Moving to Munich from USA

131 posts in this topic

Just another vote for not bringing the car or the motorcycle.  Not worth it unless they are really valuable classics. It is not just the cost, but the ´hassle and you will be faced with a whole bunch of hassle at the beginning, you don't need more.   Getting an apartment, bank account, work permit, etc. will take up all of your time and nerves.  Munich has lots of public transportation so you probably will not need a car, at least not until you have an apartment and need to transport stuff and maybe even then it would be better to rent.

 

Bring only items that really mean something to you (family hierlooms, pictures) or things you "cannot live without" - for example, I brought my American king sized mattress and box springs because I prefer them to the German mattresses.  However, I also had my move paid for.  Even then, I got rid of probably 80% of my stuff and there was probably another 10% I could have done without.  If you have been here before, you might already know this, but don't forget when packing: don't bring any electrical stuff like lamps, etc. unless you plan on getting them rewired for 220 (or they are electronics that are designed for both and will just need a new plug)   Use Ebay classifieds (Kleinanzeiger) to outfit your apartment with cheap used furniture  and other stuff until you get settled. Craigslist isn't nearly as popular.  There are many people giving away stuff too.  If you do bring a bunch of stuff in a container, you should also realize that the stuff won't get here for a while so you will still need to buy a bed to sleep on etc. anyway until your stuff arrives.

 

Be aware that you new apartment will have nothing in it.  That was shocking to me.  There were no lamps, curtains, wardrobes (or closets!), bathroom mirror or furniture, etc.  Probably not even a kitchen.  If you can, try buying the kitchen from the previous renter (but this is an additional cost that you need to consider).

 

See if your cell phone will work here.  If not, buy one that will work with German SIM cards (and one of your first purchases should be a German SIM card).  I was super dependent on my cell phone for the first few days upon arrival.  Lifesaver. 

 

Another piece of advice - make friends and accept help.  Contacts are much more necessary here than in the States.  Almost required to find an apartment. American "I-can-do-it-all-myself" is not appropriate for living in Germany, IMHO.

 

Congratulations.  In the near future, you will probably be faced with many times when you think it is not worth the effort, but most people I know are glad that they moved and Munich is a good (but expensive) choice. 

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7 hours ago, robinson100 said:

Even if your experience is that most people want to practice their English, if you live here for any length of time, you will find that this is not the case!

The company you are going to work for - does everybody there speak English? Which language is used within the company?

Do yourself a favour, and start learning German right now!

Bavarian is a whole different kettle of fish, so even with perfect school German, be prepared not to understand some people.

Other things to mention, I guess, would include that anything you sign-up for, such as gym membership, or a monthly magazine, or whatever, will automatically renew at the end of the initial term, unless you cancel it yourself - this comes as a huge surprise to many.

Another issue would be GEZ - more or less a TV license fee, which has to be payed quarterly. Thereis a thread on here somewhere about it.

 

You still haven´t confirmed if you will be moving alone or with a ready-made family?

And how long do you plan to stay?

I think you may have misunderstood me...its annoying to me when Germans automatically start speaking English to me... I prefer if they just use German. My German is good enough that my interview was all in German and they offered me the job. They speak German at the company. If my insurance or health care providers don't speak English, its not a big negative for me and might actually help me feel like I am integrating there and not being treated like an Auslander.

 

I don't know how long I will stay since this is a life changing event, and not something I can say for certain.

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6 hours ago, BradinBayern said:

 

6 hours ago, BradinBayern said:

 

6 hours ago, BradinBayern said:

 

6 hours ago, BradinBayern said:

 

 

Bring only items that really mean something to you (family hierlooms, pictures) or things you "cannot live without" - for example, I brought my American king sized mattress and box springs because I prefer them to the German mattresses.  

7 hours ago, robinson100 said:

 

There is something very strange with this forums "quote" function when attempting to post. It doesnt appear to let you "unquote" something in draft. IE, if i hit quote on someones post, then hit my back button, and attempt to hit quote again, instead of just quoting the post I clicked on, it appends each one and I cant undo it. 

 

Anyway Im not totally convinced i should start over with scratch on all my household items. That would be very expensive to buy it all over again and i wouldnt ship it unless i really wanted it. At the very least i will ship household items and motorcycle. My only question was the car, and my my logic was that if i have to rent a shipping container anyway, and there is space for a car, why not add the car? Granted, im not familiar with the hassles of getting it road legal in germany, so based on everyone recommending against it I guess I will reconsider shipping the car.

 

@BradinBayern...i have the EXACT same issue...i love my king mattress and despite me visiting Germany many times and trying various beds, I know I will never appreciate any of those skinny german mattresses that are too thin and soft with the springs that are noisy and way undersprung and the twin mattresses oddly pushed together to make it look like a large single bed when its clearly not. The king mattress is required.

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32 minutes ago, alterami said:

@BradinBayern...i have the EXACT same issue...i love my king mattress and despite me visiting Germany many times and trying various beds, I know I will never appreciate any of those skinny german mattresses that are too thin and soft with the springs that are noisy and way undersprung and the twin mattresses oddly pushed together to make it look like a large single bed when its clearly not. The king mattress is required.

 

I wonder what beds you experienced in Germany. I never had any beds in Germany that had springs, nor did I sleep on any that had springs. They all had slats and were never noisy. Maybe I was just lucky.

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1 hour ago, alterami said:

There is something very strange with this forums "quote" function when attempting to post. It doesnt appear to let you "unquote" something in draft. IE, if i hit quote on someones post, then hit my back button, and attempt to hit quote again, instead of just quoting the post I clicked on, it appends each one and I cant undo it.

 

 

Strg combined with right click gives you all the options.

 

Glad to hear you speak German - it will definitely help!

 

(you would be amazed how many people want to move here who haven´t even got the very basics of the language!)

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On 01/05/2020, 21:23:06, alterami said:

Ive read its hard to find an apartment. So Im planning on staying at a short term furnished apartment or Airbnb until I find something longer term. Sound reasonable?

 

A few months ago that would have been a good idea, however, I would highly recommend that you contact your prospective employer and convince them to provide you a minimum of 6 months accommodation as well as a Makler. A local German company is a much better tenant than a recently arrived foreigner in the eyes of many landlords and this is one issue on which I wouldn't compromise. 

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13 hours ago, robinson100 said:

Even if your experience is that most people want to practice their English, if you live here for any length of time, you will find that this is not the case!

The company you are going to work for - does everybody there speak English? Which language is used within the company?

Do yourself a favour, and start learning German right now!

Bavarian is a whole different kettle of fish, so even with perfect school German, be prepared not to understand some people.

 

Other things to mention, I guess, would include that anything you sign-up for, such as gym membership, or a monthly magazine, or whatever, will automatically renew at the end of the initial term, unless you cancel it yourself - this comes as a huge surprise to many.

Another issue would be GEZ - more or less a TV license fee, which has to be payed quarterly. Thereis a thread on here somewhere about it.

These are very good points and cannot be said enough (we should have like a sticky on the first page of TT with a list of these kinds of things- the language, contracts, GEZ)

Also to repeat- forget about the car- I had a BMW in the states that I thought I could easily bring with me, luckily I didn't as I still would have had to replace the mirrors, taillights, don't remember what else... it just doesn't make sense. I can't speak to a motorcycle, but I assume it will be way to much of a hassle getting it registered, inspected, and possible modifications needed to make it street legal, but at least it fits easier into a shipping container.

Don't listen to SpiderPig. I came here to an "IT" job in 2009 making quite a bit less than what you will be making. I did get a company car, which is quite common here. It was a pay cut compared to my job in the states, but I find the cost of living cheaper here, as well as the quality of life. I ended up making less per year here, but having more leftover at the end of each month.

Insurance- I would just take the public, it's very good. I'm also with TK, and they took care of me when I did something "stupid." I was changing jobs and had one month free between jobs. Apparently I should have let TK know and found out that I would be held liable for my portion and the employers portion for that month. I called them, and they said as long as I have a signed contract for the new job, they'll cover that month. I didn't have to pay my part or the employers part. That might be normal, but that was really cool and a nice surprise seeing as how most "contract" things go in Germany.

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5 hours ago, alterami said:

 

 

Anyway Im not totally convinced i should start over with scratch on all my household items. That would be very expensive to buy it all over again and i wouldnt ship it unless i really wanted it. At the very least i will ship household items and motorcycle.

 

 

Yeah, I thought the same thing, and ignored the advice to bring only the absolute minimum.  Yet here I am offering you the advice I ignored.  You’ll be offering similar advice later on.

 

Same as it ever was.  

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4 minutes ago, Space Cowboy said:

 

 

Yeah, I thought the same thing, and ignored the advice to bring only the absolute minimum.  Yet here I am offering you the advice I ignored.  You’ll be offering similar advice later on.

 

Same as it ever was.  

Exactly, can´t remember how many times I´ve given that advice, especially regarding cars, people ignore it, then they regret it. TBH it was even hard to convince my wife not to bring a car, but I managed :)

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15 minutes ago, BobbyDigital said:

Insurance- I would just take the public, it's very good. I'm also with TK, and they took care of me when I did something "stupid." I was changing jobs and had one month free between jobs. Apparently I should have let TK know and found out that I would be held liable for my portion and the employers portion for that month. I called them, and they said as long as I have a signed contract for the new job, they'll cover that month. I didn't have to pay my part or the employers part. That might be normal, but that was really cool and a nice surprise seeing as how most "contract" things go in Germany.

 

That's a good tip for a newcomer.  Health insurance in Germany is mandatory and if you are working, it's handled by your employer so if you quit or lose your job, you need to talk to your insurance about how you are paying.  Some people have assumed in such circumstances that they simply have a choice of not paying and not being insured but that's not how it works in Germany.  Insurance is not allowed to kick you off that fast so if you are no longer working they'll keep you on and you'll owe them.

 

Another tip for a newcomer is be careful when making any kind of contract.  In other countries, you are used to being month to month or maybe a year to get a deal and then month to month but it's more common in Germany that contracts are yearly and if you don't cancel in writing at least 3 months before your yearly contract ends, it automatically extends for another year.

 

Be careful too about salesmen promising something that isn't in the written contract.  Many salesmen rely on commission and will say whatever to get the sale.  Later if you have a problem, if they are even still working there, they will not remember you.  For example, many expats get into cell phone contracts being promised that they are easy to get out of if you leave Germany but that is usually a lie.  Make sure you've read and understood the written contract before you sign.  Also make sure to look at the small print.  Sometimes companies refer to their AGB's on their website so make sure you read them too.

 

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Yes, Leon🙏🏻
Plus, you can’t switch from your public insurer to another one ( if you are unhappy ) for 18 months.

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You can calculate the value of your stuff (used value, not purchase price) and then calculate the shipping costs and you will probably find that it doesn't make sense, but that isn't even the main issue.  The main issue (at least for me) is the hassle.  So you bring along your bedroom set only to find that it doesn't fit in the apartment that you found, now it is sitting in storage in your container.  So you can't sell it (used furniture isn't reall worth that much anyway) because it is in the back of the container and the container is sitting in Bremen waiting for you to tell them where to deliver it to.  What do you do now? 

 

It is likely, at least at the beginning, that your first apartment will be smaller than you are used to and your stuff will end up in storage.  Posessions can be an anchor around your neck and never more so than when moving internationally. 

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According to this site, https://www.verti.de/blog/us-import-motorrad.jsp

Quote

Also very important: Make sure to check in advance whether your dream motorcycle has a type approval (EU-ABE). You can see this on the type plate on the main frame of the machine. If this type approval is not available, the machine must be converted before it is registered in Germany. Depending on how extensive this retrofit is, it can be quite expensive. The individual inspection of all relevant points alone costs around 3,000 euros - plus any conversions.

 

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

 

Further more:

 

Quote

Once your machine has arrived in Germany, it must first go through customs. You will have to pay the customs duties as well as the import sales tax. The total costs usually amount to a quarter of the net price of the motorcycle.

 

These costs are in addition to all of the hassle, and woe-be-unto-you if any of the necessary paperwork is missing.  Unless you have a very strong sentimental attachment to the bike, it makes almost no sense to bring it, IMHO. 

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@alterami  One other thing on the motorcycle - just because you have a Motorcycle Endorsement on your US State-issued driver license doesn't mean you'll be able to transfer that endorsement to a Deutsche Führerschein.  I had a Motorcycle Endorsement on my State driver license.  When I applied to get my Führerschein, I was told that the Motorcycle Endorsement was not transferrable.

 

If that is the case for you, you will have to take Motorcycle training at a Fahrschule.  It is very expensive, and very time-consuming.

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7 hours ago, robinson100 said:

 

Strg combined with right click gives you all the options.

 

Glad to hear you speak German - it will definitely help!

 

(you would be amazed how many people want to move here who haven´t even got the very basics of the language!)

I'm not sure how to do this on my phone. I'll look though.

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2 minutes ago, alterami said:

I'm not sure how to do this on my phone. I'll look though.

 

The only way I know to delete an old quote on a phone goes like this.  Type something above the quote you want to delete and below.  Select some of the text you typed above or below and then drag and extend your selection to include the quote window and then you can delete it.

 

Ctrl + right click works if you are on a computer.  Then you move the mouse to the left top corner of your quote window until you see 4 way arrows, then hold down Ctrl and right click and you'll have the option to delete the quote.

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1 hour ago, BradinBayern said:

You can calculate the value of your stuff (used value, not purchase price) and then calculate the shipping costs and you will probably find that it doesn't make sense, but that isn't even the main issue.  The main issue (at least for me) is the hassle.  So you bring along your bedroom set only to find that it doesn't fit in the apartment that you found, now it is sitting in storage in your container.  So you can't sell it (used furniture isn't reall worth that much anyway) because it is in the back of the container and the container is sitting in Bremen waiting for you to tell them where to deliver it to.  What do you do now? 

 

It is likely, at least at the beginning, that your first apartment will be smaller than you are used to and your stuff will end up in storage.  Posessions can be an anchor around your neck and never more so than when moving internationally. 

Its not just a money issue. Its that some things are not easily replaceable. Ie I bet its hard to find a suitable US king sized bed in Germany etc. I do not have a large volume of stuff and dont mind paying shipping. 

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1 minute ago, alterami said:

Its not just a money issue. Its that some things are not easily replaceable. Ie I bet its hard to find a suitable US king sized bed in Germany etc. I do not have a large volume of stuff and dont mind paying shipping. 

 

Keep in mind that most everything is smaller in Europe.  For example, apartments and furniture.  Apartments are already hard to find in Munich so in your shoes, I'd worry about finding the apartment first and then worry about what size of bed you can fit in it.

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58 minutes ago, Space Cowboy said:

@alterami  One other thing on the motorcycle - just because you have a Motorcycle Endorsement on your US State-issued driver license doesn't mean you'll be able to transfer that endorsement to a Deutsche Führerschein.  I had a Motorcycle Endorsement on my State driver license.  When I applied to get my Führerschein, I was told that the Motorcycle Endorsement was not transferrable.

 

If that is the case for you, you will have to take Motorcycle training at a Fahrschule.  It is very expensive, and very time-consuming.

I have not ever heard this. I will definitely have to research it more. I live in a state with allegedly full reciprocity for licensing. That will be really annoying if they make me take the motorcycle test over...been riding motorcycles most of my life.

8 hours ago, JN53 said:

 

 

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