Expats FAQ in Germany

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Q: Can expats open a bank account in Berlin from abroad?

A: Yes, with some Berlin banks like DKG-Deutsche Kredit Bank, this is possible. In most cases, however, banks in the city will only allow expats to open an account if they can present a Berlin address, or at least, any German address.

Q: How much do Berlin banks charge for ATM transactions using a card from a different bank?

A: The charge is anywhere from 3-5 euros for every transaction.

Q: Are there local banks in Berlin that offer special packages for international students who want to open an account with them?

A: Yes. Many banks offer special packages to international students, such as zero service charges and monthly fees. Berliner Bank, Berliner Sparks’, and Berliner Volksbank are some of the local banks that give special privileges to students.

Q: How do expats find pediatricians in Berlin?

A: Most pediatricians in Berlin hold both hospital and private practice. Thus, their availability tends to be limited during office hours. Private clinics are usually closed on weekends and Wednesday afternoons. On other days of the week, they are open from 8am to 1pm or from 3pm to 5pm.

Q: What is an EC Card?

A: An EC-Card, or commonly known as EC-Karte, is one nifty card that the bank issues after an applicant successfully opens a bank account. The EC card is used for getting cash, at any time from automatic teller machines (Geldautomat), and when making payments for groceries in supermarkets, gas, items in department stores, etc.

Q: What are the most popularly recognized banks in Germany?

A: Big named banks in Germany include Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Postbank, Dresdnerbank, Volksbank and Sparkasse.

Q: What documents are required to open a bank account in Germany?

A: Documents needed when opening a bank account include passport as identification; proof of registration in Germany (polizeiliche Anmeldebestätigung); and address in Germany. For students, one need to bring a student identification.


Q: What is there to look forward to in Berlin for entrepreneurs who might be thinking of setting up business in the German capital?

A: Those who are planning to do business in Berlin can consider the city's cheap rents, great universities, highly competitive engineers and the key European location as potential reasons to believe that their chances of success are great in this city.

Q: Are there bodies or organizations that provide assistance to foreigners who want to set up a business in Berlin?

A: Yes. One of the most popular is the Internet-based Berlin Business Location Center. BLC provides advice to investors on business location in Berlin, and also assists them in their global trade operations. BLC is located at Ludwig Erhard Haus in Berlin City West, while the consultation office is housed in the Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER).

Q: Is Berlin considered a promising city for setting up a business these days?

A: Definitely. In fact, Berlin is considered as Europe's hotspot for business startups, especially in the biotech and information technology industries. Furthermore, it is said to be the startup capital of the world next to Silicon Valley.

Q: What is the process in establishing a company in Germany??

A: Once a company name is obtained from the local chamber of industry and commerce, proceed to notarize their Articles of Association and Memorandum of Association, pay the appropriate costs based on share capital and open a bank account. Some companies may need to apply for a trading permit if applicable to the business. In addition, companies would have to register with the Professional Association of the relevant trade and inform the local Labor Office of the establishment of the company.

Q: Can a non-EU citizen set up a business in Germany?

A: With the following conditions, a non-EU citizen can start and operate a business in Germany; first off, one must apply for a German settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) from the Office for Foreigners. The entrepreneurial work must have a positive effect on Germany's economy. For self-employed residents, three years is given to make their business successful. After three years, another permit will be issued if deem appropriate.

Q: What are the types of business structures in Germany?

A: In Germany's business environment, there are several business structures. The most common is GmbH (Gessellschaft mit beschrankter Haftung), a limited liability company, equivalent to a Limited Company or Ltd with a minimum share capital of €25,000. A joint stock company is called AG (Aktiengesellschaft), equivalent of a Public Limited Company or PLC with a starting capital of €50,000. Another type is GbR (Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts), which is a flexible company model; it's either a one-person business or based on a contract agreed upon by two or more persons. Zweigniederlassung (or subsidiary) is a German branch of a company which is registered in a foreign country while OHG (Offene Handelsgesellschaft) operates depending on the terms of the contract and wherein partners involved have unlimited liability.


Q: Is Berlin a child-friendly city?

A: Yes. Berlin is actually one of the most child-friendly cities in the world. Subways have elevators in most stations and there's probably a small playground somewhere in any part of the city. There are also "kinder cafes" everywhere, providing moms a convenient place for diaper changes, rest or food. Plus kids will enjoy an almost endless string of attractions such as museums, zoos, farms and the like.

Q: How much does it cost to hire a babysitter in Berlin?

A: In Berlin, babysitters' current going rate is around 5 euros per hour. Note that there are no established or official providers of domestic services in the city, so finding a babysitter will probably happen through a personal recommendation.

Q: Are expats entitled of the Children's Allowance?

A: If one is a taxpaying expat, he/she is entitled to claim Children's allowance if they have children. The German government provides Children's allowance to help parents cope with rising cost of raising children; the amount can range from €184 to €215 per child per month.

Q: At what age can a child be allowed entry at pre-schools in Germany?

A: Most pre-schools accept children as young as 3 years old. Parents have the option to enroll their children at pre-schools run by either by charity associations (Verbände der Freien Wohlfahrtspflege) or by the local authorities, or at private kindergartens, popular among expats and found in major cities. Parents need note that kindergartens or pre-school classes is voluntary.

Q: What is Gesetz zum Ausbau der Tagesbetreuung or law on consolidating day care?

A: Consolidating daycare for children or Gesetz zum Ausbau der Tagesbetreuung has been passed as a law in 2005 to ensure that there are several childcare options available for parents returning to wok. Childcare services are available to all pre-school age children, locals or expats, regardless of income.

Cost of living

Q: How does Berlin compare with other world capital cities in terms of cost of living?

A: Berlin is a generally expensive city to live in, but rent is notably cheaper here - in fact, up to a third cheaper of what equivalent properties would rent out for in London or Paris. This is said to be one of the reasons Berlin is attractive to creative professionals like writers, musicians, designers and the like.

Q: Which is considered more practical in Berlin - renting or purchasing a property?

A: Most people in Berlin would rather rent than buy a house or apartment, and the same is true for expats who are usually in the city for short-lived job assignments. Additionally, there is an industry regulation in Berlin that prohibits rent increases of over 15% within a three-year period, making rentals a smarter option.

Q: Around how much do Berliners pay for food and entertainment?

A: This obviously depends on what food and entertainment and where, but there is a whole array of options for people in Berlin. Upscale restaurants and nightclubs will probably set one back by some 15-20 euros. On the other hand, entertainment can also mean cheap in Berlin, like going to the park to enjoy a warm summer day, cycling or visiting local markets, all of which are free.

Q: What is the average price when dining out in Germany?

A: The average cost of dining out in a modest restaurant is a 8-10 Euros while a three-course meal in a fancy restaurant can cost around 40 Euros.

Q: How much is a monthly pass ticket?

A: A monthly ticket can cost approximately 68 Euros.

Q: What is the monthly average cost of Utility Bills such as Electricity and Water?

A: Basic Utility Bill including Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage is at 200 Euros.


Q: What is the availability of pharmacies in Berlin?

A: Pharmacies in Berlin are notorious for having very limited business hours. Usually, they close at 6:30 pm, although those located near the city centre or around shopping areas may extend until 8pm or 9pm.

Q: Do Berlin hospitals provide specialty treatments?

A: Yes. Many hospitals in Berlin are actually famous for providing specialist treatments, such as the German Heart Centre, the Sankt Gertrauden Hospital {Ear, Nose and Throat/ENT), and Waldfriede Hospital (diabetology, obstetrics, and gynecology).

Q: What is the quality of medical services in Berlin?

A: Excellent. Berlin is considered a top health region in Europe and is the biggest area of medical activity in Germany. The city is home to some of the globe's best hospitals and medical equipment manufacturers (over 150 companies), and world-renowned pharmaceutical firms such Bayer, Pfizer and the like.

Q: How can an expat avail of a health insurance in Germany?

A: An expat can opt for the government-regulated public health insurance system (GKV), which is as good as the private health insurance, a private health insurance can be obtained either from a German company or an international insurance company (PKV) or even a mix of the two.

Q: What is the EHIC?

A: Legal residents in Germany are holders of EHIC or a European Health Insurance Card (Europäische Krankenversicherungskarte), as part of the health insurance card (Gesundheitskarte). EHIC holders benefit from emergency medical treatment and care when temporarily elsewhere in the EEA.

Q: How to find a General Practitioner Doctor in Germany?

A: If you have a telephone directory, go under Artze to look for a GP (Hausarzt or Allgemeiner Arzt). For children taken care by a pediatrician, look for Kinderarzt. GPs can make referrals to a specialist if necessary.


Q: What are the requirements for getting a house rental in Berlin?

A: To rent a house or apartment in Berlin, prospective tenants need to provide copies of their last three banking statements. To apply for an Internet connection, ISP companies will often require a German bank account.

Q: Which Berlin neighborhood or neighborhoods are best for expats starting a new life in the city?

A: Prenzlauer Berg is growing in popularity as a Berlin neighborhood that is conducive to raising a family. The area has lots of child and mommy activities and facilities, from prenatal yoga classes to playgrounds everywhere. It is said that there are more babies in this neighborhood than adults today.

Q: What are the most cost-effective neighborhoods in Berlin?

A: In Berlin, Friedrichshain and Prenzlauer Berg are two of the most affordable places to live in, along with Marzahn and Lichtenberg which also happen to be less known (and thus less crowded) than the first two.

Q: How to find rental accommodations in Germany?

A: Finding rental accommodation is one big hurdle to overcome for expats. However, there are plenty of ways to find a home. If one is press for time, get the service of am Immobilienhändler or a real estate agent; this would be proved the quickest, easiest yet the most costly way. Another is browsing the many property sites in Germany.

Q: What are some German abbreviations that expats need to note when looking for properties?

A: Expats must note of the following when buying or renting a home: AB stands for Altbau, which means Old building pre-1945, BK means Balcony, KM (Kaltmiete) basic rent (cold rent) only with no additional costs included), WM (Warmmiete) rent (warm rent) plus cost of water, property tax, street cleaning, waste disposal services and chimney sweeping , NK (Nebenkosten0 means extra costs, BZ (Badezimmer) is Bathroom and ZH/GH/EH (Zentral-/Gaz-/Etageheizung) means central, gas and floor heating.

Q: How to transfer electricity when moving house in Germany?

A: One should contact the respective electricity company to request for disconnection and transfer of service to the new home or address. The request can be done online, but the website is mostly in German. Another way is to contact customer service to request transfer; one can also request for English speaking customer service officer.


Q: What time do bars close in Berlin?

A: The general practice is to stay open until the last customer has consumed his last drink. This is all part of the tradition of intellectual freedom that is so alive in Berlin as Germany's capital city.

Q: What is nightlife like in Berlin?

A: Nightlife in Berlin cannot be outdone, with its whole array of options from sex clubs to opera performances. Kreuzberg, Mitte, Friedrchsaina and Prenzlauer Berg districts are particularly popular for those who want to drink, dance and party with picturesque views as a backdrop.

Q: Where do people go for a walk or jog in Berlin?

A: There are more than 2,500 parks and open areas in Berlin, but the two most popular favorites are Vicktoriapark and Tiergarten. Expats might also enjoy the golf courses located near the city centre.

Q: What are the popular theme parks in Germany?

A: Offering a roller coaster adrenaline rush and other spectacular rides, Europa-Park, Phantasialand, Movie Park Germany, Heidepark, Legoland, Hansa-Park and Holiday Park, receive a million visitors in a year.

Q: What are some of the wine regions in Germany?

A: Although it's wine is not as popular as France, Germany has maintained a good reputation in wine making in such regions of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Rheingau, Mittelrhein, Baden, Sachsen, Franken, Pfalz, Württemberg, Hessische Bergstrasse, Rheinhessen Nahe, Ahr and Saale-Unstru.

Q: What can be found in the Christmas Museum?

A: Nestled in historical walls of Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber is the home of the German Christmas Museum. One can find a collection of ornaments from unique items made of different materials (glass, cotton, wool, paper and wax, metals) to Dresden cardboards; decorations; toys; and artifacts.

Looking for a job

Q: What's a typical annual income expats in Berlin make?

A: Berlin expats receive some of the highest salaries compared to their counterparts in other world capital cities, with an average annual income of around EUR 30,000. It's important to note though that unemployment is very high in the city- the highest in Germany - so it is not a matter of how much a worker receives, as much as it is how employment can be secured.

Q: Can expats expect something from Berlin's job market, considering its high unemployment rate?

A: Berlin may have Germany's highest unemployment rate, but it still ranks among the highest in terms of job creation. The main issue is matching the right applicant with the right job. Nonetheless, this has made Berlin very attractive for qualified expats, especially English teachers and workers in the tourism and hospitality industries, which are also the city's number biggest job providers.

Q: Is speaking German a prerequisite for getting a job in Berlin?

A: No. There are many jobs in Berlin that do not require applicants to know German. However, to some extent, knowing the language is still an advantage.

Q: What is a Federal Employment Agency?

A: Germany has set up its largest official job portal thru the Federal Employment Agency, create to help job-seekers in the country. The site is available in different languages such as German, English and French.

Q: How is the present job market in Germany?

A: Despite the economic trouble of its European neighbors, Germany's unemployment rates are low. In the EU, the unemployment rate is at 5.1%. Most job-seekers can find employment in less than a year time frame. With the right qualifications, a university degree to boot, and can speak bask German, opportunities abound for job hunters.

Q: What is the average working hours in Germany?

A: At least 38 working hours in a week is the average, with a minimum of 18 days holiday a year.


Q: Is tipping practiced in Berlin?

A: In most cases, Berlin restaurant bills already include a service charge or Bediening, but customers are still known to give tips of around 5-10% if they are impressed with the service. Taxi drivers usually get around 10%, bellhops around 1 euro per bag and bartenders around 5%.

Q: Do Berlin establishments accept travellers checques that are non-euro-denominated?

A: No, but even euro-denominated traveller's checques are not accepted either. However, they may be exchanged for cash at banks or exchange bureaus. Some popular places expats go to for changing currencies are Bahnhof Zoo at Hardenbergplatz 1, Flughafen Tegel at Terminal A Boulevard, and Hauptbahnhof at Europaplatz 1.

Q: How do most people pay for their purchases in Berlin?

A: Unlike other world-class capital cities, credits cards are still not widely accepted in Berlin. Cash remains the predominant mode by which people pay for purchases and services in the city.

Q: What is considered personal taxable income?

A: In Germany, personal income tax is any income whilst working in agriculture and forestry fields; independent services (self-employed academic, artistic or teaching and educational services); income from employment, capital income, income from property and other form of income form e.g. pensions.

Q: What is vehicle tax in Germany?

A: Vehicle tax, or Kraftfahrzeugsteuer, is a mandated tax paid by the registered owner/keeper of a vehicle. A vehicle is liable to tax based on the vehicle's engine size and CO2 emissions. One can pay it for a year in advance at a local tax office (Finanzamt), or opt to pay in installments for large amounts, but with corresponding surcharge.

Q: What is church tax in Germany?

A: A church tax (Kirchensteuer) is applicable to people who are members of church or has affiliation with a religious group/ a recognized religious faith. Approximately 8 - 9 % of the income tax rate is charged for church tax. For those that are non-religious, not part of any church, no affiliation with any religious organization -- one does not need to pay for church tax.


Q: Is Berlin considered a top destination for working expats?

A: According to statistics, more and more native Berliners are leaving the city to look for better employment opportunities. At the same time, expats have been ironically flocking to the city while creating their own character and "usability" to the capital's economic progress. At the same time, they are filling the void left by the exiting natives. All of these have somehow made Berlin a top expat destination today.

Q: What countries have embassies in Berlin?

A: There are at least seven countries that have embassies in Berlin today- US, UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Ireland, and New Zealand. Aside from serving as the contact points between Germany (Berlin being the capital city) and their represented countries, these embassies also serve to protect the welfare of their citizens in the city.

Q: How do most expats ship their furniture and other possessions to Berlin?

A: A common option for heavy cargo is to ship it by sea to Amsterdam or Calais, and then deliver it to Berlin by road. For light cargo, air shipment is often preferred. Air shipments are priced according to weight and not volume of items, so those who are moving to a furnished property or planning to buy new furniture in Berlin will find it wise to choose air freight.

Q: What are the important numbers that need to be noted by newly arrived expats?

A: Germany's country code is 49. When dialing a local number from abroad, remove the 0 from the local area code. Dial 110 for police and 112 for ambulance and fire.

Q: Is there a rule in Germany when it comes to proper waste disposal?

A: Most cities now in Germany mandate that trash be separated in a number of ways, as there are separate receptacles for metal, plastic, paper, etc. For large furniture that cannot fit in trash container bins, one must call the sanitation office and request removal.

Q: What are the public holidays in Germany?

A: The following are public holidays in Germany, but not all are applicable to all federal states: January 01 - New Years (Neujahrstag), January 06 - Epiphany (Heilige Drei Könige), April 18 - Good Friday (Karfreitag), April 21 - Easter Monday (Ostermontag), May 01 - Labor Day (Maifeiertag), May 29 - Ascension Day (Christi Himmelfahrt), June 9 - Whit Monday (Pfingstmontag), June 19 - Corpus Christi Day (Fronleichnam), August 15 - Assumption Day (Maria Himmelfahrt), October 03 - Day of German Unity (Tag der Deutschen Einheit), October 31 - Reformation Day (Reformationstag), November 01 - All Saints Day (Allerheiligen), November 20 - Repentance Day (Buß- und Bettag) and December 25 and 26 Christmas (Weihnachtstag).


Q: What are nice areas in Berlin for walking dogs?

A: The Hasenheide in Neukoelln is great. There's even a specific portion of the area that has been fenced off for dogs to play with other dogs. Local parks are also great. There are more than 2,500 in Berlin!

Q: What is the process for adopting a pet in Berlin?

A: To adopt a dog or cat in Berlin, one has to show an ID, proof of Berlin address and a payment of around 100 DM (to cover initial vaccines, pet passport, and microchip ID). If all requirements are satisfied, the pet may be brought home immediately. In a few months, people at the pet adoption center would probably come for a surprise visit to check on the adopted animal's living conditions. Tierschutz at Hausvaterweg 39 13057 Berlin is a very popular center where come to adopt pets.

Q: How much are dog taxes in Berlin and where do owners register their pets?

A: How much tax dog owners pay depends on how many dogs they have and where they live. In some districts, the rates are higher than the rest. In other districts, a higher rate is charged for a second, third or fourth dog and so on. Dog-owning expats who have just arrived in Berlin should register these animals with Rotes Rathaus, Berlin's city hall, located on Rathausstraße near Alexanderplatz in the MItte district.

Q: Does one need a permission from the landlord when bringing a pet in Germany?

A: In rented quarters, one is obligated to seek permission from the landlord before keeping a pet. Note that dogs in Germany must be licensed, but no need for cats to get a license.

Q: What are the requirements for pets coming to Germany?

A: If you wish to bring a cat or dog into Germany, the animal must have been vaccinated for rabies at least 30 days but no more than 12 months prior to its entry. Proof of examination must be presented at the border.

Q: What are the breeds of dogs that are not allowed in Germany?

A: Although pet rules vary from state to state in Germany, Pit Bulls, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers are considered dangerous and thus import is strictly not allowed.


Q: Are there universities in Berlin that offer courses in English instead of German?

A: Yes. Two of the most popular are the Humbold-Universität and Technische Universität, both of which have a high number of expat enrollees. Many courses in these universities are offered in English, including those that lead to masteral and doctoral degrees.

Q: What are the alternatives for expat parents who find international school fees too expensive?

A: Expat parents can enroll their kids in public bilingual schools as an alternative to the highly expensive international schools in Berlin. Tuition in public bilingual schools is free, making them particularly helpful to expats who are just starting to establish themselves in the city, or would like to maintain an average way of life. Two of the most popular public bilingual schools are in Berlin are the JFK School and the Nelson Mandela School.

Q: Are there catchment schools or zones in Berlin?

A: No, there are no catchment schools or zones in Berlin. Families can choose any school based on which is best suited to the children's needs and the parents' priorities.

Q: What is the recommended language school to learn German?

A: Goethe-Instituts, is not just highly recommended school in Germany, but has a strong presence worldwide that makes it the go-to language school. Visit the Goethe-Instituts in Germany (www.goethe.de/germany) to enquire for such programs.

Q: What are some of the best International Schools in Germany?

A: Among these reputed international schools in Germany are International School Augsburg, Bavarian International School, Berlin Brandenburg International School, Berlin British School, International School of Bremen, Cologne International School, International School of Düsseldorf, Frankfurt International School, Internationale Schule Frankfurt-Rhein-Main, International School of Stuttgart, etc.

Q: How much is the tuition fees in private colleges in Germany?

A: Private Colleges charge tuition fees that can range from 1,800 to 4,700 Euros per semester.


Q: Where do East Berliners flock to shop?

A: Friedrichstrasse and Unter den Linden are two of the most popular shopping havens in this part of Berlin. These areas used to be occupied by small and cheap souvenir shops, but over the years, they have evolved into a high fashion district lined with retail outlets of most world-famous designer brands.

Q: Where do people buy cheap mobile phones in Berlin?

A: Mobile phones are sold everywhere in Berlin, but some of the cheapest places toget them are electronics stores known as Saturn.and Mediamarkt. They can also be purchased at grocery stores like Kaufland where prices could be as low as 8 euros. For even cheaper buys, there are secondhand stores such as Karl Marx Strasse in Neukoelin.

Q: Does Berlin have a specific commercial area for artistically-inclined shoppers?

A: Mitte is Berlin's special spot for those who are looking for unique and funky souvenir items, offering an interesting string of flea markets as well as pre-loved shops.

Q: What is the biggest Christmas market in Germany?

A: The biggest Christmas Market would be the markets in Nürnberg's Christkindlesmarkt on the Hauptmarkt where visitors can enjoy the famous Nuremberg sausages, get their hands on the famous Nuremberg gingerbread, experience a stagecoach tour, get up close with the Nuremberg Christkin, be awed at all the amazing Christmas tree decorations, take home the funny Prune Men as souvenirs and shop to your heart's content.

Q: What are the best sites in Germany for shopping online?

A: As most households in Germany have computers and Internet connection, online shopping is at record high. Leading the online sites are mail-order companies like Quelle and Neckermann.

Q: What are considered hyper-stores in Germany?

A: Hyper-stores in Germany are typical stores that offer a wide range of products, be groceries items, household essentials, beverages, food, etc. located in a shopping centre. Real, Kaufland and Globus Handelshof are just a few of the hyper-stores in Germany.


Q: When moving apartments, do people have to apply for a new Internet connection and sign a new contract?

A: In the past few years, people who moved to a new address had to sign a new contract with their ISP, requiring another 24-month initial lock-in period for their specific company. The good news is this is no longer done today. Subscribers who want to move addresses can now simply inform their ISP provider, and the contract will continue from when it started.

Q: How long does it take, after date of application, to have a working Internet connection in Berlin?

A: It usually takes around 2-4 weeks after signing the contract.

Q: What are some of the best ISPs in Berlin?

A: A company called o2 used to be the number 1 ISP in Berlin, but it has been recently overtaken by a rival company known as 1&1. While o2 is still cheaper than 1&1, the company's decision to cut its monthly Internet speeds has apparently caused problems for many subscribers, prompting them to switch to the competitor.

Q: Where can one avail of English-language TV programs?

A: English-language programs are available by signing up for Cable TV (with more than 40 channels) or install a satellite dish. Local channels are mostly in German.

Q: How to get Internet connection in Germany?

A: One can connect to the Internet by applying for Dial-up or DSL at home which has a flat rate, go to WiFi hotspots in places such as airport terminals, hotels, gas stations, bars and restaurants, or buy a USB stick so one can easily connect even on the go.

Q: What are the major telecom providers in Germany?

A: Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, O2, E-plus are Germany's major telecom providers.


Q: Is Berlin traffic as bad as that of other world capital cities like London and New York?

A: One thing about Berliners is that they are very active in environmental causes, making cycling very natural for them for daily trips to work or running errands. This is apparently the main factor Berlin's reputation as a motorist's haven compared to other European capitals where traffic is known to be chaotic.

Q: What's the fastest way to get around Berlin?

A: S-Bahn or suburban trains are the best option for those who don't like long commutes. There are trips running from the city centre's east to west, and another line that practically rounds up the entire city. There are maps at S-Bahn stations and their website, making it easier for non-locals to find their way.

Q: Are there trams in Berlin?

A: Yes, but only in East Berlin as they have been scrapped in West Berlin. Expats usually take to maps posted in train stations for directions, and tickets may be purchased in the trams upon boarding.

Q: What are the types of public transport in Germany?

A: Germany has an impressive public transport that comprise of Bus, Straßenbahn/Trambahn (streetcar/tram), Stadtbahn (light rail), U-Bahn (subway/underground), S-Bahn (suburban commuter rail), Zahnradbahn (cog railway), Seilbahn (cable car), Schwebebahn (suspension railway), R-Bahn for regional train on long distance travel, and taxi services.

Q: What are the main airports in Germany?

A: Germany's airports are as efficient as any hard-working German. Travelers coming in and out of Germany can make use one of the following airports: Frankfurt Airport, Munich Airport, Düsseldorf Airport, Berlin Airport, Cologne-Bonn Airport, Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, Hamburg Airport, Stuttgart Airport. To lessen the commute time, one can take the high-speed InterCity trains to get to Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Cologne-Bonn and Stuttgart airports.

Q: Where to hire taxis in Germany?

A: One can easily spot a taxi stand in designated areas in train stations, airports, big hotels, shopping malls, etc. Though a taxi can be hailed in the street, it is better to go to a taxi stand or call for taxi service thru 1) a taxi phone nearby; these Taxirufsäule are call boxes that can connect to the central taxi dispatch; and 2) call the designated taxi hotline, as each city has one.

Q: Where can people usually get taxis in Germany?

A: One can easily spot a taxi stand in designated areas in train stations, airports, big hotels, shopping malls, etc. Though a taxi can be hailed in the street, it is better to go to a taxi stand or call for taxi service thru 1) a taxi phone nearby; these Taxirufsäule are call boxes that can connect to the central taxi dispatch; and 2) call the designated taxi hotline, as each city has one.

Q: Where can people usually get taxis in Germany?

A: One can easily spot a taxi stand in designated areas in train stations, airports, big hotels, shopping malls, etc. Though a taxi can be hailed in the street, it is better to go to a taxi stand or call for taxi service thru 1) a taxi phone nearby; these Taxirufsäule are call boxes that can connect to the central taxi dispatch; and 2) call the designated taxi hotline, as each city has one.


Q: Which Berlin airport do most expats or tourists prefer to fly into?

A: Berlin currently has two international airports – Tegel and Schoenefeld. Some prefer Tegel because of its close proximity to the city center compared with Schonefeld, but note that there is a train line from Schonefeld to the city center, while there are only buses from Tegel. Choosing which airport is better may ultimately depend on where the expat or tourist is staying in Berlin.

Q: Are there international train services to Berlin?

A: Yes, there are and most international trips bound for Berlin depart from other large cities within the region like Amsterdam, Schiphol, Utrecht, and Rotterdam. Ticket prices vary, but will depend on four main factors, including availability (earlier booking means cheaper booking), rebooking privilege, (partial) refund privilege, and the selected route.

Q: How much is a typical guided tour in Berlin?

A: It depends on the type of tour and the tour guide. A two-hour walking tour would probably cost arounD 150 euros, and about the same amount will be paid for a three-hour tour around the city in a tourist-provided coach. For special tours (tours that follow the tourist's own itinerary), the cost is around 50 euros higher. Some tour guides charge extra for each hour in excess (around 50 euros) while others do not.

Q: What are the low cost airlines in Germany?

A: Some of the notable low-cost airlines are Ryanair, EasyJet, Germanwings, Air Berlin, TUIfly and Condor. Other budget airlines include that operates in Germany include Blue1, Lot, Dauair, AirBaltic, VLM, Helvetic, Intersky, SkyEurope, SmartWings, Transavia, Austrian-Airlines, BMI Baby, Brussels Airlines and Wizz Air.

Q: What is the biggest festival in Germany?

A: The famous Oktoberfest, attracting tourists in droves, in September and October is Germany and Europe's biggest festival. It culminates in time of the opening of the Christmas Markets, another significant event in the country.

Q: What is the biggest tourist attraction in Germany?

A: In terms of place, Father Rhine is the ultimate destination in Germany. Considered as the "Romantic Rhine", the amazing waterway has inspired a number of the country's poets, artists and composers.


Q: What office processes visa-related documents for expats in Berlin?

A: For inquiries, clarifications and other concerns regarding their visas, expats should coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In Berlin, the office is located at Werderscher Markt 1.

Q: Do passengers transiting through Berlin airports need a transit visa?

A: Berlin-Tegel airport is the only airport in Berlin, and one of the only five airports in Germany having an International Transit Area. Also, only Air Berlin passengers are allowed to transit through Berlin, and it is the airline that makes arrangements for the transit. No transit visa is required, except from those who are nationals of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, and Turkey.

Q: Where and how do expats make an appointment for foreigner registration in Berlin?

A: Setting an appointment can be done online through the Foreigners' Registration Office website, either by emailing them a request or making an online arrangement. Since an electronic residence permit will be issued and processing takes weeks, it is recommended that expats set an appointment around a month before their visas or temporary residence permits expire.

Q: What are the required documents when applying for a Schengen Visa for Germany?

A: In order to obtain a Schengen visa for Germany, and before proceeding to make an appointment to the German Embassy, an application form has to be completed, with all the travel details, along with a valid passport.

Q: What documents are required when visiting Germany for business trip?

A: Travelling to Germany frequently for business, one just need to present a formal invitation letter by the parties residing in Germany, detailing the purpose of the visit, be it from a company or an individual.

Q: Can foreign university degree graduates stay in Germany while looking for employment?

A: Degree holder foreigners granted that they have enough funds and with insurance, can stay in Germany for six months residence permit to find employment. While looking for employment, one cannot have a job, part-time or otherwise. It is only once employment is secured that one can apply for a residence permit for employment.