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Checklist for immigrants

Our checklist gives you an overview of the most important requirements to meet before starting work in Germany.

  • Identity papers: ID card or valid passport, if applicable proof that you have children (for example a copy of your child's birth certificate to be submitted to your employer) to obtain exemption from supplementary care insurance contributions.
  • Certificates: Have your birth certificates and school (and university) certificates translated and certified if necessary. Check whether or to what extent your qualifications will be recognised.

Make sure that you retain all the documents that you receive when you are newly arrived in Germany: you will need many of them for later applications, for example when you open a bank account or take out health insurance.

  • Registration: Register with your local Einwohnermeldeamt (residents' registration office) within a week of your arrival in Germany and whenever you move; you will need to provide proof of a permanent address. The Einwohnermeldeamt will issue you with a certificate of registration (a „Meldebescheinigung“). The Einwohnermeldeamt is also where you get your tax card („Lohnsteuerkarte“).
  • Insurance: Take out health insurance. If you would like to join DAK-Gesundheit, simply complete this application form. You will then receive your social security number by post. Keep this in a safe place. You will also need to take out unemployment, pension, (occupational) accident and care insurance.
  • Bank account: Open an account (a „Girokonto“) with a bank. You will need an account in order to receive your pay. The bank will require your certificate of registration.
  • Employer: Notify your employer of your social security number and account number.
  • Employment contract: In Germany, written employment contracts are standard practice. Sign your contract and keep a copy for your records. Your employment contract will include your details and those of the company, the start date, the term, the probationary period, the place of employment, a job description, pay details, working hours, notice periods and collective and plant agreements.
  • Taxes: Check the basic tax system, if necessary seeking the advice of a tax consultant. You will be assigned one of six tax bands depending on your earnings and family circumstances.
    Income tax and church tax, the solidary surcharge („Solidaritätszuschlag“) and social security contributions are automatically withheld from your salary. You will need to submit a tax return at the end of the year.

If possible, let us know before you move to Germany which documents you will need and get in touch with the relevant authorities. Your embassy or consulate in Germany should be able to provide information on the steps to take and necessary documents, and on any special cases or exceptions.