When considering a move to Germany there are many things that need to be taken into considerations. Americans often get overwhelmed with the lack of information as well as the conflicting information they find regarding this subject. Some even get discouraged when they've joined a forum only to hear that there is no way humanly possibly that they can reside in Germany unless they're willing to change their career path, marry a stranger or other out of the box ways that they aren't willing to take on. But the truth is, though the process is by no means an easy one, it definitely is not an impossible one.
First and foremost you'll have to decide whether or not this is something you really want to do. Think it through, let the idea settle before making the first move. If you've never been to Germany, you've only spent a short period of time in Germany or you visited Germany a long time ago, you may want to consider planning a short trip to really get a feel for things. Remember that with time, countries change, and the preconception you have of Germany may be different from the reality of what things are actually like. Once you've decided that this is just what you want and there's nothing holding you back, then you'll want to know how to do it and what the best and easiest ways to go about it are.
Americans traveling to Germany do not typically need a visa, provided they aren't planning on staying for longer than 90 days. If you are however, planning a longer stay you will need to go to the Einwohnermeldeamt to get a residence permit.
Working in Germany is one way to guarantee a longer stay. You will need to provide documentation from your employer as well as bring along quite a few other documents for the application. This must be done within a few weeks of arriving in Germany. Your application will be made through the Ausländerbehörde and what you will receive is an Aufenhaltserlaubnis.
Have you fallen madly in love with a German? Propose. Marriage is one way to be able to get to Germany and stay for a long duration of time. Those who marry a German will have to file paperwork after which they will receive an befristeter Aufenhaltserlaubnis. This document will allow you to reside in Germany and also work in Germany. There is an expiration date on the Aufenhaltserlaubnis. Before this document has expired you are expected to fulfill certain obligations like taking a German and integration course.
Studying in German is a route you can take. Americans can also apply for a visa that will allow them to stay for longer than the 90 days allowed without a visa, in which time they will be able to have enough time to view universities as well as to apply to them. Contact the German consulate to gather more information on this topic. http://www.germany.info