Expat's Manual

Living in Germany, with a population of 82.4 million people, means living in one of Europe’s most populous countries; a cosmopolitan place of diversity and moderninity. As a result of different regional earldoms and monarchies throughout Germany’s history, each city has its own unique personality and character. This makes the country as a whole a fascinating place within which to live.

Germany is well known for its cuisine and is an ideal place for people who enjoy fine food, wine and ales.

Significant investments have been made in the infrastructure of the country over the past few decades and it has risen to become an industrial powerhouse and home many of the world’s biggest car producers.

Relgion in the country is varied with the majority of the population being Catholic (34%), Protestant (34%) or Muslim (4%) with the remainder unafilliated (28%).

Germany as an expat destination

Germany is an interesting, lively and affordable to live. It has a significant and powerful economy that affords expats living there a high quality of life. The expat population in the country has risen gradually throughout the years and today there is an estimated 250,000 expats living in Germany (approximately 0.3%).

The standard of schooling and education in the country is high, as is the public infrastructure and healthcare systems.

Many foreigners do find the German lifestyle slightly formal and ridgid and for this reason it may not be suitable for some people. It is also important to be able to understand and speak German in order to live and work effectively here.

Cost of living in Germany

Germany offers expatriates a good standard of living. However, any expatriates who are offered a local contract in Germany should be aware that this country has one the highest tax rates in the world. Despite this, it is worth noting that salary levels are also significantly higher that other areas in Europe. The cost of living in Germany can vary according to the city in which expatriates are based. In many of the more developed cities, such as Belin, Bohn and Cologne, the cost of living is high, while those that are situated in former East Germany offer a lower cost of living. When compared with other cities throughout the world, it is generally accepted that the cost of living in Germany is relatively low and this was confirmed during the 2012 Mercer survey, with no German cities featuring in the list of top 50 cities by cost of living.


German is the only official language in Germany. However, a large percentage of the people living in Germany do speak English and it is widely used for international business.


Temperate - cool, cloudy, with wet winters and summers.

Expat job and career prospects

Germany’s high unemployment figures entail that the immigration rules in Germany are very tight in order to protect the jobs of the German people. For this reason finding work as an expat can be quite challenging, especially if you are not fluent in German. Furthermore, many people in Germany study at university level for up to seven years, providing them with a higher level of education and vocational training than many of their international competitors.

There are, however, some sectors within Germany that are in need of skilled workers from abroad. Shortages are especially evident in the electrical and mechanical engineering fields.

Things every expat should know about living in Germany

  1. Residents are legally required to remove any snow or ice from the front of their properties (unless the building has an assigned caretaker). You are legally liable for any injuries that occur as a result of your neglect of this duty.
  2. In some areas people are legally required to sweep the street immediately outside the entrance to their home.
  3. Within the majority of rental properties you are not permitted to make copies of keys. You will usually need to seek permission from the landlord before doing so. In the event you lose you key you will be required to replace all the locks.
  4. Within seven days of moving into any apartment you must register details of your address with the local police.

Living in Germany: city guides

Expat Info Desk currently has a city guide available for the capital of Germany, living in Berlin. This exhaustive relocation guide contains everything you need to know about relocating to this German city and will assist you to:

  • relocate efficiently and effectively with minimum stress.
  • settle in to your new life quickly and easily and find the help and assistance you need, when you need it.
  • identify areas to live in that suit your lifestyle and budget.
  • find the right places to meet like-minded people.
  • find schools that are suitable for your children and their learning needs.
  • ensure that your family get the most of their experiences abroad.
  • prepare for the new culture in advance and avoid any cultural traps.
  • deal with any transition challenges.
  • cut through red tape and avoid unnecessary bureaucracy.

Unlike a book, our expat guides are regularly reviewed and updated in order to ensure that the information is accurate and reliable and because the guides are written by real expats who live and work in Berlin, you can be assured that you are accessing the information that you need as written by people who really are in the know.

Your only expat guide to living in Germany; Feel at home abroad – Fast!

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