These are the most important steps in order to settle down in Berlin:
1. Get orientated
Read all about how houses and streets are organized in Berlin.
2. Find a job or freelance work
Having a job, freelance or consultant contract is helpful to find an apartment in Berlin as landlords require proof of income. You also might need this in order to apply for a visa if you are a non-EU passport holder.
Searching for a job can be done online so we recommend that you start searching for a job before moving to Berlin. We have a guide with the most important job search engines in Germany.
3. Check whether you need a visa
All non-EU citizens need a visa in order to work and live in Germany. Please read our overview guide for German visas for more information.
4. Open a bank account
There is no way to get around an old-school checking account or Girokonto in Berlin. You need it for many payments and all salaries and fees are usually wired to your bank account. We have an overview of the best checking accounts.
5. Get a German SIM card
Start with a prepaid mobile card. We have a guide with the best SIM card options.
6. Find a short-term rental
Finding a flat to live in Berlin can be hard. We recommend searching for a temporary flat, some place to live for the first 6 months in Berlin, then getting your papers in order. You have better chances to look for a long-term rental once you have a steady income.
7. Do your Anmeldung
You have to register your new address at the Bezirksamt latest 14 days after moving into your new apartment. The Anmeldung is necessary in order to open a bank account at many banks (but not all), for health insurance and most bureaucratic procedures.
8. Get health insurance
9. Find daycare for your child
10. Get liability insurance
Germans don't sue in case of damage, they have liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung). This is the only insurance you actually should have when living in Germany. Liability insurance for as less as 50.- Euro yearly fee covers you against most damage claims in case of accidents (excluding car accidents) or property damages. Please refer to our review of the best liability insurance plans.
11. Find a long-term rental
12. Transfer your driving license
Non-EU passport holders have to transfer their driving license to a German driving license. The foreign driving license expires 6 months after resettling to Germany. This is not necessary for EU citizens source. Appointments for transferring a driving license and a list of all the necessary documents can be found on the website of the Berlin senate.