Moving to Munich is a great idea; the Bavarian city is full of historic buildings and iconic beer halls. However, moving to a new country can leave you feeling frustrated. That's why we've written this guide to help make your move as simple and straightforward as possible.
In this guide, we will provide you will all the information you should know about:
1. The initial steps
6. Mobile carriers
A signed employment contract is the entry point to Munich and Germany for most people. This step is primarily up to you. We just want to emphasize that a signed employment contract is (usually) the first step to getting all the necessities of relocating/integrating to Berlin done with ease.
As a first priority, you need to secure a long-term rental contract in Munich. This enables you to register your permanent address and get your German registration certificate.
How to find an apartment with a long-term rental contract in Munich?
Check out these popular websites for finding apartments and rooms in Munich:
- Facebook group: Munich Expats Rooms, Flats, Roomates and Rent
- Facebook group: Wohnung/Zimmer in München/Munich gesucht/anzubieten
- Facebook group: Wohnungen in München
In case you're a young professional you might find LifeX coliving apartments a great fit. You can find more about LifeX on our homepage.
Within 14 days of moving into your new home in Berlin, you will need to register your place of residence and receive your Anmeldebestätigung (Registration certificate). This piece of paper will be one of the most important documents in your new life as a Berliner (person, not the doughnut).
What you need to bring
- Your passport or ID
- Anmeldung Formular (Registration Form)
You can fill out the form in advance, or pick one up at the Bürgeramt office when you go for your appointment. You will need to fill out the German form, but here is an English version to help.
- Wohnungsgeberbestätigung (Landlord Confirmation)
This document can only be signed by your landlord or the person giving you the apartment including the main tenant of the property (the ‘Haupmieter’). At LifeX we provide all our members with this document on the check-in and also by request.
How to apply and register your Anmeldung?
You will need to make an appointment at the Bürgeramt, the office that processes all civil registrations. It is not compulsory to go to the Bürgeramt in your area, you can select the one that is most convenient for you. Find a full list of Bürgeramts here.
There are two ways to make an appointment:
Apply online for a visit at urgerbruo. Try to book in advance as these appointments can be hard to get. You can book your appointment here. Once the webpage opens, select the first option (Meldeangelegenheiten), then select the top choice (An-oder-Unmeldung) and hitWeiter. You will then need to select the Bürgerbüro you wish to visit and then choose a date and time from the calendar. If you can’t find an available appointment we suggest refreshing the website every morning around 7:00 am for any openings due to cancellations.
- Pop in
You can go to the Bürgerbüro without an appointment, and wait in line for your turn. We suggest getting there at least an hour before opening to beat the queues! Once you get inside head straight for theterminvergabewhere staff will help you book an appointment.
What happens next
Once you register your address, your registration will be processed immediately and you will be sent your tax ID number within two weeks. These two documents are essential for getting established in Munich. You can now open a bank account, sign a phone contract and get settled in your new city.
Now that you have your Anmeldebestätigung it is time to get a German bank account. This will help you get settled and do regular things such as paying for a gym membership, go shopping, set up automatic withdrawals for rent and pay bills.
How to open a German bank account?
- "Normal banks"
There are a number of large banks to choose from, they include Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Dresdnerbank, Postbank, Sparkasse and Volksbank. We suggest booking an appointment with a financial advisor at a few different banks and seeing which bank best suits you. Make sure you take your passport/ID and Anmeldebestätigung to your appointment in case they need you to fill in any paperwork. At this stage, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are the only banks to offer online banking in English.
- Modern bank - N26
N26 is a relative newcomer to the German Banking scene. N26 is an online bank which allows you to quickly and easily sign up via their app. Even better, the entire application process and all online banking can be done in English. We highly recommend N26 as they are one of the only banks that allow you to open an account before you’ve received your Anmeldebestätigung. Therefore speeding up your administration process, and allowing you get settled even faster!
Your German tax ID, Steueridentifikationsnummer, is unique to you and it is the number the Tax Authority (Finanzamt) uses to identify you.
Luckily, this doesn’t require another appointment. Your Steueridentifikationsnummer is processed at the same time as your Anmeldebestätigung at the Bürgeramt. This number is issued by the Finanzamt and will be posted to you approximately two weeks after you register your address.
The Steueridentifikationsnummer has the format "12 345 678 901". This is the number you pass on to your employer to make sure you are in the correct tax bracket.
Taxable income of less than €9,169 is tax-free for a single person (€18,338 for a married couple). Beyond this threshold incomes up to €14,255 for a single person (€28,510 for a couple) are taxed with a rate progressively increasing from 14% to 24%. Incomes from €14,256 (€28,512) up to €55,960 (€111,920) are taxes at a rate of 24% to 42%; incomes from €55,961 (€111,922) to €265,236 (€530,652) are taxed at 42%. Incomes over €265,327 for a single person and €530,654 for a married couple are taxed at 45%. In addition to this there is the “solidarity surcharge” of 5.5% of the tax, to cover the continuing costs of integrating the states of the former East Germany.
Munich, the Bavarian capital of Germany, is home to over 1.5 million people with around 25% of its population made up of foreign citizens. Munich is a city where old and new sit side by side. From Baroque churches and century-old buildings to postwar buildings and modern art, Munich has something for everyone.
Germans love beer, and it is an essential part of German life, in fact, beer is cheaper than water! Münchners take this love to the next level, and host the world’s biggest beer event, Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest runs from two weeks and attracts over six million people to Munich. Make sure to plan ahead so you don’t miss out on the festivities.
You can get by speaking English in Munich – but we recommend being able to understand and speak some basic German such as thank you, danke and please, bitte. That said, if you'd like to stay in Germany for a longer period you might want to try and learn the German language. Thanks to the high number of foreigners moving to Munich, there is a great selection of language schools to choose from including Deutsche Akademie, German Academy Language School Munich and Aktiv Language School. Most schools will offer you a free trial course so you can see if the class works for you. Alternatively, we suggest getting your basics up to scratch with language apps such as Duolingo, Babbel or Memrise.
- Plan your Sunday
Sunday is a day of rest, and Münchners take this very, very, seriously. Almost all stores close on a Sunday. This includes supermarkets, so you could very easily end up without any milk or bread if you don't plan accordingly. Some restaurants and bars will also close on a Sunday, so be sure to check the opening hours beforehand. But, all is not lost as there is still plenty to do in Munich on a Sunday. You can either get outdoors and go hiking or stay inside and visit the incredible state-run museums for the discount price of €1.
- Events & activities
Mit Vergnuegen showcases all Munich has to offer, including the latest bars and cafes as well as exhibition, city guides and more. The website is only available in German so you will need to use google translate to help you navigate the site.
Time Out Munich lets you know what’s on in Munich, as well as things you might have missed in your own city, great day trips from Munich and much more.
- Cash is (still) the king
Yes, we all love to pay for everything with our credit or debit cards nowadays. Well, apparently, not so much in Munich. Merchants in Munich still often don't accept anything other than cash, so be prepared to always carry a bit of cash on hand.
Some describe the weather in Munich as a tale of two cities, with glorious sunshine and warm weather in the summer and snow and frosty temperatures in the winter.
In winter temperatures range from -2°C to 2°C with lows of -11°C in January and February. With all this cold weather comes the guarantee of snow, from a light flurry to thick downfalls, winter is perfect for snowball fights in the parks.
And, while the winters can be cold and grey, we can guarantee that as soon as the sun starts to shine you will find Münchners outside, embracing the warmth. In summer, the city is blessed with wonderful, warm and sunny days, with an average of 23 degrees and highs of up to 40 degrees. Munich is alive in summer and full of people out and about in the parks and Biergartens (beer gardens).
The healthcare system in Germany is one of the best in Europe. Health Insurance is mandatory in Germany, so it is important you get this sorted as soon as you have registered. Here are a few things to know:
- Health Insurance
Health Insurance is mandatory in Germany. The insurance you sign up for will primarily be based on your employment situation and income. All employees, whose gross monthly income is less than 5,063 EUR a month (2019), must register for GKV (public health insurance). If you earn over 5063 EUR a month, you are eligible for private insurance. Your employer will typically take care of registering you with a German health insurance company and can help you if you have any questions.
- German Health Card
Your insurer will give you a krankenversichertenkarte (health insurance card). You take this to every doctor, dentist and specialist appointment to be scanned. The krankenversichertenkarte holds all your important data such as; name, date of birth, address and health insurance information.
- Finding a GP
You will need to find a Hausarzt (General Practitioner) as your regular doctor. They will then make a referral to a specialist such as a cardiologist or a neurologist if required. It’s important you can communicate any health problems clearly to your doctor. For English speaking doctors in Munich click here. We recommend also checking with your embassy for a list of doctors who speak your native language. Note: If your health insurance doesn’t cover all the costs, you will receive a bill in the post within a few days.
- Dental care
German Dentists are considered some of the best in the world and known for their meticulous attention. Public health insurance will only cover some dental treatments; unfortunately, the rest you will need to pay for. German dentists are among the most expensive in Europe. If you are under the age of 18, you do not have to pay for a dentist.
- EU-wide healthcare coverage
As an EU citizen, you are entitled to medical treatment if you unexpectedly fall ill during a temporary stay in another EU country. This is a healthcare card that covers you for short visits in other EU countries as well as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland. You do not need to apply for the European Health Insurance card, and it is automatically printed on the back of your German Health card, as long as you have insurance.
Munich has an excellent and easy to use public transport system. It is made up of a network of underground (U-Bahn), suburban trains (S-Bahn), trams (streetcars) and buses. Or, if you prefer a little bit of fresh air, why not buy a bike and ride from A to B.
Biking as a means of transportation
Biking is a popular option for getting around Munich, its free, good exercise and a great way to explore the city. In fact, around 80% of all Münchners own a bike and there are over 1200 kilometres of bike lanes in the city. If you need to buy a bike we suggest not purchasing anything too fancy, to avoid it inevitably getting stolen. You can purchase bikes from flea markets and through Facebook Marketplace.
Public transport in Munich
Munich has four main forms of public transport; U-Bahn (Underground), S-Bahn, trams (streetcars) and the bus network. The U-Bahn has eight lines with two lines specifically designed to help you survive rush hour. The S-Bahn is the suburban railway system and has is the perfect way to explore the outer suburbs of Munich. The trams and bus networks are a great way to get around the city and run late into the night. A word of warning undercover transport officers patrol the different modes of transport, so always purchase a ticket or monthly pass.
There are lots of mobile phone providers to choose from with most offering contracts and prepaid options.
- Prepaid phone carriers
The perfect ‘pay-as-you-go’ option. These plans typically don’t require any paperwork. You can purchase them and top-up your account online or in stores such as Electronic stores, kiosks, gas stations and most supermarkets. The four main providers are: Lycramobile, Telekom, Vodafone and o2.
- Contract phone carriers
Once you have your Anmeldebestätigung, and a German bank account, you can consider getting a contract from one of the following providers: Vodafone, T-Mobile, o2 and 1&1.
- Must-have "local" apps
MVV to navigate the Munich Public Transport System and purchase tickets. Citymapper to help you map your route across the city including the best bike paths to take. Komoot to help you plan hiking and biking routes, with Munich’s close proximity to the Alps we think this app is a must-have. Google Translate to help you translate any German text to a language of your choosing. And of course, N26 for modern banking solution