2 Months Before Moving
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
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.