Useful Links for Expats in Germany
The following links and resources for expats in Germany are provided to offer an extension of topics which may not be covered in detail on this site.
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CurrencyFair began as an answer to expats looking for a cheap, reliable and simple way to move money to and from their new countries. Their platform uses peer-to-peer transfers, with a transparent and low fees structure which can save up to 80% compared to bank rates. Need to transfer Euro to your home country and vice-versa? Using the link or icon on this page, readers get their first 3 transfers for free!
Transferwise offers a similar service to CurrencyFair but with a slightly different fees structure. In most cases, especially for smaller amounts, CurrencyFair usually has better fees. However, Transferwise offers the possibility to send a greater range of currencies and therefore may suit users wishing to send money outside of Western Europe, North America and Australia.
MieterEngel is a godsend to anyone struggling with a difficult landlord. Their service offers swift legal support and advice for an annual flat fee of €79 (or €109 for the premium version). The premium version also includes 2 written letters to the landlord, making it a no-brainer considering German lawyers’ rates! Not to be mistaken for legal insurance, which just provides an umbrella to cover your legal fees. MieterEngel removes the hassle of finding a lawyer and waiting for an appointment.
N26 is an App-based bank with a slick interface. Accounts can be opened in a matter of minutes and the account itself is completely free to use without conditions (just pay something into it within the first 90 days). Their Mastercard does not have forex commissions for non-Euro based transactions. But the best part for expats? The whole interface can be used in English if you wish!
SteuerGo.de – The easy way to do your tax return in Germany is the first English language platform which enables you to submit a German tax return. You can use it completely free to try it out. Only at the point of submission you have to pay a €24.95 fee. Several hundred Euro cheaper than using a tax advisor!
CHECK24 offers an energy comparison website to compare electricity costs. Enter your postcode and your estimated annual usage. Savings of up to several hundred Euro a year are possible, especially for larger households.
CHECK24 also offers a comparison service for Home Internet, which enables you to select based on certain criteria. A great example of this is to filter out all of those offers which have a minimum 2-year fixed contract term if you are worried about committing this length of time.
CHECK24 also offers a comparison for rental cars. I personally use this service every time I rent a car at airports when I go on holiday, and have done since 2010. Their interactive filter allows you to select certain prerequisites, such as full / full fuel policy and no insurance excess, to avoid common rental car rip-offs.
Freenet Mobile has one of the clearest, most simple tariff structures for SIM-only mobile phone deals. They have 3 tariffs each on both pre-paid and contract plans for both all-inclusive as well as data-only plans. Freenet also has the advantage of using the Vodafone network. Most of the cheapest mobile phone deals you will find use the O2 / ePlus network, which has the worst coverage nationwide.
FlixBus offers value-for-money long distance bus travel throughout Germany and neighbouring European countries. If you’re on a budget and journey time is not an issue, this is a very cheap alternative to taking the train or a domestic flight.
LingoKing offers professional translations from and to many different languages, with a clear and transparent quotation structure. Also specialise in providing notarised translations of legal documents, such as qualifications and marriage certificates, which will satisfy German bureaucratic requirements. Calculate the price for your certified translation now.
BlaBlaCar is an App-based ride-sharing service which matches travellers with drivers to offer low rates on intercity travel. Their platform also offers ladies-only ride matching as well as a review system to check out drivers or passengers, before agreeing to ride with someone, or take someone as a passenger.
RentIndicator – This site shows the average rent price in any given district of a number of European cities, including Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich and Cologne. The cool thing is that it also offers data for rooms in shared housing, not just whole apartments. This is something which could provide real value if the site scales to offer. I was speaking to the site’s founder, Luca, and he confirmed that he is adding new cities weekly as the site grows.
Wohnaroo – A free listing site for apartments and sublet room rentals in Berlin. Choose from a dozen filters and browse the live map view to quickly find the perfect home. Created by a German-American and fellow expat.
Welcome Center Germany – An informational platform that works with expats by assisting them in their relocation from all over the world to Germany, based in Berlin.
Living In Stuttgart – Site by Stuttgart native Mel, dedicated to tips for foreigners on life and travel in and around Stuttgart.
Life In Düsseldorf – Site by Canadian expat and travel blogger Jenna Davis, based in Düsseldorf who also featured on a guest post on this site. Lots of great content for those looking to settle in the area, as well as more general Germany-wide topics.
Lost in Leipzig – Site by Irish expat Dave, long-term resident of the eastern German city of Leipzig. Lots of great content for those looking to settle in the area, from apartment hunting through to nightlife and day trips in the local area.
Holiday In Germany – Site by German expat Nadja, who lives in the UK and is promoting Germany through her website as a great tourist destination for active holidays (couldn’t agree more!). I’m trying to convince her that organising cycling tours to breweries in Franconia is a great business venture…
General Expat Related Sites
Toytown Germany – Forum for expats in Germany, offering discussion forum for tips and advice, as well as meet-ups and classified ads.
Expat Focus – General resource for the worldwide expat community, specialising in offering a portal for health insurance and currency exchange quotations as well as an expat forum to post questions
Expat Exchange – Very similar in its offerings to Expat Focus.
Expat site covering a broad spectrum of services as well as a frequently visited expat forum (at least for the Expats in Germany forum there are frequent visitors)
Expat site specifically dedicated to expat blogs, from virtually every corner of the world. With lots of interviews with expats who have blogs.
Directory of expat blogs giving direct experience of life in a number of different countries worldwide. The link directs you to the Germany page!