Retirement in Germany

26 posts in this topic

My wife and I are considering retiring to Germany from the US, possibly in a year or so. While I see a lot of information online for expats, most of it is oriented to students and persons relocating for a job. I would appreciate any pointers to information oriented toward retirees who have US-based sources of income and don't plan on working in Germany.

 

As part of our research, we will be in Bavaria (Regensburg area) for a week to look around. Any suggestions on specific things we should look into while in country would be appreciated.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Pfaelzer said:

My wife and I are considering retiring to Germany from the US, possibly in a year or so. While I see a lot of information online for expats, most of it is oriented to students and persons relocating for a job. I would appreciate any pointers to information oriented toward retirees who have US-based sources of income and don't plan on working in Germany.

 

Do either you or your wife also hold an EU citizenship? Germany does not have a residence permit category for foreign retirees. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There have been quite a few recent posts from US citizens wishing to retire and move to Germany. Some do have 1 partner with claim to German citizenship,  

but many have only US citizenship.

You would need  a visa , and, as engelchen says, there is no retirement visa in Germany.

One big issue would be health insurance- the cost and whether you would be accepted .

Do use the TT search function- many posts come up when entering "US citizens retiring to Germany", and "Health insurance ".

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look on facebook. Theres a few americans living in germany facebook groups. If you are financially stable you can live here but you wilo need to show proof. Dont ask me what the amount is cause i dont know. I think its a few grand a month. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, engelchen said:

 

Do either you or your wife also hold an EU citizenship? Germany does not have a residence permit category for foreign retirees. 

Unfortunately no. However, I was born in Germany and emigrated to the US with my parents as a child. As near as I can tell from the German government information on line this might give me a fast track to permanent residency if I can get over the language skills hurdle.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Pfaelzer said:

However, I was born in Germany and emigrated to the US with my parents as a child. As near as I can tell from the German government information on line this might give me a fast track to permanent residency if I can get over the language skills hurdle.

 

Were you born to German or American citizens?  Did you ever hold German citizenship? 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, engelchen said:

 

Were you born to German or American citizens?  Did you ever hold German citizenship? 

I was born to German citizens. I suppose I must have held German citizenship since I was born there to Germans? But I lived in Germany for only about 3 years, I think 5 years is some kind of magic number if I remember correctly.

 

I am thinking we should perhaps meet with an immigration lawyer when we visit Bavaria in May.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm an American retired in Germany.  My resident permit was no problem as my wife is German.  You'll need someone to help you with the paperwork for sure as you can't count on anyone speaking English in any government office.  A couple other things I discovered:  1. You cannot get on the public health insurance if you are over 55 even if you are in perfect health and your spouse is on it.  2. Learning German in your 50s (or older) is a LOT harder then I thought it would be.  3. Be sure you have at least 3 more years on your passport, otherwise renew it before you arrive.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Buzznut3000 said:

I'm an American retired in Germany.  My resident permit was no problem as my wife is German.  You'll need someone to help you with the paperwork for sure as you can't count on anyone speaking English in any government office.  A couple other things I discovered:  1. You cannot get on the public health insurance if you are over 55 even if you are in perfect health and your spouse is on it.  2. Learning German in your 50s (or older) is a LOT harder then I thought it would be.  3. Be sure you have at least 3 more years on your passport, otherwise renew it before you arrive.

Thanks for the info. I do speak some German and it generally improves the longer I'm over there. I had assumed that we would need to purchase private insurance since we won't have an employer to pay in their share to the public system.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, Pfaelzer said:

I was born to German citizens. I suppose I must have held German citizenship since I was born there to Germans? But I lived in Germany for only about 3 years, I think 5 years is some kind of magic number if I remember correctly.

 

I am thinking we should perhaps meet with an immigration lawyer when we visit Bavaria in May.

Can´t help thinking...wouldn´t it be a good idea to contact an immigration lawyer NOW rather than wait till you visit Bavaria in May? Surely then you might be equipped with more information? eg: how to get German citizenship, which  paperwork you need to get hold of (eg parents´ registration of birth ) and even public health insurance as a " returning German" (the latter is doable despite your age- under certain circumstances.)

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, john g. said:

Can´t help thinking...wouldn´t it be a good idea to contact an immigration lawyer NOW rather than wait till you visit Bavaria in May? Surely then you might be equipped with more information? eg: how to get German citizenship, which  paperwork you need to get hold of (eg parents´ registration of birth ) and even public health insurance as a " returning German" (the latter is doable despite your age- under certain circumstances.)

Yes john, you are of course correct. I guess I meant I would make an initial contact soon via email (once I find someone), then arrange for an in-person meeting in May. I hadn't thought about my parents' birth registrations, that might be tricky.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, Pfaelzer, you never know..maybe an immigration lawyer with power of attorney from you might be able to research that kind of thing - including where your parents were health insured...a key issue is affordable health insurance and there is a chance - if your parents were publicly health insured - that you could get into public insurance at affordable prices and disregarding pre-existing conditions.

I´m 66 and am not extremely unhealthy but would not pass aný medical check up for private insurance in Germany these days :(

And the prices at your/our age...ouch

And do not underestimate the difficulties of getting privately health insured if you are only with an American passport AND the medical questions. Let us , for example, say you weigh 200 pounds and are 6 foot tall--no one will take you...(BMI issue here ). Or you have had a slipped disk in the past few years or had psychological counselling in the past few years...NO DICE.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Pfaelzer said:

I was born to German citizens. I suppose I must have held German citizenship since I was born there to Germans? But I lived in Germany for only about 3 years, I think 5 years is some kind of magic number if I remember correctly.

 

I am thinking we should perhaps meet with an immigration lawyer when we visit Bavaria in May.

Why not simply apply for a German passport at the German embassy, given that you have German parents? If they see a problem (like dual citizenship) you can still consult a lawyer.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, jeba said:

Why not simply apply for a German passport at the German embassy, given that you have German parents? If they see a problem (like dual citizenship) you can still consult a lawyer.

Thanks, jeba. I have researched this with the German consulate and it appears to be not that simple. Adding to the problem, the nearest consulate is rather far from where I live in the US. I think it might be easier to meet with someone knowledgeable in Germany when I am there and have lots of free time.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Pfaelzer said:

I hadn't thought about my parents' birth registrations, that might be tricky.

 

Normally Germans have a Familienstammbuch (family register) issued when they marry, where births of parents and grandparents are registered. Not so much the norm now-a-days, but used to be. Seeing you were born in Germany your birth should also be registered in it. Do you know whether your parents kept it and where it is now? Might be a great help for your case. On the other hand, your place of birth should be on your birth certificate anyway and you could contact the birth registry (Standesamt) there and ask for a copy of your birth registration or your parents respectively. Here's information about that possibility: 

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geburtsurkunde#Anforderung_von_Urkunden_aus_dem_Geburtsregister

 

Translation:

Requesting documents from the birth register
The original of the birth register, from which birth certificates and certified copies of the birth entries are made, is kept at the registry office of the place of birth. Birth registers are maintained and kept for 110 years, after which time they are sent to the local archives.

Since smaller villages in particular no longer have their own registry office, changes to the registry office districts must be taken into account.

You can have a birth certificate or a certified copy from the birth register (e.g. to register your marriage) issued to you at any time if you belong to the group of entitled persons. Almost all larger registry offices today have extensive information or an online form on their own homepage for this purpose. It is also possible to order by letter or e-mail with the complete personal data as well as a copy of the identity card or passport as proof of entitlement, which is sent directly to the respective registry office. In no case should one be taken in by third party providers who offer to obtain a document from the registry office on the Internet for a fee (in addition to the fees for the documents at the registry office). These third party providers are not in contact with the registry offices. As a rule, the registry offices are not yet able to send documents due to the document request of third party providers.

Authorized persons are, of course, the person who is affected by the entry in the register as well as relatives in the straight line (children, parents, grandparents). Other entitled persons are regulated by the Civil Status Act.

The fee rates are determined by the respective federal state.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, snowingagain said:

Is the complication that you gave up German citizenship when you naturalised as US citizen?

In that case AFAIK you´d still be entitled to a residence permit, but normally not for citizenship unless you give up your US citizenship. That´s what I gathered from TT and similiar forums, so not 100% reliable.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, bramble said:

 

Normally Germans have a Familienstammbuch (family register) issued when they marry, where births of parents and grandparents are registered. Not so much the norm now-a-days, but used to be. Seeing you were born in Germany your birth should also be registered in it. Do you know whether your parents kept it and where it is now? Might be a great help for your case. On the other hand, your place of birth should be on your birth certificate anyway and you could contact the birth registry (Standesamt) there and ask for a copy of your birth registration or your parents respectively. Here's information about that possibility: 

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geburtsurkunde#Anforderung_von_Urkunden_aus_dem_Geburtsregister

 

Translation:

Requesting documents from the birth register
The original of the birth register, from which birth certificates and certified copies of the birth entries are made, is kept at the registry office of the place of birth. Birth registers are maintained and kept for 110 years, after which time they are sent to the local archives.

Since smaller villages in particular no longer have their own registry office, changes to the registry office districts must be taken into account.

You can have a birth certificate or a certified copy from the birth register (e.g. to register your marriage) issued to you at any time if you belong to the group of entitled persons. Almost all larger registry offices today have extensive information or an online form on their own homepage for this purpose. It is also possible to order by letter or e-mail with the complete personal data as well as a copy of the identity card or passport as proof of entitlement, which is sent directly to the respective registry office. In no case should one be taken in by third party providers who offer to obtain a document from the registry office on the Internet for a fee (in addition to the fees for the documents at the registry office). These third party providers are not in contact with the registry offices. As a rule, the registry offices are not yet able to send documents due to the document request of third party providers.

Authorized persons are, of course, the person who is affected by the entry in the register as well as relatives in the straight line (children, parents, grandparents). Other entitled persons are regulated by the Civil Status Act.

The fee rates are determined by the respective federal state.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

Thanks, bramble. I have my original birth certificate and I recall it having my parents' names and occupations but I'm not sure it stated their nationality. It's in a safe deposit box so I can't confirm right now. My mother is still receiving a German pension so I would assume she had to prove her eligibility at some point. (She has to prove she's still alive periodically!)  She may also have my father's birth certificate somewhere, unfortunately he passed away quite a while ago. I will contact my brother soon and see if he can locate it. If not, the information you gave may prove helpful.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, jeba said:

In that case AFAIK you´d still be entitled to a residence permit, but normally not for citizenship unless you give up your US citizenship. That´s what I gathered from TT and similiar forums, so not 100% reliable.

Germany and the US allow dual citizenship, according to the US state Department web site. But the German requirements for regaining citizenship in my situation appear to be rather stringent. Permanent residency seems more possible, but still not automatic by my interpretation.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now