Documents you should bring with you when moving to Germany

Documents you should bring with you when moving to Germany

Documents you should bring with you when moving to Germany

If you’re moving to Germany, it might be difficult to decide what you should bring with you, especially if you are moving here temporarily to begin with. Once you have decided what to pack in your suitcase, don’t forget to bring these essential documents along with you as well - it will likely save you a bit of trouble if you have them to hand.

Your passport

It may seem like a simple thing: how could you forget such an important document? However, if you are travelling using an ID-card, you may not have your passport with you. You will need your passport to register, apply for a residence permit and much much more. It’s also useful to bring several passport-sized photos with you as well. 

If you plan on travelling to another country from Germany, you will also need a passport to travel outside of the EEA. Within the EEA, an ID-card issued by an EU country is a valid form of travel identification.

It’s important to note that those aged 16 or above should have a valid ID on them at all times. This is a requirement of residents of Germany. A passport is a valid form of ID. 

Birth certificate 

You will also need your birth certificate. Having a birth certificate around is very handy; if you lose your form of ID, you still have some kind of documentation confirming who you are. If you have children, don’t forget to bring their birth certificates too!

If your certificate is not in German or English, it helps to have a certified translation. Depending on your country of origin, you may also need to include an apostille or another form of legalisation. If you don’t have an apostille on your certificate, you can usually get one at the embassy in your home country - so don’t forget to sort that out before you move. 

Marriage certificate

If you are married, you will also need to provide proof at your registration appointment before you can receive a registration certificate. If you are divorced, you may need a certified copy of your divorce decree. 

If the certificates are not in English or German, you may also need to have them apostilled and translated by a certified translator. You can do this once you have arrived in Germany but, considering you are legally obliged to register within 14 days of arrival, it’s best to sort this out in advance. 

Bank statements or payslips

Another thing that many new arrivals in Germany need to do is prove that they have the financial means to support themselves for the duration of their stay. If you are studying in Germany, this might be a blocked bank account, or a written statement from your parents or a scholarship programme, showing that you have financial support. 

If you have a firm job offer, a work contract may suffice. Alternatively, payslips or account statements from your bank, either in Germany or abroad, can be used to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds.

Certificates of education

Whether you are here to study or not, it is a good idea to bring your diplomas along with you. You never know, a job prospect may ask to see evidence of your educational background, or maybe you want to take a particular course, and there are some prerequisites in terms of education level.

Whatever the reason, showing you have obtained certain educational diplomas will only come in handy, just don’t lose them! If you aren’t keen on the idea of bringing these documents to Germany physically, make sure you scan the original and keep a copy on your computer.

Your work contract or CV

Another important piece of evidence you will need to have handy is your work contract - if you have one. It may not be the most important thing to bring, but it will come in handy if you have any questions about how many vacation days you get and could help if there are any misunderstandings with your employer.

If you are trying to buy a house or move into rental housing, you may need to provide proof of income either via your work contract or a wage slip. So, in this case, having a work contract is extremely important.

If you are moving to Germany without a job, make sure your CV is up to date and well-written. This will ensure that your job search can begin almost immediately.

Rental contract

If you have already found accommodation, you will have a signed rental agreement and a proof of residence certificate. Bring these both to Germany, as they will be required at your registration appointment.

Proof of health insurance

Depending on your reason for coming to Germany, you may need to provide proof of health insurance as well. Residence permits are not issued until the applicant can prove that they have German cover. Students also need to provide proof of student health insurance before they can enrol at university

If you are coming to Germany to take up a job and your employment is subject to social security, you need to provide documentation of your current health insurance (e.g. a European Health Insurance Card - EHIC)

Copy of your medical records

The German healthcare system may be unfamiliar territory but prepare yourself as best you can by registering with a doctor as soon as you arrive and have sorted out your health insurance.

It may also be a good idea to bring a copy of your health records if you can, like vaccines you have received or surgeries you have had, especially if these records are non-transferable between countries. Often, such records are available at the GP in your home country.

Do you have any other tips on what documents to bring? Let us know in the comments!

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

Read more



Leave a comment