What to know before your move from Canada to Germany

7 Things to know and do before moving from Canada to Germany

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Recognized for its castles, beer, and cars, Germany has become one of the most desirable countries for Canadians who are looking to move out of the country. Germany has the biggest national economy in Europe and is regarded as one of the safest countries to live in. 

If you are looking to move from Canada to Germany, this article will provide you with an essential checklist of everything you need to know about moving to Germany!

Moving from Canada to Germany: Everything to know and do

What to know before your move from Canada to Germany

1. First steps before moving to Germany

Visa Requirements

First things to establish is that you cannot live in Germany if you do not have a basic understanding of the German language. As for the visa, Germany has many options for its new residents to choose from.

Work Visa to Germany

You can apply for a visa to work in Germany as a skilled worker with a University degree, as a skilled worker with vocational training, as an aupair, as an IT Specialist, or as a job seeker. To know more about the specific requirements for each work visa to Germany visit The German Missions in Canada’s website.

Study Visa to Germany

Studying in Germany requires acceptance at a German University and a letter of motivation stating why you want to study in Germany. Your visa application will take around 6-8 weeks to be processed, but may take longer. Learn more about the requirements for studying in Germany

Family Reunion Visa to Germany

If you are planning to get married, are married, or are the parent of an underage child, you must obtain a Family Reunion Visa for your move to Germany. To know more about the requirements for joining a family in Germany, see this document. The visa application takes around 12 weeks to be processed. 

Canada-Germany Youth Mobility Agreement

The Youth Mobility Agreement allows youth between the ages of 18 and 35 to work or study in Germany temporarily. To begin your application for the Youth Mobility Agreement visa and to get more information on the requirements, visit The German Missions in Canada’s website.

Taking care of your visa requirements is a crucial step before making any move from Canada to Germany. 

Finding a job

According to the BMAS, the minimum wage in Germany is 12.00 euros, equivalent to around $17.50 Canadian. Germany has a high demand in many sectors including green jobs, nurse practitioners, doctors, engineers, IT specialists, scientists, speaking German, to name a few. 

When finding a job in Germany, you can use employment vacancies and internet job postings like Indeed and Arbeitsagentur

Indeed (Oct 2023) & BMAS (October 2023)

Getting there 

You may make an informed decision on how to move to Germany from Canada by looking into these options for transportation. 

Flying is the most convenient way to move to Germany. You can book your flight to get there, for example through its major airport, Frankfurt International Airport. Be sure to arrive in Germany two or three days before your move in date so you have time to take care of last-minute tasks. 

International Moving Company

Shipping your things to Germany takes about 5-9 days by plane and 15 days by boat. You can easily move your things from Canada to Germany by plane or boat, but make sure the moving company you decide on is reliable. So when opting for an international moving company, here’s what you should look for:

  • Insurance is included (ask what’s included)
  • Rates are not extravagant (compare with other companies)
  • They have many Google reviews that are over 4 stars.
  • Customer service and transparency is their priority.

Must dos before your arrival 

You may find it exciting and challenging to move to Germany. You will be more prepared for your new life if you are aware of these things beforehand.

  • Find an international moving company. You can find a number of international moving companies that can move your belongings from Canada to Germany. 
  • If you have a car you would like to bring to Germany, make sure to do what is necessary for car shipping as well as auto insurance. It might be best to sell your Canadian car and purchase a new one in Germany as it is best to travel light! 
  • Apartment Hunting: Plan ahead by researching and scheduling apartment visits before your arrival. This proactive approach will help streamline your housing search process and ensure a smoother transition.
  • It is strongly recommended to learn German, the official language of Germany! 

Do you have to know German to live in Germany? 

While most of the German population speaks English, it is a requirement to learn German when moving to Germany. Germany has strict language laws for immigrants so their integration to the country can be facilitated. You do not have to be fluent in German to move to Germany but you must have a basic understanding of the language or your visa application may be denied. To know more about the language requirements when moving to Germany and to learn German in Canada before your move, go to The German Missions in Canada’s website

2. Upon your arrival in Germany

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers.
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.
  • Since 2002, the currency in Germany has been the euro. Paying with credit cards in Germany is not as common as in Canada so make sure you always have some cash on you. You can get cash from the Geldautomat (ATM).
  • Be sure to register with the authorities and get your residence permit. Within 3 months of arriving in Germany, you must take an appointment to obtain your residence permit. Make an appointment with the State Office for Immigration as early as you can. To book an appointment with the State Office for Immigration, visit Berlin’s website
  • Be sure to get your Social Security ID. 

Get your Social Security ID

To open a bank account, pay your taxes, be eligible for German health insurance, you must get a Social Security ID. Your German employer will enroll you in the social security system automatically. You will then start paying a deductible that will make you eligible for German healthcare. Click here for more information on the German Social Security ID.


Healthcare in Germany is not free. If you make under 60 000 euros per year in Germany, it is mandatory to sign up with the government’s health care to which you will pay monthly fees of approximately 15% of your gross income. If you make over 60 000 euros per year, it is mandatory to purchase private health insurance. 

Everyone in Germany has a form of health insurance whether it is public or private. If your long-stay German visa has been approved, you can access Germany’s healthcare system after you have received your German social insurance number and have registered with the German authorities upon your arrival.

Setting up your cell phone

Cell phones in Germany are known as Handys. Make sure your phone is unlocked prior to your arrival in Germany so you can quickly buy a German SIM card from any cell phone provider, a supermarket, a corner shop or a filling station. You can either choose a prepaid option or get a monthly subscription. The most popular German cell phone providers are T-Mobile/Telekom, Vodafone, and O2.

The Internet in Germany is expensive like in Canada due to 3 large companies operating most of the system. In terms of speed, it is considerably average. You should expect to pay $50-$60 CAD a month at 50 Mbps for the internet in Germany along with an additional installation and equipment fee. The top internet providers in Germany are DEINHOME, 1&1 Internet, and Vodafone.

Getting a driver’s license

You can drive with your Canadian driver’s license up to 6 months after residing in Germany. You will also need to get your Canadian driver’s license translated into German. 

To be allowed to drive in Germany after 6 months, you will need to get a German driver’s license (Führerschein) at your closest driving license office. Find out more on how to book an appointment with your local driver’s license office

Car insurance in Germany

Car insurance is mandatory in Germany. Third party liability coverage is the minimum insurance required in Germany. While there are over 90 car insurance companies to choose from, the most popular one’s in Germany are AXA, AvD, BavariaDirekt, HDI, and R+V24.

Setting up a bank account 

To register for important services like the internet and insurance, you will need a bank account in Germany. If you are looking for a bank that has English language services, you should opt for bigger banks like Sparkassen. If you don’t mind that your banking language is in German, you may choose to opt for popular banks like Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, KFW Bankgruppe or DZ Bank.

3. Best places to live in Germany

Best places to live in Germany

Moving to Germany means deciding where you want to live and considering your priorities. We’ve listed the best places to live in Germany!




Capital of Germany 


Best for career opportunities 


Best for raising a family 


City rich in culture and history 


Best for nature lovers

Setting up home services 

Electricity or gas and water in Germany are usually included if you rent. Energy providers will be different based on the areas you live in. The most known energy providers are Vattenfall, E.On, Lekker, and Greenpeace Energy. Signing up with your energy supplier is either done by phone or online. Your water supplier will be different based on the area you live in. To know who your local water supplier is, contact your municipality. 

Should you rent or buy?

The median cost of buying a property in Germany is €376,000; as of October 2023, the median rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center is €830.99.

Trusted websites such as Immo Scout 24 and Immowelt are often used to find available apartment listings and property or engage with real estate agents for assistance.

Numbeo (Sept 2023)

Renting and purchasing a property in Germany

Most people in Germany are renters rather than owners. There are strict rules in German apartment buildings, to know more about these rules, click here. You will be happy to know that rent in Germany is not that expensive compared to other European countries. If you rent an apartment in Germany that is labeled “Cold Rent” it means the apartment does not include utilities. If you rent an apartment in Germany called “Warm Rent” it includes utilities like water, heating, and more depending on the apartment. To find an apartment for rent in Germany you can visit websites like ImmobilienScout24, Ebay-Kleinanzeigen, Immowelt, and Meine Stadt.de.

Due to lack of space and expensive renovation costs, most people tend to not purchase properties in Germany. Those who do purchase properties are usually far away from the city as they are cheaper and more available. If you do choose to purchase a property in Germany, ImmobilienScout24, Immowelt, Immonet, and WG-Gesucht are all websites that can help you with your search.

4. Cost of living in Germany


Monthly cost 

1 bed apt rent in city center



Numbeo’s grocery list 



Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage


Internet with 60 Mbps


Transit pass



Meal, taxi, movie


Gym membership 




*prices in Euros 

Numbeo (Sept 2023)

5. The weather in Germany

Germany has similar weather patterns as Canada. During summer time in Berlin, the average temperature is around 23°C. It is recommended to pack a raincoat with you as Germany has heavy rain in the months of June and August. 

Winters in Frankfurt will drop to -1°C in the evening, but that is nothing a true Canadian can’t handle! 

6. What to do as a local in Germany

Residents of Germany take pleasure in spending their weekends either watching or playing soccer, golf, ice hockey and basketball. The most popular team in Germany is FC Bayern München AG, so be sure to catch a game to embrace the German culture.

Germany is also known for their wild nightlife including house parties. Don’t forget to take time for yourself over the weekend and relax with a beer or cold drink. One of the most popular party spots is located in Hamburg, Germany. 

If you truly would like to become a local, be sure to explore German cuisine at your local market and try to make Germany’s most popular dish, a schnitzel! 

7. Fun facts about Germany

  • Fun Fact #1: Germany is often recognized for its architecture and modern high-quality manufacturing. 
  • Fun Fact #2: Germany is a leader in recycling as they have an advanced recycling program, so be sure to recycle accordingly! 
  • Fun Fact #3: Germany is home to over 20,000 castles like the Neuschwanstein Castle!


Moving from Canada to Germany is an exciting experience that promises a unique experience! It offers an appealing lifestyle, making it attractive to individuals, young professionals, and families alike. Germany has several family-friendly neighborhoods and communities to offer to its new residents.

Are you planning to move soon? Check out the 7 Things to Know and do Before Moving to Ireland.


Widgets Magazine


Widgets Magazine

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Ann Nacario

The author

Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

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