BERLIN, GERMANY 

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Things to know
about Berlin

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Capital City of Germany

 

Berlin, Germany’s capital, dates to the 13th century. Reminders of the city's turbulent 20th-century history include its Holocaust memorial and the Berlin Wall's graffitied remains.

Divided during the Cold War, its 18th-century Brandenburg Gate has become a symbol of reunification.

The city's also known for its art scene and modern landmarks like the gold-coloured, swoop-roofed Berliner Philharmonie, built in 1963

Berlin is famous for its many museums such as the Dahlem Museums, the Egyptian Museum, the Berlin Cultural Forum with the New National Gallery, and the Museum of Arts and Crafts.

 

Other postwar institutions are the Brücke-Museum, the Berlin Museum, the Museum of Transport and Technology, and the Jewish Museum Berlin.

The city lies at the heart of the North German Plain, athwart an east-west commercial and geographic axis that helped make it the capital of the kingdom of Prussia and then, from 1871, of a unified Germany.

 

Berlin’s former glory ended in 1945, but the city survived the destruction of World War II. It was rebuilt and came to show amazing economic and cultural growth.

A fantastic Blend of Culture and Modern Day Life

 

One of Europe’s most fascinating cities, Berlin, has always been more of a black-clad, industrial drinking town than a culinary capital, but times are changing and the food culture is on the rise in terms of options and quality.
 

With great local innovation, the arrival of immigrant groups from around the globe, the popularity of street food and some updating of classic German dishes you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Wherever you will go to eat or drink something in Berlin, be prepared to be served at their (super relaxed) time.

 

Just to give you an idea: the average time to get your morning toast is 40 minutes (true story)

 

After all, Berliners don’t need to go to the office after breakfast: their office is the café itself, where they sit behind their laptops throughout the whole morning while slowly sipping an organic coffee or a mate tea.

There is no better place to have a brunch in Berlin than the trendy neighbourhood of Prenzlauer Berg. And there is no better place to have a brunch in Prenzlauer Berg than Anna Blume. From its quiet tables, you can indulge in people watching while sipping a coffee and tasting its culinary and floral specialities (yes, that’s a thing), which are made with edible flowers coming from the annexed flower shop.

How does Berlin Compare? 

The cost of living in Berlin is just above the European average and yet the vibrant city is the cheapest capital city in Western Europe!

A true paradise for all international students and young ex-pats who want to swap their life in their home country for the urban jungle without having to dig too deep into their pockets.

Rent is one of the biggest living costs in Berlin, and one that also varies wildly depending on the type of accommodation that you end up in, and the area in which you live.

 

Rents have skyrocketed in recent years, and so the dream of finding a cheap flat in Berlin is, unfortunately, just that.

If you need to save money, the cheapest rental option is to find a room in a shared flat. 

 

A room in a shared flat – also called a WG or Wohngemeinschaft – can cost as little as 400€ or as much as 700€ per month, depending on the size, area, and condition of the flat.

As a good rule of thumb, expect to pay somewhere in the middle, around 500€ – 650€ per month.

 

For electricity, the average cost in 2021 was 30,34 cents/kWh. Everyone’s electricity usage differs, but a 2020 study estimated the yearly costs to be about 415€ per head, with about 1300 kWh used.

For gas, expect to pay on average about 50€ per month for a 45sqm apartment. This amount will vary quite a lot depending on the size of your flat and how much you heat it during winter.

Cost of Living
in Berlin

Whether you’re a German citizen or an ex-pat, you are required by law to pay taxes if you earn money while living or working in Germany.

Taxes are levied by the federal government (Bundesregierung), federal states (Bundesländer) and municipalities (Gemeinden). Tax administration is shared between two taxation authorities: the Federal Central Tax Office (Bundeszentralamt für Steuern) and the approximately 650 regional tax offices (Finanzämter).

Tax revenue, derived from income tax, VAT, corporation tax and various other streams, is distributed between the federal government, states and municipalities. 

 

Income tax in Germany

If you earn money in Germany, you are required to pay tax on your income. The German tax system operates a progressive tax rate in which the tax rate increases with taxable income. Most people will pay income tax through payroll deductions by their employer. If you have multiple professions, run your own business or are self-employed in Germany, you will be required to submit an annual tax return to work out your income tax

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Eligibility to Work in Berlin

A priority for many non-EU/EEA ex-pats moving to Berlin is securing their Germany Work Visa.

The Work Visa is a residence permit that can be applied for once you have been employed by a company in Germany. This Work Visa is sometimes referred to as an Employment Visa or Residence Permit to Start a Job. For simplicity, we will just call this the Germany Work Visa.

 

The requirements differ depending on the job title, the industry and the nationality of the applicant. Therefore, it is important that you research into your personal situation to ensure that you fulfil the requirements for securing the Work Visa for Germany. 


You can apply in Berlin if you are from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States or if you are currently living in Berlin on a Job Seekers Visa. If you are from one of these countries, you can enter Germany as a tourist for a 90-day period without requiring a visa and can then apply for your Work Visa at an immigration office in Germany.


If you are not from one of these countries (and not an EU/EEA citizen), you must apply for a Work Visa at a German consulate or embassy before entering Germany.

Who can apply for a Work Visa in Berlin?

As mentioned, if you are a citizen of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States, you may enter Germany as a tourist for a 90-day period without requiring a visa and then apply for the Work Visa in Berlin once you have secured a work contract in Germany.


The German Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit ) is responsible for making the decision on whether or not you can be issued a Work Visa for Germany. For approval to be given, the following criteria must be met:
 

  • You must have a concrete job offer, i.e. received an employment contract.

  • The conditions of employment must be comparable with those of domestic employees and you must be earning a salary that the Federal Employment Agency deems sufficient to live off in Berlin, i.e. full-time hours at a reasonable rate for the profession.

    The German Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) has provided us with the following useful English translation:
     

  • “As a matter of principle, citizens of Andorra, Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, the UK and the USA may be admitted to the employment market for any type of employment and thus irrespective of their professional qualification”
     

  • Therefore, you can apply for a Work Visa at the immigration office in Berlin with any type of job as long as it fulfils the above criteria. However, the criteria set by the Federal Employment Agency mean that you cannot obtain a German Work Visa for a position that they deem to be underpaid – in short, your salary must be on par with a German employee in the same job. 

  • The Federal Employment Agency will also consider if your salary is deemed enough to live off. Therefore, part-time hours are generally not accepted unless the hourly salary rate is especially high.

    So, now for the juicy stuff...

    How to Apply for a German Work Visa at the Immigration Office in Berlin
     

  • Step 1 – Move to Berlin. Enter Germany visa-free for up to 90 days, officially register at an address (Anmeldung) and find suitable employment to apply for the Germany Work Visa.

  • Step 2 – Apply for the Germany Work Visa at the immigration office in Berlin. The immigration office will seek approval from the German Federal Employment Agency on your behalf.

  • Step 3 – Once approved, return to the immigration office in Berlin to have your Work Visa issued.

    STEP 1 – Move to Berlin, officially register at an address (Anmeldung) and find suitable employment to apply for the German Work Visa.
     

  • Once you land in Germany, you have 90 days to complete two key things before you can apply for the Germany Work Visa at the immigration office in Berlin:

  • Complete your Anmeldung in Berlin

  • To apply for a visa at the immigration office in Berlin, you must first have officially registered at an address in Berlin, a process that is known as Anmeldung. Without an Anmeldung certificate, your visa application will not be accepted.

  • If you are needing to register at an address in Berlin, then you may be interested in our Berlin Accommodation Package, which includes private studio accommodation and an Anmeldung service. With our support, we will get you registered within days of checking in to our accommodation.

  • Find a suitable job

  • As well as Anmeldung, you also need a job to apply for the Germany Work Visa.

  • Once you have completed your Anmeldung and landed a job, you are ready to move on to step 2 and apply for the Work Visa at the immigration office in Berlin.

    STEP 2 – Apply for the German Work Visa at the immigration office in Berlin

    What does your employer need to do?
     

  • In many countries, companies are put off employing international employees by the expensive fees associated with 'sponsoring' an employee. Fortunately, in Germany, there is zero cost to your employer when employing an overseas worker. Upon offering you a job, the process for your employer is extremely simple. All they are required to do is:

  • Issue you an employment contract which clearly states the role you will be working in, the number of hours a week you will be working and the salary you will receive.

  • Complete a job description form (Erklärung zum Beschäftigungsverhältnis) detailing your job terms.

  • Once your employer in Berlin has issued these documents, you then need to apply for a Work Visa at the immigration office in Berlin.

For more information, visit the link below:

All data provided by: https://www.nomadenberlin.com/germany-work-visa

Want to work in Berlin? Click here for information on all multi-lingual roles in Germany