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South Africans in Germany

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Checklist before you travel to Germany

Before embarking on your journey to Germany, it is crucial to be aware of all the administrative tasks that will require your attention. While this list is not solely focused on moving tasks, it serves as a comprehensive guide to all the essential administrative factors that need to be tended to before boarding the plane.
By taking care of administrative aspects upfront, you can ensure a smoother transition to your new home in Germany without any hassle. It is highly recommended to go through this list carefully to avoid any last-minute chaos and to give yourself ample time to resolve any issues that may arise. 


Renewing a passport from outside SA is a long and tedious process. Check the validity of your Passport and make sure there are at least 2 years left, else apply for a new passport. 
Another tip – to register a the Dept. of Home Affairs, or use their online services, you need an OTP and they only send it to South African numbers. Consider converting your SA cellphone number to a prepaid number and make sure it stays active (dual sim phone or extra mobile phone).  

Applying for a new South African passport in Germany can take up to a year. So always apply in advance 

Applying for your passport in Germany

When you apply for your new South African passport in Germany, you have to apply at either the South African Embassy in Berlin or the Consulate in Munich, depending on where you live.  Official information can be found on the Consulate’s website. The Embassy has taken great care to document all the relevant information, that can be downloaded from their website.  After submitting your application, the documents are sent to South Africa for processing. The new passport is then sent back to Germany. Once the passport arrives at the South African Embassy or Consulate it would be mailed to the applicant

Passport – Applying in South Africa

Applying for a new Adult Tourist passport in South Africa can be done online via the Department of Home Affairs E-Services. This service allows you to fill in the application form online and make an appointment for your biometrics.  Biometrics can be done at participating banks. You do not need to be a client of the selected bank.  You can collect your passport at the selected bank. The current turnaround time for an adult Tourist passport is around one work week Keep in mind You can fill out the application while still in Germany, but you have to do

Visas and other travel documents

  • Make sure your visas are issued correctly, and make sure of the type and dates
  • If you are travelling with Children, please look at the information on our Travel to Germany –  tips page. There are different rules regarding documentation (including consent letters) for children for each country as well as airlines.  When you travel alone with your children, make sure you have the parental consent letters before your spouse leave the country.

Travel to Germany – Tips

If you’re planning a trip to Germany, we’ve got some travel tips that we think you’ll find incredibly helpful.  If you’ve got your own tips

Travel to SA – Tips

Are you planning a trip to South Africa? We have some helpful tips to ensure it is a smooth and enjoyable one. However, we know that


It is important to take proactive steps when it comes to managing your accounts, particularly if you know you will not be using them in the future.  While it is true that many accounts can be closed over the Internet or via telephone, it is always a good idea to check with the specific company or organization before assuming that this is possible. Remember your electricity accounts as well.

Bank accounts

You can only close a bank account when you are in South Africa. Most people keep their bank accounts open, at least for the first couple of years.
It is relatively easy to transfer money from your German bank account to a SA account. You will need to fill in a form for SARS once a year (mostly online) if you transfer money to your own account.
Make sure your internet banking is all set up, and consider making use of a banking app. This you will have to do in South Africa.
If you decide to keep your SA bank accounts, notify your bank that you will be out of the country.

Foreign Exchange- EUR to ZAR

We are not financial advisors and therefore cannot give financial advice. The information here should not be seen as financial advice in any way.Always make


Make sure you take some Euros with you to be able to pay for small things.
Germany is very much cash-based and you cannot pay everywhere with a credit card.
EC-Cards (Debit cards) are accepted in most businesses.


We have a page dedicated to what documents you need to bring along if you plan on moving to Germany

Documents to bring to Germany

The documents you will need in Germany will depend on your type of visa, your family situation, the company you work for, the schools or universities you want to attend etc.We will try to list all those we think you might need. Remember, it is always better to be

Cellphone contracts

If you want to keep using your SA number in Germany, consider converting your number to a pre-paid contract.
Make sure it is open for roaming.
If you still have SA bank accounts you might need your SA number, also for banking apps. To interact with the Department of Home Affairs e-services, you need a South African cellphone number.


You will need photos (physical photos) for every application you make in Germany. Get photos professionally taken in the accepted German format for the Ausländerbehorde (Passbild) and print at least 20 photos. 

Insurance policies

Cancel the insurance policies you will not need anymore.
Take our travel insurance for the first 3 months. You can get emigration travel insurance at TIC

Language certificates

This will depend on your type of visa.
For most Family reunification visas, your spouse will need an A1 German language certificate but there are exceptions. See detailed info on the page below.

Family Reunification Visa

“German citizens or citizens from non-EU countries who have an Aufenthaltserlaubnis (residence permit) or a Niederlassungserlaubnis (settlement permit) are allowed to bring their relatives to

Medical and Medication

Depending on your situation, cancel your South African medical aid.
If you are planning on returning to SA in the near future, consider talking to your medical aid provider and ask about an option that allows you to pay the minimum as you will be out of the country.
You will have to get medical cover in Germany.
You can bring your medical records with you, for example MRI scans, x-Rays and medical diagnosis. Most German doctors will anyway do all the tests again just to make sure of the diagnosis. 
You are allowed to bring enough medication with you for max 90 days, and only if you do not stay for longer than that e.g on a tourism visa. When you stay longer you will have to get your medication in Germany.
You might be asked for a copy of the prescription from you doctor for any medication you bring with you. Best is to pack it in your luggage and not send it via your container.

It is very easy to buy non-prescription medication online on websites like

Read more on the Zoll Website about what medication you are allowed to bring into Germany. 

Appointments for registration

As soon as you arrive in Germany you need to register at the Bürgerampt for your Anmeldung, as well as the Auländerbehorde to get your residence permit.
If possible see If you can book online appointments for these when your travel dates are fixed. Appontments must be made in the town or “Kreis” you will live in.

Applying for residence

A visa allows you to enter Germany. If you want to stay longer than 3 months you will need to apply for a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) at the local immigration authority (Ausländerbehorde )You can only apply for a residence permit after you registered at the local Town office (Bürgerampt). See more about registering

Registering at the Local Town Office

If you plan to stay in Germany for longer than 3 months, you will need to register at your local Bürgeramt (Town office).This is called a Meldepflicht and is compulsory. More about the law can be found in BMG (in German) or in EnglishIt must be done within two weeks after moving into your residence. ” Anyone

TV license

Make sure you cancel your TV license and have proof of it

Pension and provident funds

Please talk to a financial advisor on what will suit you best regarding your SA funds


Germany uses the type C and F power plugs. If you ship any appliances, consider taking a couple of adapters with.
Take one with for your cellphone chargers.
This website has excellent information on power plugs and sockets of the world.

Financial emigration

SARS – what qualifies an individual as a non-resident
We have a page regarding taxes. SA and Germany have a double taxation treaty

Financial Emigration

Financial emigration is the process used by many South Africans abroad to formalise their non-resident status for both tax and exchange control purposes. The detail

Income Tax / Lohnsteuer

We receive a lot of questions about income tax declarations and where to get help, especially getting help in English.First I have to state that

South African Drivers licence

If you stay in Germany for longer than 6 months you will need to convert your driver’s licence to a German one. 
You will need your South African licence card to convert it. Make sure your licence card is valid for at least another year.
Some cities are now requiring proof of “Confirmation of South African Driving licence” when you apply for a German driver’s licence. An example of this is in Böbblingen.  Rather be as prepared as you can be, and bring this document with you. This Confirmation can be requested from the RTMC, see more info from DIRCO. You can also use companies to assist you, see our marketplace for more information. 
You can send an email to 
Your request must include your contact numbers (including email address), a copy of your ID or a copy of your driving licence.  Find more information on our Driving and Drive’s licence page

International Drivers licence

Get a international drivers licence. 
It might not always be possible to get credit for your no claim bonus related to your car insurance, but bring a copy with just in case. 

Police Clearance Certificate

South Africa In South Africa you can apply for a Police clearance certificate at your local police station.The process can take up to six months.

Police clearance certificate

In most cases a South African police clearance certificate is not required, and should not be confused with a German Führungszeugnis.
You can of course apply for one in advance to cover your bases.
According to the police website, it should take around 15 working days to get one, and it will only be valid for 6 months after issue.
It is possible to apply for a police clearance certificate when you are outside of the country.
The German equivalent is a Führungszeugnis – a certificate of good conduct. It can be issued after you registered in Germany.


Cancel any post boxes you have, or arrange for someone to empty them on a regular basis.
Another option is to apply for redirection of your mail to another SA mailbox.
It is a good idea to inform those who send you post that you will longer use the address.


Cancel your magazine and any other subscriptions


Bring along your and your children’s vaccination certificates. Measles vaccinations are compulsory.


Update your will to reflect your new situation. For assets in Germany you might have to create a separate will.

Electronic devices (laptops, mobile phones etc.)

Germany has strict copyright laws. Make sure there are no Torrents running on your electronic devices.
Downloading movies, music etc can land you a HUGE fine. Please read the info here

I also suggest removing any illegal software or illegal downloads from your electronic devices.

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