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Friday 17 August 2012

A Relocation Guide To Berlin

As part of our program to help you when relocating to a new city, we are launching today a relocation guide to Berlin, written by the people who moved and lived there.

Before you go

  • Make sure that you have all your important documentation on hand and ready to go, including: visa, passport, photo ID and health card.
  • If you are a citizen of the EU/EEA, you do not need a Visa to enter Germany for a stay that’s less than 90 days. Your passport, lease agreement and local registration will suffice for an extended stay.
  • Certain nationalities - Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States – do not require a visa to enter Germany for visits less than 90 days. Longer visits will require a residency, student or work permit.
  • All other nationalities require a visa to enter Germany.
  • The language barrier can be a problem if you do not speak German. Many Germans speak English, but this is not universal. It is therefore good to brush up on some German phrases prior to your departure.
  • Before you leave home, it is a good idea to arrange for short-term accommodation in Berlin, to give you somewhere to stay whilst you search for more permanent housing. Take a bit of cash in the local currency with you to cover your initial expenses until your bank account is set up.
Useful links:

Finding a place

  • Take time to become familiar with different areas so that you can make the best choice possible on where to live.
  • In most instances, you will need to provide a deposit equal to 1 or 2 month’s rent when you settle on a lease.This deposit is refundable, minus any damages, upon your departure.
  • The average cost of rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in Berlin is €495 a month, with utilities averaging about €135 a month.

Setting up a bank account

  • Most major German banks have branches located in Berlin.
  • You must be a resident, student or a citizen of the EU/EEA to legally open a bank while staying in Berlin.
  • In addition to residency, you will also need to provide your passport and proof of address (such as a lease agreement). If you are a student, you will need to provide documentation that validates your student status.
  • In addition to your bank account, you will want to ensure that you receive a EuroCheque Card that will enable you to obtain cash from ATM and other benefits.

Health Insurance

  • Health care system features a legal mandate for all citizens to possess either government sponsored or private health insurance.
  • If you intend to work or maintain a resident status in Berlin, you are legally required to enroll in health insurance coverage. You can choose to use health insurance you already possess from home; however you will have to investigate whether or not your personal coverage meets German guidelines.
  • Health care benefits associated with the European Health Insurance Card are valid in Berlin.
Useful Links:

Staying safe

  • Memorize emergency phone numbers and have them programmed into your cell phone.
  • The emergency number for the police (polizei) is 110 and for fire (feuerwehr) and ambulance (rettungswagen) services, 112.
  • Always keep your cell phone handy and on your person when you are away from home.
  • Being aware of your surroundings at all times is the best way to remain safe.
Useful Links:
  • Berlin Police Department,
  • European Emergency Services
  • Travelling Around

    • Berlin’s Public Transport Authority (BVG) issues a standard ticket for all of its transportation options. Additionally, most public employees speak English, which can be helpful when traveling about the city.
    • A standard fare of €2.30 will grant you access to the U-Bahn, the S-Bahn, and/or metro bus.
    • Tickets can be purchased from automated teller machines that are readily available at numerous and convenient locations.
    • Taxis are another convenient mode of transportation in Berlin. Most taxi drivers speak English as well. Standard taxi rates begin between € 3.00 and € 3.50.
    • Cycling is also a popular and fun way to get around Berlin. Many residents opt for this particular mode of transportation and there are many bike paths that wind their way through Berlin. You can rent a bicycle for as little as €7.50 a day.
    Useful Links: