Moving from US to Germany [Benefits, Cost & How To]
The United States is the land of the free and the home of the brave. And yet, more and more Americans are choosing to leave the country in unprecedented numbers. The United States doesn't publish records on how many Americans leave, but in 1991 the number was around 4.1 million. More recently, that number has more than doubled and is estimated to sit around nine million. Americans are leaving because of the lack of healthcare, in search of new job opportunities, for political beliefs, and for retirement. Germany is a top choice for many expats. As of 2020, Germany ranks as the ninth-best country in the world for quality of life, while the United States only ranks at 14.
Benefits of moving from the U.S.A. to Germany
Many countries in Europe appeal to American citizens as a potential new home. Germany is a top contender for several benefits, providing many opportunities for new citizens to thrive in their new home.
Germany's healthcare is a duo-system of private and public healthcare. In Germany, it is a legal requirement for everyone to have health insurance. Typically, an employer registers their employees in public healthcare. Every German employer must also outline the costs of healthcare to their employee, as it's automatically deducted from their paycheck.
Germany provides free public healthcare to every resident to cover "medically necessary" costs, funded by social security contributions. However, residents are also expected to have private coverage for pregnancy, outpatient treatment, and hospitalizations.
For people coming from a country that has the most expensive healthcare in the world, this new system is a pleasant change.
Germany is a strong business center in the European market. Many expats move to Germany with a job already lined up, often in a managerial or executive role. Germany has a strong economy and ranks in the top ten countries to work abroad. Even if you don't have a job lined up, it's possible to find one easily.
Once you find a job, you will most likely enjoy what you do. Both expats and Germans report having a balanced work schedule with most people working just under 40 hours (or under eight hours a day) during the work week. Additionally, people in Germany report feeling a sense of job security.
All off this will feel like a welcome change, as the average American works 8.8 hours on a workday, and feelings of job security in the U.S. seem to be decreasing.
Cost of Living
Germany has a relatively low cost of living, especially compared to other European countries. On average, German residents have 14% more disposable income than Americans.
Germany's transportation (both local and international) is affordable, easy to use, and connects virtually everywhere. Many people find it easy to navigate their city, or the whole country, without a car. And, being able to live without a car is another reason the cost of living is so low in Germany.
Raising a Family
Many people choose to move to Germany to raise a family. In the United States, a mother receives (at a minimum) three months of unpaid maternity leave. Germany offers parents the option to split paid leave over 14 months between the mother and father, as the couple wishes. Additionally, the government provides financial reimbursements for each child until they turn 18.
Germany's location makes travel throughout Europe quite easy. In fact, you can spend a weekend taking a quick trip to another country, without needing to take any time off work! Some of the closest places include:
- Travel by train from Munich to Paris in approximately six hours.
- Drive from Munich to Austria in under four hours.
- Drive from Frankfurt to Switzerland in under six hours.
And, that is just a few of the options! There is still Italy, Greece, Denmark, and more are all a short drive, train ride, or flight away.
How to move from the US to Germany
For Americans wishing to move to Germany from the US, it's typically a two-step process. However, these two steps will take several years and extensive commitment to the complete.
Standard Residence Permit
First, individuals will need to apply for the Standard Residence Permit. This permit allows foreign individuals to move to Germany for a limited time. The period can be extended if the individual moves onto the permanent residence permit program.
The Standard Residence Permit is only applicable to people who:
- Work in Germany
- Attend training courses in Germany
- Are having a family reunion
- Are former Germans returning to Germany
Permanent Residence Permit
Germany's Permanent Residence Permit allows foreign visitors to become permanent German residents. The permit has the following requirements:
- You had a Standard Residence Permit for five years or more.
- You must demonstrate that you have more than just a basic understanding of the German language
- You must prove financial stability and the ability to provide for all your expenses while living in the country
- You must enroll in an integration course and pass the exam
In 2017, Germany had the largest total number of immigrants in the European Union. So, it is possible to become a permanent resident of Germany, but it may take some work.
Cost of moving from the U.S. to Germany
The average cost of a move from the United States to Germany is $4,450. Generally speaking, Americans living on the East Coast will see lower fees than those on the West Coast, as they're simply closer to Germany.
This is a long-distance, international move, so it will be a more substantial investment than a typical local move. Additionally, this number can vary significantly from person to person. Obviously, many factors go into calculating moving costs: the number of belongings being moved, distance, packing and unpacking, special items, and much more. So, the best bet to know the true cost is to fill out the Instaquote above.
Most Popular Areas in Germany
Berlin is the capital in Germany and the most populated city in the country. Many expats choose to move to Berlin as it's considered the country's epicenter. New residents will find it easy to find a job in Berlin, will love the nightlife, the culture, and the food. And Germany's epic transportation system makes it easy to get around the city without a car.
Munich is Germany's third-largest city, primarily known for its annual celebration Oktoberfest. Many large organizations, such as BMW, PWC, and Seimens, have their headquarters in Munich, resulting in a hot job market for employees. Additionally, Munich is an international hub, with approximately 22% of the residents being foreign. This means that for the American new-comer, finding people who speak English will be no issue at all.
Frankfurt is the fifth-largest city in Germany but, in many ways, holds the most power. Frankfurt is an economic center for the world, with many international banks headquartered here. The city is full of students and expats, making it have a vibrant social scene. It's a city that embraces everyone, has an influential culture, and lots of diversity. Americans will quickly feel at home in this city.
Now that you're convinced Germany is the right choice for you, it's time to start planning. An international move comes with many challenges. You will have to worry about applying for visas, opening a bank account, and getting set up in your new home. The last thing you want to worry about is your stuff getting to its proper location. Give yourself peace of mind by using a professional moving service for your relocation. Allied is a trusted moving company with experience in international moves. Allied is flexible in its moving packages, so you can always get exactly what you want. To receive a free quote from Allied, call today or start the process by filling out the Instaquote above.