Welcome to the Hero Hub: everything you need to know before moving to Berlin
It’s no coincidence that Berlin is the home of our Hero Hub HQ. As a bustling, creative and multicultural city where anyone can find their place, it’s the perfect spot for housing our Heroes and attracting the best talent from around the globe.
We’re happy you’re joining us! Moving to a new city or country can be a big step, even for the most adventurous of us. To get you started, we put together a guide with the most important info that you’ll need to get settled in Berlin.
First things first
Getting started in Germany can seem – let’s face it – like a Sisyphean task (not that Sisyphos). German bureaucracy is real and sometimes small tasks can require a lot of steps. But don’t be discouraged! Everyone gets there in the end, and we’re here to help.
Find out everything you need to know about the first steps you should take when moving to Berlin.
Opening a bank account
Opening a bank account is arguably your first priority when arriving in Berlin, as it’s a requirement for completing many of the following steps like renting an apartment or receiving your salary. However, many banks require proof of residence in order to open an account, while you often need a German bank account to get proof of residence. Luckily, there are online banks, like N26, bunq, or ING DiBa, that let you register easily and quickly. Even if you end up moving banks later, they’re a good option to get started.
What’s the difference between online bank and regular bank?
Online banks don’t have physical offices, so you do everything online. You can sign up for an account and follow the website instructions to create your bank account. You will need a smartphone and passport to activate your bank account.
Regular banks offer several services at their stores. Simply go to the store with your passport and proof of residence (the document you receive after your address registration) and they will take care of everything for you (German speaking skills are not required).
Finding an apartment
The Berlin property market is known for having remained relatively affordable, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a challenge to find your perfect place to call home. Some people opt for renting a temporary apartment to allow themselves time to find that perfect flat. We would recommend booking temporary housing for 2-3 months to give yourself enough time to look.
Here are some websites for temporary housing:
- Crocodilian – Furnished apartments
- Wunderflats – Furnished apartments
- White Apartments – Furnished apartments
- TheHomeLike – Furnished apartments
- Life X – shared living community, fully-furnished flats
- Projects – shared living community, fully-furnished flats
If you want to hit the ground running and look for permanent housing, try these websites:
- Max Aicher Immobilien
- Berlin99 (English)
- Urban Apartments (English)
- WG Gesucht
- Deutsche Wohnen
Note that most landlords prefer to meet their tenants in person, so you’re likely to have more success finding a flat once you’ve arrived in Germany.
Make sure you have all necessary documents ready to go when applying for and visiting apartments, it will significantly improve your chances! These are the most important documents:
A filled-out Bewerbungsbogen (the application form, that usually the landlord will send to you)
- Last 3 payslips or your employment contract (or another document that can prove your monthly income)
- Mietschuldenfreiheitsbescheinigung (optional) – it’s the document that proves you don’t have any debt with your previous landlord
- Schufa: document that proves you don’t have any unpaid debts
- Money for the security deposit: Most landlords require 3 months of rent for the Kaution. This is the legal maximum they can ask for
- A copy of your passport or ID: You must show it when you apply for an apartment.
- Enough money for the first month’s rent
- A bank account from which you can transfer money to your landlord. Germans use bank transfers, not cheques or cash
Cold and warm: In Germany, there is the cold rent (Kaltmiete) and the warm rent (Warmmiete). The warm rent is the cold rent plus the utilities (Nebenkosten). It’s what you will pay at the end of the month.
Getting a registered address
When you sign a housing contract in Berlin, you’re required by law to register this at the Bürgeramt within 2 weeks. You need to be present in person, so you’ll only be able to complete this step once you’ve already arrived in Germany. Once you go to the Bürgeramt you will receive an Anmeldebestätigung (proof of residence) and Tax ID. You need these to register for certain banks and phone contracts, apply for a residence permit, receive your salary etc…
How registration works
Make sure to gather and bring all the required documentation:
- Passport (or passports, in case more than one person are being registered in the same address)
- Rental agreement (Mietvertrag)
- Landlord declaration (Vermieterbescheinigung) which confirms the date you moved into the apartment
- Registration form, filled out (Anmeldungsformular)
- If you are married, bring your marriage certificate (written in English or German)
- If you have children, bring their birth certificates
Important! Register as quickly as possible and submit your German Tax ID to our payroll office in order to receive your correct salary. Without a correct Tax ID, there is no option but to put employees into the highest tax class, which means you will likely receive a lower wage. Of course, any incomplete payments will be corrected and backdated once your Tax ID is processed, but register quickly to avoid this issue and instead furnish your new apartment!
Germany has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. As an employee, it is mandatory to have a German health insurance (public health insurance or private health insurance).
You need to choose your health insurance provider (Krankenkasse), which are non-profit associations linked to the government health scheme. Some options are: Barmer, Techniker Krankenkasse, AOK, and DAK.
There are lots of different public health insurance bodies with slightly different offerings, so do some research (there are comparison tools online) to make sure you choose one that fits your needs.
Your social security number will automatically be requested by your health insurance provider, and mailed to your registered address.
Berlin has an extensive public transport network consisting of the U-bahn, S-bahn, buses, trams and trains (and of course the infamous scooters and bikes). Many people get a monthly subscription that renews automatically. You can request this through Delivery Hero, and we also offer a discount for employees.
This should help you on the way to making a home in Berlin. We can’t wait to welcome you to our Hero Hub!