How to Open a German Bank Account

How to Open a German Bank Account

To open a German bank account is the first and the most important step that comes to your mind when you step foot on the German grounds. You need to arrange utilities and finances for a new home, basic groceries, a mobile connection and German insurance. All this can only be made possible only  if you have a German bank account.

Once you are in Germany and are all set to make your new bank account with the necessary funds, you would want to do some research as to where you want to open your bank account. A thing about Germany is that it has more banks than heads in the country so you definitely have a wide variety to choose from. For the starters, the German banking system is made of 3 main pillars that are –

  • Private Commercial Banks
  • Public Savings Banks
  • Cooperative Banks

The Deutsche Bundesbank is the National Central Bank of Germany whereas the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority is the regulator of the country’s banking and financing services.

Types of Accounts in German Banks

Current Account (Girokonto)

A current account in Germany is some what like a basic account. With this account, you can receive payments and salaries and pay off bills. A lot of banks in Germany offer general current accounts and special current accounts for students and youngsters.

Savings Accounts (Sparkonto)

A Sparkonto account is usually opened alongside a Girokonto account because that allows you to save money and earn interest on it. Interest rates in Germany are way lower than interest rates in most other countries but saving an extra buck is always beneficial!

How to Open a Bank Account

German banking laws are pretty strict when it comes to admiting a new bank account holder. While most of the EU nationals will have absolutely no problem with getting a bank account, a non-EU national is going to face a few hardships. Non- EU nationals have to prove their registration by producing a German Work Permit. If you do not have a financial history in Germany, you might have to struggle a little in order to get somewhere with a bank account. If you are new to Germany, it is always advisable to personally head to the German bank branch and present your documentation.

The documentation includes: –

  • A valid passport/ photo id with German Residence Permit.
  • Address proof.
  • Evidence of Income and financial history in Germany.
  • Proof that you are a student if you are opening a student account such as college id.
  • SCHUFA credit rating.

To add on to this, you must prove your identity online or at a post office nearby.

Conclusion

Setting up life in Germany from scratch can be a task but once you have these banking guidelines in hand, it gets super easy at least when it comes to financing. We hope you have got an idea of how the German Banking System works and what you need to do in order to open a German bank account.

Read more about top job websites in Germany here.

 

How to Apply for a German Work Visa

How to Apply for a German Work Visa

Considering the low unemployment rates and the career opportunities Germany has to offer, it is an ideal location for job seekers to try their hand at getting employed. People internationally would love to join the German workforce for the amount of benefits they gain once they get a job in Germany.

A few people get lucky and get to enter Germany freely. These people start looking for a job only after they are in Germany, while the others have to go through the normal process of getting themselves a visa to enter the country for work purposes.

If you ask any non-EU national about their experience with their work visa applications. You’re sure to hear a dozen of horror stories. In this article, we will tell you exactly what you need to do in order to get your German work visa granted without any hassle.

How to Get a German Work Visa

First things first, if you need a work visa to enter Germany, you need to have a job offer/ contract to get your visa issued upon. After that apply with all the other necessary documents in order to get your Work visa approved.

Next in line, you have to produce a list of documents to obtain the visa. The documents are: –

  1. Standard German Visa Documents
  2. A properly signed document wherein you have been hired by your future employer.
  3. A Certificate of Health Insurance.

Every individual who wishes to seek a job in Germany and belongs to another country, needs to have a residence permit in order to go ahead with the visa application process.

The Process

The process of work visa application in Germany is very simple. You have applied for the work visa from a German embassy closest to your home with all the necessary documents. Next thing in line is getting your future employer into the picture. All the employer has to do is provide the German government with proof which says that the work you are undertaking cannot be done by a German national. About 75 Euros fee will be charged for the visa application.

Towards the end of it a small interview round will help the authority know why you are going to Germany. If the work visa application gets rejected, fee amount is not reimbursed. The duration of your German work visa is valid only up to one year from the date of visa approval. Work visa can be re-apply forrenewed the minute it gets expired.

Conclusion

Working in Germany surely comes with its perks, doesn’t it? A highly skilled professional who believes he can get a job Germany, shouldn’t  let the visa application process scare him. This article contains everything that will let you ace the visa application process with ease. Giving you a sure shot visa to get the job you’ve been longing for!

Also read about other general visa and its requirements here. Read more about the perfect German CV format here to get your CVs ready for Germany.

5 Interesting aspects of German Life you didn’t know

5 Interesting aspects of German Life you didn’t know

Germany is the second most popular country in the world for immigration. Every year thousands of migrants come to Germany for better life. People with different nationalities, religions, educations, and professions made Germany the cultural mosaic. Be it a student or a professional Germany can open up better avenues for education as well as quality lifestyle for family with security, health assurance, clean environment and lots of leisure time. Here is a list of 5 key German life aspects and reasons which could be a destination of your choice.

Germany is the second most popular country in the world for immigration. Every year thousands of migrants come to Germany for better life. People with different nationalities, religions, educations, and professions made Germany the cultural mosaic. Be it a student or a professional Germany can open up better avenues for education as well as quality lifestyle for family with security, health assurance, clean environment and lots of leisure time. Here is a list of 5 key reasons it could be a destination of your choice.

 1. Hanging lost items in trees

Germans are customarily friendly and helpful than other European nations where people usually keep to one. German people really tend to look out for one another and value them. If you happen to drop your hand glove in a cold winter and retrace your steps searching for it, or even after a week, you will very likely find it hung on a branch of a tree. It’s a common practice to hang lost items on trees or sign post where they will be easily visible when the owner comes backs. Most walkways and trails are decorated in this way and no one would dare take your stuff as their own. So when you find something, hang it up so it can be reunited with its owner.

2. Speak to the Government officials with utmost respect

It is always advisable to be polite when interacting with Police or Government officials in any country, when it comes to Germany, the laws get more specific with regards to the decorum of behavior. When speaking to Polizei, they have be addressed with a formal, ‘Sie’ and not informa , ‘Du’. If you fail to do so, it could result in criminal punishment and fines upto 600Euros as its illegal to do so. This policy applies for all German civil servants.

3. Free body Culture, an uncanny level of comfort with nudity

If you are in Germany and someone strikes a conversation with you in his or her birthday suit don’t be taken aback.  Germans are very comfortable with nudity and don’t think much of going au naturel. Germany, nudism is known as Freikoerperkultur (FKK), Free Body Culture. When you travel there, you’ll see that baring all is normal in saunas, swimming pools, and the park and on the beach.

Forget sausages and beer, the sign of true German-ness is publicly disrobing with absolutely zero self-consciousness. Summer in the parks of Berlin and Munich brings the chance of encountering a middle-aged, bronzed German wearing only a hat and performing hour long naked dance called the knackarschwiese in German, as a means of commemorating the start of summer each year.

4. No need to Queue but follow your place in a mass

In Germany, you will seldom find a machine that requests or gives out tokens for numbers neither you will find queues in which you need to stand and wait when at the bakery or butches shop. It’s strange but orderly as you just stand in a mass and know who is in front or you and who is behind you. You just have to go when the person ahead is done, in case you don’t know your place the rest of the crowd will surely let you know. If someone tries to barge in before his or her turn in front of you, just shout hallo and wave your hand in front of your face. This indicates that you saw the person cut, the rest of the mass will stare and look down on the offender, and it shames the person back into waiting for their turn.

5. No one is allowed to be hateful

Following the events of the Second World War, the country decided freedom of expression was less important than dealing with the harrowing events of the 1930s and 40s. As a result, flags of hateful, extremist ideologies like Nazis and Daesh are banned in Germany, and displaying them is punishable by up to three years in prison. Germany takes this kind of act seriously – understandably.

Conclusion

There is more to a country than the factors that influence quality of life, like political stability, a strong economy, environmental awareness, a good education system, seamless public transport and that is the culture, deeply rooted into the lives of the people. German way of life is special and if you are planning to move to Germany  this blog will help you open up to the quintessential ways of German lifestyle and adapt to them.

To understand the Germany culture better, do have a look here.

5 Good Reasons to move to Germany

5 Good Reasons to move to Germany

Germany is the second most popular country in the world for immigration. Every year thousands of migrants come to Germany for better life. People with different nationalities, religions, educations, and professions made Germany the cultural mosaic. Be it a student or a professional Germany can open up better avenues for education as well as quality lifestyle for family with security, health assurance, clean environment and lots of leisure time. Here is a list of 5 key reasons to move to Germany.

Germany is the second most popular country in the world for immigration. Every year thousands of migrants come to Germany for better life. People with different nationalities, religions, educations, and professions made Germany the cultural mosaic. Be it a student or a professional Germany can open up better avenues for education as well as quality lifestyle for family with security, health assurance, clean environment and lots of leisure time. Here is a list of 5 key reasons it could be a destination of your choice.

Germany gives you good healthcare options

According to WHO Germany’s Healthcare system is ranked on number 5 in top 10 healthcare system rankings. Germany has a universal healthcare system, meaning that everyone can receive healthcare treatment. People in Germany live 2-3 years longer on an average as compared to people in the west. If you plan to move and start living in Germany, you have to get health insurance. You can choose to take it from the public health system that covers around 90%of German residents or with a private company.

Working hours in Germany are shorter than in any other developed nation.

In Germany Businesses and shops can stay open only unto legally permitted hours. Hence a working in Germany means spending fewer hours at your desk as compared to other countries. Average working week in Germany is less than 48 hours a week and paid leave of 25 days on an average per year is applicable for any employee across Germany. There are also 10-13 public holidays per year in Germany, depending on which state you choose to live. So get ready to spend more family, personal time and sweat fewer hours at your workplace.

46 World heritage sites that you can visit, all in one country.

Whenever you feel like taking a break from your everyday life, apart from multiple leisure activities, you can choose from over 46 world heritage sites to explore. From the Black Forest, the Alps, countless gorgeous towns and most beautiful beaches, Germany has more than 2500 castles and miles and miles of hiking trails. Listing a few of them: Messel Pit Fossil Site, Wadden Sea, Wartburg Castle, Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps, Town of Bramburg etc. If you like long drives, you will enjoy driving on Germanys Autobahn (Highway system) 75% of which has no speed limit.

Public Transport in Germany is more than just efficient.

Germany like many Western European countries has one of the best public transport systems. The fastest and vastly used is the Rapid transit system involving five U-Bahn systems covering the city center and thirteen S-Bahn systems that operate underground in the city center and over ground towards the suburbs. Most big cities like Munich and Berlin have integrated Buses, trams, U-Bahn (underground subway) trains and S-Bahn (suburban trains) into a single network. Fares are determined by zones or time travelled, sometimes by both. A day pass or mutli-ticket offers a better value and must be stamped upon boarding in order to be valid.

German food and drink culture will make you feel at home.

When in Germany you need not worry about familiarizing with the German cuisine as it pretty simple and satisfying. Indulge yourself in some good hearty meals such as pork, beef and poultry in that order, usually pot-roasted or as sausages. Breakfast usually comprises variety of breads, marmalades and spreads along with various cheeses. If you are a vegetarian, fresh vegetable along with potatoes is easy choice along with some good cheeses and sauerkraut, a national delicacy. Beer is very common throughout all parts of Germany, with many local and regional breweries producing a wide variety of beers. It is generally not very expensive and of good quality.

Conclusion

Germany is a beautiful and diverse country to work and stay. With good healthcare, work hours regulations, good infrastructure and food and drink culture, Germany has so much to offer. No matter what your interest is, you will be able to find something to do in Germany.

To understand how you can get a visa to Germany and what are the categories available, do have a look here.

 

Understanding the German culture better

Understanding the German culture better

Germany is one of the oldest countries in the world with a rich German culture. It was unified in 1871 and has been home to a beautiful culture, heritage, and history ever since then. The German way of life is exciting.

Everything from German art, literature, language and life itself has its uniqueness. It is one of the most powerful and influential European countries of the world both culturally and economically. Its influence is vast, and German culture is a fascinating study in itself.

 Language

German is the most commonly spoken language in Germany and is also the official language. Along with English and French, it is one of the three working languages of the European Union.

Along with German, there are also several minority languages spoken in Germany. These include Danish, Sorbian, North Frisian, and Saterland Frisian. As far as immigrant languages, the most used ones are Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish, Polish, Russian, and Balkan languages. While German is the language most associated with German culture, part of Germany’s culture appreciates other languages.

German has around 100 million people who are native speakers around the world, plus 80 million non-native speakers, although this figure fluctuates.

History

Germany’s vibrant history has influenced German culture and shaped it. Germany was once as a vital part of the Holy Roman Empire. Later, it became one of the most stable economies in the world. Berlin is its capital, but Hamburg, Munich, and Cologne are also among the main cities of Germany.

The estimates read that the average woman in Germany lives for around 83 years. The average man lives 79 years. The main religion is Christianity.

Over 95% of the residents of Germany speak the German language and can include standard German or any of its other dialects. However, the German state has recognised four minority languages. These are the Upper and Lower Sorbian, Romani, Danish as well as North and Saterland Frisian.

The German history is also muddled up in the World wars and Germany fought two of them, World War I and World War II. As a result of the second world war, there were two parts of Germany; East Germany and West Germany.

Dressing

The average German dress is typically western. Both men and women wear dark simple suits and shirts in the business context. However, each region of the country has its traditional costumes, which differ a bit from one another. In the state of Bavaria, the traditional attire for men is leather trousers that end just above the knee.

For women, it is a dress that incorporates a bodice, blouse, full skirt, and an apron. You can see people wearing these costumes, especially during carnivals or festivals. The transitional dress is an integral part of German culture.

German history and culture have influenced German attire. Germany had been home to many socio-political movements. Much of the cultural attire is a result of these movements. For instance, the stereotype that Germans drink a lot of beer came out from the social-political meetings that they had.

Bavaria and Munich focus more on Germany’s famous alpine and beer culture. Here the beer is traditionally served in a 1-litre mug. Historically, both Munich and Bavaria were capitals of the socio-political movements that had begun. Munich was where the Weimar Republic in Germany ended.

Festivals

If you’ve been to Oktoberfest, which are celebrated all over the world, you’re familiar with lederhosen and dirndls. Lederhosen, which means “leather trousers” in German, is the short, leather pants worn by men. These are usually knee-length and historically worn by working-class German men. The dirndl is a ruffled apron dress worn by German women. It consists of a bodice, or blouse, and a skirt.

In the 19th century, the dirndl was the standard uniform of servant girls. Today it is mostly worn in Bavaria and Austria, and like lederhosen, usually for celebration. Each of these garments is a type of tract, which historically was used to help identify people as members of special status (social, political or otherwise). In German culture, festivals and dress style intertwine together.

The annual Oktoberfest is Europe’s most visited festival and the world’s largest fair. Germany’s south-western regions, however, are well known for their wine growing areas (e.g. Rheinhessen and Palatinate). Bad Dürkheim on the ‘German Wine Route’ (Deutsche Weinstraße) organises the most significant wine festival worldwide with over 600,000 visitors annually.

Please see our article here on some of the best fall festivals in Germany.

Social Norms

Germans place a high priority on structure, privacy, and punctuality. The German people embrace the values of thriftiness, hard work and industriousness. There is an excellent emphasis on making sure that “the trains run on time”.

Germans are stoic people who strive for perfectionism and precision in all aspects of their lives. They do not admit faults, even jokingly, and rarely hand out compliments. At first, their attitude may seem unfriendly, but there is a keen sense of community and social conscience and a desire to belong.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent German Reunification in 1990 are the most significant events of recent German history. “German Unification Day”, celebrated on 3 October is a national holiday.

The German symbols have changed through different phases in history alongside the events that have shaped its culture and traditions. The eagle was part of the Holy Roman Empire, which after Prussia’s victory over Austria in 1886 has been shared by two different states.

Martin Luther and luminaries as Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottfried von Herder, and Johann Wolfgang Goethe are also essential figures and very contentious symbols. Today the most known symbol of the country is it’s black, red and gold flag, symbolising the unification and the struggle of German history.

Architecture

The country has gone through a tumultuous history, the signs of which are evident in its rich and diverse architecture. Its palaces, castles, cathedrals, and monuments best tell the story of Germany. Amphitheatres, spas and Roman bridges are part of the ancient architecture and the civilisation that bloomed in the territory that today is Germany.

The pre-romanesque architecture consists of churches as the Abbey Church of Saint Michael’s that dates back to the beginning of the 10th century. Whereas, during the Romanesque period, a lot of cathedrals were built, which have survived through time until today.

Germans have a strong tradition of printmaking by woodcut and engraving. There is also a strong representation of all phases of architecture — including Romanesque, Gothic, Classicist, Baroque, Rococo and Renaissance — represented in cathedrals, castles and public buildings.

Cuisine

Germans love sumptuous, hearty cuisine. Each area of Germany has its definition of what a traditional meal is supposed to look. Pork is the most consumed meat, and Saumagen (pork stomach) are a couple of traditional pork dishes.

Cabbage, beets, and turnips are commonly incorporated into meals, as they are native to the region. Potatoes and sauerkraut are also stars of German cuisine. One of the most important aspects of German culture is their food, and they sure love to eat it.

Pork, beef, and poultry are the most common types of meat eaten in Germany. Throughout all of Germany, sausage form is the most common way of consuming meat. There are more than 1500 different types of sausage produced in Germany. Organic food is also becoming popular.

In Germany, breakfast is usually the most important meal, and dinner is the smallest meal. Breakfast is typically different pieces of bread and rolls with toppings like sweet jams or honey. Breakfast can also be cold cuts and cheese.

Because Germany is home to many immigrants, ethnic foods are also popular. Germany has adopted foreign dishes into its usual fare. International food chains are also common in larger cities.

Music

Germans have made tremendous contributions to classical music. The traditions of famous German and Austrian composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Richard Wagner, and Gustav Mahler live on today. This rich history of musical excellence is still an essential part of German culture today.

Germany is also home to more modern music as well. The country has had a strong influence on techno and rock music, and trance music pioneers in Germany. Many German bands are famous around the world, like Tokio Hotel, Rammstein, and Nena. Famous international film composer Hans Zimmer was also born in Germany.

Germany hosts many music festivals every year. These include the Rock am Ring festival, M’era Luna Festival, and Wacken Open Air.

Movies

Cinema has been an essential staple of German culture for many years. The German studio Babelsberg Film Studio is the oldest large-scale film studio in the world, having been founded in 1912. The very first major German sound film was The Blue Angel in 1930, directed by Josef von Sternberg and brought world fame to actress Marlene Dietrich.

The Nazi era even had its share of filmmaking, as Nazi propaganda films were incredibly popular. During the 1070s and 1980s, West German film became popular due to directors such as Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders.

Religion

Just over half of Germany’s population adheres to some form of Christianity. 30% are Roman Catholic, and another 29% are Protestant. Protestantism is more prevalent in the north and east, while the south and west are majority Catholic. Some cities have a non-religious majority.

After the Holocaust, the Jewish population dropped significantly but is steadily increasing. The German Jewish community now has about 100,000 members. There is also a substantial Muslim minority, primarily from Turkey.

Sports

Sports are incredibly popular in Germany. 27,000,000 Germans are members of a sports club. Football (called soccer in the United States) is the most popular sport.

The German Football Association is the largest sports organisation of it’s kind worldwide. The Bundesliga is Germany’s professional football league. Other popular sports are handball, volleyball, basketball, ice hockey, and tennis.

Motorsports are also very popular in Germany. Many racers and winning teams come from Germany. Germany’s auto industry also participates heavily in German car racing. Germany has also historically been a contender in many different Olympic Games events.

Conclusion

One article could not possibly wholly educate you about German culture. However, this article has armed you with the basics you need to know. The best way to learn about a culture is by immersing yourself in it.

Go out into Germany, wherever you live, and breathe in the culture however you can. Join a sports club, delve deeper into the language, or attend a music festival. These vast experiences will help shape your fantastic experience in Germany.

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