May 2024: 9 changes affecting expats in Germany

May 2024: 9 changes affecting expats in Germany

In the glorious month when Feiertage are aplenty and spring really starts kicking, there are taxation, public transport and work-related changes coming to Germany. Here’s what you need to know!

1. Plane tickets will get more expensive

Buying a ticket for flights from German airports is set to get more expensive from May 2024, thanks to the German government’s decision to increase the Luftverkehrsabgabe tax. 

Once the law is introduced, tickets for a flight leaving from a German airport will be more expensive, but by how much will depend on the destination. 

If you are flying within Germany, or to another EU member state, the German government will charge each passenger ticket 15,53 euros, up from the current 12,73 euros. For trips further afield, more than 6.000 kilometres, tickets will be taxed 70,83 euros per head rather than 58,06 euros.

The tax increase comes as part of the government’s wider efforts to plug the 17-billion-euro hole that emerged in the 2024 budget after Germany’s constitutional court ruled the original budget plan illegal for redistributing unused coronavirus funds to its climate transformation fund (KTF). Alongside another fiscal adjustment in the aviation sector, the new ticket tax rates are expected to bring in an additional 445 million euros in tax revenue.

2. Deutsche Bahn route app to be scrapped

From May 2, Deutsche Bahn will no longer offer passengers its Streckenagent “route agent” app. Instead, the features available on the app, which notifies train passengers of delays and cancellations, will be integrated into the DB Navigator app, which can also be used to book trains, store tickets and check live connection updates for local, regional and long-distance trains.

This is important news for anyone who purchased their Deutschlandticket via the Streckenagent app, since subscriptions for the 49-euro ticket on the app will automatically be cancelled on April 30. Affected passengers can re-activate their subscription on the DB Navigator app.

3. Biodiesel will go on sale

Petrol stations in Germany will soon be able to sell alternative, more environmentally-friendly fuels to drivers. XLT, HVO and B10 are the three biodiesels which will be made available to consumers in May, but drivers should research the different types of fuel before purchasing to make sure they are compatible with their vehicles.

HVO fuel, short for hydrogenated vegetable oil, is produced from waste cooking oils and produces up to 90 percent less carbon dioxide than fossil fuel diesel.

4. Wage increases for nursing home employees

Elderly and long-term care nurses in Germany are set to get a pay rise in 2024. The minimum wage in the field will increase for nurses without a qualification (to 15,50 euros per hour), nursing assistants (to 16,50 per hour) and nursing professionals (to 16,50 per hour).

In the grips of a nationwide, record-breaking worker shortage, the nursing sector is one of the worst affected industries. With just 5 million nursing staff currently working in Germany and an ageing population, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) estimates that the country will need between 280.000 and 690.000 more carers by 2049.

5. BVG to ban bringing e-scooters on board

From May 1, passengers using services run by the local transport association in Berlin, the BVG, will no longer be able to bring e-scooters on board. The rule will apply on U-Bahns, trams and buses but not on S-Bahn trains, which are run by Deutsche Bahn.

Similar rules already apply to public transport services in Leipzig and Munich.

6. Swiss speeding tickets will be valid in Germany

German drivers will no longer be able to speed away from traffic violation fines in Switzerland. From May 1, Switzerland and Germany will enter an agreement authorising Swiss police to enforce speeding fines even once drivers have crossed the northern border.

German drivers caught speeding in Switzerland will now have to pay any fine over 70 euros, but given that Swiss speeding fines are expensive, even a minor infraction could amount to a fine of over 70 euros. The new rules will also apply to Swiss drivers in Germany.

7. Doctorate titles will be scrapped on IDs

In February the German government announced that it would withdraw the possibility for citizens to add their doctoral title to their passport or ID.

These new rules will apply from May 1, after which anyone with a title in Germany will still be able to add their title to their passport, but only on a separate page from the main identification information. 

Anyone who already has a passport or ID card that has their title on it will still be able to use the same document until it is no longer valid.

8. Meta will keep AI content online

Instead of removing content that it deems to have been created using AI, from May, Meta platforms Facebook, Instagram and Threads will keep AI-generated content online and label it with a warning.

The media giant has said that, from July, it will only remove content it believes to have been made with AI if it “determine[s] that digitally-created or altered images, video or audio create a particularly high risk of materially deceiving the public on a matter of importance”. 

9. Public holidays in May

People living and working in Germany can look forward to having the following days off, or enjoy 125 percent more pay if they are working on any of the public holidays in May!

May in Germany

Whether you're taking to the streets in protest or basking in the expected sunshine this Wednesday, we hope you have a great 1. Mai and rest of the month!

Thumb image credit: Anton Gvozdikov /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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