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Things to Know Before Moving to Berlin

Monday, September 4, 2023
The bird-eye view of the center of the city of Berlin with a river, traditional buildings and a famous TV tower

American citizens moving to Berlin, Germany, can be more common than you think. Many people uproot and move overseas to Berlin for numerous reasons. And, we have a guide for you on living in Berlin and how you can get there. As well as a way to save your time and money during your moving process. Let's get into it.

Moving to Berlin from the USA

A colorful graffiti wall in Berlin, the city of European art

Moving to Germany, and in particular moving to Berlin means that you will need a visa. There are different types of visas from family, studying, and work-related ones. The latter would work better if you have a job waiting for you in Berlin. These are known as Aufenthaltstitel which is just another way of saying residence permit while in Germany, just to avoid confusion. 

But, we advise you to speak to a professional before moving to Berlin about the visa application process, to make sure that you get the correct and up-to-date information. You would not want to be in the dark about this process, nor would you want to be misinformed.

Furthermore, when you are in Berlin you would have to apply for a residence permit to live in the country of Germany. However, if you are an EEA or EU citizen then you would not need a residence permit to live in Berlin. Double-check with a professional about the details. A residence permit is the main document that lets you live in the country and without it, you cannot move in. This is important to know when you are moving to Berlin as an American.

This basic moving to Berlin guide is to make sure all your paperwork is updated, as well as in order. Main goal of this moving guide is to motivate you to start the moving and application process on time so you can make sure you have enough time to get all the visas, and other documents in order. You can also check out Berlin before you make the move there since you can have 90 days in the country as an American citizen without a visa. And to make sure you have a wider picture of where you are moving to. 

If you want to move to Berlin temporarily or make Berlin your new, forever home then you would have to make your way to obtaining a German tax ID within the first two weeks of living in Berlin. You can do so by registering your Berlin address at a citizen's office where you have to go in person to do so. When you register your address you will get an Anmeldebestaetigung which can lead to a residence permit allowing you to live in Berlin for longer than 90 days. This also allows you to work in the country even as a freelancer. This ID also helps you apply for a bank account as well as for a mobile contract.

Before moving to Berlin you would have to find a place to move into and live in Berlin so that you can start obtaining a tax ID as soon as you move in for real.

Moving to Berlin with Family or Moving to Berlin Alone

A street in Berlin with coffee shops and little tables and chairs for guests to relax in the sun

Berlin is a great city regardless if you have a family or not. Berlin is actually a kid-friendly capital city. So much so, that every child (yours included) is entitled to a place in Kitas (kindergarten) for free. And, all the restaurants as well as cafes not only have a kid’s menu but seating for them too. As well as items to play with.

But, since it is free for them to go to Kitas, it can mean that there are a lot of applications for it. Therefore, there could be a chance that your children's kindergarten is further away from your home if you do not get to the nearby ones in time. 

If you do not have a family, then you would not need to worry about the latter just yet. You can enjoy the business hubs, the culture, the art and the nightlife of Berlin which is great for people moving to Berlin in their 20s,30s or 40s.

What to Know Before Relocating to Berlin

A heart-shaped waffle representing the German traditional sweets

There is a lot to Berlin as much as there is to any capital city. The best thing you can do is to use your 90s days and visit it to get a feel of it. However, here are a few things to know before moving to Berlin:

  • Finding a flat or a house to live in Berlin is not an easy task. Therefore, your 90s days should be given to looking for kindergartens and flats nearby.
  • Luckily there is a fitting home for you in one of the 12 districts that are in Berlin.
  • Get used to the idea of cold, and gray winters since these are common in Germany.
  • Cash is used more than cards in the city so when you make Berlin your home make sure that you have cash on hand since quite a few places do not accept cards.
  • Learn (at least basics of) German before you move to Berlin. This is useful to get around, certainly so when you cannot expect everyone to speak the English language.
  • Also, try to learn Berliner Schnauze. This is the dialect in Berlin so many phrases are used in the city and nowhere else.
  • Get health insurance since this is needed in Germany.
  • The cost of living in Berlin is something you would want to work out before making the move. 

Saving Time and Money When Moving with Shyft

A shot of Berlin’s buildings by the river with Memorial Church in the background

The moving process is usually quite pricey and can take up a lot of your time. However, when you work with Shyft your moving experience can be less stressful, and less time-consuming and it can also be a save money type of thing. Shyft is the world's first tech moving platform where we will organize your whole move to Berlin for you.

You just have to get in touch with us through the site. There is a short and secure form that you fill out, then download the free and safe mobile app called Shyft Next. It works on Android as well as iOS devices. Or you can skip reaching out to us through our site since you can also contact us with the Shyft Next app.

Either way, the app is needed because it is through it that your Move Coach will give you a video call. This chat happens when you say it does, not a minute sooner or later. Therefore, you can organize your day accordingly, and slot us into your busy schedule. We will work around your free time. The call takes about half an hour to an hour depending on the current size of your home. This is because, during the call your Move Coach will create your moving inventory list while you give them a virtual tour of your place.

Therefore, you do not have to wait for them to come to you since they are already virtually there. Already saving you time. It is also during this call that you can get more information about what we offer as well as get your questions answered or your concerns squished. 

When the call is finished you can expect your inventory list within half an hour.

Beyond The Inventory List to Your Long Distance Move

A German couple sitting in the grass in the Berlin’s park enjoying the sun and time off

This list is 95% accurate and you can make it 100% by adding and/or removing items from the list. You can also leave notes on certain items that you think the moving company should know when handling your stuff. Furthermore, you can add the changes with the Shyft Next app. When you are finished making your inventory list 100% you send it to your Move Coach.

They will use this list as well as only your moving details (excluding personal ones) to present to Shyft's secure moving board. This is where we source three or more moving quotes. Each quote is from a different moving company and all the moving quotes are fixed. Therefore, what you see is what you pay, with no hidden costs. The price does not change even if your inventory list does.

All the moving companies on our moving board have experience, are Shyft-verified, and have their paperwork in order. Also, a range of moving companies are on our board from local to international movers. Since you are probably looking to relocate to Berlin, we will make sure to target international moving companies that could aid you with getting through customs. You will get the moving quotes and information about the different companies sent to you through the Shyft Next app. You can compare and choose the one moving company that would be best for your moving experience. When you have made your choice, you let us know, and we will lock them down before they get away.

During your moving process with Shyft, you can reach out to us seven days a week. We are on call to you to answer your concerns, and can also keep you updated with what is happening regarding your move. And, we have other services on offer such as our secure Home & Lifestyle Online Marketplace. It is here that you can buy new items to be delivered to your new home in the US.

Plus, you can also find services that can be of use for you such as storage, or flexible living arrangements if your forever home is not yet ready in Berlin. All the items and services in our marketplace come with a discount. However, some of the items may not be delivered to Berlin. Either way, you will save money while getting services.

Another service we offer is Corporate Relocation. If you are in the process of moving your company to a new location, be it Berlin or anywhere, you can use our Shyft Card. It is a secure platform where you can directly transfer the relocation funds to your employees. And, you can keep track of how the funds are going as well as add more if need be. Book a demo and learn more, today.

If you are moving to Berlin for personal or professional reasons, contract Shyft today so that we can give you a helping hand. Save your time, money, and nerves by working with Shyft for a better moving experience.

A woman in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin admiring the neo-classical architecture of Berlin downtown

Stress-Free Long Distance Move With Shyft