Can I Retire to Germany from the USA?

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Due to Germanyโ€™s advanced healthcare system and economy, it has become an increasingly popular place for non-native retirees. Before you decide to take off to the beautiful nation, make sure you have prepared accordingly. Although Germany is very accommodating to expats, there will be some things youโ€™re held responsible for before you can legally move to the foreign country to spend the rest of your years.

Registering and Retiring in Germany

Since foreigners looking to retire in Germany arenโ€™t coming to the nation to look for employment and are already prepared with the required financial means, they are kindly welcomed into the borders. Upon entering, one must register within the first 14 days of their arrival at a residence registration office. In order to register youโ€™ll need to bring the following documents and proofโ€ฆ

  • valid passport
  • proof of address
  • healthcare insurance
  • proof of adequate finances to retire in the nation
  • you may also be asked to supply additional documentation, such as birth and marriage/divorce certificates
  • to apply for permanent residency youโ€™ll need to provide proof such as a sufficient knowledge of the German language and basic knowledge of the German legal, political and social system

You can lawfully stay in Germany for up to 3 months without a visa. However, you wonโ€™t be allowed to find employment during those months. You can choose to use this time to decide if living in the country is truly what you would like to do before youโ€™re required to apply for permanent residency through a permit. For the long stay permit, youโ€™ll need to provide proof of adequate financial means and proof of health insurance.

Things to Do before the Move

  • Research and consider the cost of living and have a set amount of money set aside for your stay in Germany. Remember to have your U.S. dollars converted into euros before you leave. Make sure you look into the costs of housing, utility bills, eating, shopping, entertainment, etc. Then, base the money you save off of the results. Take note, that unlike America, renting is a more popular housing option than buying a home.
  • Set up your health insurance or make sure the insurance you currently have will carry over. Germany has a universal healthcare system so it shouldnโ€™t be too difficult to make sure you have adequate health coverage and medical care accessible to you. Try to find medical facilities with relevancy and English speaking doctors nearby where you intend to reside in the country.
  • If you have not yet decided where to live within Germanyโ€™s borders, look into the housing options available. There are expat communities, retirement communities, apartments, rental homes and more across the nation. Choose wisely and take your time fulfilling this research. Metropolis areas tend to have more English speaking residents and amenities.
  • Make sure your banking needs are in order. Youโ€™ll likely need to open an account with a German banking institution. Luckily, many German banks offer English online banking systems. You will want to make sure that the bank gives you full access to your money and that direct deposits are easy to set up.

Transferring an International Pension

Private fund pensions, state pensions from other nations and most other international pensions are likely able to transfer to Germany. Once youโ€™ve reached the German pension age, it is possible to receive pension in Germany and if your country has a social security agreement with your country, you may be exempt from paying pension taxes.

To transfer your pension, you must first relay your plans to your pension holder in the U.S. Take action months in advance to get the process started early on. You may be required to pay taxes in both countries. Youโ€™ll find out if you must pay any U.S. taxes through your pension holder before you leave for relocation to Germany. Then, once your pension holder takes care of their responsibilities towards the transfer, you may easily have your funds transferred to your German bank as long as you have one set up already.

Written By:Joe Webster
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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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