Becoming an Expat in Germany

Expat in Hamburg GermanyMoving to Germany as an Expatriate

You might already know that many musicians and poets come from Germany, their education system produces many top performers, beer and cars are included in their specialties list and their economy is lagging behind by only less than a handful of other countries in the world. But this alone might not be reason enough to convince you when it comes to becoming an expat in Germany.

Each year the HSBC Expat Explorer survey gives international travelers better insight into where they should relocate. Data is collected from current expats and compared across the board in the following three categories: Economics, Experience, Raising Children.

Based on all three categories Germany ranked in 4th place out of the list of 34 countries and here are a few reasons why:

In the category of raising children Germany ranked 3rd overall- a few strong areas include children learning a new language (1st), health and well being of children (5th), cost of education available (5th) and quality of available education (6th).

Looking at Economics Germany was ranked 7th overall. Satisfaction with the host economy ranked 3rd while personal disposable income ranked 9th.

In reviewing the report on expat experience (10th overall) Germany had a number of strong categories including opportunities to travel (2nd), travel around locally (3rd), feeling welcome at work (3rd) and healthcare (4th).

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Curious as to what Germany did not rank well on? Here they are:

  • Household income (14th)
  • Diet (27th)
  • Enjoying local food (29th)
  • Making friends (29th)
  • Assisting children in becoming more outgoing (31st)
  • Social life (37th)

If you do decide to relocate to Germany and need to know what to keep in mind when keeping your move legal, this will help:

  • A EU/EEA/Swiss Nationals:

Great news, you will not need a visa or resident permit in most cases as an EU/EEA/Swiss National.

  • Non EU/EEA/Swiss Nationals:

If you will be moving to Germany for more than 90 days and are not a citizen of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand or the United States you will need to apply for a visa and a “residence title” permit. You will also want to review health and travel insurance options for visitors to Germany.

For more information on getting your visa for Germany, you can visit the German Foreign Office or The Newcomers Guide to Life in Germany.

You might also be interested in reading our information about Hospitals in Germany.

Moving to Germany for a Career Change

If you are looking to relocate to a European country to pursue a career change, you will want to investigate Germany. Although at a slow pace, the German economy continues to show growth according to reports from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose 0.4 percent in the second quarter of 2015 in comparison to last year’s second quarter.

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Many expatriates reported moving to Germany for career-driven motives and have a positive outlook on the current economic situation within the country according to the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey. Ninety-one percent of expats believe that the German economy is either staying the same or is getting better and 86 percent are satisfied with the current economic state.

Many individuals who become an expatriate in Germany have relocated specifically to pursue a career transition, instead of specifically for a new expat experience or to retire like expats in many other European countries such as France and Spain. This can be seen in HSBC Expat Explorer Survey:

Percentage of Expat Retirees in Europe

  • In Germany: 7%
  • In France: 41%
  • In Spain: 32%

Percentage of Expats who Relocated to Germany for Their Career

  • In Germany: 55%
  • In France: 33%
  • In Spain: 29%

Those who become an expatriate in Germany are able to see the financial benefit of this transition as well. One in every four expatriates in Germany has an annual salary of $100,000-$200,000. The top three occupation fields for expats in Germany are IT (14%), science/research (10%) and construction (12%).

Individuals who become an expatriate in Germany find that there are financial benefits, but it doesn’t stop there, many find it to be a well- rounded experience and a great place to raise a family as well (52%).

Related: The 11 Best Cities in Germany for Expats and Health and Travel Insurance Advice for Visitors to Germany


About Stan and Kristin Weismuller

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