Preparing Your Stay

What should someone know before moving to Berlin?

Before coming to Germany, you should prepare carefully, especially if you are not a citizen of the European Union. It is advisable to start obtaining any documents that may be necessary as soon as you have decided to come to Berlin. 

All non-EU citizens are required to get a residence permit, and some may also need a visa to enter the country. Visa requirements vary according to nationality, so check the rules that apply to your home country.

You will need to pay special attention to getting the correct documents for a residence permit, visa, etc. In general, it is much easier to obtain these documents while you are still in your home country than after your arrival in Berlin. Incomplete or incorrect documents will delay your visa application.

General documents
When you arrive in Germany, you will need to present different documents and personal records on several occasions to several institutions.

In general, you will need to bring the following:

  • Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD or other university certificates
  • Other relevant credentials (if applicable)
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)

Bring originals and copies of all documents. German authorities want to see originals and keep a copy for their records.
All documents not issued in English or German have to be translated. In addition, the correctness of the translation has to be confirmed (authenticated) by a German diplomatic or consular authority in your home country or, if you are already in Germany, by a certified translator in Germany.

For visa applications, check with the German diplomatic or consular authority in your home country to find out what documents are required. Please be aware that you will have to bring some of the above documents for family members who are accompanying you as well.