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The Complete How to Move to Germany from America Checklist

The Complete How to Move
to Germany from America
Checklist

Moving to Germany from America? Our Complete How to Move to Germany from America Checklist is a foolproof list of easy-to-follow, chronologically ordered tasks designed to help ensure you and your family enjoy a smooth, stress-free move to Germany.

Follow our comprehensive step-by-step checklist, which starts from six months prior to your move, right through to once you have arrived in Germany, to avoid the logistical and legal pitfalls of moving to Germany from America.

Our moving to Germany checklist includes over 60 detailed steps, from applying for a visa and organizing your move, right through to connecting your utilities and opening a bank account. Tick off each item in our moving to Germany from America checklist for the most efficient, well-planned, and hassle-free international move possible.

As the largest moving company in the world, with over 1,000 service centers across 180 countries, UniGroup Worldwide International Movers will help make your move to Germany as smooth and stress-free as possible.

With over 85 years' experience, successfully delivering 48,000 international shipments annually, our overseas moving experts can help ensure your safe, seamless stress-free move to Germany from Australia.

UniGroup Worldwide International Removalists moving Australians to Germany carefully and hassle-free

UniGroup moving Americans to Germany carefully and hassle-free

For your convenience, you may:

  • Easily navigate through our Complete How to Move to Germany from America Checklist by clicking the links within the Contents section below
  • Read our accompanying in-depth Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide, covering everything you need to know on how to move to Germany safely and stress-free.

Complete How to Move to Germany from America Checklist Contents

  • 6+ Months Before Moving
    • 1.Check Your Passport’s Expiry Date

    • 2.Apply for a New Australian Passport if Necessary

    • 3.Apply for Your German Visa

    • 4.Decide Where You’re Moving To

    • 5.Decide When You Need to Move

    • 6.Decide What to Do with Your Current Home

    • 7.If You’re Selling or Renting Out Your Current Home, Shortlist Real Estate Agents

    • 8.Take an Exploratory Trip to Germany

  • 3 Months Before Moving (Or Once Your Visa is Approved)
    • 9.If You’ve Decided to Sell or Rent Out Your Current Home, Engage a Real Estate Agent

    • 10.If You’ve Decided to Sell or Rent Out Your Current Home, Put it on the Market

    • 11.If You’ve Decided to Sell or Rent Out Your Current Home, Prepare for Property Inspections

    • 12.Decide What You Need to Move

    • 13.Obtain Quotes from Experienced International Movers

    • 14.Book in Packing and Moving Dates

    • 15.Obtain Quotes from Professional Secure Storage Providers

    • 16.Book in Secure Storage

    • 17.Take Stock of Food and Perishables

  • 2 Months Before Moving
    • 18.Make Travel Arrangements

    • 19.Book Temporary Accommodation and a Rental Car

    • 20.If Children are Accompanying You, Make Schooling Arrangements

    • 21.Confirm Vehicle Transportation

    • 22.Confirm Pet Transportation

    • 23.Confirm Weapons Importation Requirements

    • 24.Confirm Alcohol Importation Requirements

    • 25.Confirm Plant Importation Requirements

    • 26.Investigate Employment Options

    • 27.Investigate Local Customs and Cultural Differences

    • 28.Declutter Your Home

    • 29.Start Packing

    • 30.Complete Your Customs Forms as You Pack

    • 31.Organize Your Finances

  • 1 Month Before Moving
    • 32.Investigate Housing in Germany

    • 33.Pay Final Bills and Cancel or Suspend Accounts, Subscriptions and Policies

    • 34.Notify Your Change of Address

    • 35.Hire a Handyman

    • 36.If You’re Ending Your Lease, Notify Your Landlord

    • 37.If You’re Renting Out Your Current Home, Confirm Details with Your Property Manager

    • 38.If You’re Selling Your Current Home, Confirm Details with Your Real Estate Agent

    • 39.Attend to Your Medical Needs

    • 40.Check if Your Australian Appliances and Electronics Will Work in Germany

    • 41.Arrange Moving Insurance

    • 42.If You’re Renting Out Your Current Home, Arrange Landlord’s Insurance

    • 43.Investigate Drivers’ License Requirements

    • 44.Familiarize Yourself with Germany’s Road Rules

    • 45.Safely Dispose of Dangerous and Prohibited Items

    • 46.Take All Necessary Precautions and Obtain Permits for Restricted Items

  • 2 Weeks Before Moving
    • 47.Pack Your Suitcases

    • 48.Confirm Movers’ Access Requirements

    • 49.Reconfirm Move Details with Your Mover

    • 50.Book in Cleaning Services

    • 51.Back-Up Your Computers and Devices

    • 52.Cover Off Any Incidentals

  • 1 Week Before Moving
    • 53.Complete Odd Jobs

  • The Day Before Moving Day
    • 54.Complete Last-Minute Jobs

  • Moving Day
    • 55.Manage a Stress-Free Moving Day

  • Once You Arrive in Germany
    • 56.Unpack Your Belongings

    • 57.Open a Bank Account

    • 58.Take Out Health Insurance

    • 59.Connect Your Utilities

    • 60.Organize a Cell Phone and Internet

    • 61.Enroll Your Children in School

    • 62.Enroll Your Children in University

    • 63.Pay Tax

    • 64.Enjoy Your New Home

  • Disclaimer

6+ Months Before Moving

1. Check Your Passport’s Expiry Date

Checking your passport's expiry date Checking your passport's expiry date

When moving from America to Germany, you must hold a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the period of your intended stay. So, if you intend to stay in Germany for 12 months, your passport must be valid for 18 months, considering the time required to process your visa (which could be upwards of six months).

To be on the safe side, ensure your passport is valid for a minimum of 12 months (preferably longer) after your intended stay.

2. Apply for a New American Passport if Necessary

If your passport is not valid for a minimum 12 months beyond the period of your intended stay, you may need to apply for a new passport.

To apply for a normal American adult passport, you’ll need to:

  • Complete and sign the most appropriate application form. Depending on your circumstances, this may be form DS-11, DS-82 or DS-5504
  • Compile the relevant supporting documentation, including:
    • Your most recent US passport (if you have held one previously and are renewing your passport)
    • One passport photograph
    • Self-addressed Express Post envelope for the return of your new and old passports
    • Applicable fee
    • For damaged passports, you’ll also need a signed statement outlining the reason the passport is damaged.
  • Depending on the application form you have completed, submit your application either:
You should not sell your house or car, resign from your job, or make non-refundable flight or travel arrangements until you have received your immigrant visa.

3. Apply for Your German Visa

Applying for your German visa Applying for your German visa

Americans need to obtain a visa before relocating to Germany for employment.

To apply for a visa, you first need to determine which German visa category best applies to your situation. Unless you are applying for a Self-Employed Residence permit, you will also need to have an offer of employment from a company in Germany.

You can help expedite the visa application process by compiling the necessary documentation as early as possible, including:

  • Passport with validity for the entirety of the visa for which you’re applying
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Academic records
  • Police check report from any country in which you have lived for 12 months or more in the last 10 years
  • Previous passports
  • Recent passport photographs
  • Tax returns for the last three years
  • Bank statements for the last six months
  • Medical examination reports
  • Insurance
  • Records of any trusts, credits and investments
  • Current CV
  • A copy of your will
  • Evidence that you can support yourself during your stay
  • Professional qualifications, licences and memberships details
  • You may need to provide additional documents depending on your circumstances.

For further information, visit How to Apply for a German Visa in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

4. Decide Where You’re Moving To

If you’re not moving from America to Germany to a specific location for work, you’ll need to decide where to live. From low crime rates to superior quality local hospitals and schools, there are many variables to consider when choosing the perfect place for you and your family to call home.

For further information on factors to consider when deciding where to live, visit How to Decide Where to Live in Germany in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

5. Decide When You Need to Move

When it comes to knowing how to move to Germany, an important step is establishing approximately when you need to move, considering:

  • The start date of your (and/or your partner’s) new job
  • School term and university semester dates (if relevant). These vary from region to region, so be sure to check your local area
  • The seasons (you may not want to move in the middle of a freezing German winter, amid rain, snow and ice)
  • Travel you intend to do before settling into your new home in Germany.

For further information, visit the When is the Best Time to Move to Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

6. Decide What to Do with Your Current Home

If you’re not moving to Germany from America permanently, you’ll need to decide what to do with your current home:

  • Rent it out
  • Sell it
  • Leave it unoccupied, or
  • Terminate your lease.

There are several factors that you’ll need to consider when making this decision, particularly if you own your home. Some of the most important factors include:

  • The broader real estate market. Is it a seller’s market or a buyer’s market?
  • Your financial situation. Selling a home incurs many costs that you need to factor in, including real estate agent fees, conveyancer fees and stamp duty
  • The time of year. Certain months return better sales results in some local areas
  • Will you have time (in addition to organizing your international move)? Selling a house takes a considerable amount of time, from shortlisting real estate agents, carrying out repairs and preparing your property for inspections, as well as vacating the premises a few times a week for inspections
  • Length of stay in Germany. If you are relocating for just 12 months, it may be more cost-effective to rent out your property.

7. If You’re Selling or Renting Out Your Current Home, Shortlist Real Estate Agents

Choosing a real estate agent is an important decision in selling or renting out your home. If you opt to sell, your real estate agent will handle advertising, inspections, the auction and negotiating private offers. If you choose to rent out your home, your real estate agent will manage the property on your behalf, handle repairs and liaise with your tenants long-term. So, you need to choose carefully.

To shortlist real estate agents:

  • Contact three real estate agents with experience in your local area
  • Arrange for these prospective agents to appraise your home and provide a comparative market analysis
  • Interview the agents to ensure you’re comfortable working with them
  • Attend some of their other open houses and auctions to assess their services first-hand
  • Obtain detailed quotes, including all costs you’re likely to incur.

8. Take an Exploratory Trip to Germany

If possible, take an exploratory trip to Germany to better understand what lies ahead. During the trip:

  • Visit your future work place and the surrounding area
  • Explore possible neighborhoods in which to live
  • Visit potential schools nearby
  • Investigate housing options.

3 Months Before Moving (Or Once Your Visa is Approved)

Putting your current home on the market Putting your current home on the market

9. If You’ve Decided to Sell or Rent Out Your Current Home, Engage a Real Estate Agent

If you’ve decided to sell or rent out your current home, as soon as your visa is approved, engage the services of your preferred real estate agent. It is at this stage that you’ll sign a contract with your agent. This contract should outline items such as fees, advertising costs, the process if your home is passed in at auction, property management protocols and much more. It is recommended that you seek legal advice to ensure you are happy with the terms of the contract.

10. If You’ve Decided to Sell or Rent Out Your Current Home, Put it on the Market

If you’re selling or renting out your current home, you’ll need to put it on the market. Some of the steps involved in this process include:

  • Confirm your price (whether this is your reserve sales price or rental price). Be sure to research recent comparable sale and rental prices in your local area
  • Confirm how and when you want to schedule open for inspection times. Will they be every weekend, mid-week, or by appointment only?
  • Confirm your preferred sales process—auction or private sale. Your real estate agent will be able to provide advice on this
  • Organize any contracts through your lawyer or conveyancer:
    • If you’re selling, you’ll need a contract of sale. These documents outline all details a prospective buyer might need, including the property’s title, settlement dates, conditions of sale, zoning certificates, easements and sewer and water main diagrams
    • If you’re renting out your home, you’ll need a rental agreement, which includes limits on occupancy, the term of the lease, the cost of rent, deposits and fees, responsibilities for repairs and pets.

11. If You’ve Decided to Sell or Rent Out Your Current Home, Prepare for Property Inspections

If you’re selling or renting out your home, you’ll want to do everything you can to secure the best possible price. As such, you’ll need to undertake some preparations to ensure that your property looks the best it possibly can, in both advertising photos and during inspections. Consider:

  • New paint, carpet and lights can be an affordable, yet effective means of updating a property and adding value to its sale or rental price
  • Installing heating and air-conditioning can add value, particularly to rental prices
  • New bathrooms and kitchens add the most value to a property. However, this is a large undertaking and may not be possible while also managing an international move. Be sure to perform a cost benefit analysis and seek the advice of your real estate agent
  • If anything is broken (such as leaking taps or chipped tiles, cracks in walls, or moldy grout), you should undertake minor repairs. You may attract a better caliber of renter or a higher purchase price if everything is in working condition
  • Declutter and thoroughly clean your property, including steam cleaning carpets and curtains, washing walls and ensuring the front and back yards are immaculate
  • Enlisting the services of a professional staging company can help increase the perceived value of your property. A staging company will bring in their own furniture, artwork, rugs and home décor items to decorate your house
  • If you’re renting out your property, you’ll need to ensure it meets all necessary laws, regulations and safety guidelines, particularly items like pool fencing, stairs, balconies, smoke detectors, blinds and windows. Your real estate agent should be able to provide in-depth advice.

12. Decide What You Need to Move

Decide which of your belongings you’ll be shipping to Germany, leaving in your current home, storing, selling, donating and disposing of. (And make sure you speak to your UniGroup expert if you require short or long-term secure storage .)

Create a detailed inventory of all the items that you want to move to Germany to obtain accurate moving quotes and to determine how much would it cost to move to Germany. Your UniGroup moving expert can assist you with an easy-to-fill-out form.

For further information, visit How Much Does It Cost to Move to Germany? and How to Ship Household Goods to Germany in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

If you will be shipping most of your belongings by sea freight to Germany (which may take weeks or months to arrive), you may want to consider a small air freight consignment for essential items that you would like to have immediately on arrival.

13. Obtain Quotes from Experienced International Movers

Obtaining a quote from an experienced international removalist Obtaining a quote from an experienced international removalist

Container ships move in six different directions, often travelling over 20m (65ft) with each roll, as often as seven to 10 times per minute. So, with your belongings being tossed about for weeks on end, it’s essential that you entrust your move to an exceptionally experienced international moving company such as UniGroup Worldwide.

If you obtain a quote from another international mover, ensure they exhibit the same level of experience and capabilities as UniGroup Worldwide, including:

  • An industry leader with over 85 years of international moving-specific experience
  • Impartial third-party accreditation from the leading international moving industry association FIDI, to their highest FAIM standards
  • An impressive array of positive customer reviews, attesting to the superior quality of service
  • A truly global footprint to ensure no matter where you’re moving from or to, there is a local expert to provide timely advice and expertize
  • A broad range of international moving services delivered by highly trained and reliable expert consultants and movers
  • Free, no obligation moving quotes.

For further information, visit How Much Does It Cost to Move to Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

Given the extensive movement of sea freight and potential for damage if belongings are not properly packed, combined with the introduction of strict anti-terrorism laws and significant tightening of customs clearance processes for all personal effects shipments, UniGroup strongly recommends that you do not ship items to Germany that have not been packed by a professional moving company. The significantly higher potential for loss and damage of ‘owner-packed’ items, as well as attracting stringent inspection by customs officials, often results in additional charges and long delays.

14. Book in Packing and Moving Dates

Once you’ve decided on where, when, and what you want to move, book in:

  • A date for the packers to meticulously pack your belongings
  • A date for the movers to carefully pickup and load your belongings (usually the day following the completion of your packing).

For further information, visit When is the Best Time to Move to Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

15. Obtain Quotes from Professional Secure Storage Providers

If you are storing any of your belongings while overseas, make sure you store them properly, safely and securely with a trusted and experienced short and long-term storage provider, such as UniGroup Worldwide.

To help ensure your belongings are stored properly and safely, so they remain in their best condition, insist on the following criteria when selecting a storage provider:

  • Extensive years of experience as an industry leading storage expert, including accredited packers and movers to properly protect and deliver your belongings into short or long-term storage
  • A range of positive customer reviews, attesting to the safety and security of their storage
  • State-of-the-art storage facilities that are security, fire and flood monitored and free from pests and vermin.

16. Book in Secure Storage

Once you’ve decided on a secure storage provider, book in:

  • Your storage start date
  • Your storage pack and pickup date
  • A minimum anticipated, yet flexible end-date.

17. Take Stock of Food and Perishables

Review the contents of your freezer and pantry and create meal plans that will empty them prior to moving.

2 Months Before Moving

Making travel arrangements to Germany Making travel arrangements to Germany

18. Make Travel Arrangements

To save money on your travel arrangements:

  • Invest time in researching the best deals, as fares change frequently
  • Book flights as early as possible
  • Avoid school holidays and peak travel periods.

19. Book Temporary Accommodation and a Rental Car

If you plan on searching for your home once you arrive in Germany, book temporary accommodation for when you first arrive. Depending on where you plan to live, you may also want to book a rental car.

Where possible, book temporary accommodation that is within walking distance to your work or public transport. This way, all members of your family will have access to transportation.

20. If Children are Accompanying You, Make Schooling Arrangements

At your child’s current school in America:

  • Give notice regarding your departure dates
  • Request copies of your child’s school reports or university transcripts and ensure they are readily available—it’s a good idea to take copies on the plane with you
  • If you plan on having your child return to the school, confirm and meet any necessary return requirements.

For your child’s education in Germany, you’ll need to:

  • Understand how the German education system operates
  • Investigate the type of school you wish your children to attend
  • Shortlist specific schools
  • Arrange tours of shortlisted schools for when you first arrive in Germany.

To assist you in finding the most appropriate school for your children, visit:

For further information, visit What is the Education and Schooling System Like in Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

21. Confirm Vehicle Transportation

You can import cars, trucks, caravans, campervans and motorbikes into Germany so long as the relevant customs requirements are met, including emission standards.

To avoid unnecessary headaches and expenses, speak to a UniGroup Worldwide international moving expert for all your vehicle transportation requirements.

For further information, visit How to Import Vehicles into Germany in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide and our Germany Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

22. Confirm Pet Transportation

Confirming Pet Transportation To Germany Confirming Pet Transportation To Germany

You can take most pets to Germany, so long as they are free from infectious diseases that are transmittable to humans and are not deemed harmful to the environment. As such, importing most cats, dogs and birds is possible, as long as all requirements of the German Customs Office are met.

Airlines may have separate and additional requirements for the transportation of pets. Be sure to check with your airline to determine what requirements they may have.

To ensure a stress-free relocation to Germany for your pet, speak to a UniGroup Worldwide international moving professional about all your pet transportation requirements.

For more information, visit How to Import Pets into Germany in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide and our Germany Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

Ensure all your pet’s vaccinations and health-checks are up-to-date and obtain a copy of your pet’s medical records or a signed letter from your veterinarian.

23. Confirm Weapons Importation Requirements

Germany has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world. As such, firearms purchased outside Germany are subject to complicated clearance procedures and authorization, and can be very difficult to import. The inclusion of weapons in a household goods shipment can delay customs clearances and may result in additional charges. As such, it is worth considering whether to import weapons at all.

For more information, visit How to Import Weapons into Germany in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide and our Germany Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

24. Confirm Alcohol Importation Requirements

You may import wines and other alcoholic beverages into Germany as part of your household goods shipment, so long as you adhere to customs requirements related to alcohol volume and unit size.

For more information, visit How to Import Alcohol into Germany in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide and our Germany Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

25. Confirm Plant Importation Requirements

Importing plants from America into Germany is difficult, as America is not part of the European Union. Many plants are either completely banned from importation or have significant weight and size restrictions. As such, it is worth considering whether to include plants in your shipment of household goods.

For more information, visit How to Import Plants into Germany in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide and our Germany Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

26. Investigate Employment Options

If you’ve already secured a new role (or are moving to Germany for a specific employment opportunity), now is the time to investigate employment options for your partner (if needed). Or, if you haven’t secured a role, to investigate employment options for yourself.

For more information, visit How to Find Employment in Germany and What is Working in Germany Like? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

27. Investigate Local Customs and Cultural Differences

If you’re an American moving to Germany, you should investigate local customs and common cultural differences to help you assimilate more easily into German culture on arrival.

For more information on some of the common cultural differences, visit our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide:

28. Declutter Your Home

A cluttered house will make moving to Germany unnecessarily stressful; packing will take longer and the cost of your move and storage will be more expensive (as fees are based on the volume of items). If you’re not selling or renting out your home (in which case you will have already completed this step), now is the time to declutter your home, determining which items you will:

  • Keep and ship to Germany
  • Keep and place in secure long-term storage in America
  • Sell or donate to charity
  • Throw away.

29. Start Packing

How can I move to Germany with minimal stress? Engage experienced, professional international packers, like the team at UniGroup Worldwide. Not only will it reduce, if not eliminate, the most stressful part of moving, it will help ensure your belongings are packed safely for their long journey to Germany.

If you’re not using a professional packing service, make sure you start packing as early as possible:

  • Create an inventory of all items to be packed, paying careful attention to precious, special and fragile items
  • Invest in superior quality protective wrapping and packing materials:
    • Professionally designed and constructed double-corrugated moving boxes
    • Packing material, like bubble wrap and packing paper (like ‘butcher’s paper’, not newspaper)
    • Incidentals like tape, markers and zip-lock bags.
  • Reinforce boxes by securely taping the top, bottom and sides
  • Start by packing items rarely used (like books and CDs and things stored in garages, basements or your roof space)
  • Always pack individual boxes properly:
    • Keep each box to a maximum of 20kg (45lb) to make moving the box easy and to avoid boxes breaking under excess weight
    • Evenly distribute weight, with heavy items placed at the bottom of boxes and lighter items at the top
    • Pack to the top of the box and fill empty space with bedding, clothing, bubble wrap or paper to prevent movement and breakages and boxes collapsing.
  • Clearly label every moving box, including the contents of the box (not just the room in which it belongs). For example: ‘Kitchen: Plates and Mugs’; not just ‘Kitchen’.

30. Complete Your Customs Forms as You Pack

For the safe shipment and smooth customs clearance of your household goods, you’ll need to ensure that the following documentation is completed as accurately as possible and provide:

  • Customs Registration Form 0350
  • A letter from a third party (such as an employer) confirming that you will live or plan to live in Germany for more than 12 months
  • Evidence of your new address in Germany, such as a rental agreement
  • A copy of your passport
  • A contract of your employment in Germany
  • A detailed goods inventory list
  • A letter signed by you that the shipment does not contain firearms, alcohol, tobacco, cigarettes, tea or coffee.

For more information, visit How to Ship Household Goods in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide or our Germany Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

31. Organize Your Finances

  • Find out whether your current bank has branches in Germany and if it can handle your future needs
  • If you’re moving overseas for work, but you’re employed by the same company, confirm whether your salary needs to be paid into your existing bank account or into your new German account
  • If you plan on using your existing debit and credit cards in Germany, confirm whether they will work and what the fees are likely to be
  • Organize some local currency for when you first arrive
  • Consider opening a new local bank account near your new home
  • Make sure you have copies of bank statements and other documentation that proves you have a good credit rating. This will make applying for new credit cards and loans easier
  • Ensure all your tax returns are up-to-date.

For more information, visit What is a Credit Rating? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

1 Month Before Moving

Investigating housing in Germany Investigating housing in Germany

32. Investigate Housing in Germany

If you’re not moving to Germany from America for work, or your employer hasn’t organized housing for you, investigate potential properties to buy or rent in Germany.

For more information, visit What is Housing Like in Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

33. Pay Final Bills and Cancel or Suspend Accounts, Subscriptions and Policies

  • Ensure all outstanding bills are paid or will be covered as needed
  • Consider whether you should cancel or suspend your Australian accounts, subscriptions, policies and other ongoing services, including:
    • Bank accounts and credit cards
    • Insurances (health, house and contents, car, income protection, and business)
    • Utilities (gas, water and power)
    • Phone, internet and pay TV services
    • Magazine and newspaper subscriptions
    • Gym memberships.

When cancelling your insurance, or other services where you may have prepaid for the year, check whether you’re entitled to a refund for the period after the cancellation. Plus, if you have one, obtain a copy of your ‘good driving record’ or ‘no claims status’ from your vehicle insurer as it may be beneficial for a new policy in Germany.

34. Notify Your Change of Address

  • Arrange a mail redirection service through noun.mail
  • Notify the following of your departure date and new forwarding address:
    • Banks
    • Accountant
    • Solicitor
    • Medical professionals
    • noun.tax
    • Insurance companies
    • Utility providers
    • Local council
    • Motor vehicle register.
  • Download this handy Change of Address Checklist to help ensure you haven’t missed any important contacts.

35. Hire a Handyman

If your current home lease or contract of sale includes any repair work prior to you vacating the premises, book in a handyman now. (UniGroup Worldwide can assist you with this if needed.)

36. If You’re Ending Your Lease, Notify Your Landlord

If you’re ending a lease, now is the time to notify your landlord. Make sure you understand any requirements, including:

  • Vacate clean standards (carpets steam cleaned, walls washed and so on)
  • Final inspection date and requirements
  • When and how your bond will be returned
  • When and how you need to return keys.

37. If You’re Renting Out Your Current Home, Confirm Details with Your Property Manager

If you’ve decided to rent out your current home, touch base with your property manager to confirm:

  • Tenant move-in dates
  • Exchange of property keys
  • Inspection dates and an agreed property inventory
  • Responsibilities for repairs
  • The process if tenants break their lease
  • Your preferred method of contact.

38. If You’re Selling Your Current Home, Confirm Details with Your Real Estate Agent

If you’ve decided to sell your current home, touch base with your real estate agent to confirm:

  • Final inspection date
  • Settlement date
  • Exchange of property keys.

39. Attend to Your Medical Needs

  • Have check-ups with any medical practitioners you regularly visit: doctor, dentist, optometrist and so on
  • Obtain original copies of your medical records
  • Order spare contact lenses or spare glasses
  • Ensure your children’s routine vaccinations are up-to-date and you have a record of them
  • If you require any travel-specific vaccinations or inoculations, make sure they are up-to-date and you have a record of them
  • Obtain prescriptions for any medication you take regularly, keeping in mind regulations around prescription medication:
    • To expedite the customs clearance procedure and avoid costly delays, do not include prescription medication in your household goods shipment. Instead, carry all prescription drugs with you as you enter the country
    • Do not consolidate your prescription medications into one container. Instead, keep your medicine in separate containers, clearly labeled (in English) with the name of the medication and prescribing doctor, the dosage and directions for use
    • If your medication does not have sufficient documentation, it may be destroyed or detained until you provide the required paperwork. It is helpful to obtain a letter from your doctor explaining the medications prescribed.
  • Confirm the brand and generic name of any medications you take regularly in case you need to purchase an alternative in Germany.

For more information, visit What is the Healthcare System Like in Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

40. Check if Your Australian Appliances and Electronics Will Work in Germany

Attending to your medical needs prior to moving to Germany Attending to your medical needs prior to moving to Germany

There are three potential compatibility issues when it comes to using Australian appliances and electronics in Germany: the plug, the voltage and the frequency. You should therefore thoroughly check the power labels or manuals of all your appliances and electronics to ensure they are compatible with German standards before incurring the cost of shipping over what might be useless upon arrival. Buying new or secondhand appliances and electronics once you arrive may not only be more cost-effective, but your only solution.

For more information, visit Will Australian Appliances and Electronics Work in Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

41. Arrange Moving Insurance

As a rule, your standard house and contents insurance won’t cover your personal possessions while in transit. An experienced international mover like UniGroup will offer a comprehensive range of cost-effective moving insurance options . Speak to your UniGroup expert to arrange transit and storage insurance that suits your needs and budget.

42. If You’re Renting Out Your Current Home, Arrange Landlord’s Insurance

If you’ve decided to rent out your current home, you’ll need to inform the company responsible for your home and contents insurance that you are no longer living there. You may also want to arrange landlord’s insurance. This protects against financial losses that may be suffered because of owning a rental property. You can opt for insurance that covers the building only, as well as specific items that you may have left on the premises.

43. Investigate Drivers’ Licence Requirements

When moving to Germany from America, you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP) in addition to a valid Australian drivers’ licence. If you intend on obtaining an IDP, you must do so in advance. IDPs are issued by Australian motor vehicle departments, not the German Government.

For more information, visit Can You Drive in Germany with a Foreign Licence? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

44. Familiarize Yourself with German Road Rules

If you plan to drive once you arrive in Germany, there are several different road rules of which you should make yourself aware.

For more information about driving in Germany and road rules, visit What are the Road Rules when Driving in Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

45. Safely Dispose of Dangerous and Prohibited Items

Safely dispose of any dangerous or prohibited goods that cannot be shipped to Germany or stored. People attempting to import prohibited items into Germany may be subject to a penalty and the items may be seized by customs officials.

For more information, visit What Items are Prohibited When Shipping Goods to Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide and our Germany Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

46. Take All Necessary Precautions and Obtain Permits for Restricted Items

Shipping some items to Germany (such as textiles, money, trademarked goods, Iraqi cultural property, rough diamonds and food) is subject to restrictions and will require additional precautions, special customs clearance or permits. Be sure you’re aware of these requirements and apply for any permits as early as possible.

For more information, visit What Items are Restricted when Shipping Goods to Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide and our Germany Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

2 Weeks Before Moving

Packing your suitcases for your move to Germany Packing your suitcases for your move to Germany

47. Pack Your Suitcases

Start packing your suitcases now, while making a detailed inventory list as you go. Your suitcase should contain all the essential items that you and your family members will need as soon as you arrive in Germany, including:

  • Clothing (appropriate for the local season and activities)
  • Toiletries
  • favorite toys for children
  • Essential electronic devices, like laptops, tablets, cell phones and their chargers
  • Prescription medications.

For more information, visit our Germany Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

48. Confirm Movers’ Access Requirements

Confirm any of your movers’ access requirements at your existing home, such as parking and building access and restrictions, traffic management and lift protocols. Remember to check street signage and the requirements of your local council, building manager or body corporate.

49. Reconfirm Move Details with Your Mover

Reconfirm all your German move details with your international movers, including:

  • Your Australia pickup and German delivery addresses and contact details
  • The day and time that your professional packers will arrive
  • Any movers’ access requirements (as confirmed above), such as parking and building access, traffic management and lift protocols
  • The day and time your belongings will be picked up
  • Expected transit time and delivery dates
  • All paperwork (such as insurance policies and customs declarations forms) is correct and on file.

50. Book in Cleaning Services

If you’re renting, or your contract of sale requires it, book in a ‘vacate clean’ at your current home for the day after your belongings are picked up. (UniGroup Worldwide can assist you with this if needed.)

51. Back-Up Your Computers and Devices

Now is the time to back-up all your computers, tablets, cell phones and other storage devices that are being shipped to Germany, placed into storage and/or will accompany you on the plane. Be sure to safely store the back-ups separately to the original devices.

Covering off any incidentals before departing for Germany Covering off any incidentals before departing for Germany

52. Cover Off Any Incidentals

There will always be last-minute odd jobs when moving overseas, including:

  • Picking up dry cleaning
  • Returning library books
  • Returning house keys to your friends, family and neighbors
  • Buying any products that you’re not likely to find in Germany
  • Using as much of the food in your pantry, fridge and freezer as possible.

1 Week Before Moving

Completing odd jobs before your move to Germany Completing odd jobs before your move to Germany

53. Complete Odd Jobs

With just one week before your move to Germany, you should be just about ready to go, bar a few odd jobs:

  • Finish packing any moving and storage boxes if you’re self-packing
  • Finish packing your suitcases
  • Reconfirm your travel arrangements, including your flights, temporary accommodation and rental car
  • Confirm with utility companies that your services are set to be disconnected
  • If you’re renting, reconfirm the details of your final inspection with your landlord
  • Make sure you’re going to be at home and available on the day your professional packers and movers arrive to:
    • Provide guidance on what you need packed for sea, air freight or storage
    • Confirm everything on your inventory has been packed and loaded.

The Day Before Moving Day

Completing last-minute jobs relocating to Germany Completing last-minute jobs relocating to Germany

54. Complete Last-Minute Jobs

If you’ve followed this checklist, the day before moving day should just include a few last-minute jobs:

  • If you’ve contracted professional packers, they should arrive today. So, be sure you’re home and available to provide instructions on what needs to be packed
  • Inform your mover of any last-minute changes
  • Clean out your fridge and completely defrost your freezer. Leave the doors open overnight to ensure they’re completely dry and odor-free
  • Completely drain liquid from irons, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and icemakers
  • Reinstall your washing machine’s transit bolts to prevent damage
  • Fully charge your cell phones and other electronic devices and make sure you have a hard copy of any important phone numbers, just in case your phone runs out of battery.

To help ensure mold doesn’t grow on your belongings while in transit or storage, it is essential that all water is removed from your belongings and all items are completely dry before pickup.

Moving Day

Managing a stress-free moving day to Germany Managing a stress-free moving day to Germany

55. Manage a Stress-Free Moving Day

On moving day, you need to make sure you separate and carry with you:

  • Important documents:
    • Passports
    • Travel documents
    • Birth certificates
    • Marriage certificates
    • Divorce papers
    • Child custody papers
    • Adoption papers
    • Driving licences
    • Medical records
    • School and university records
    • Insurance policies
    • Legal documents (wills, power of attorney, bank statements, income tax records and so on).
  • Valuable and irreplaceable items, such as jewelry and personal keepsakes
  • Cell phones, devices and their chargers
  • Fully documented prescriptions and other medical items.

Before you leave your existing property ensure:

  • All your personal possessions are packed
  • All the utilities have been switched off and disconnected
  • The property is locked and secure
  • All house keys and garage door openers have been given to your landlord, real estate agent or solicitor.

Once You Arrive in Germany

56. Unpack Your Belongings

If you’re in Germany to take delivery of your shipment:

  • Ensure you’re home the day on which your shipment arrives
  • Give your movers a plan—tell them how and where you’d like furniture and boxes placed
  • Check boxes, furniture and appliances off your inventory to ensure everything is delivered
  • Thoroughly inspect all boxes, furniture and appliances to ensure they arrive in the same condition in which they left your old home.

57. Open a Bank Account

To open a bank account, visit the local branch of your chosen bank with:

  • Proof of permanent residency (such as your visa)
  • Your passport
  • Proof of your new address
  • A deposit (the minimum deposit amounts vary from bank to bank, so be sure you confirm the exact amount prior to visiting your local branch).

When choosing which bank to use, shop around for the fee structure that suits you best. In Germany, banks often charge customers for the use of their services or have a minimum monthly deposit requirement. Several banks offer introductory deals or rates, so be sure to confirm exactly how long these deals last and what sort of charges apply long-term. You don’t want to be surprised by a huge increase in fees.

58. Take Out Health Insurance

While medical care and services in Germany are among the most advanced in the world and your employer should make contributions to the state-funded public health insurance scheme on your behalf, you may still want to investigate taking out private health insurance. Private health insurance will give you more options when it comes to choosing doctors and specialists and your wait times should be shorter.

For more information, visit What is the Healthcare System Like in Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

Depending on your provider, your Australian health insurance company may offer international cover when moving to Germany. This will help ease the pressure when you first arrive—you can shop around for the best health insurance provider once you’re settled in Germany, while still having the peace of mind that you’re covered in the interim.

59. Connect Your Utilities

Once you’ve found a property to rent or buy, you’ll need to organize the connection of your electricity, water and gas utilities.

For more information, visit How Do Electricity, Water and Gas Utilities Work in Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

60. Organize a Cell Phone and Internet

Organising a mobile phone and internet once you arrive in Germany Organising a mobile phone and internet once you arrive in Germany

There are many cell phone and internet providers in Germany, all of which offer a range of different packages at various price points. Be sure to do your research into which package best suits your needs before signing a contract.

For more information, visit How Do Mobile Phones and the Internet Work in Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

Enrolling your children in a German school Enrolling your children in a German school

61. Enroll Your Children in School

When residing in Germany, you’ll need to enroll your children at your preferred school. To do so, you’ll need:

  • An up-to-date record of your child’s vaccinations
  • A copy of their birth certificate
  • A copy of their school records
  • For state schools, proof that you live in the school district (such as a utility bill or bank statement)
  • To undertake any necessary assessments to determine in which grade your child belongs.

For more information, visit What is the Education and Schooling System Like in Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

62. Enroll Your Children in University

If your children will attend university in Germany, you’ll need to enroll them as soon as possible. Universities will also consider your child’s grades and what sort of subjects they’ve chosen to study. For specific entry requirements for international students, it’s best to consult individual universities.

  • For more information, visit What is the Education and Schooling System Like in Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.
  • 63. Pay Tax

    As with any developed nation, there are several taxes that you’ll be required to pay when living in Germany. These may include:

    • Income tax
    • Sales tax
    • Property tax.

    For more information, visit What Tax Do I Pay in Germany? in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

    64. Enjoy Your New Home

    Once all the logistics of moving to Germany from America are finalized, it’s time to enjoy your new home! Get out, discover your new neighborhood, see the local sights, make some new friends and enjoy your next big adventure.

    For more information, visit What to See and Do in Germany in our Ultimate How to Move to Germany from America Guide.

    Disclaimer

    We have been furnished with the above information, however, UniGroup Worldwide Moving gives no guarantees or undertakings concerning the accuracy, completeness, or up-to-date nature of the information provided. It is essential that users verify all information contained here before taking any action, or relying upon it. UniGroup Worldwide cannot be held liable for any actions taken based on the information contained within this Checklist.