Destination Düsseldorf: What you need to know if you’re moving to the Rhine Capital!
Moving cities can be daunting, especially when you add a cultural and language barrier. Luckily enough Düsseldorf is an open and welcoming city full of people from all walks of life, but there are still a few things you must know and prepare for before making the big move.
Our Düsseldorf headquarters is home to 1000+ employees of 65+ nationalities. So it’s fair to say our Employment Services team has a lot of experience helping people from all over the globe move to Germany. In this article, we want to share these insights with you and hopefully make your move to Düsseldorf as smooth as possible!
The first and most important thing you must do before moving to Düsseldorf is ensure you can legally work in Germany. Those with EU citizenship do not need to worry about applying for a visa and can move to Germany to work relatively easily.
For those without EU citizenship, you can enter Germany for up to 90 days on a tourist visa (depending on your citizenship), but you cannot work during this time. It is best to check with your local Germany embassy to see which conditions apply to your country.
Finding an apartment
Finding an apartment in Düsseldorf can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re new to the country and don’t know the language. Viewings might be slightly intimidating, as you often share the viewing time with other, German-speaking candidates who are very well prepared.
It is quite normal for the landlord to ask you to fill out a sheet with your personal information (e.g. name, current address, income etc). Often you have to provide a copy of your work contract, visa, or even your last 3 payslips. This is normal practice in Germany and many people even come to the viewing with a printed copy of all of these documents ready to hand over.
You must also provide a landlord with a ‘SCHUFA Auskunft’ which is an official, certified report documenting your credit history. If you have not lived in Germany before it should be blank, but will start collecting information on your creditworthiness as you live in Germany. It is free to apply on the official site.
Another way Germany differs to many other countries is that it is very rare to find furnished apartments. Most flats come completely bare with no furniture, fixtures and often even no kitchen. Sometimes the previous tenants will offer to sell these items to the new renter at a (usually quite high) price.
When looking for an apartment you’ll notice ‘Kalt’ and ‘Warm’ prices (cold and warm). Cold rent prices don’t include any fees such as heating, water, lights, cleaning hallways, maintenance, etc., whereas warm rent usually includes most of these fees, but it is still wise to ask what is included before you sign a contract.
This may all sound a bit complicated and foreign to you, but if happen to be starting a job at trivago, our Employment Services team can provide you with further information. Happy house-hunting!
Registration in the city
When moving to Düsseldorf you must remember to register your residence with the city within two weeks of your moving date. To do this you must book an appointment with the Bürgerbüro (civil office).
You can do this by following this link and selecting Online-Terminvereinbarung and then Die Terminvereinbarung aufrufen to make an appointment online. You’ll then be presented with a list of services, select Anmeldung in Düsseldorf (pro Person) and confirm with Termin vereinbaren. You’ll then be able to view the next available appointments in the offices across Düsseldorf and choose the one that is most convenient for you.
After booking your appointment you should receive a confirmation email with a number ─ this number will be called at the time of your appointment, so don’t lose it!
Remember to bring your passport, ID card, your housing contract (if you have one yet) and Wohnungsgeberbestätigung ─ this is the registration sheet you will receive from your landlord which confirms you have actually moved into your new apartment.
During the meeting they’ll ask your religion, or whether you are baptised. This is important as those of Catholic, Protestant or Jewish faith must pay a small monthly church tax.
You must go through this process every time you change address within Germany and as a foreigner, the Ausländerbehörder (Foreign Affair Office) will be automatically notified about your address change.
Opening a bank account
Once you’re registered in the city and have received your registration documents you can now open a bank account. In Germany there are two options: Register with a traditional bank (Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank etc.) or sign up to one of the new online banks (eg. N26).
To register with a bank in Düsseldorf you’ll need to call and make an appointment. This meeting can feel a bit formal for foreigners, but it’ll only last 20-30 minutes after which they’ll send you your card and details by post. It is important to bring your passport and the Wohnungsgeberbestätigung which you received from your landlord.
Those who want to avoid this whole process can sign up with an online bank such as N26. You can sign up by simply completing a verification test over video call (have your passport handy) and submitting some documents. Although it’s much easier to register with an online bank, they have no physical branches and limited support, which is often the reason people still choose to go with a standard bank.
Everyone who works in Düsseldorf must register with a German public health insurance provider. After you have chosen a provider and registered, you’re automatically able to use the insurance company’s benefits, even if you don’t have the membership card yet. After you’ve registered with an insurance provider, you should receive your insurance card within two months. This is the card you’ll present when receiving medical treatment. In Germany you’ll be covered for most standard medical and dental treatments.
Your health insurance contribution (a percentage of your gross salary of approx 7,3%) will be withdrawn from your pay and transferred to the responsible health insurance carrier. Additionally, the health insurance providers are able to charge an additional fee between 0,1 and 1,8% of the gross income.
Your health insurance provider will also supply you with your social security number (Sozialversicherungsnummer). This number must be provided to your employer in order for you to be paid and will stay the same for life.
Please note: If you need to go to the doctor or hospital and have not yet received your health insurance card, get in touch with your health insurance provider, and they’ll send a “Abrechnungsschein” to your doctor. This is a document that proves you are registered with the insurance provider.
Please note that you need travel health insurance for the first days in Germany and before your contract start date, because the statutory health insurance can only cover you once you start working.
Now that we’ve got the boring stuff out of the way, check out our other articles and video about life in Düsseldorf!
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