Moving to Germany from India - A Guide for Settling and Studying

Article reading time: 12 min. | 05. Sep 2023, written by Margherita Seppi
Tags India Germany Moving to Germany Studying in Germany studying abroad Indian students Migrating to Germany German visas

Are you dreaming of moving to Germany from India to study? Wondering how to make the move? You're in the right place! Our comprehensive guide will help demystify the process, providing step-by-step instructions. Let us be your trusted companion in this exciting new chapter of your life!

Requirements

Simplifying the requirements for moving to Germany from India

Before moving to Germany from India as an international student, it's crucial to understand and fulfil the requirements set by the German government.

That´s why we will start this article with summarising the requirements source by source, making sure you're equipped with the right information:

1. Visa Application

All Indian students require a visa to study in Germany. They categorize these into:

  • The Student Application Visa: You need this if you're still in the process of applying or are waiting for confirmation of admission from a German University.
  • The Student Visa: Once you've secured admission, you can apply for this. It's valid for three months, after which you need to obtain a residence permit for study purposes.

For more details, check the visa information provided by the German Embassy in India. [1]

If you still don´t know how university you should apply for, consider our International University of Appllied Science. IU, Germany's largest private state-accredited university, stands out with its commitment to providing flexibility in the learning journey.

Students have the option to study on campus, allowing them to benefit from a combination of online self-study and classroom learning alongside their peers for 2-3 days per week. Whether in Berlin or Bad Honnef, students can enjoy the complete international student experience. Furthermore, IU offers an 18-month post-study visa, enabling graduates to remain in Germany after completing their degree and seek employment to kickstart their global careers!

Naturally, we will be at your side at every stage of the process of moving from Germany to India: for example, we will send you the official letter of acceptance, needed in order to apply for the student visa. Check our FAQ page to get more information about our on campus studies!

2. Recognizing Your Qualifications

Your Indian university degree needs to be recognized in Germany. The Anabin database or the ZAB (Central Office for Foreign Education) hold the key to verifying whether your Indian university degree matches an equivalent German degree.

 Here's how you can access this information: 

  1. The Anabin Database: This comprehensive database allows you to check whether your degree is recognized in Germany. [2]
  2. Statement of Comparability from ZAB: The Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) can provide a Statement of Comparability for your foreign higher education qualifications. [3]

3. Health Insurance

All those wishing to study in Germany need to have health insurance coverage. This could be through a public German health insurance provider (like the trusted TK Health Insurance) or a private health insurance provider (like Feather).

More information can be found on the insurance requirements for the German student visa.[4]

4. Proof of Financial Resources

This is to ensure you can support yourself financially during your stay in Germany. One standard method is through blocking an amount in a German Bank, known as a Blocked Account. A minimum bank balance of €10,356 is usually required, or a scholarship covering the same amount.

For more detailed information, you can visit the German Embassy in India's website.[5]

Remember, this list is not exhaustive, and it's always recommended to cross-verify requirements from official German authorities or contact the embassy if you're unsure.

Once you have all these boxes ticked, you're one step closer to that enriching journey of studying in Germany! Are you excited yet? Because we are thrilled for you!

If you still don't know which university you should apply for, consider our International University of Appllied Science. IU, Germany's largest private state-accredited university, stands out with its commitment to providing flexibility in the learning journey.

Students have the option to study on campus, allowing them to benefit from a combination of online self-study and classroom learning alongside their peers for 2-3 days per week. Whether in Berlin or Bad Honnef, students can enjoy the complete international student experience. Furthermore, IU offers an 18-month post-study visa, enabling graduates to remain in Germany after completing their degree and seek employment to kickstart their global careers!

Naturally, we will be at your side at every stage of the process of moving from Germany to India: for example, we will send you the official letter of acceptance, needed in order to apply for the student visa. Check our FAQ page to get more information about our on campus studies!

How is the process

Process for moving to Germany from India

Now that we have summarised the basics, let´s delve deeper into your new adventure. Navigating the process of moving to Germany from India can be confusing, especially when it comes to visas and permits:

Step 1: Understanding Visas and Residence Permits

  • Visas are your initial ticket to becoming a German citizen. They allow you to enter and temporarily stay in the country.
  • Residence permits, on the other hand, provide more extended stays and options to work or study.

Step 2: Visa Application

Go to your local German embassy or consulate to apply. This includes scheduling a visa appointment, preparing your visa application, and patiently awaiting the results.

Step 3: Acquiring a Temporary Residence Permit

After arriving in Germany, switch from your study visa to a Temporary Residence Permit. This facilitates study, part-time work, and the post-study pursuit of employment.

Step 4: Applying for a Permanent Residence Permit

If settling permanently in Germany is your goal, the long term residence permit is a crucial step after a temporary residency period.

Woman with long curly hair holds a paper and is using a computer in a living room

Main types of German visas

When considering how to move to Germany from India, securing one of the following German visas is usually the initial course of action:

- Student Visa: Designed for those accepted into German universities like IU, the student visa allows you to reside in Germany for the duration of your academic program. It's crucial to secure and provide your university admission letter during the application process.

- Work Visa: Tailored for those aspiring to be part of the German workforce, the work visa is a perfect fit whether you're eyeing blue-collar jobs or corporate roles. With a valid job offer from a German employer, this visa unlocks your path to significant work experiences in Germany.

- Germany Job Seeker Visa: Offering a unique six-month window to explore job opportunities in Germany, the Job Seeker Visa is for those who believe in their skills and potentials but need some extra time to land the right job. Although you cannot work during these six months, it can open doors to a more permanent work visa later.

- EU Blue Card: Aimed at attracting skilled foreign professionals to boost its economy, the EU Blue Card is a prestigious work permit for those with an accredited degree and a job contract satisfying certain income requirements. Its holders enjoy several benefits, like faster track to permanent residency.

You can get more information on the German federal foreign office website. [6]

Young man wearing glasses is sitting using a computer

Temporary German Residence Permits

- Why Do You Need It: A temporary residence permit in Germany, also known as an "Aufenthaltserlaubnis," is, in essence, a document that gives non-EU nationals the right to reside in Germany. The purpose of your stay may be different, such as education, employment, or family reunification.

- When To Apply: As quoted from the German Federal Foreign Office [7], "As a rule, applicants must submit visa applications, together with all necessary documents, personally at the German mission responsible for their place of residence." Therefore, you should start your application process as soon as you have received your university admission letter.

- How To Apply: For your application, you'll need to fill out an application form and then schedule a visa appointment at your local German embassy or consulate. The process usually involves providing your admission letter, proof of financial resources, health insurance coverage, and a valid passport.

- Expected Waiting Period: As mentioned on the Federal Foreign Office’s website [8], the waiting period for an appointment and the processing time can take several months, so plan for ample allowance.

- After Arrival: Upon your arrival in Germany, you will have to register at the residents' registration office ("Einwohnermeldeamt") and the Alien's Office ("Ausländeramt"). You might have to extend your temporary residence permit, depending on the duration of your stay.

- Residence Permit for Work after Studies: If you wish to stay back after completing your studies, you can convert your residence permit into a permit for work. This will allow you to reside and work in Germany for 18 months after graduation.

Man wearing glasses and with tattoos, speaks on the phone on the street

German Permanent Residence Permits: How to settle permanently in Germany

After moving to Germany from India and living here for some time, you might start considering long-term plans. If you envisage your future in Germany, applying for a permanent residence permit (or a "settlement permit") can be a great step.

A German permanent residence permit offers unrestricted access to the job market and the freedom to engage freely in economic activities.

The general prerequisites for a permit in Germany are:

  1. Residence in Germany for at least five years with a temporary residence permit.
  2. Proof of secure livelihood, including sufficient income to support any dependents and have financial stability.
  3. Adequate knowledge of the German language (B1 German Language Certificate is often required).
  4. Basic knowledge of German law, society, and living conditions.
  5. Enough living space for you and your family.

For highly qualified individuals, such as highly skilled workers, scientists, teachers, and others in shortage occupations, it is possible to obtain a permanent residence permit straight away.

For university graduates, after successfully working in a job related to their studies for two years, they are eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit.

As an international student who has completed their studies at a German university, you are allowed to stay in Germany for up to 18 months to find a job in your field. If you secure a job within these 18 months, you can immediately apply for the German permanent employment residence permit visa.

The steps to apply for a permanent residence permit are no different from those for a residence permit. Schedule an appointment with the local Foreigner’s Office (Ausländerbehörde) to make your application in person. Fees generally range from €135 to €250.

For more detailed information, visit the official German Immigration portal. [9]

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Job opportunities

Job opportunities in Germany for Indian students

The job market for Tech and Business students in Germany

Germany, a leading powerhouse in the global tech industry, is experiencing an extraordinary surge in tech employment opportunities due to 'digitalization'. On the other hand, with over 3.5 million businesses, the German economy represents a robust business market catering to a myriad of industries.

Statistics from the Federal Employment Agency reveal that the demand for tech professionals in Germany increased by more than 25% in 2020 [10].

As a testament to Germany's inclusiveness, around 185,000 Indians are currently residing in Germany [11], with many successfully integrating into the job market and making their mark.

Tips for successful job searching in Germany

Job search platforms:

There are several job portals tailored for international students to find employment opportunities, such as Englischjobs.de and Monster.de, offering job listings in different sectors. LinkedIn is another valuable platform with comprehensive, location-oriented job listings in Germany.

CV preparation:

A German CV usually extends to two pages and includes a professional picture, detailed career history, education, and language proficiency. However, as an Indian candidate, ensuring that your CV adheres to the "Europass" standard could boost the acceptance rate.

Interview preparation:

Prepare concisely for interviews by familiarizing yourself with common interview questions and honing your self-presentation skills. Make sure to inquire about all the documents required from you.

Germany job seeker visa benefits:

A German Job Seeker Visa allows international professionals to stay in Germany for up to 6 months in pursuit of a job.

Whilst applying for jobs, remember, your ambition, combined with a strong academic background and practical skills, can give you a significant edge in the German job market.

For a more detailed and comprehensive guide on securing a job in Germany, you can refer to our highly-acclaimed blog post How to Get a Job in Germany.

Health Insurance

How to migrate to Germany from India: Obtain Health Insurance

The health insurance landscape in Germany is designed to ensure comprehensive coverage for everyone. As a student and resident in Germany, obtaining health insurance is mandatory. According to the German Insurance Association, there are two main types of health insurance:

1. Public Health Insurance or "Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung" (GKV): The public insurance scheme covers around 88% of the German population, including international students under the age of 30 or in their first 14 semesters.

2. Private Health Insurance or "Private Krankenversicherung" (PKV): Private insurance offers extensive coverage and quicker access to specialists. International students opt for private health insurance particularly when the compulsory coverage from public insurance no longer applies.

Comparison between GKV and PKV:

  • While the contributions for public health insurance are income-dependent and usually total around 15.7% of gross income, the rates for private insurance are based on an individual's health condition, age, profession, and chosen service package.
  • Unlike GKV, the PKV offers the possibility to include private medical treatments, single rooms during hospital stays, and treatments by chief physicians.
  • Public insurers typically cover a wide range of standard medical and dental treatments. However, private insurers often provide wider coverage, including overseas travel health insurance.

The importance of Personal Liability Insurance:

Personal liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung) in Germany is not obligatory but is strongly recommended. This policy covers you in situations where you accidentally damage someone's property or cause bodily harm. German law stipulates that individuals are liable for all damages caused to others, irrespective of whether it's done inadvertently or negligently.

When moving to Germany from India, students need to obtain appropriate health insurance that meets their needs. Considering personal liability insurance is also advisable for additional financial and legal protection.

Housing in Germany

Settling in Germany: Find a flat or a WG-Room

Finding accommodation is essential when moving to Germany from India. The options vary based on preferences, budget, and needs. From the bustling tech scene in Berlin to the serene charm of towns like Bad Honnef - where IU has its campuses - Germany offers diverse living experiences to suit every lifestyle.

Man wearing a checked shirt, smiles to the camera while holding a book

Short-term vs Long-term accommodation:

Short-term accommodation, primarily furnished rentals or serviced apartments, can be immensely handy when you first set foot in Germany. They require less paperwork, offer flexible contracts and are an ideal starting point as you get oriented.

Long-term accommodation options include unfurnished apartments and shared flats (WG). These accommodations often require a comprehensive application with documentation and provide an authentic taste of German living.

Guide to finding suitable accommodation:

1. Online Portals:

Numerous online platforms like WG-Gesucht, ImmobilienScout24, Housing Anywhere, and Wunderflats offer listings for both short and long-term accommodations.

2. University Notice Boards & Groups:

Bulletin boards at universities or social media groups can be good sources for accommodation offers, particularly shared flats or WG.

3. Housing Agencies:

In some cases, housing agencies ("Wohnungsbaugesellschaften") can be a beneficial route for finding long-term accommodation.

Tips and suggestions for housing hunting:

1. Early start:

The demand for affordable student housing is high in many German cities. Starting your search early could give you an edge.

2. Prepare for a competitive market:

In popular cities like Berlin, the housing market can be competitive. Prepare a compelling application and have the necessary documents ready.

3. Deposit budgeting:

Landlords often require a security deposit of up to three months' rent, bear this in mind while budgeting.

4. Consider location:

Given the higher living costs in larger cities like Berlin or Munich, you might want to look into residences in the city outskirts or nearby smaller cities which often have excellent public transport connectivity.

Remember, patience and persistence often pay off when seeking accommodations in Germany. If you want to find out more about the cost of accommodation in Germany, take a look at our detailed guide on the cost of studying in Germany.[13]

Bank account

Open a bank account, a necessary step to migrate to Germany from India

Managing your finances efficiently is an essential part of moving to Germany from India. For this purpose, having a local German bank account is crucial.

Not only does a local account make everyday life easier, but it is also often a requirement when signing a rental contract or receiving your salary for a part-time job. Additionally, utilities like internet, electricity, and health insurance premiums are usually processed through automatic bank transfers.

Comparing local vs online banking options:

1. Traditional Banks: Renowned national banks like Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, and Sparkasse offer in-person consultation, a wider network of local branches, and specific services for international students.

2. Online Banks: Online banks like N26 and Bunq offer quick, hassle-free account creation with English customer support, free Mastercards, no account management fees, and attractive perks like free ATM withdrawals worldwide.

The process of setting up a bank account:

Setting up a bank account in Germany is surprisingly swift, and the process normally includes:

1. Required documents:

Identification proof (your passport), German address, and if present, your German tax ID.

2. Registration:

Online banks allow immediate registration on their website/app. Traditional banks might require a personal visit or booked appointment.

3. Verification:

Known as "PostIdent" or "VideoIdent" procedure, it is a way to verify your identity either through an online video call with the bank or through a post office.

4. Account activation:

Once the account is verified, it is almost immediately activated.

Remember, while selecting your banking option, always check for varying factors such as banking fees, ATM withdrawal charges, and user convenience. Comparisons of bank services can be found in trustworthy sources such as DeutschesKonto.org info or ExpatGuide Germany.

German work and integration

Starting work in Germany: Administrative requirements

Get ready for your career in Germany by following our step-by-step guide to navigating the administrative procedures and requirements for working legally. We'll help you prepare for your professional venture in Germany. 

Step 1: Get a Work Visa or EU Blue Card

The first step towards legally working in Germany is procuring a work visa, a German job seeker visa or an EU Blue Card. This procedure was addressed in detail in our earlier section dedicated to visas. It’s essential to have a valid visa before you start working in the international tech or business sectors in Germany. This German Government's guide to Visas can provide extensive details should you need more information. [14]

Step 2: Obtain a German Tax Identification Number (Steueridentifikationsnummer)

Next, you will need a German Tax Identification Number, also known as a Steueridentifikationsnummer. This unique 11-digit number is issued by the German Federal Tax Office (Bundeszentralamt für Steuern) and is mandatory for every employee in Germany. Once you've registered your address (a process known as Anmeldung), the tax office will automatically send you your tax ID by post. For further information on the tax ID, you can refer to the official German Federal Tax Office portal.

Step 3: Secure Health Insurance

Health insurance (Krankenversicherung) is a vital requirement for working in Germany. Without adequate health coverage, you cannot legally commence your employment.

Step 4: Get a German Social Security Number (Sozialversicherungsnummer)

A German Social Security Number or Sozialversicherungsnummer is essential for starting work in Germany. It allows you to access social security benefits, including health insurance, unemployment insurance, and pension contributions. The social security number is usually obtained through your health insurance provider when you start your first job.[15]

Step 5: Set Up a German Bank Account

Finally, you will need a German bank account. Your employer will deposit your salary into this account. We've already discussed the best options for setting up a bank account in Germany in our banking section above.

Woman wearing glasses is using a laptop in a kitchen

German language skills: Your key to integration

Mastering the language when moving to Germany from India is highly advantageous. While English is spoken, having German proficiency enhances daily life and work experiences. Many jobs highly value German skills.

To validate and demonstrate your German language proficiency, you may need a German language certificate, should your job or the immigration office require it.

The most recognized certifications include:

  • The Goethe Institut's certificates, which range from level A1 to C2
  • The TestDaf certification, is often needed for university applications.

There are numerous ways to learn German, both online and offline.

  • If you enjoy learning in a classroom setting, many language schools offer German courses. The Goethe Institut, for instance, is a widely recognized cultural association offering German courses in India and Germany. They have centres in major Indian cities and also provide online courses.
  • If you prefer online learning, websites like Deutsch Welle offer comprehensive and free German lessons. Mobile applications such as Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone also offer flexible language learning on the go.

Adapting to life in Germany: Immerse and thrive

Moving to Germany from India is more than just a change of location; it's an exciting journey of cultural immersion, broadening your horizon, establishing new relationships, and setting yourself on a path of growth and development.

Understanding and adapting to German culture can be both exciting and challenging at the same time. Here are some sociocultural tips and key elements of German culture that you should be aware of to adjust smoothly to your new environment.

Respect for rules and regulations:

Germans value order and structure, which reflects in their daily routines, public services, and firm adherence to rules and laws. Be it traffic regulations, recycling rules, or work ethics. You can have a look at the official German site of the Federal Foreign Office for more detailed information about German rules and regulations. [16]

Punctuality:

Punctuality is considered a sign of respect in Germany. Being on time is expected in all circumstances, whether it's work, a meeting, or even a casual social gathering. Expect people to be on time, and ensure you do the same.

Formality:

Germans tend to be more formal than casual in most settings. At the workplace, use Mr or Ms followed by the surname unless instructed otherwise.

Socializing and networking:

Germans might come across as reserved initially, but they are friendly and helpful once you get acquainted. Participate in social occasions, get-togethers, and join clubs (known as 'Vereine') to meet new people and build a strong network.

Sustainability:

Germans are environmentally conscious and take recycling very seriously. Learn about the recycling system and try to follow it earnestly.

Public etiquettes:

Keep noise levels low, especially on public transport and residential areas, during the night and on Sundays when quiet hours (Ruhezeit) are often observed. Also, don't forget to acknowledge and greet people in places like shared workspaces, elevators, or local stores.

Healthcare:

Familiarize yourself with the healthcare system. Regular check-ups and preventive care are encouraged in Germany, and having a good understanding of your health insurance plan will keep you prepared for medical consultations or treatments.

Public transportation:

Public transportation in Germany is efficient and punctual. Explore public transport options in your city and consider getting a monthly or annual pass for daily commuting.

Moving to Germany from India with IU

Embarking on a new chapter of your life in Germany with IU is an exhilarating opportunity filled with endless possibilities. Are you ready to immerse yourself in a vibrant, multicultural environment and unlock a world of academic excellence and career prospects? Let IU be your guide on this unforgettable journey as you explore the exciting options that await you in Germany. Discover a range of study programs tailored to your passions and goals, from Business & IT to Software development. Whether you choose our on-campus locations in Berlin or Bad Honnef, IU offers a unique blend of online self-study and immersive classroom learning that adapts to your pace and preferences.

A Pathway to a Global Career:

• IU provides you with the tools and resources to excel academically, ensuring you are well-prepared for the competitive job market.

• Take advantage of our extensive network of industry connections, internships, and career development opportunities to kickstart your global career.

• With an 18-month post-study visa, you have ample time to explore job opportunities and gain valuable international work experience in Germany after graduation.

Join IU and make your dreams of studying, working, and living in Germany a reality!

Discover how IU can help you build the career you dream of

Leave your details to get more info about the university and our degree programmes 

FAQs

Is it good for an Indian to settle in Germany?

Yes, Germany can be an excellent option for Indians looking to settle abroad. With its robust economy, well-developed infrastructure, and high standard of living, Germany offers numerous opportunities for career growth, a safe and welcoming environment, and access to top-quality healthcare and education systems.

Is it hard for Indians to get a job in Germany?

While the job market in Germany can be competitive, Indians with sought-after skills and qualifications have good job prospects. Germany has a strong demand for professionals in various sectors, including engineering, IT, healthcare, and manufacturing. Fluency in German can often be an advantage, particularly for roles that require direct interaction with local customers or colleagues.

Can I transfer my job to Germany from India?

Transferring a job from India to Germany is possible, but it typically involves finding an employer who is willing to sponsor your work visa and facilitate the relocation process. Many multinational companies have branches or subsidiaries in Germany, which could potentially offer transfer opportunities for employees. It is advisable to research companies with a presence in both countries and explore internal transfer options or discuss the possibility with your current employer.

How many Indians move to Germany?

A significant number of Indians have chosen to move to Germany, with approximately 185,000 Indians currently residing in the country. The Indian community in Germany has been steadily growing, and many individuals have successfully integrated into the local job market, pursued higher education, and contributed to various fields such as science, technology, research, and entrepreneurship.

How can I get permanent residency in Germany from India?

To obtain permanent residency in Germany from India, certain criteria must typically be fulfilled. This includes having a valid residence permit, residing in Germany for a specified period (usually five years), demonstrating a basic knowledge of the German language (often through recognized language proficiency tests), and meeting specific integration requirements. Additionally, factors such as stable employment, financial stability, and adherence to German laws and regulations are also considered during the application process.

Are Indians eligible to work in Germany?

Yes, Indians are eligible to work in Germany, but they typically need a work visa or a residence permit linked to employment. The specific visa or permit required depends on various factors, including the nature and duration of the intended work, the employer's sponsorship, and compliance with German immigration regulations.

How much money do I need to migrate to Germany?

The amount of money needed to migrate to Germany can vary depending on individual circumstances. It is recommended to have savings of around €4,000 to €5,000 or more to cover initial expenses such as accommodation, living costs, and visa fees. The cost of living can vary depending on the chosen city or region in Germany, and it is advisable to research and plan accordingly to ensure a smooth transition and a comfortable settling-in period.

Can I go to Germany without a job?

It is possible to go to Germany without a job, but it is advisable to have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay while searching for employment. Having relevant skills and qualifications that are in demand in the German job market can significantly increase your chances of finding suitable employment. Networking, exploring job portals, attending job fairs, and utilizing online resources can help in identifying job opportunities and connecting with potential employers.

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