Many people move to Germany each year for a variety of reasons. Military postings and connections are a major reason for Americans and British people to live and work in Germany. Students also find Germany an excellent country in which to study, whilst other European residents move to Germany to take up well-paid jobs in a more prosperous community.
Check with your consulate for the latest Visa advice before leaving home, and take plenty of passport-size photographs with you for the various forms and applications you will need to make. In preparation for your trip, it is good idea to learn to speak German, and polish up old skills with CDs. Your German will soon improve if you watch TV as there are very few non-German channels available unless you get a satellite dish. Also read up about places and ex-Pat groups before leaving home and try to establish some contacts with other residents who can help you with initial settling in.
Apartments and real estate in Germany is generally rented. Very few people bother to own their own home, so it is best to rent initially. You are likely to need a rental search company to assist you in finding accommodation as you rarely see a ‘To let’ sign anywhere. Also most places are rented unfurnished so you may need to book an international mover to bring over your goods, saving you buying a whole set of furniture. European electrical systems are different to American and English ones, so leave most of your electrical goods behind and buy new.
Cash is readily available via ATM machines, but it is useful to have some euros with you when you arrive for taxis, tips etc. Also, bring some reading material with you and there is not a huge selection of English reading material. Germans love walking – they walk everywhere, and this is a good way to meet your neighbours and orientate yourself with the local community. Germans are notoriously unfriendly to foreigners, but they will eventually thaw if you keep a smile on your face and try to speak the language. Once you have settled in, and have your work visa, look through local newspapers or on the internet to find local jobs. It is generally quite easy to find work if you speak German reasonably well, especially with subsidiaries of large international companies.
Healthcare is generally funded by deductions from pay. If you are an EU resident, you may be eligible for reciprocal healthcare, but check out the options before paying for expensive private cover. One of the easiest banks for a foreigner to open a bank account with is Deutsche Bank, but you will need your passport and proof of income if you want a credit card. This bank also has a huge network of ATM machines across Germany.
You can drive for up to 6 months on your national driving license but then need to get a German one, which is not too difficult. Germany is a beautiful country with historic cities, pretty Bavarian scenery and many castles along the rivers. Enjoy your time in this wonderful culture, and of course enjoy the local food and beer for which it is so famous.