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How To Get SCHUFA In Germany?

You’ve probably heard about the SCHUFA while browsing for apartments in Germany. It has a huge impact on our daily life, German, and expat alike. Learn more about what is it, why it is needed and how to get it in this  blog post!

What is SCHUFA?

SCHUFA stands for Schutzgemeinschaft für allgemeine Kreditsicherung, in other words, the German credit score. It shows your creditworthiness, which is calculated from your past financial behavior. A company called Schufa Holding AG collects information from various sources, including bank accounts, debit cards, mobile phones, and others, and creates reports about your financial reliability.

When you register your apartment, open a savings account, get internet access for your flat, or get a mobile telephone contract, you automatically begin your SCHUFA records. Each provider asks SCHUFA for permission before accepting you as a new client and thus leaves a record.

Your credit score doesn’t depend on your employment situation or income; rather, it depends solely on whether you pay your debts on time.

How to get a paid SCHUFA report (BonitätsAuskunft)?

The paid SCHUFA report is called “BonitätsAuskunft”.

Note that most landlords require a recent SCHUFA report. It would be best if you buy one when you first begin searching for an apartment. You can easily get a Bonitas Auskunft by ordering it online here! To buy the paid version of the SCHUFA report, click “Jetzt bestellen.” It costs €29.95. You should receive your BonitätsAuskunft in a few days by post.

How to get the SCHUFA for free?

You can get it free once per year. However, the free version is for your own record only as it contains your personal data. For official use, the paid SCHUFA record must be used. You place an online request for the free report and it will be delivered to you by post. Remember that it may take up to four months before the document arrives.

Here’s how you get your free Schufa: Click here, and you’ll be taken to a page where there are two columns; one column is for free, and it’s labeled “Datenkopie”. Click on “Jetzt bestellen” and you’ll get taken to a page where you need to enter some details.

What is a good SCHUFA score?

A very high SCHUFA is at least 97%, and a good one has a minimum of 95%

You begin with a baseline score of 100% when you first get started.

What determines your credit score?

It is determined by whether you’ve paid all your bills on time and in full. Your previous U.S. (or Canadian) scores don’t affect your German SCHUFA, and you cannot use your American scores to apply for loans. With Germany, you get the benefit of having most, if not all of your bills paid automatically every month by bank transfer, so you don’t need to worry about forgetting to pay them. You should avoid opening too many bank accounts and too many credit cards at once, and switching banks too frequently.

You shouldn’t make frequent uses of your overdraft. Sometimes you may need to overdraw your account. To stay financially sound, it’s best not make it a regular habit.

Who actually wants to know your SCHUFA score?

Unless you opt for an account without the Schu­fa minimum requirements, banks usually check your credit rating before approving you for an account. When applying for a loan, your bank also checks your credit worthiness, and your SCHUFA to find out how much interest you might be charged for that loan. Higher risks for the banks mean higher interest rates.

When applying for a new phone or internet plan, or renting a place to live, you need to be aware that they may check when you applied. These companies will be capable of checking your SCHUFA and determining whether you have any unpaid debt, and if you can trust them as a customer or tenant.

Having problems in communicating with your landlord because of language barriers? We can help with that. Simple book a helper here to do the talkings for you!

Dual German Citizenship | Translation Services | Booka-Local

Is Dual Citizenship allowed in Germany?

Dual citizenship is not permitted in Germany, yet. However, recently The Local reported exclusively that the Bundestag would discuss a new draft bill that would allow dual German citizenships. Migrant workers who don’t have EU nationality could be naturalized as German citizens without sacrificing their other nationalities.

How to get German citizenship?

You can become a German citizen if you gain your German citizenship in one of the following ways:

By birthright (born by non-German parents in Germany).

If your ancestor was born in Germany.

By naturalization (after living in Germany for eight years).

How can I become naturalized in Germany?

You need to live in Germany for at least eight consecutive years with a valid residence permit before applying for citizenship. You need to be able to speak German fluently (at least B1) and have sufficient financial resources to support yourself and/or your dependents.

If the new law is passed, you could apply for German citizenship after only five years of living in Germany.

Do I get German citizenship if I marry a German citizen?

If you marry a German citizen, you aren’t automatically granted German citizenship. However, spouses of Germans may apply for citizenship by naturalization much earlier than others: usually after just two years of marriage. Learn more about marriage in Germany for non-EU citizens here!

Getting German dual citizenship when living in another country

If you want to obtain a second nationality besides your German one, you need to ask for permission from the German government first. You need to fill forms and hand in certain documents. You also need to give concrete reasons for why you are living in another country and how it benefits you. You can find the steps to follow here!

Benefits of German Dual Citizenship

Benefits of Dual German Citizenship | Booka-Local
  • Having dual German Citizenship, you could enjoy the following:
  • Having access to over 180 visa-free countries.
  • Being able to live in any EU country.
  • Being able to live and study anywhere in Europe.
  • Being protected by two different countries’ embassies.
  • Being able to start businesses in both countries.
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Marriage In Germany as a Non-EU Citizen

If you want to get married in Germany, your application for marriage may become more complicated if you or your partner is not from within the EU, or if you have been previously married. As everything else, getting married in Germany can require lots of paperwork. Learn more about the requirements of marriage in Germany as a non-EU citizen in this blog post!

Requirements for marriage in Germany

Before applying for anything, you must first make sure that:

  • You’re not already married.
  • You’re at least 18 years old (16 with parental consent)
  • You don’t want to marry someone who is related by blood.
  • You’ve been living in Germany for at least three weeks.

Application to registry office (Standesamt)

Your marriage application should be submitted to the registry office in your area where either you or your partner is registered. You need to make an appointment with the registry office and attend the meeting there. Here, they will explain the process, and you’ll get the documentation you need to submit for approval. It would be best if you arranged for this meeting several months before you plan to get married, so that you have plenty of time to gather and submit the required documents. Once the registry office approves the application, you should get married within 6 months or might have to go through the application process all over again.

You may also be required to have your documents translated into German by a certified translator if you are a non-EU citizen. The total cost, depending on the complexity of your case ranges from 60 to 600 euros. The required documents might include:

  • Valid ID (passport/identity card)
  • Official Statement of Residency (Meldebescheinigung)
  • Original birth certificate with parents’ names.
  • Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) (Befreiung vom Ehefähigkeitszeugnis), which can be obtained from embassy.
  • Income certificate (Einkommensbescheinigung)
  • Registration certificate proving you have been resident in Germany longer than three weeks.
  • If you are not a German or EU citizen, a valid residence permit/visa
  • Birth certificates of any children you have had together
  • Affidavit confirming both parties are single (Ledigkeitsbescheinigung)
  • Marriage questionnaire (from the registry office)
  • Certificate of finality of divorce (if applicable)
  • Marriage certificates from any previous marriages
  • Death certificate of the previous spouse (if applicable)
  • Confirmation of name change (if applicable)

Gay marriage in Germany

Same-sex marriage was made legal in Germany in October of 2017. Since then, more that 10,000 same-gender couples have gotten married. The same documents as mentioned above might be required. Find more about the details of the paperwork here!

Wedding ceremony

The wedding ceremony takes place at the registry office. If you want to go ahead with a religious ceremony or wedding reception, you can do so, but this will not have any legal effect. German law considers marriage to be a legally binding contract. Therefore, there is a high degree of importance placed on both parties understanding the legal implications of the event. If either one of you doesn’t speak fluent German, you’ll need to have a certified interpreter there for the wedding.

You can book a certified German translator with us using this link!

German citizenship after marriage

If you marry a German citizen, you aren’t automatically granted German citizenship. However, spouses of Germans may apply for citizenship by naturalization much earlier than others: usually after just two years of marriage. Find more about how to apply for the German citizenship here!

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International Money Transfers – Germany

Living abroad in Germany, you must have had the need to send money to your home country or receive money from there. International money transfers here can sometimes be a little bit tricky if you don’t gather information about them beforehand. These are some information that you will need to know when considering international money transfers:

Top international money transfer services

These companies are the top money transfer services in Germany and they all offer competitive rates for online money transfers.

How to transfer money to or from Germany?

Online transfers are increasingly becoming the most popular way to send money overseas. Online money transfers are fast, low-cost, safe and easy, helping you avoid the sometimes excessive fees you might be charged by traditional banks. Here’s how the process of sending money online works:

Create an account

Once you’ve decided which online transfer service you’d like to use, you need to register for an account on their website, providing some basic personal information. Depending on which service you’ve chosen, you may have to verify your identity before using it.

Select an amount and delivery option

After that, you need to provide some details about the transaction that you want to make. For example, the amount of money to be transferred, the currency conversion and how fast do you want the transfer to be completed.

Enter recipient’s details

You’ll need to add additional details about your recipient such as their name and banking information.

Pay

After you’ve completed all the required information, pay the money to the company that handles transfers. This can be done with a credit or debit card or regular bank transfers.

As soon as the transfer services receive the money from you, they’ll begin the transfer process. It may take a few days. Once the transfer is completed, you will get an email notification.

How long can the transfer take?

Depending on which international transfer service you use, the time it takes to transfer funds internationally varies. Usually, bank to ­bank transfers take 1-2 business days, but it can be longer if you’re transferring outside the EU. So make sure you plan accordingly depending on the urgency of the transfer.

Cost of international money transfers

The total costs will be in terms of these:

  • The transfer fee charged by the transfer service
  • The amount of money being transferred
  • The speed of the transfer 
  • The currencies and exchange rate

When choosing a service, be sure to look at the total cost, which includes all of these. Some services may seem cheap, but often this means their exchange rate is high and so you end up having to pay more. Therefore, it is always better to compare exchange rates of the different transfer services before opting for one.

How to save money with international money transfers?

There are several other ways to save money if you want to transfer money to or from Germany, including the following:

Transfer large amounts

Sending a large amount at one time usually ends up costing less than sending small amounts several times.

Unless urgent, don’t pay for speed

If you don’t need your money to be sent immediately, you can save money if you choose a longer period of time for your transfer.

Beware minimum transfer amounts

Not all transfer services allow the transfer of small amounts. Some might have a minimum transfer amount. So make sure you have the right information before making a decision.

Consider transfer options

Some companies allow you to send your money at a later period with a particular exchange rate. You can set up your transfers so that they only happen when the best exchange rate is reached.

International transfers for businesses

If you have your own business, you may need to transfer money to or from Germany. You could use a specialist foreign exchange provider instead of your business bank account to make payments abroad as they might have better deals for businesses.

Other ways for international money transfers

Apart from the online options, you can send money through bank transfers and cash remittance services.

Need to call your bank but don’t speak fluent German? We’ve got your back! Simply book a helper to make the phone call for you!

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Germany’s 9-euro ticket: Things you need to know

GOOD NEWS! After long negotiations, Germany finally agreed to allow the 9-euro ticket to go into effect on June 1, 2022. Summer, a ticket to explore the whole of Germany at only 9 euro per month, what else do we need? Here’s some things expats in Germany need know about the 9-euro ticket!

(Source: shz.de)

What is the 9-euro ticket all about?

To help consumers cope with the rising cost of energy in Germany, the federal government announced last month that it would be offering discounts on monthly public transport passes for three months. During the period between the beginning of June and end of August, it is possible to purchase the special passes, valid until one calendar month each, at just 9 euros per pass.

Wanna know where the locals like to visit? Check out our free ebook here!

How exactly is the 9-euro ticket valid?

The ticket will be valid on all forms of public transport across Germany, including buses, U-Bahns, S-Bahns, trams, and local and regional trains. With the 9-euro ticket you can use these forms of transport nationwide except the long-distance transport services, such as ICE, IC and EC trains run by Deutsche Bahn, and FlixTrains and FlixBuses which are are not covered.

You can’t issue a ticket for a specific date. It will always be issued for that month. For example, if you buy a ticket at the beginning of June, it will only be good until the end of June. You will then need to buy a new ticket for July. To make the most out of the offer, it’s best to book your tickets as soon as possible.

Are there refunds for monthly passes?

Individual transport operators will automatically reduce their monthly subscriptions by 9 euros, or they’ll pay back the difference in subsequent months.

Transport operators are also looking into different ways to reimburse their passengers for their monthly passes and other tickets. Students might also get their semester tickets refunded.

When will the 9-euro ticket be available?

To ensure everyone has enough tickets, transport associations in some German cities plan to start a pre-sale as soon as May. The federal government is working on an online ticketing system for people to purchase their tickets. They will also most likely be sold through traditional sales channels, including from ticket machines and mobile phone applications.

Can dogs travel for free?

Unfortunately, the 9-Euro-ticket cannot be used as a ticket for dogs, but you can buy a regular ticket for dogs. You can bring a dog with you in line with transport associations’ regulations. For example, some bus companies charge an extra fee if you bring your dog on board. Similar to guide dogs and assistance dogs, pets are covered by transport associations’ regulations. Learn more about places you can take your dog to in Germany here!

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Residence Permit in Germany – What’s it all about?

Germany has always been known for its high standard of living. The country offers a wide range of services and benefits to its residents. If you want to stay and work in Germany as an expatriate, you may need to obtain a residence permit. 

What is a residence permit?

A residence permit is a document issued by the German government to foreign nationals who wish to reside in Germany permanently. There are two types of residence permits: a short term permit (for stays of less than three months) and a long term permit (for stays longer than three months). Depending on your nationality and the reason for moving to Germany, the type of permit you apply to may vary.

EU and EEA citizens

Citizens of European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries have open access to Germany’s labour market. People from these countries can live and work in Germany freely without a visa. However, if you stay in Germany for longer than three months, you must register at your local citizens’ office (Bürgermeisteramt).

Swiss Citizens

If you’re from Switzerland, you also have freedom of movement in the EU, but if your main purpose is to live and work in another country, you’ll need to apply for a specific declaratory residence permit at your local Foreigners’ Office (Ausländerbehörde).

Non-EU / EEA citizens

Citizens from outside the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU/EEA) may need to apply for an EU residence permit, which highly depending on the duration and the purpose of stay.

Short stays (business and leisure)

If you stay in Germany for less than 90 days, you don’t need the permit. However, for certain nationalities, you might need a Schengen visa instead.

Short stays (for employment purpose)

The duration of stay is not the only factor that determines if you need a residence permit or not. If you want to work in Germany, even if your stay there is less than 90 days, first you must apply for a German visa and then convert it to a residence permit.

Longer stays (over 90 days)

If you plan to stay in Germany for longer than 90 days, you’ll need to apply for a residency permit. Residents of Israel, Canada, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Japan and the United States of America may enter Germany without a Visa and then apply for a residency permit from within Germany.

Citizens of other countries must apply for a national visa at the German embassy or consulate in their country of residence before they travel to Germany. After arriving in Germany, you can change it into a residence permit from the Foreigners’ Offices.

If you won’t have a source of income in Germany, you’ll also need to open a blocked bank account, either before applying for a visa or before submitting your permit application. It is to ensure that you have a fixed deployable financial resource for every month.

Types of German residence permit

Temporary residence permit (Aufenthalterlaubnis)

A temporary residence permit is the main type of permit issued to foreigners living in Germany. It is generally valid up to one year and can usually last longer if your circumstances don’t change.

It is linked to your purpose for visiting the country and the information you provided when applying for your visa. 

Permanent settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis)

After living in Germany for a certain period of time, all expatriates who possess a residence permit are eligible to apply for a permanent residency permit. This is usually five year, but can be less for high-skilled workers or graduates from German universities.

If you want to live in Germany permanently, then the settlement permit is a good option. You no longer have to line up at Ausländerbehörde to extend your visa or to put up with toxic work environment for the sake of your work visa.

German residence permit application procedure

The application procedure for obtaining the permit can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Before you can apply for a residency permit, there are several steps you need to take, including registering your address and obtaining health insurance. Learn more about the application procedures here!

Is it common to have one’s German residence permit application rejected?

If your application is refused, you will be sent a letter outlining the reasons why. The most common reason why an application is rejected is failing to provide the required supporting documents. The letter explains the next steps to take and includes any relevant information, such as how to lodge an appeal.

Why do I need to renew my German residence permit? And how?

A temporary residence permit in Germany usually lasts for one year. If you’re a foreigner, don’t expect to be notified by the immigration office if your residence permit expires. You should therefore make sure that you renew your permit well in advance.

Extending your temporary residence permit in Germany is largely a formality as long as your personal circumstances are the same as when you originally applied. If your employment, marital or financial status changes significantly you should contact your local foreigners’ office to check how this impacts your residency status.

It is essential to renew your permit long before its expiry date to avoid an illegal stay which may mean you are banned from entering Germany in the future. The cost of renewing the permit is usually 50-80 euros, depending on location and the complexity of your case.

If you do not speak German yet and you need someone to accompany you to the foreign office to your residence permit extension, you can book a helper here!

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Sublet Contracts In Germany

Subletting is legal in Germany, but there are some restrictions. You should know about these before actually going for the sublet contract. You can learn more about the rules for subletting in Germany here! Upon having the green light for subletting your apartment, you will need a sublet contract. Discover more about sublet contracts in Germany in this blog post!

A written contract is normally not required for an apartment sublet in Germany. However, it is a good idea to have everything written down in paper to avoid any misunderstandings in the future. 

Sublet contract draft

Most sublet contracts in Germany contain the same basic information. Make sure your contract clearly states the following details:

  • The names of the main tenant and its subtenant
  • The exact address of the apartment (street name, number, building, etc.)
  • Start and end dates of the sublet
  • The rent to be paid and any extra costs (such as for internet, water, electricity)
  • How to pay for them (e.g. directly into a bank account or via a money transfer).
  • Which rooms can be used
  • How many keys were given
  • How much deposit was paid
  • What condition the rented flat is in
  • House rules regarding things like smoking and pets
  • Signatures of both parties

You can download a free subletting contract template here

Cancelling a sublet contract

The German rental law states that the subtenant must give a notice period of atleast three months to the main tenant if they wish to move out before the end of the previously agreed date and it must be done before the third day of a particular month. 

On the other hand, if the main tenant wishes to cancel the contract, they can only do so by giving the subtenant a minimum notice period of six months unless they have a good reason to end the contract earlier (for example, if the subtenant did not pay the rent or is not abiding to the rules of the contract).

Liability

After the sublet, the main tenant is still the only one who has the main contract with the landlord. Therefore, the main tenant is fully liable towards the landlord for the whole rented apartment or room in case of a breach of contract or damages to the property. Any damage by the main tenant or the subtenant will lead to the main tenant being responsible for them. The main tenant is also required to cover the subtenant’s share of the rent if they refuse to pay.

Anmeldung

Remember, even if you are a subtenant of an apartment, you still have to register your address at the registration office. By not doing so, you may have to pay fines, which you obviously do not want to! 

Are you new in Germany and you have lots of questions concerning Anmeldung in Germany? Check out our YouTube video to get your questions answered!

Germany is the land of bureaucracy! So, if you are an international and are having troubles with your landlord regarding some misunderstandings due to language barriers, do not worry, it is not your fault! Booka Local can help you deal with such issues by acting as a bridge between your landlord and you. Simply book a helper here with minutes!

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Life In Germany – How to fight back expat blues?

Leaving your home country and your family behind to travel to Germany must have been really hard for all expats. Most of us must have experienced depression, anxiety, sadness and what not during our first months in Germany. And why not? Germany was a new place with a completely new culture, new people and not forgetting new language for almost all of us. And the depressive winters, TRAUMATIZING!

Well, if you think you are the only one experiencing these feelings, then trust me, you’re not alone!

Expat blues also known as expat depression is when people who move overseas feel what psychologists call the depression of new culture shock. When someone is going through an expat blues, one of the worst feelings that can happen is apathy. This is typically expressed as a lack of engagement and joy. Some common physical symptoms of expat blues are, among others, fatigue, insomnia, crying, loss of appetite or overeating. 

But do not worry! Expats usually get over it with time! 

Here are some ways to control your expat blues to make your stay in Germany more pleasant:

Gather information about Germany

One of the best ways to prevent a culture shock is to gather as much information about Germany as possible. Search about the culture, the people, the places. it is highly recommended you to also join Germany expats’ forums, communities and Facebook groups to see what the expats already here are talking about. You will get a clearer idea of the topics they talk about and also important information about life in Germany.

You can also check InterNations and MeetUp, two very popular expats forums in Germany!

Booka Local also has its own meetup forum for expats where we often have online meetups to chat about different topics! We also hope to plan meetups offline as summer approaches…so, make sure you check out this link of our forum to stay updated with our meetups!

Exploring Germany

Think about it! You are now in GERMANY!!! It is one of the most historical places in Europe. So, why waste such an opportunity? Go explore the country, organise weekend getaways to the castles, visit the spatis with your new friends and attend events which are always happening throughout Germany. These will help you to get more familiar with the country and also keep your mind away from homesickness thoughts…

Exploring Germany also means getting to know the locals! Yes, it is not always easy to befriend Germans, we’ve all been there! Oh, btw speaking of getting to know the Germans, Booka Local has recently launched its ebook “Ask the Locals” where we asked the locals questions that we expats have most certainly have had in our minds! You can now get your own FREE copy!

Create a home

You are now living on your own! Yay privacy!!! Think about it in this way – you can now decorate your new place as YOU want it. You can create your own comfortable little bubble that makes you feel safe and relaxed. Trust me, this makes a huge difference! Try it, buy frames, flowers, plants, lights, and whatever you like and create your personalized home! You will love it.

Keep up with old habits

Once you are in Germany, you do not have to change yourself or your habits. Keep up with your old habits! That is, if you used to exercise in your home country, continue in Germany too! Germany has splendid running and hiking tracks! Make sure you explore them! They’re so worth it! If you were always a person who loves connecting with nature, then Germany has a lot of it’s natural places to offer…You can also find friends online or offline who have the same hobbies as you and plan something together! 

Plan something with family and friends

Invite your friends or family from back home to Germany. Planning a trip with familiar people will give you something to look forward to and the opportunity to see more Germany. 

Many expats make Europe tour plans with their friends and families back home and create great memories. Get yourself motivated for these kinds of trips too. These will help you get more used to Europe as a whole and make you feel more a part of this new continent. 

Share your thoughts

A very important thing to do when you’re having the expat blues is to talk it out. As mentioned earlier, you are not the only one who has been experiencing such feelings, most of the expats have too! Talk to other expats, share your thoughts and feelings! It will make you feel much lighter and will help you to get through those hard days! 

If you are having communication problems due to the language barriers, it is recommended to search for other people from your home country in Germany. This can give you a sense of belonging and therefore make you feel like home. 

Talking to your friends and families back home can also help a lot. Video calling them or chatting with them can help ease your pain and sadness from being away from them. 

Finally, living far from your family and your home country can be really difficult. But remember, among millions of people who dreamt of travelling to Germany, you were in the lucky group who actually made it here! And it’s worth celebrating…expat blues is very natural and goes away with each day you spend in Germany! We hope you can find these few tips helpful to make your days better here!

Anmeldung in Germany

5 Questions About ‚Anmeldung‘ In Germany

You have just arrived in Germany and you are asking yourself: Why am I being asked to make a portfolio for renting an apartment? Am I expected to be interviewed? Am I going to check an apartment with 70 other potential tenants? And why do some people have to brag about getting their Anmeldung done? Well, we have your 5 most asked questions about Anmeldung in Germany answered in this blog post!

„When I moved from Hong Kong to Berlin, a lot of people said to me ‚Congratulations! You have just moved from one place with serious housing problems to another place with serious housing problems.‘ Like, seriously?“ – Mei Chi Lo, CEO & founder of Booka Local.

We all have like thousands of questions in mind when we first landed in Germany. Let’s talk about the most popular questions every new international might have about Anmeldung in Germany!

Question #1: What’s wrong with airbnb?

First, it’s not cheap if you are to stay for a long time. Okay, if you are rich, then it’s probably not a problem for you. But the second thing is, in Germany, there’s a term you need to learn before knowing how to order a beer, that is, Anmeldung.

Anmeldung means registration. Most internationals simply use this word to refer to the process when you register a new address in Germany. This term also means browsing like a 1000 apartments, sending 500 applications, viewing 100 apartments with 80 other people, receiving 50 rejection messages, 30 scam emails and finally finding one apartment that allows you to do Anmeldung.

So, what’s wrong with airbnb? Well, most of the apartments there do not allow you to do Anmeldung. 

Question #2: What happens if I don’t register my address?

We are in Germany. No rules are set to be ignored. 

Anmeldung is needed for all sorts of important things, like, opening a bank account, getting your tax ID, extending your visa, basically your whole life in Germany depends on it. If you fail to register your address or are late for doing so, you might have to pay heavy fines, so beware!

Are there any exemptions for Anmeldung in Germany? Learn about it here!

Question #3: I need Anmeldung asap! What can I do?

Everyone asks this question. One popular option is short-term service apartments or something similar that allows you to register the address. Simply google something like “short term rental with Anmeldung in berlin”. There are plenty of options there. Although they are more expensive than long-term rental apartments, you can at least cross out “Anmeldung” from your checklist. 

Question #4: There’s no available appointment slot???

In order to register an address, you have to make an appointment at Bürgeramt. You do not need to stick to the one in your neighbourhood. You can go to any other ones in the same city. However, unfortunately, it can be very hard to book an appointment online. It can be completely full. „Two years ago, I even called the Bürgeramt near me and told them I needed an appointment but it’s all full on the online system. Surprisingly, they simply asked me to send them an email and then they sent me an appointment slot within a short time. I was lucky. This method is not guaranteed. But you can try“ – Mei Chi Lo. You can also check the Bürgeramt‘s website every morning at 8 am because they normally add new slots.

Alternatively, you can subscribe to Booka Local’s email notification. When the team spots an available spot on Bürgeramt’s website, you will get notified. It may not be as good as refreshing the website every 5 mins like a robot, but at least you can sit back and enjoy your life.

Get notified when there's an appointment spot!

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Okay, so imagine you have successfully booked an appointment at Bürgeramt. One last thing is, make sure you prepare all the documents you need. You don’t want to miss any piece of paper and get sent away. You will need to book ANOTHER APPOINTMENT if you fail to give them everything they need. For the complete list of documents you need, you can check our blog post about Anmeldung documents here! Get it done and don’t mess it up!

Question #5: Do I need to speak German at the appointment?

It’s very hard to say, mostly yes. Most people would bring someone with them to translate if they do not speak German, because the officers at Bürgeramt mostly do not speak English. Or yes, if you are lucky. What is good with bringing a German-speaking person with you is that, if there’s something wrong with your documents, at least you know what went wrong. If you do not know anyone who can go there with you, check out this link and you can book a local helper at Booka Local.

Do you have more questions about Anmeldung in Germany or other German bureaucratic topics? Send them to us and along with answering your questions, we‘ll make sure we get them covered in our next blog post to help others!

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Is there a difference between North and South Germany?

With an area of 357,386 km², Germany is not that big of a country. However, many have still noticed that there are quite some differences between the Northern and the Southern part of the country. You might have also experienced the changes in culture, food and dialect while moving from the North to the South of Germany. This blog post shares what German people think about the differences between the two parts.

Some believe that, it might partly have to do with religion, but not all of it. Northern Germany is predominantly Protestant, while most of southern Germany is Catholic. The main problem is prejudice. According to The Spiegel, „People in the cool, practical, intellectual, industrialized, liberal north of Germany think the lazy hick farmers in the south are backward and racist, and they talk funny too“. They also state that Berliners will even hate the southern German mountains because they make them feel claustrophobic!

Booka Local recently published its ebook „Ask the Locals“ where we asked locals if they think there is a difference between North and South Germany and this is what they said:

„There is a gradient in Germany, you can say the further south the more conservative people are. People in the north are cool and liberal, in the south more cordial but more conservative. In the north more fish, in the south more meat. As I said, this is a rough guide. In general, Germany is quite different in its regions in terms of mind- set, dialect, culture, food, customs, and so on.“ (Jens, 36)

„The southern Germans love the cosiness and are very tradition- al. The northern Germans are cool.“ (Johannes, 35)

„JAAA! They are two different cultures.“ (Silvia, 27)

„Yes! With the southern Germans, it’s often about their reputation, while the northern Germans don’t care.“ (Karin, 27)

„Northern Germany appears more open.“ (Hanna, 26)

„There are cultural differences between regions in Germany. Even between Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. A prejudice against Bavaria is possibly regional patriotism. Or socializing in the Bierstübl. I think, however, one should not refer to the Munich Schickeria or the Oktoberfest to the whole of Bavaria. Baden-Württemberg stands for a lot of money and industriousness, but also for stuffiness. Northern Germans are said to have a roughness and a sober manner. They often don’t talk to people directly and prefer to keep to themselves. But once you’ve cracked the ice, there’s a warm core underneath. I think the statement “hard shell, soft core” applies well.“ (Emilia, 30)

Do you want to know what else the locals think about the difference between the two parts of Germany and about other German stereotypes? Download our ebook for free now!

It was shared on Quora that „agriculture and farming is most common in the south because there aren’t as large cities next to each other. There’s a lot of space for livestock and growing vegetables. There are big cities like Munich, but it is definitely different from them because it’s located near smaller towns and mountains. People in the South tend to be very stingy and like to gossip (obviously this happens more in smaller towns since everyone knows one another) but it is definitely more of a southern thing since people in the rest of Germany just like to mind their own business“ (Royce, 2018). 
„Germans who live in the North tend to be very outgoing and talkative in terms of making people feel welcome. It starts with words like “Moin” that make you feel at ease and comfortable. They also tend to have a great humor whereas Bavarians for example tend to be more reserved and they have a very different humor a lot of times. Bavarians are often seen as cold and a lot of people think that bavarians think of themselves very highly so they come off as arrogant which is why Germans joke about Bavaria being it’s own country. Keep in mind that these things are generalizations and not EVERY person who lives either in the North or South is exactly like that but speaking from experience those rumors definitely have some truth in them“ (Royce, 2018).

People living in Germany have seen many differences between North and South Germany. According to them, the cultures, religions and manners are the most different. It is however important to note that not all people from those two parts share the same characteristics as some people might have talked about. Northern and Southern Germany may have its differences, but it is certain to say that both are stunning places to visit!