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Moving to Germany From the UK

Martha Lott

Written by

8th Sep 2021 (Last updated on 27th Oct 2022) 5 minute read

According to the latest estimates, there are more than 107,000 British expats currently living in Germany. If you’re also considering moving to the Land of Ideas, there are a few things you’ll need to consider before organising your international house move.

From housing and healthcare to the different types of visas, we go over everything you need to know before booking your removal to Germany.

This article will cover the following:
  1. What is the Cost of Moving to Germany From the UK?
  2. Best Places to Live in Germany
  3. Cost of Living in Germany vs the UK
  4. Moving to Germany After Brexit
  5. Where to Work
  6. Healthcare
  7. Importing and Registering Vehicles
  8. Public Transportation

What is the Cost of Moving to Germany From the UK?

When organising an international house move, you’ll be able to choose from the following shipping methods:

  • Sea freight
  • Air freight
  • Part-load
  • Road freight

It costs an average of £953 to ship a 40 ft container by sea from the UK to Germany and £767 to ship a 20ft container. It’s important to note that a 40ft container is capable of holding the contents of a 3-bedroom house.

If you’re considering air freight instead, it costs an average of £150 per 100kg, according to our international removals cost research.

For more information, read shipping container costs from the UK to Germany.

Best Places to Live in Germany

According to Expatra, the most popular locations for British expats in Germany are:

1. Berlin

As Germany’s capital, Berlin is one of the fastest-growing cities in Europe with over 3.5 million people living there. It's a city full of culture and creativity with lots of greenery, making it an obvious choice for many young creatives.

With festivals, vibrant nightlife and a flourishing arts scene, there’s a range of creative industries to explore. The capital city is also well connected with a highly efficient public transport system and widespread cycle lanes.

2. Düsseldorf

The fourth biggest city in Germany, Düsseldorf has a population of over 600,000. Düsseldorf is an incredibly urban area with a lot to offer expats in terms of culture and entertainment. It even has one of the highest quality of living in the world.

There are over 300 international companies based in the city, making it perfect for those moving for work. One of the biggest industries in the city is fashion, with leading clothing brands such as Hugo Boss, Escada and Lacoste located there.

3. Frankfurt

Frankfurt is located in Darmstadt and is the financial capital of Germany. Likened to Manhattan, the city is awash with skyscrapers and is the home of the German stock exchange.

With a relaxed lifestyle and high quality of life, it’s one of the wealthiest cities in the country. Surprisingly, Frankfurt is a relatively small urban area but is incredibly well connected.

4. Hamburg

With access to the North Sea, Hamburg is a very popular port city. It’s often favoured by British expats due to its close proximity to the coast. It even has one of the largest immigrant populations in the country.

As a result, Hamburg sees a variety of cultures with people originating from many different countries. It’s perfect for those who love the bustling city lifestyle.

5. Bingen

Binge, also known as Bingen am Rhein, is a picturesque but small town on the banks of the Rhine. It’s home to approximately 26,000 people, with around 2,400 students.

It’s most famous for being the birthplace of Hildegard von Bingen, the German writer, composer, philosopher, mystic and visionary.

Cost of Living in Germany vs the UK

According to Numbeo, the overall cost of living in Germany is 0.63% higher than in the United Kingdom.

The estimated monthly cost for a single person, excluding rent, is £712.45 (€819.68). The estimated monthly costs for a family of 4 in the country is £2,445.74 (€2,813.82).

After analysing the latest data from Numbeo, we’ve created the table below, listing some of the basic costs you’ll find when moving to Germany from the UK:

ItemAverage Cost in GermanyAverage Cost in the UK
Monthly pass for local transport€70£65.22
One-way ticket for local transport€2.80£2.50
Three-course meal for 2 people at a restaurant€50£55
Regular milk (1 litre)€0.96£0.96
Loaf of white bread (500g)€1.71£1
Pack of 12 regular eggs€2.52£2
1 cinema ticket€12£10
Monthly gym fee for 1 adult€30.99£30.80

Moving to Germany After Brexit

As the UK has officially left the EU, you now must have a valid residence permit when moving to Germany.

British citizens no longer have the right to work and live freely in Germany beyond 90 days. If you wish to stay for longer than this period, you must apply for a residence permit.

When applying for this permit, you need:

  • A valid passport
  • No criminal record
  • German health insurance
  • A health check that proves you’re healthy enough to work and/or study
  • To be proficient in German in at least a B1 level

Where to Work

According to figures from the 2016 Statistical Office, the average British worker in Germany takes home a salary of around €2,820 per month.

For scientists and engineers, Darmstadt holds the title of ‘City of Science’ with a strong chemical and pharmaceutical industry. It’s a major centre for scientific research and institutes and has a population of around 160,000.

Frankfurt is the major financial capital of Germany and Europe as it’s the home of the European Central Bank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange and German Federal Bank. The city has a high concentration of highly skilled jobs, with opportunities in law, real estate, media and other professional services.

Healthcare

You’ll need to get a Health Insurance card and social security number to be fully covered whilst living and working in Germany. You’ll need to show proof of health insurance when applying for a visa.

German health care is provided by a range of Healthcare Insurers called Krankenkasse. You can choose between state health insurance or private health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenkasse or Private Krankenkasse). You can only switch to private insurance if you’re earning more than €64,350 a year.

Once you've moved to Germany, you can get registered with a Health Insurance company through your employer. Your employer will pay half of the monthly cost and the rest will come out of your monthly salary. This is usually around 15% of your wage.

Importing and Registering Vehicles

If you’re planning on taking your UK-registered vehicle and are staying in the country for more than 12 months, you’ll need to register it at your local motor vehicle registration office (Kfz-Zulassungsstelle). You’ll need the car’s documentation and proof of the latest MOT.

The vehicle must also pass a technical inspection for roadworthiness and safety, as well as an emissions control test. Once you have registered it, the car will need to pass the German equivalent of an MOT (TUV).

There are a few safety items you’ll need to keep in your car by law, including reflective jackets, a reflective warning triangle and a first aid kit. You will also be required to either manually adjust your headlights or add deflector stickers.

Public Transportation

Germany has well-developed, high-quality public transport systems. The most popular modes of transportation include regional trains, the U-Bahn subway, S-Bahn city rapid rail services, busses and tram networks. It’s essential that you remember to get your ticket validated when you get on public transport to avoid receiving a fine.

Most cities are connected with high-speed rapid train lines called Schnellbahn or Stadtschnellbahn. It’s the fastest form of public transport, travelling at speeds of up to 200km.

Most areas also have dedicated cycling lanes, meaning an easily pedal-powered commute should you prefer this option.

Martha Lott

Written by Martha Lott

Having guest authored for many property websites, Martha now researches and writes articles for everything moving house related, from remortgages to conveyancing costs.

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