How To Move to Germany from the USA

Thousands of Americans move out of the United States every year. Lately, this number has reached extraordinarily high levels.

Better job opportunities. More affordable living expenses. Efficient healthcare systems. For one reason or another, Germany tops many of American must-travel lists. The country’s vibrant art scene and delicious food certainly don’t hurt, either.

Are you considering moving to Germany from the USA? Then stick around. We’re going to break down all the necessities to make your transition a smooth one. From securing a visa to listing affordable neighborhoods, we have everything you need to get started.

Here are some other articles that might help you plan your move:

  • Best International Movers: The international moving industry is full of scammy movers, and when all of your belongings are at stake, don’t take chances. These are the top international movers.
  • Ship your car overseas: Taking your car with you? Use a company that prioritizes professionalism, cares for your vehicle, and is experienced.
  • International Moving Costs: Moving internationally comes with its own set of expenses. Learn more about the specific costs associated with an international move.

What are the best International Movers?

Company Price Vendor Type Quoting options Storage Minimum Move Size
JK Moving Services $$ Carrier Phone/virtual estimate Yes 1 bedroom
North American Van Lines $$$ Carrier Phone/virtual estimate Yes 1 bedroom
Allied $$$ Carrier Phone/virtual estimate Yes 1 bedroom

How to Move From the USA to Germany

All countries have their own unique vetting process when it comes to bringing in foreigners. Germany is one of the easier countries to move to thanks to its slew of visa options and welcoming German-language programs.

To date, Washington, Colorado, and Arizona are seeing some of the highest rates of inbound moves in the United States. When it comes to the rest of the world? Germany is regularly slotted into the top ten lists alongside Mexico and Canada.

Is it hard for an American to move to Germany?

The pandemic has introduced new snags to the already convoluted global visa process. France has forbidden all unvaccinated Americans to keep COVID-19 rates low, while Sweden has forbidden all Americans regardless of vaccination status.

Germany, as of this published article, currently allows foreign travellers as long as they show proof of vaccination status. Whether or not you can move to the country and stay in the long-term depends on your visa, current job offers, and personal background.

How to Move Your Belongings From the USA to Germany

It can’t be overstated how important research is when moving internationally. When even moving to a different state is an ordeal, you have to be extra careful when going overseas.

Whittle Down Your Belongings to Save Money

Just like any move, you’ll save money by getting rid of things you don’t need early on. Take a few days (ideally a few weeks) to start sifting through your belongings for what you don’t need anymore.

Consider donating used clothes, old furniture, and unwanted items to nearby thrift stores. Not only does this free you up when completing your move, but you can also write your donation off on your taxes. Just make sure they give you a valid receipt for proof!

Choose an International Moving Company

The moving company you choose will be the deciding factor on whether or not your move is a success or a real pain. International moving companies are well-versed in the packing, shipping, and vetting processes required from foreign countries.

All moving companies that operate in the United States need to be verified by the FMCSA (short for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). This organization also vets interstate and intrastate moving companies. Visit the FMCSA’s search tool here to type in your desired moving company and check for their licensing, insurance, and certification information.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the top five international moving companies. We list important details such as the services provided, insurance used, and additional details like storage options.

Look for Shipping Companies

If you have a car or a boat, shipping companies should be next on your list. While international moving companies can sometimes provide these services, they tend to be geared toward household items.

Most car shipping companies don’t require an upfront deposit but still go through many of the motions of other moving companies. That includes providing upfront quotes, damage coverage, and even perks like car washing services.

Check out our list of the top five car shipping companies to get started on your search.

Consider Sea Freight Options

Lastly, sea freight may be useful if you have a particularly large volume of goods or multiple vehicles to transport. Airfreight is faster, but much more expensive and more limited when it comes to your options.

The average sea freight move takes between a few weeks to a few months to reach the destination. This is due to navigating changes in the weather and strict custom protocols from stop to stop. If you can, plan your move from the USA to Germany as soon as you can to avoid massive delays.

Why are People Moving From the USA to Germany?

The United States is seeing quite a few moves both within and outside its borders. Germany has remained a very popular destination in Europe for many, both as a tourist spot and a place to start a new life.

Why People Are Moving Out of the United States

The past few years have seen many Americans reevaluating their future. New Zealand alone saw a whopping 945% higher increase in searches for ex-pat opportunities last year, so you can likely imagine what this must be like for the rest of the world.

Not only are US citizens leaving for greener pastures, but they’re also more than willing to give up citizenship to do so. When you consider the common reasons Americans leave for foreign countries, it’s no surprise:

High Cost of Living

Renting an apartment or owning a home is an expensive endeavor in the United States. Nearly half of Americans today report the cost of living as the biggest threat to their financial security.

Additionally, a full-time worker on minimum wage can’t afford a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the country.

Difficult Tax Burden

Alongside the astronomical cost of living, high tax burden makes it hard for Americans to save and invest. California boasts one of the highest tax rates in the country, which makes it no surprise it also has one of the highest outbound moves.

Expensive Healthcare Services

The United States holds the distinction of being the only developed country without a socialized healthcare system. Nearly 20% of American households are struggling with a form of medical debt, with this number even higher due to the difficulties of the pandemic.

Increase in violent crime

Property crime and gun crime are common concerns in the United States. While violent crime rates have dipped over the past several years, they’re still high enough for Americans to wonder about alternate living options.

Why People Are Moving to Germany

While Germany has its own share of ups and downs, many of its positives line up nicely with American grievances.

The rise of remote work has made it even easier for people to work around the world. If you’re worried about making the transition to a new home in a new country, consider the details below. Germany is a very popular destination for Americans thanks to:

Similarity Between English and German

English has Germanic roots and uses the Latin alphabet, lining it up very closely with the German language. For those worried about adapting to a new language, this country is already one of the easiest options. It is also easy to find schools and teachers to learn basic German.

Relatively Lower Cost of Living

While housing affordability has started to become an issue in Germany, it’s nowhere near as expensive as in the United States. The average one-bedroom apartment is around €700 to €800, which is less than $1,000 when converted to the American dollar.

Brilliant Art Scene

From historic Berlin to lively Munich, Germany is overflowing with inspiration for artists. Freelancers, illustrators, photographers, and designers will have plenty to love exploring these scenic locations.

Flexible Visa Options

Following from the previous point, Germany is known for having a wealth of visa options. They offer standard spouse and working visas, but also more specific city-based options such as self-employed artist visas. You can also consider a temporary work permit to give Germany a test drive before committing.

The list of visa options for Germany includes (but aren’t limited to):

  • Residence permit
  • Long-stay visa
  • Student visa
  • Tourist visa
  • Medical visa
  • Cultural visa
  • Artist visas (for Berlin)
  • Work visa

The German application process will require the following:

  • Valid passport (including permit or visa)
  • Passport photo
  • Admission notice
  • Higher education form, if applicable
  • Registration form

Affordable Education and Healthcare Systems

The United States is an expensive place to live, both health-wise and education-wise. Germany boasts a free education system for public colleges, which extends to foreign students.

Not content to stop there, Germany also provides socialized healthcare for all, with the option for private health insurance. While this does mean German taxes are higher, some expats are finding that it’s worth it.

Tasty Food and Great Beer

Last, but certainly not least, foodies will have a field day with Germany. German cuisine is known for being rich and savory, putting emphasis on potatoes, pork, and bread. These are ideal for soaking up rich German ciders and lagers.

What are Some of the Best Places to Move to in Germany?

Germany has no lack of beautiful cities and quaint small towns. When choosing a place to live, think in the long term. What do you need to live a comfortable life?

German health insurance, free public education, and a gorgeous art scene make this country a great option for people of all shapes and sizes. Public transportation is very reliable in large cities and even smaller towns (though you may want to consider biking in the very rural areas).

Best Places for Creative Types:

  • Berlin
  • Amsterdam
  • Munich

Most Affordable Cities (Small and Large):

  • Frankfurt
  • Krefeld
  • Leipzig

Ideal Locations to Raise a Family

  • Hannover
  • Dresden
  • Hamburg

Moving to Germany from the USA is daunting. You might even stop the dream before it has a chance to breathe.

With careful planning and a little bravery, you have the potential to start a completely new life in a beautiful country. Germany is currently accepting American travelers and has a wealth of great living benefits that are becoming hard to find stateside. Start looking at what kind of visas you qualify for, then make it a plan to start clearing out your home.

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