My Germany Travel Diaries and Thoughts on Expat Life: Hyderabad to Nürnberg

Ansbach’s Clock Tower. P.C My Redmi 5
  • Post visa
  • Journey, Observations & Initial impressions

Pre Visa (Bangalore German Consulate)

Every expat needs a valid passport & work permit to go and work in Germany. A work permit is nothing but a German National Visa. Unlike other countries, the visa process should be initiated and followed up by the candidate herself. Here is the order of steps one should follow.

  • Get an appointment via online mode for visa application (Free, No fee)
  • Prepare all required documents (income proof, degree certificate, Demand Draft, etc.)
  • Visit the consulate on the appointment date
  • Wait for your visa gets stamped (A page attached to your passport)
  • Collect your passport and other documents(If they take any from you).

Appointment Day

I got an early appointment at around 8:30 AM. I reached consulate by 7:50 AM to avoid traffic. Everyone seated in the reception area and at the scheduled time, the receptionist asked all the candidates to enter another room. We switched off our mobiles. They checked our laptop bags/handbags and allowed us inside.

PC. Justdial

Post visa (My preparations & travel to Germany)

I am so happy that I got the visa, informed my parents and started making preparations. There are a lot of articles on Medium, web about, what to bring to Germany from India? , Things to know before coming to Germany? etc. In addition to all those, four essential things I believe could save your life when you arrive first time in Germany. I am talking in view of a person coming for work(expat). It is helpful for students too.

  • A Travel/Forex card loaded with Euros(Crucial) ***
  • Few Euro bills/coins up to 200 € in hand(Important) **
  • A weekly hotspot voucher (Telekom/Vodafone) for using hotspots(Crucial) ***
My luggage without the laptop bag
I could see a beautiful sunrise on my way to Mumbai
Standing for a bus in -1 ˚C wearing an average winter jacket is crazy (Munich Airport Bus Stop)

Things Indian(any?) expats should know before coming to Germany (Observations & Impressions)

Getting a hotspot pass

Once you arrive in Germany, don’t buy a sim card at the airport. While you are in your home country(in this case, India), buy the hotspot pass(a Monthly voucher) from Vodafone(https://zuhauseplus.vodafone.de/internet-telefon/wlan-hotspots/hotspot-tickets.html) or Telekom(https://www.telekom.de/zuhause/tarife-und-optionen/zubuchoptionen/hotspot-pass) using the forex card which I encourage you to take. That gives you two benefits:

  • Getting an internet connection(DSL) in Germany can take a month or two So it helps you surf the web, access maps, read reviews, and many more.

Stay in Germany

Getting an apartment for you or your family is quite tough. Depending on which city you live in is another factor. Many Germans love renting a house than owning one which adds competition for you. It is satisfying to find a place in advance like Airbnb for a month or a friend’s place. If you are working, you are not allowed to stay(officially for registration) with another working friend in a studio (1 BHK). 2 BHK’s are usually grabbed by families. So your first preference should be finding a permanent place to stay. These websites can be a great help in finding properties in your picked city.

City Registration: Anmeldung

A person moving to any city (foreigner or citizen) for work purpose should register in that city for the official records. This process is called Anmeldung. You have to go to your city’ s bürgeramt with below documents:

  • Rental agreement (For me, they didn’t check this)
  • Your passport (a must carry)

Opening a bank account (Steuernummer), Applying for Public Health Insurance & Social Security

When you register your address in the city, if it is your first employment in Germany, a Tax-id (Steuernummer) is generated and sent to you via post in two-three weeks post registration. It is an 11-digit number that will be associated with you forever. It is often compared to the pan card number in India to which tax records are linked. Without this, no bank can open a new account for you. So wait until you receive your Steuernummer. Once you got it, you can open an ING Diba checking account here. https://goo.gl/kLf5N6

  1. Health insurance & Social security number
TK.de is one of the reliable health insurance companies in Germany

Shopping & Eating

People coming from India can find things are a bit expensive in Germany. It depends on living city too. For me, Nürnberg was frugal and peaceful. But for people living in big cities like München(Munich), life seems to be super costly. Wherever you live, there are few discount supermarkets where you can save your money. They give things for lesser prices because they deploy few in-house brands instead of having products from every manufacturer. Stick to few and try to plan a budget around those products every month. For me, I cook myself, and it gets as cheap as 100€ for groceries. For a family, it can get to 300€ a month. If you don’t cook, it can cost you around 10€ per day for food.

You can save a few bucks by sticking to a discount supermarket
  • Netto
  • Aldi Süd (South) and Aldi Nord (North)
  • Edeka
  • Rewe.go
  • Norma
  • Kaufland

Transportation & German Public Transport System (U-Bahn, S-Bahn, RE, and ICE)

Last important thing you should know is about the transport system in Germany. You have these modes of getting from one point to another in the country.

Within City:

  • Self-driving your car
  • Taxi services (I use it if I have luggage with me)
  • U-Bahn (Subway train) (Like Metro trains in India, connects main parts of the city)
  • Regular City Bus (Connects most of the points in the city)
  • Tram (Connects subway to interior portions of the city)

Between Cities:

  • S-Bahn (connects nearest cities and stops at a lot of small intermediate cities)
  • RE-Bahn (RE) (Stops only at major towns between connecting cities, Like a regular express train in India)
  • ICE (Inter City Express) (Long journey option. Stops only at the destination, like Rajdhani in India)
  • Fresh expats (What to expect from this country and its institutions?)

Learning Deutsche (German)

Learning German is especially important if you are planning to come to Germany to stay (Work or Study) and not for tourism purpose. Knowing German allows you to smoothly integrate with system & people and has lots of benefits. I use Deutsche Welle & Drops for learning German.

My Experience

I stayed in a beautiful city of Nürnberg where I lived at an Airbnb home. I got a chance to catch a glimpse of the medieval Bavarian style constructions and history that is very vibrant. Now I moved to Ansbach city after renting a permanent studio that is close to my office. I am lucky to be in Germany before Christmas as I went to Christkindle markets in both Nürnberg and Ansbach only to find energetic and lively celebrations of people who came from all over the world.

Beautiful Ansbach
Nürnberg central station and market

Note: I know these are my personal impressions and opinions are meant to be changed, so a sincere welcome to corrections and criticisms.

Fruits of my opinion

Reviews about cool books (mostly non-fiction) I read, Opinions and notes

Naren Yellavula

Written by

Software Engineer | (( Python | Node.js | Go) & React.js) Author of Building RESTFul web services with Go | Lives in Bayern, Germany

Fruits of my opinion

Reviews about cool books (mostly non-fiction) I read, Opinions and notes