Opening a Bank Account in Germany

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One of the most important tasks you’ll have to complete before you move to Germany is that of opening a bank account. With no knowledge of how the banking system works in the nation, this might get confusing. There are professionals that can help you set up your account with a German banking institution if you feel that you need the extra support and guidance. Nevertheless, it can be done on your own with some research and time. You’ll want to make sure that your account is all set up and that your money is available to you once you arrive in Germany.

As you start looking for the right banking institution before you relocate internationally, think about how much money it will take to maintain your lifestyle in Germany, what services you’ll need such as direct deposit and easy access to funds, and anything else that may satisfy your banking needs. Many banking institutions in Germany have universal ATMs and English language online banking services. Make sure you look for these types of features. If you think it’s necessary, talk with an international financial advisor before you move overseas.

The Requirements for Non-EU Nationals to Open a Bank Account

Germany’s banking institutions do not grant bank accounts to everyone and as a non-EU national, you’ll likely need various forms of proof to open one. You’ll need financial statements from your current bank in the U.S., proof of employment in Germany (if applicable), proof of work permit, among other documentations as you’ll see listed below. It is also very likely that you will need to prove your identity in person by visiting the bank. However, if you’re opening an account online, you may be asked to go to the post office to prove your existence. The banking institution will inform you of their requirements. Here is what else you will need to provide the bank with…

  • Passport or valid visa depending on level of citizenship
  • Any documentation you have that shows proof that you’re a student or employee
  • Proof of registration in the nation
  • Proof of income as show in the past three pay stubs as well as financial statements

Different Types of Financial Institutions in Germany

Germany has different types of banking institutions available. Some of them aren’t keen on letting non-EU nationals open accounts with them while others are more accommodating and sometimes even universal with the services they offer. Most of these banks do their best to offer a variety of services though so it’s important to really study what each one has to offer. You may notice that all German banks are extremely helpful to students regardless of their citizenship.

Savings banks also referred to as Sparkassen, are usually favored by private customers and public shareholders. These bank accounts are one of the more popular types in the nation with over 50 million customers.

Direct banks are able to offer some great advantages to its account holders. Instead of having local institution branches, they use the atms owned by other banks. They have many features and services to offer though and are usually favored by expats.

Larger banks throughout Germany are also popular among expats. These institutions are familiar with opening accounts for foreigners and usually offer online banking services in English. They only require that a minimum amount of money remains in your account monthly. Some small fees may also apply.

Joe Webster
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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