go - there a nice restaurants with main dishes for 5 euro and there are bars with half a litre great beer for 2 euro... there is of course no upper limit...

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Hello all!

 

I seem to be one of the very rare Canadians on here- I'm about to move over- I have a tentative (pretty much- provided you don't completely screw up on the first day) job offer from a company in Berlin who will sponsor me for a work permit. I'm expecting to make about $2kE a month (more in the summer- my job is seasonally dependent). From what I see on here, I'm expecting that I will bring home about $1200E after taxes? I'm willing in the summer to pay up to $600 for a place- I'm actually expecting to have a roommate come August when another friend of mine is planning to move over from the UK- on the other hand, I can look for a roommate if she doesn't turn up.

 

A few things about me- 31, anglo-scotian heritage (how PC was that?) 2 cats (I have their immigration papers) and I read and write more german than I can verbally understand. Or- to put a finer point on it- Berliners speak SO fast, and for the rest of germany, I'm a Hoch-Deutsch only kind of girl. Any dialect and I'm lost!

 

I had hoped to find an empty apartment before I arrived, but from what I read on here, that might not be the best idea. I'm curious about some of the areas though. I'm an Altbau girl, and I have seen some fab ones (I like the old stoves, mouldings, etc) with the Tiergarten/Moabit area. How is this area? I know it's on the outskirts of Wedding, and I've heard that Wedding can be a little rough.

 

A few people have told me Prenzl, F'schain and Kreuzberg are great places, on the other hand, they seem to be expensive, and I'm not generally the type who likes to pay for Trendy for Trendy's sake. What do you think? Any ideas?When I've stayed in Berlin before, I've been in Charlottenberg, so I've been looking there and Wilmersdorf as well.

 

I'm arriving a Month tomorrow. Any advise would be fab!

 

Zobirdie

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Yet another plea for advice/info here Im afraid, many thanks to the people who give up their time to share their wisdom...

 

I am moving across to Berlin in about three weeks, initially to spend 8 weeks @ the Goethe Institute, staying with a host family. After this (late June), I will probably be looking to move out and take a room in shared accommodation, and try to find myself gainful employment doing just about anything.

 

I live in the UK, always have done and was born here. However my father was German, and moved over to England when he was 22 (which incidentally is my age). I don't hold a German passport, but I am fairly certain that I am eligible for one (my sister holds one). Now I know that as an EU citizen anyway I am absolved from any restrictions on labour etc or any requirement for a visa, but is there any benefit to me in being classfied as a German national rather than a foreign EU citizen? If so would it therefore be in my interest to apply for a German passport and claim German nationality? Could I claim to be a German national irrespective of the fact that I dont hold a German passport? So many questions. I appreciate that these are probably better addressed to the German Embassy but Im finding it frustratingly difficult to get hold of anyone there to answer my questions. Any advice would be gratefully received.

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Simple answer is NO - you don't need to become a German citizen. All citizens of EU countries have to be treated equally (not sure about the recent EU countries, but certainly as a UK citizen, you are treated exactly as a German citizen). The only thing that you don't get to do is vote in the German parliment elections - you get to vote in the local and European ones.

 

Also note that Germany does not recognise dual citizenship, so if you get a German passport, you have to give up your UK one! So my advice is don't worry, you will be fine here as a UK citizen.

 

Colin

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Simple answer is NO - you don't need to become a German citizen. All citizens of EU countries have to be treated equally (not sure about the recent EU countries, but certainly as a UK citizen, you are treated exactly as a German citizen). The only thing that you don't get to do is vote in the German parliment elections - you get to vote in the local and European ones.

The slightly longer answer is yes. Although you have freedom of movement within the EU as a UK citizen, you do need under EU law to demonstrate that you will not be a burden on the host country's social system. So you will need to make sure that you have health insurance and not expect to apply for any means tested benefits once you get here. The local council (Bürgeramt) may check up on at least the medical insurance bit of this if you want to stay longer than 3 months and they may want you to apply for a Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung document (which basically states that you are a EU citizen but can be requested by pedantic potential employers or if you want to apply for state subsidised language classes etc). One of the criteria for this document is that you have to provide evidence of your health insurance. Although, as with many things in Germany, how stricty this is applied depends on the person sitting at the desk at your local council office.

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My experience is different. I returned to Berlin last December. I am Irish, my wife is Ukranian, and we have an 18 month old boy who is Irish also). All we had to do was register as usual at the burgeramt (Anmelden), and then they sent us to anotler office, where we were issued with our permits to live in Germany. There were no checks on our financial status, medical insurance etc. All they wanted to see were our passports, and marriage certificate (needed because my wife is Ukranian).

 

The situation has changed in recent years, and Germany has come in line with most other EU countries. There is no need to visit the Auslanderbehorde or anything else complicated. The situation is that Germany must treat EU citizens (as I said in my earlier post, don't know the status of the more recent EU entrant countries) as though they were German with regard to residence, working and social care rights. In the past they did not do so, but it looks like things are much simpler now. So you can't just claim unemployment money, but neither can Germans if they've not paid tax for a qualifying period. However, as far as I understand, you can claim social help from day one, and you can also claim kindergeld (children's allowance) etc.

 

I still do not believe that Germany recognises dual citizenship - this is the information we have been given by the Irish embassy in the past, and I've not seen any evidence that is going to change. However it's not an issue

 

Colin

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Another point regarding health insurance is that before traveling within the EU, you should make sure that you have a EU Health Insurance Card, which is freely available to all EU citizens. This card replaces the old E111 form previously required. It means that as a UK citizen, you are entitled to basic health care in Germany. Now this is not supposed to be used for long term health care (although I know of some people in Berlin who depend on it for their long term health care - which is crazy). The idea is to cover people traveling for holidays, business etc. As mentioned earlier in this topic, you should get proper German health insurance if staying longer than 3 months (although I don't believe anyone will force you to do so).

 

As soon as you start working, you will be forced into the health insurance system. It is a bit expensive, but the system is based on the concept of "Universal Health Care", and if not in the private healthcare system, what you pay depends on what you earn - and your employer pays 50%. Also note that there are special terms in the public health system for Students.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Colin

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My experience is different. I returned to Berlin last December. I am Irish, my wife is Ukranian, and we have an 18 month old boy who is Irish also). All we had to do was register as usual at the burgeramt (Anmelden), and then they sent us to anotler office, where we were issued with our permits to live in Germany. There were no checks on our financial status, medical insurance etc. All they wanted to see were our passports, and marriage certificate (needed because my wife is Ukranian).

Dude, just because the Bezirksamt Steglitz-Zehlendorf didn't want to see proof of health insurance doesn't mean that you can generalise across the whole country. Try using the search button to see what other recent experiences people have had and maybe qualify your statement a little. If you indeed are a seasoned resident of Germany, you must have noticed that there is a lot of variation in the interpretation of rules, often within the same office.

 

 

The situation has changed in recent years, and Germany has come in line with most other EU countries. There is no need to visit the Auslanderbehorde or anything else complicated.

Did anyone say old EU citizens should drag themselves up to the Auslanderbehorde in Westhaven?

 

 

However, as far as I understand, you can claim social help from day one.

Can you provide a reference for this? I'm sure that loads of people would like to have access to social help (Sozial Hilfe) but think that they are not eligible.

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It was Bezirksamt Mitte, and the woman there insisted that this was the procedure everywhere (by which I assume she meant Berlin, but I'd be surprised if it was only Berlin - however as Germany is federal, it is of course possible that other states have different administration procedures). My point is that Germany finally appears to be moving to implement procedures correctly as an EU member state.

 

My point on the Auslanderbehorde is that it used to be the case that all foreigners wanting to live in Germany legally for more than 3 months had to go there, and do all the paperwork, including interview (I know, I had to do when I first lived in Berlin 12 years ago or so), and that this is no longer the case - everything was done in the Bizirksamt in 10 minutes for the whole family.

 

With regard to social help, I said that this is my understanding - it is certainly the way it is supposed to operate in all EU countries. The point is that all EU citizens (again only commenting on old EU country citizens) are to be treated equally with regard to work, education, healthcare etc. I cannot say for sure that Germany has got round to implementing this, but I thought that this was indeed the case. I know for a fact that childrens allowance is paid from day one (as soon as you've got your Anmeldung, and you register with the Jungendsamt), as we get the monthly payment for our son. Also I know that we pay the same for Kita costs (which is heavily subsidised) as German parents.

 

Claiming social help in Germany is not easy, even for Germans - of course there is means testing, and lots of checking done before it is paid. I reiterate that I am not talking about unemployment money - this is only available to people who have been paying tax for the required period (whether they are German or not, the same rule applies).

 

Hope this clarifies things,

 

Colin

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Double citizenship is only accepted under special circumstances (if you are non-German becoming German).

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I've given my twopennys worth - not sure how much I can help, I think the big problem with that lady is that she is panicing. Hopefully she can calm down a little and get her situation sorted out when the baby is born.

 

However again, I think the issue is that if she comes here she will be treated as a German would - however of course she is at a disadvantage, as people who have grown up here will know the system, and they will have all their paperwork already in the system. The problem for new arrivals (again assuming old EU countries) is often just getting to grips with the system. Thats where this forum helps a bit, with some people being able to give professinal, and people like myself simply providing information based on my experience.

 

Regards,

 

Colin

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Thanks for all the responses, although I must confess I am still a little confused - so dual nationality is permitted for a UK national taking on German citizenship?

 

Once I have completed my 8 weeks at the Goethe Institut as I say I will be looking to work but if I dont find employment straight away will I be eligible for whatever the dole is called in Germany either as an EU or German national? Is this a nightmare to sign up for (esp. bearing in mind my far-from-perfect German)?

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As I said, my understanding form official information is that Germany never recognises dual citizernship - however others have said this is not the case, so if you really want to go that way, you'll have to talk tot he relevant German authorities yourself to get a clear answer.

 

As I have previously said, it does not matter if you are a German or UK citizen, you are entitled to the same treatment with regard to social benefits. There are two things of relevance here. Unemployment payments, "Arbeitslosengeld" is only available if you have been working and paying tax for a certain period (don't know what the period, is but I'm sure it is not less than 6 months). So you have no chance of getting that. Then there is social help "Sozialhilfe". As discussed elsewhere on the forum, as a resident from an (old) EU state you are, as far as I know you are entitled to this in principal, but you will be means tested. So if you have any fiinancial resources (via a partner, or savings , student or work income), these will be measured (probably lots of other things they'll want to know that I don't know about), and if above a threshold, you won't get anything. They don't like giving this money to anyone, so you'll really have to convince them you NEED the help to survive.If you lie to them, and they find out, you will be in deep doo-doo, so don't be tempted to do so.

 

My advice is get yourself set up with some work as soon as you can - ideally before you arrive, or start looking as soon as you get here - the summer is coming so finding casual work should not be too difficult. If you plan to stay a long time, get a tax card "Lohnsteuerkarte" and start paying tax, as then you'll start qualifying for benefits correctly at an earlier stage. Plan not to expect to get any money form the state, and then you won't get yourself stressed out later.

 

Colin

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