International Money Transfers to and from Germany

International Money Transfers to and from Germany

Transferring money Internationally can sometimes be expensive, especially if you are not aware of the hidden charges, exchange rates and fees that you may be subjected to. It may be helpful to find out this information in advance so that when the situation arises you aren't left dumbfounded by the costs.

A large majority of the problems one may experience is not going through a reliable merchant when carrying out their transaction. Though at a first glance, some options may seen significantly cheaper than others, and thus more attractive, it is important to thoroughly analyze the means you are planning on using in order to ensure that there aren't other costs that will be incurred. If there are, in no time, you may realize that their prices only seemed low because everything was hidden well, just to lure you in.

Expatriates working in Germany often send money back to their home country, to their families or to a savings account they have at home if they have a German bank account where their salary is deposited. For those who have properties overseas and have to make regular payments on their properties, not taking the proper precautions can mean that your property will cost a lot more in the long run.

The main problem for many comes with the exchange rate. When sending money to a country that doesn't use the Euro, you have to be ware of the exchange rate. Euro to Pounds, Euro to Dollars, whatever it is, you need to know where you will be offered the best rate. Most people tend to just do the transactions through their banks. However, this can be one of the most expensive ways, as their exchange rates are typically not as good as elsewhere. When transferring money through your bank, you may not only be looking at losing money through the unfavorable exchange rates but also due to other fees that are applied on International transactions.

Though it may not be a burden to incur some of the fees one time, when you make multiple transactions a year, it all adds up and if you look back you may realize that it was indeed a lot pricier than you had anticipated. Be sure to compare the rates that your personal bank offers with the rates you may get at another currency specialist. Using a currency specialist is a popular and usually a better option. Reports show that the savings lie between 2 and 4 percent when opting for a specialist rather than going through your bank. 


Currency specialists may be your best option when it comes to transferring money abroad. Be sure to check that the specialist you are using is indeed credible and has all the correct license and documentation needed to carry out that form of business. Many people have switched to using a currency specialist, especially for larger and more frequent transactions.



Read more 0

Insurance in Germany; Fast Facts: German Health Insurance

Insurance in Germany; Fast Facts: German Health Insurance


In Germany, health insurance is mandatory. Whether you are on vacation in Germany, residing for a short period of time, or here for the long term, you are required to have health insurance. The main form of health insurance in Germany is the state health insurance which covers the majority of the residence, a significant 80%. For those making less than 4 000 euros per month, the state health is automatically available. The great thing about this insurance is that outside of the financial aspects of things, there is no restriction to who can be insured. So whether you have a pre existing condition or not, and you are in the financial bracket that the state insurance covers, then you will be able to receive coverage. As a result, residents are happier knowing that they won't have to dread going to the doctor and worrying about how much it will cost. This makes for a healthier nation. When something is wrong, there is little to no hesitation in getting treatment. The state health insurance works towards not only promoting good health, but also keeping the insured healthy. Often, medication and other necessary treatments are covered by the national health insurance system, once again, making it easier for the patient to get what they need and be able to lead a better, healthier life.


The majority of the costs associated with state health insurance is covered through contributions from the employed population. This is automatically deducted from an employees salary, and the costs are split between employee and employer.



For those who have a trainee position and are making less than four hundred euros per month, the contribution to the state insurance is solely covered by the employer.


Private health insurance


Those who earn over a certain monthly salary fall into the bracket of the privately insured. There is more flexibility with private insurance depending on the company one decides on. Your plan with a private insurance company is pretty much something that you can customize to meet your particular needs. However, unlike the state insurance where dependents are covered by your insurance, private insurance is a little different. Each member of the family is required to have his or her own policy and even in the case of newborns, after a short period of time, the parent will be required to get a separate insurance for the child.


There are, however, lots more perks that come with being privately insured. These range from being able to select the hospital you wish to be treated at, to being able to select your doctor and in some cases the food you are offered during your hospital stay is better. On the other hand, with private insurance you may be looking at paying an exceptionally high premium when you are over a certain age, or have a pre existing condition.


In Germany, you may have a choice when it comes to the insurance you choose, but you don't have a choice when it comes to being insured.


Read more 0

Individual and Local Sports in Germany

Individual and Local Sports in Germany


Leading a healthy lifestyle is something that we all want to do. It starts with designing our meals a little differently and taking on a new sport, or just going out for a jog every once in a while. Once you've moved to Germany there's no doubt that you'll want to continue being fit and putting in your hours of physical activity. Or perhaps you're just taking up sports as a new years resolution or just a sudden consciousness. Whatever your reason is, it's a great idea.


Surely you'll see all these Germans running to the train, walking home, and pedaling away on their bikes in the height of winter. Of course, you too could do the same. You could skip taking the car everywhere and get a bit closer to the German culture by walking to pick up bread rolls in the morning, taking your bike out to do the grocery shopping or going for after breakfast, lunch and dinner walks. However, if you'd like to challenge yourself a bit more, then you could really get your gear together, sneakers tied up tight and head out for a nice run.


Running in Germany will be a breeze. The paths are there, outlined to perfection for your fitness. There's a lot of scenery, a lot to take in and especially when you haven't been in Germany for a while, everything is new and exciting. You'll love taking on new routes every time you head out, and you'll possibly even meet a couple other runners who you can schedule your training sessions with and get a bit of company on the otherwise lonely paths.


Riding your bicycle is another great way to get in shape. Rather than just seeing it as a means of transportation to nearby places, use it for longer journeys. You'll be able to see so much more, learn new areas of the city, and get your body in shape.  There are designated bike lanes so there's no hassle in wondering where to ride, where to wiggle through and how safe things are.


There are a large amount of gyms in Germany, with McFit being the most popular. Especially if you're one to shy away from colder temperatures, this may be an option for you. The prices of a membership vary widely depending on where you go but are generally not very high. There are many great things about having a gym membership. Of course there's the money aspect, once you've spent money on something you are more likely to take advantage of it. Secondly there's the fact that gyms are indoors and thus you'll be able to comfortably train regardless of what the weather outside looks like. Another wonderful thing is that you will be able to make new friend and possibly even find someone to collaborate your sessions with to make them a bit more fun. If you're lucky, this person will be a gym enthusiast and won't hesitate to give you the right motivation to keep going week after week.




Read more 0

Importing a car into Germany

Importing a car into Germany


When moving to Germany, rather than buying a new car, you may want to ship your car from home. In order to do so your car will have to meet certain standards. In addition to these standard you will have to be able to provide the necessary documentation which may include the title of the car and for leased vehicles you will need a letter from the associated authorities stating that you are permitted to ship the car out of the country.


What needs to be done to your car before shipping it to Germany?

The following will need to pass a German technical inspection.

·         Headlights

·         emission

·          brakes

·          rust

·          tires



Do I have to pay duty?

Not necessarily. There are ways in which you may be exempt from paying duty when shipping your vehicle to Germany. Provided that you can supply proof that you have given up your residence in your home country due to your plans to move to Germany then you may be able to ship your vehicle duty free. Of course you will need to provide documentation that may include:

·         termination of rental contract

·         acceptance to a job in Germany

·         your German rental contract

In order to be applicable for duty free shipment of your car or other form of vehicle you are required to provide evidence that you are the sole owner of the vehicle and you have used the vehicle for at least 6 months prior to the date that you plan on having it shipped.


How much will the duty be on my car?

Provided the you are not exempt from paying duty on your vehicle, you will be required to pay 0% import duty in addition to the 5% value added tax. If your car or vehicle is vintage, the you will only be subjected to 7% duty.


Do I have to change my license plate?

If your stay in Germany will not exceed 2 months, you may be allowed to keep your home license plate as well as registration. You will, however, be required to have all applicable documents translated into the German language by a certified German translator.


When should I have my car shipped?

Rental cars in Germany are relatively expensive in comparison to the United States. As a result, you may want to consider having your car shipped to Germany so that it will arrive around the time that you will be in Germany. This may mean that you will need to rent a car for the rest of your stay in the United States. However, it will save you quite a bit of money.


Here are the websites of a few companies that ship from United States to Germany:








Use a company that has been shipping from the United States to Germany for some time and thus has adequate experience.[...]

Read more 0

Housing In Germany

Housing In Germany


Having found a job or been assigned a job in German, you're perhaps overjoyed at the new adventure you'll be taking on. Once the excitement of the realization that you'll be moving to Germany has settled in, there are a number of things you'll have to start looking into. Housing, transportation, furnishing are just a few of the things that will be on your long, long list. Housing in Germany is a bit different than housing in the United States. Of course there's the language, and figuring out who to contact, what and where to research is just the beginning.


There are a number of portals online that provide information on real estate in Germany. You'll be able to view what apartments or houses are on the market and get an idea of what the pricing is like. However, when it comes to German real estate and the way rooms are counted, as well as what is included in the two different forms of rent, you'll want to have full understanding so you know exactly what you're dealing with.


For starters, what you'll generally see when looking either in the newspaper or on the internet for German apartments is, kaltmiete and warmmiete i.e cold rent and warm rent respectively.


What is kaltmiete?

Kaltmiete is the part of the rent that only covers the cost of the apartment. This can be broken down, and you'll be able to calculate what amount you will be spending per square meter. When seeing an attractive figure adjoined to kaltmiete, many get excited as they then believe the apartment they're getting is a steal. However, there is more to come, and in some cases, a lot more.


What is warmmiete?


Warmmiete includes the kaltmiete and utilities. The utilities covered by warmmiete may include heating, water, trash collection, property tax, lighting for stairwells, maintenance. Electricity is generally not included in your warmmiete and is something that you'll have to look into yourself.


The difference that you get between the warmmiete and the kaltmiete is the nebenkosten.


Other costs you can expect to pay are security deposit and realtor fee if you have used a real estate agent. These costs are a percentage of your rent and are typically paid at the beginning of your lease.



What do you need to do before signing a lease agreement?

Before signing the contract be sure to read and comprehend everything that the contract entails. Take pictures of the state of the apartment, ensure that you have got proof of anything that was broken, bent, out of shape, scratched. This will ensure that you won't have to withstand these costs once you're ready to move out.


Other things to know:


·         Trash is taken out on several days of the week. Be sure to know how to separate your trash and where to dispose of batteries, glass bottles and jars, paper etc.

·         Know where you are allowed to park.

·         Know where to leave bicycles, strollers etc

·         Know the quiet hours.[...]

Read more 0

Some Little Known and Interesting 'Hidden Gems' in Germany


Some Little Known and Interesting 'Hidden Gems' in Germany


There are so many places to see in Germany. Of course there are the popular tourist attraction like the Neuschwanstein, the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin wall and all the government buildings in Berlin. But what about those places that are tucked away and seemingly untouched? They too, exist in Germany. So on your next vacation be sure to check out some of Germany's hidden gems and explore parts of the country that many tourists never see.


Rugen Cliffs: This splendid place is located in the Baltic Sea. As if the chalk white cliffs weren't enough to leave you in awe, Rugen Cliffs hosts a number of spas and other retreats where tourists can enjoy a relaxing day. Fishing in calm and serenity is what attracts a lot of people to the area. The views are astonishing, and each photograph that you take will be as breathtaking as the last. Even, Einstein traveled here, so take it from a genius that the Rugen Cliffs really are great.


Swabian Alb: There's a certain beauty to volcanoes, apart from the dangerous aspects of course. So it's no wonder that something so magnificent, so beautiful is the result of a lot of volcanic activity. Spas and hotels, castles that kiss the sky, they can all be found here. And it goes without saying that the geological history is something you'll want to experience. You'll find museums that carefully display prehistoric fossils so that you too can see the treasures held within the Swabian Alb.


Meissen: If you're someone who knows their porcelain, then the name Meissen is no stranger to you. This wonderful region is home to the high quality Meissen Porcelain. Visitors are offered the opportunity to take a tour of the factory, see where it all started and be blown away by some of the amazing porcelain creations held in the museum.


Cospudener See: Located in Leipzig, this beautiful getaway is perfect for those interested in taking bike tours, going sailing, or swimming in the lake. If you're one who likes to bare it all, there are sections of the lake where clothing is optional. Being able to take advantage of a sauna is also one of the things that visitors appreciate, as the sauna is right along the lake and thus they don't have to travel away from this perfect location to enjoy this luxury.


Basteibrücke: Not too far from Dresden is the Basteibrücke. The bridge is constructed from sandstone and links several colossal rock formations to each other. The location is open for unforgettable sight seeing through the winter and through the summer and so regardless of what time of year you plan on vacationing to Germany, the opportunity is there to see the Basteibrücke.


Burg Satzvey: This medieval castle is remarkable, almost like something out of a fairytale. The attraction is even more phenomenal during the Christmas season where visitors can enjoy the medieval style markets hosted on the grounds surrounding the castle. During this time there is no shortage of souvenirs, and the wide selection of food is guaranteed to appease your palate.



Read more 0


In the process of relocating to Germany and need information?

You're in the right place! is the first blog that answers all your questions about relocating to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Leave your blog comments or questions below and we'll get back to you shortly. There's no cost and no obligation - we're here to help!