Living in Germany

Residing and Working in Germany

Any non-German citizen wishing to spend more that 3 months in Germany is legally required to have a residence permit. In order to work in Germany, you are also required to have a working permit.

Dual Citizenship

The German citizenship law only allows dual-citizenship in some instances. One of these includes children born to one German parent and one foreign parent. The child can obtain both citizenships at birth, but in some cases, must choose the citizenship he or she wishes to retain at the age of 23.

Finding an Accommodation

Finding a trustworthy person to help you out around your home can be a challenging task. Unfortunately, there are no official companies that offer domestic services and you often have to find someone by searching through newspaper and Internet advertisements or by word of mouth.

Utilities & Services

Contact details for the main utility companies (water, electricity, gas, fuel oil) can be obtained from your landlord, the previous tenant or the local commune. When making arrangements, make sure the previous tenants have paid all the bills.

Telephone Services

Getting a phone line for your new residence in Germany is quite easy. Up until a couple of years ago there was only the German Telekom. Today, there are many different providers to choose from. Whether you want a flat rate, high speed Internet or up to three different telephone numbers it is there to have!

Using a Mobile Phone in Germany

As Germany has a different mobile phone system than many other countries, your phone may not be compatible with the German system. It is wise to ask your phone company if your phone works in Europe before you plan to move abroad.

Radio and Television

In Germany there are a wide variety of radio and television programmes available to meet everybody’s tastes. Unfortunately, there is not a huge choice of free English-speaking radio or television. If you subscribe to pay TV or digital TV, you will have more options, but these options cost more money.

Finding Domestic Help

Finding a trustworthy person to help you out around your home can be a challenging task. Unfortunately, there are no official companies that offer domestic services and you often have to find someone by searching through newspaper and Internet advertisements or by word of mouth.

Maternity Leave

Taking maternity leave from your job in Germany is mandatory. If you are expecting a baby, you are required to take maternity leave starting 6 weeks before and ending 8 weeks after the birth of your child. During this time you have a special form of job protection forbidding your employer from dismissing you.

Child Benefit

All taxpaying EU residents as well as non EU permanent residents of Germany are entitled to the child benefit programme. This programme is for natural, adopted and foster children up to the age of 18 and in some cases up to the age of 25 if the child is still enrolled at school.

Cultural Differences

One of the more obvious cultural differences in Germany for speakers of the English language is the formal way of speaking to strangers, acquaintances and business colleagues. The German language makes a clear distinction between people who are family and good friends and those who are not by using “Sie” and “du” in place of the English “you”. First names are only used with family, friends and children.

Eating out in Germany

The Germans love to eat out. You will find fantastic restaurants, café’s and fast food locations that will meet your every need. Germany’s cities offer a large an eclectic mix of restaurants for every taste and budget.

Business Etiquette

Punctuality is very high on the list of essential business etiquette in Germany. Germans follow their appointment books very rigorously. Don’t keep your business contact waiting! Please inform the person who is expecting you if you are going to be late.

No Smoking Rules in Germany

The Germans were relatively late with the introduction of non-smoking laws. It was not until 2007 that the German federal-states started banning smoking in public places and areas, and, unfortunately, these laws vary from state to state.

Making a Telephone Call Within Germany

Germans answer their phone by saying their last name. Equally, as a caller you are expected to say your last name before asking to speak to someone else. German area codes start with a “0”. While making a telephone call within Germany you will need to dial the area code plus telephone number to make a national call. If you are calling someone within the same area code, you will not need to dial it.

Postal Services

The German “Deutsche Post” offers a variety of services. Post is delivered from Monday to Saturday. Post offices are generally opened from 8 am until 6 pm. from Monday to Friday and from 8 am until 1 pm on Saturdays. Many post offices are now found in stores, and it is not uncommon to find them in stationary stores offering everything you need to send off a package as well as office items and gift wrapping paper.

Waste Disposal

The recycling system in Germany in one of the best in the world. The rules are fairly easy to follow. Colour coded rubbish bins are used for separating re-usable rubbish from waste. Unfortunately, not all municipalities use the same colour system; therefore, you must find out about the system in the town you live in.

A Death in the Family

The death of a loved one is always a very difficult time and having it happen in a foreign country is even more trying. German law requires all deaths to be certified by a doctor. If someone in your home dies and your family doctor is not available, an emergency doctor can be summoned. Contact your local embassy or consulate to ask for assistance.

Fidelio Main Office: +49 69 40 56 499-1 · info(bittekeinspam)