Word on the street is that the Bürgerämter are suddenly accepting postal registrations of address (Anmeldungen). Whoa! This is a big step forward, right? Well, sort of. If you’re new in Berlin, it won’t apply to you. Here’s why.
Category Archive: Moving to Berlin
There are some buzz words whirling around in Germany’s capital city. Mietendeckel (rental ceiling). Mietspiegel (rental index). Mietpreisebremse (rent freeze). These are three different concepts, but I’d like to go through the most recent development, the Mietendeckel. You might be paying too much rent and you might be entitled to a reduction. So let’s get started.
Moving to a new country is scary. But then you realise you’ve just violated an unspoken cultural rule and now everyone is judging you. If you’re in Germany, it’s not even silent judging, it’s excruciating public directness. Here are seven of the most common mistakes made by first-timers in Berlin and how to avoid making them!
Congratulations on purchasing property in Germany! You’ve probably sat through the read-through at the notary’s office by now, and if your German isn’t terrific, chances are you had an interpreter tag along to help you out. Now the bank wants proof that you understand the loan documents before they pay out. What’s the easiest and most cost-effective way to get the money rolling?
Buying an apartment in Germany is an experience all in itself. Once the contract is signed, there’s an extra special perk: membership in the German home owner’s association for your particular building. You might know it as the “body corporate”, “condominium corporation”, “strata council” or “commonhold” in other countries. Once you’ve bought an apartment in Germany, you’ll come to know it fondly as the “WEG”, that is, the “Wohnungseigentümergemeinschaft”. So… what exactly will you be getting yourself into? How does it work? And will you ever get out alive?
Life admin – it’s something everyone has to deal with. Correspondence, finance, tax, registration forms, paying bills, etc. It’s so necessary and so painful. And in a foreign language? Excruciating. Getting the answers you want feels like banging your head against a brick wall. It’s hard to talk to customer service without getting shut down for not speaking German. The credibility of replies on English-language social media forums is questionable at best. Lately, I’ve been getting all sorts of requests for help with expat life admin tasks, things like “can I pay you to sort out this billing issue?”, “I got a scary letter from the Finanzamt, can you help me understand it?” or “Can you find me a medical specialist who speaks English?” I can, I can and I can! Introducing Life Admin from Red Tape Translation.
Hello friends and supporters, welcome to the new year in Germany. Enjoy the occasional thick and fluffy snow and when things get a bit slippery and scary on the icy streets, grab yourselves a pair of Yaktrax traction cleats – you won’t regret it. I spent some time abroad in the southern hemisphere facilitating valuable synergies (ie. visiting the fam in Australia). There, I received my yearly fix of Vitamin D, which is important for getting through February in Berlin.
Every now and then, you fall in love with Germany. Or maybe it’s person who just happens to live in Germany. Whichever it is, time is running out and you want a way to stay as long as you can. You don’t even really care how, as long as it’s legal. Or perhaps you just need to buy some time between your Schengen Visa running out and you figuring out what happens next. I know the feeling very well, so this post is for you.
Cold beer, warm lunches, coffee, cake, socks and sandals. Naturally, there is no one German way of living, but there are some trends that I’ve come to recognize fondly as “German”. Here are a few I think are neat.
The question on everyone’s lips in Berlin is: does having an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde Berlin extend my Schengen Visa? It certainly seems to be one of the biggest causes for confusion. If it’s true, why isn’t everyone just perpetually booking themselves appointments at the Ausländerbehörde? Red Tape Translation takes you through the myths and the realities of the current situation for tourists from the United States, Australia, Canada etc.
The Ausländerbehörde in Berlin is a special place. Among other special nicknames, it has been described as “the most miserable place in Berlin”, “the place of shattered dreams” and “inefficient government bureaucracy at its finest”. Above all, though, getting acquainted with its tightly-closed-up windows, flashing neon boards and slightly-off key announcement bells is inevitable. So embrace it and do it right. Here’s how to save time, avoid stress and leave with a shiny new visa or permit.
You moved to Berlin, landed a job and just received your first pay cheque. You notice a deduction called “Kirchensteuer” in the small print and wonder what it could possibly be…
What is Kirchensteuer?
Kirchensteuer (church tax) is a tax imposed on members of some religious congregations in Germany.