Moving to Berlin and my situation or question is unique

1,848 posts in this topic

Good advice from RedMidge. You don't mention your age or whether you would be coming alone or with a family, but as a major priority you should inform yourself about the monthly costs of the (compulsory) German health insurance which is very different system to the NHS. Hopefully your deep interest in German history is matched by a good command of the German language. There are plenty relocation agencies a google search away who will offer their services for a price; at any rate, you'll need deep pockets not only for the move, but also for a substantial period whilst you are establishing yourself.

 

If you enquire at the German Embassy in London, they will point you towards their own website

http://www.uk.diplo.de/Vertretung/unitedkingdom/en/10/0-Working-Studying-Germany.html

 

Many of these issues are already covered in already existing threads.

http://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/forum/71-newcomers/

http://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/topic/232552-moving-to-berlin-and-my-situation-or-question-is-unique/

 

 

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1 hour ago, Richdlc said:

Someone recommended that I simply up sticks and move to Berlin, and work it out as I go along. I tend to plan every eventuality before I do something.  Is there any merit in following this person's advice?

I think that "working it out as you go along" is a very bad idea when moving to Germany--this forum is full of people that did just this, and then run into all sorts of unforeseen problems...

 

Not sure how much time you've spent in Berlin, but I would also recommending spending some time here before picking up sticks and moving to make sure that it suits your tastes.

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Here's some simple advice and you can have it for free: learn German.

 

This is something that you neglect to touch on anywhere in your post. It is crucial to have German if you want to move here.

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41 minutes ago, naberlin said:

Not sure how much time you've spent in Berlin, but I would also recommending spending some time here before picking up sticks and moving to make sure that it suits your tastes.

 

Indeed. The OP wrote that he has never actually been to Berlin.

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thanks guys

 

To answer some questions, I'm, 39 pushing 40. I have no family or dependents. I don't drive. And I have some basic German. I mean I can understand a lot of it, but struggle with anything beyond basic conversational German. It's my intention to go to German classes if I make the move, and I'm hoping that immersing myself in the local culture will enable me to be more or less fluent within a year.

I also have enough funds saved up to last a couple of years at least. I'm hoping that any further expense will be offset by lower prices

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@Richdlc  You definitely need to check out the city before moving.  I think Berlin is a great city for 20-25 year olds and for families.  For mature singles (at least this mature single), not so much.  And don't underestimate the culture shock--this place takes some getting used to in terms of attitudes, regulations, convenience, etc.  

 

I'm a relatively recent arrival (March of this year) and could give you my perspective if I'm around when you come through.

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15 minutes ago, Richdlc said:

 I'm hoping that any further expense will be offset by lower prices

Depends on what you´re comparing them to. E.g. here

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49 minutes ago, naberlin said:

@Richdlc  You definitely need to check out the city before moving.  I think Berlin is a great city for 20-25 year olds and for families.  For mature singles (at least this mature single), not so much.  And don't underestimate the culture shock--this place takes some getting used to in terms of attitudes, regulations, convenience, etc.  

 

I'm a relatively recent arrival (March of this year) and could give you my perspective if I'm around when you come through.

 

thanks - I am aware of some of the idiosyncracies of German culture, such as apartments having no kitchens or lights, the weird 'noise rule' they have etc. and I think making compromises and learning about new cultures is part of the fun for me. As for being a relatively mature single, potentially this might be more difficult. I'd have to make a real effort to immerse myself in the local scene, join clubs and societies, and get out of the house to meet people. I'm aware of the huge size of Berlin (and transitionary aspect of many of the people moving through it) so I do know that meeting people and making lasting relationships could be hard.  But then again my other option is London, and equally large and daunting place. Wherever I go, I'll be living on my own (can't face having to move in with strangers again)

 

47 minutes ago, HEM said:

Ans one of those expenses here witll be Health Insurance - indeed insurances in general.

 

yes cheers. I've never had private healthcare as an adult - I've had treatment as a family member on my parent's BUPA membership before, so I might look into the possibility of joining BUPA and seeing if that covers it in Germany...which according to the article it could well do.  A few forums I've read say that healthcare is one of the major expenses, which leads me on to...

 

42 minutes ago, jeba said:

Depends on what you´re comparing them to. e.g. here

 

well I live in Hull in the N.E. UK - a real shithole, if you'll pardon my French. Advantage being that it has some of the lowest housing and rental prices in the UK. I can potentially live on £700 a month or less for rent and utilities here.  I'm hoping that I can live on €1000 or less per month in Berlin. My other option at the moment is London, but the prices are horrendous. The only argument for that option is that I really need to be in the U.K. for the first year of my publishing company until it takes off.  As for the book selling part of my business, I do it all online. I can potentially do it anywhere, but there will obviously be additional postage costs involved for my clients if I move to Europe.

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To live a modest live where you won't see a restaurant or a pub from the inside more than 5 times a month you will need € 1.500.-

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13 minutes ago, Richdlc said:

 

thanks - I am aware of some of the idiosyncracies of German culture, such as apartments having no kitchens or lights, the weird 'noise rule' they have etc. and I think making compromises and learning about new cultures is part of the fun for me. As for being a relatively mature single, potentially this might be more difficult. I'd have to make a real effort to immerse myself in the local scene, join clubs and societies, and get out of the house to meet people. I'm aware of the huge size of Berlin (and transitionary aspect of many of the people moving through it) so I do know that meeting people and making lasting relationships could be hard.  But then again my other option is London, and equally large and daunting place. Wherever I go, I'll be living on my own (can't face having to move in with strangers again)

 

 

yes cheers. I've never had private healthcare as an adult - I've had treatment as a family member on my parent's BUPA membership before, so I might look into the possibility of joining BUPA and seeing if that covers it in Germany...which according to the article it could well do.  A few forums I've read say that healthcare is one of the major expenses, which leads me on to...

 

 

well I live in Hull in the N.E. UK - a real shithole, if you'll pardon my French. Advantage being that it has some of the lowest housing and rental prices in the UK. I can potentially live on £700 a month or less for rent and utilities here.  I'm hoping that I can live on €1000 or less per month in Berlin. My other option at the moment is London, but the prices are horrendous. The only argument for that option is that I really need to be in the U.K. for the first year of my publishing company until it takes off.  As for the book selling part of my business, I do it all online. I can potentially do it anywhere, but there will obviously be additional postage costs involved for my clients if I move to Europe.

You could also apply for so-called voluntary membership of public insurance -who says you have to have private insurance? BUPA don´t tout for business in Germany anymore either..they got sick and tired of the rules and regulations re international insurance validity, Ricddlc. There are other international ones ok for shortish stays but if you want to stay in Germany very long term (eg 5 years plus or longer ) it´s better (for many legal reasons) to be in the German system nowadays. 

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RE Health Coverage. Do read all info carefully, and there are experts  who advertise on TT- see Finance section.  They are very busy at this time of year! ( JohnG/Starshollow, Panda Munich -Taxes)

As a UK NHS card carrier, your EHIC card will cover for 3 months - as a visitor. But, once you register as a Resident ( Anmeldung), you must have German approved Health coverage.  You may be able to join one of the Public KrankenKasses within  ?3 months. ( Not sure of the time period) ASk one of the experts. Again- UK government website/and German "Living in Germany" site.

Tenants in Germany have many rights, and can be  difficult to evict.   Good advice is to join the local Mieterverein.

Landlords will be picky-   and may need references, financial statements.

More  flats come with kitchen these days. Noise- well, UK has also  strict noise laws, but often difficult to enforce!  ( One man's  Bach is another's   jazz!)

Planning is good, winging it not so good these days.

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I'm very interested in your publishing business. It is digital or print? Do you have experience in book publishing (apart from selling books?)

What books will you be publishing? 

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22 hours ago, Richdlc said:

well I live in Hull in the N.E. UK - a real shithole, if you'll pardon my French. 

Spent my whole childhood and youth in Hull which is way too easy a target as a "crap town" IMHO. Still have a soft spot for it and the East Yorkshire hinterland, but I must also admit that it's a quantum leap from life in Berlin in just about every way you can imagine.

 

It doesn't sound as if you've ever lived outside the UK, so my advice would be to walk before you run. Use the next year to get your business off the ground in the UK first. In the interim work intensively on your German language and make frequent visits to Berlin to get a real sense of the place before making any decision. 

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Hi Everyone

I’m new here and just wanted to take the time to say thanks those of you helping everyone and thanks in advance to anyone able to provide me with some help.

So here’s my (our) situation. My wife and I currently live in New York City and are done with it. We decided we wanted to leave, and after a lot of deliberation about where to go, we picked Berlin. About a year ago, we put a deposit on a place in Friedrichshain. It’s a renovation, and the construction is beginning this month. We’ve now finalized the contract with the notary and are just waiting until it’s done to get our lives started in Berlin. Expected completion is not until Q2 2018.

We are both in our mid-40s and American citizens. My wife speaks no German (yet). I’d say I’m on the weaker side of B2 with my language skills. While I may want to work at some point in the future, that’s not an immediate need, as I think that we are financially secure enough to pay for our apartment and a pretty comfortable (though not overly extravagant) standard of living without doing so.

We are both in good health and currently have health insurance through my job in New York. We were able to open a bank account at Commerzbank on our last visit to Berlin, so we have that sorted – even though we do not have our Anmeldungbescheinigung. We expect (hope?) to live in our apartment when it is complete.

We’ve had one conversation with an immigration lawyer based in Frankfurt about our situation. It was as a favor (and free), and was almost one year ago, and I imagine some things have changed about our situation. However, it was that lawyer’s opinion that given our demonstrated commitment to the country by investing in real estate and our financial position, we have a good chance of being offered a visa – though he absolutely did not want to offer any promises.

I guess my initial questions are as follows:

1)   Given that we’re not of typical retirement age, are we able to apply for a visa like a retiree would apply for?

2)   If we do this, are we always prohibited from working in the future if we decide that we want to do so? I’m thinking of something more to keep me busy, like teaching English or something like that rather than a more traditional career.

3)   We plan to make an appointment with the German consulate sometime this summer, most likely. Is it worth exploring this idea with them? Or does it potentially make more sense to look into a German language study visa first? Both my wife and I intend to enroll in German classes when we arrive.

4)   Any thoughts on health insurance would be appreciated. I know that we will need German insurance when we arrive. What might be the best route for someone our age, in good health with basically only some investment, rather than wage income?

5)   Any other important things that I should look into or think about as we go through the next 15-18 months.

Hopefully I’ve given sufficient information to allow some of the experts here to start us on the right path. But if not, I’m happy to offer any clarifications. Thanks for your help.

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all these points have been covered so many times on this site - have you seriously not looked into any of these topics at all before buying an apartment in Berlin?  Not even the BAMF website that simply and clearly outlines what types of residence permits are available?  None of which seem to apply to you (based on what you have said here at least)?

 

If you don't want to read the many threads that cover these topics:

 

Find a job that qualifies for a work/residence permit - preferably a blue card.  All your problems go away.

 

Definitely talk to the consulate as they are going to tell you what kind of permit you might get in your current, special situation.

 

Alternately, since you apparently have plenty of money, HIRE an immigration lawyer and get a proposal for how they might wheedle you in.  I don't think they can, but they are the legal whiz kids so...pay one.

 

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On 14.1.2017, 17:11:04, candylandriots said:

Hi Everyone

 

I’m new here and just wanted to take the time to say thanks those of you helping everyone and thanks in advance to anyone able to provide me with some help.

 

So here’s my (our) situation. My wife and I currently live in New York City and are done with it. We decided we wanted to leave, and after a lot of deliberation about where to go, we picked Berlin. About a year ago, we put a deposit on a place in Friedrichshain. It’s a renovation, and the construction is beginning this month. We’ve now finalized the contract with the notary and are just waiting until it’s done to get our lives started in Berlin. Expected completion is not until Q2 2018.

 

We are both in our mid-40s and American citizens. My wife speaks no German (yet). I’d say I’m on the weaker side of B2 with my language skills. While I may want to work at some point in the future, that’s not an immediate need, as I think that we are financially secure enough to pay for our apartment and a pretty comfortable (though not overly extravagant) standard of living without doing so.

 

We are both in good health and currently have health insurance through my job in New York. We were able to open a bank account at Commerzbank on our last visit to Berlin, so we have that sorted – even though we do not have our Anmeldungbescheinigung. We expect (hope?) to live in our apartment when it is complete.

 

We’ve had one conversation with an immigration lawyer based in Frankfurt about our situation. It was as a favor (and free), and was almost one year ago, and I imagine some things have changed about our situation. However, it was that lawyer’s opinion that given our demonstrated commitment to the country by investing in real estate and our financial position, we have a good chance of being offered a visa – though he absolutely did not want to offer any promises.

 

I guess my initial questions are as follows:

 

 

1)   Given that we’re not of typical retirement age, are we able to apply for a visa like a retiree would apply for?

 

2)   If we do this, are we always prohibited from working in the future if we decide that we want to do so? I’m thinking of something more to keep me busy, like teaching English or something like that rather than a more traditional career.

 

3)   We plan to make an appointment with the German consulate sometime this summer, most likely. Is it worth exploring this idea with them? Or does it potentially make more sense to look into a German language study visa first? Both my wife and I intend to enroll in German classes when we arrive.

 

4)   Any thoughts on health insurance would be appreciated. I know that we will need German insurance when we arrive. What might be the best route for someone our age, in good health with basically only some investment, rather than wage income?

 

5)   Any other important things that I should look into or think about as we go through the next 15-18 months.

 

Hopefully I’ve given sufficient information to allow some of the experts here to start us on the right path. But if not, I’m happy to offer any clarifications. Thanks for your help.

 

Good evening, candy!

The best-laid schemes o´mice an´ men:rolleyes:

 

You don´t need German health insurance when you arrive...how would you expect to get it before arrival? You would not qualify for German public health insurance (not free anyway) without a history of being in a European country´s public system prior to arriving in Germany. NO German private insurer will take you without an existing minimum 2 year residence permit ( unless your immigration lawyer can clarify with the visa people that you can fulfil other requirements and that an insurance company will take you based on this information..Catch 22..not easy..not saying it´s impossible, though ).

A private international insurance (but not just any old one ) would work to start with, assuming you also meet the visa requirements elsewhere (sustainable income, own a place etc ).

 

PS: teaching English (but not private tuition) for at least one private language school (though millions of others are also doing it :rolleyes:) IS a typical way to get a visa/work permit for a while...US citizens ARE allowed to look for work in Germany and without applying for the visa in their home country ).

Cheers!

 

Disclaimer: I´m an independent insurance broker, specialising in expats in Germany, and an official advertiser on TT.

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If working is the only way, I think a blue card would be a much better option as if you can pass a B1 exam you can get permanent residence \,which is unrestricted with respect to working, after 21 months.  IE, with the niederlassungserlaubnis you can work at whatever job you like, but more importantly in *this* case, you don't have to work at all if you are self-supporting.  21 months of hard labor might be a small price to pay?  

 

You have to find the right job of course. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, lisa13 said:

all these points have been covered so many times on this site - have you seriously not looked into any of these topics at all before buying an apartment in Berlin?  Not even the BAMF website that simply and clearly outlines what types of residence permits are available?  None of which seem to apply to you (based on what you have said here at least)?

 

If you don't want to read the many threads that cover these topics:

 

Find a job that qualifies for a work/residence permit - preferably a blue card.  All your problems go away.

 

Definitely talk to the consulate as they are going to tell you what kind of permit you might get in your current, special situation.

 

Alternately, since you apparently have plenty of money, HIRE an immigration lawyer and get a proposal for how they might wheedle you in.  I don't think they can, but they are the legal whiz kids so...pay one.

 

 

4 hours ago, lisa13 said:

If working is the only way, I think a blue card would be a much better option as if you can pass a B1 exam you can get permanent residence \,which is unrestricted with respect to working, after 21 months.  IE, with the niederlassungserlaubnis you can work at whatever job you like, but more importantly in *this* case, you don't have to work at all if you are self-supporting.  21 months of hard labor might be a small price to pay?  

 

You have to find the right job of course. 

 

 

 

I have done some research, and have not found something that fits my situation exactly. And I only learned of Toytown a couple of weeks ago. Our attitude about this is that Berlin real estate is a good investment and if worse comes to worse, we sell our place and find somewhere else to go. That would be terribly disappointing, but it's definitely something we considered. It would be foolish not to have done so.

 

It's not that I wouldn't mind working, I just was given the impression that a visa would be easier to come by if I'm not squeezing someone else out of the job market. But 21 months would be totally do-able for me. Let me know if you're hiring :).

 

I was hoping not to have to hire a lawyer, but perhaps that will be money well-spent. Though every time I'm in Berlin, I feel like there are tons of Americans there that have gotten a visa one way or another, and I doubt that most of them hired expensive lawyers.

 

I guess my questions ultimately boil down to: are we likely to be more successful by pursuing some kind of retirement visa, or to seek employment?

 

Thank you for your replies.

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6 hours ago, john g. said:

Good evening, candy!

The best-laid schemes o´mice an´ men:rolleyes:

 

You don´t need German health insurance when you arrive...how would you expect to get it before arrival? You would not qualify for German public health insurance (not free anyway) without a history of being in a European country´s public system prior to arriving in Germany. NO German private insurer will take you without an existing minimum 2 year residence permit ( unless your immigration lawyer can clarify with the visa people that you can fulfil other requirements and that an insurance company will take you based on this information..Catch 22..not easy..not saying it´s impossible, though ).

A private international insurance (but not just any old one ) would work to start with, assuming you also meet the visa requirements elsewhere (sustainable income, own a place etc ).

 

PS: teaching English (but not private tuition) for at least one private language school (though millions of others are also doing it :rolleyes:) IS a typical way to get a visa/work permit for a while...US citizens ARE allowed to look for work in Germany and without applying for the visa in their home country ).

Cheers!

 

Disclaimer: I´m an independent insurance broker, specialising in expats in Germany, and an official advertiser on TT.

 

Thank you John, that is good information. I knew that we would not qualify for public insurance. I'll need to do a bit of work to find appropriate insurance from the US that will work in Germany after I leave my current job. We may be getting in touch with you at some point (I hope) to help us with getting German insurance once we have a visa.

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