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South Africans in Germany

This is not indented as a moving checklist, but rather all the admin you have to take into consideration before you get on the plane to Germany.
Information about moving to Germany can be found here



Renewing a passport from outside SA is a long and tedious process. Check the validity of your passport and make sure there is at least 3 years left, else apply for a new passport. Information about applying for a new passport from Germany can be found here.


Try to close all you accounts if you know you are not going to use them in future. Especially store accounts.
It is possible to close some of them via the internet of telephone even when you are outside the country, but it is not always the case. 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.


Documents to bring to Germany

It is very difficult to predict what documents you will need in Germany. It 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.

Educational records

Certified copies and originals of all your educational certificates like Degrees, Matric (Abitur). Also the school records of your children

Cellphone contracts

If you want to keep using your SA number in Germany, consider converting your number to a pre-paid contract.
Also, make sure it is open for roaming.
If you still have SA bank accounts you might need your SA number, also for banking apps

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

Depending on your type of visa. Form most Family reunifications visas, your spouse will need an A1 German language certificate. One exception is for a Blue Card

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

Read More »

Visiting a doctor

When I first came to Germany, I was fortunate to still frequently travel back to SA, so I did all my check-ups there and tried

What can I bring into Germany

It is very tempting to bring some South African goodies with you when you travel to Germany, and while most items are allowed, there are Restrictions.


Health insurance is mandatory for everyone visiting or living in Germany.When living in Germany you can either take our private (privaten Kran­ken­ver­si­che­rung – PKV) or

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
New legislation is planned for 2022.


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 does have 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. 


Consider applying for a new passport if your current one is valid for less than 2 years. Applying for a new South African passport in Germany can take up to a year. So always apply in advance 

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.
For Covid Vaccines read here 


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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