USEFUL FACTS FOR MOVING TO GERMANY

Its population of 80 million makes Germany the second largest country in Europe, after Russia. Its economy is the second largest in Europe and the fifth largest in the world. The official language is German. More than 75 percent of the people live in urban areas, and the main cities are: Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Cologne. The major seaports are Rostock on the Baltic Sea, and Wilhelmshaven on the North Sea. There are also thriving river ports, including Hamburg, Bremen, and Lubeck. The five busiest airports are in: Frankfurt, Munich, Düsseldorf, Berlin, and Hamburg.

The German culture values structure, thriftiness, hard work, and punctuality. German people try to do their jobs with precision and accuracy, and they have a seriousness that may appear as unfriendly, but they can be warm and welcoming when they know you better. In the arts, Germans have a strong tradition and love for classical music and architecture, in particular. German food is hearty and flavorful, and Germans are especially proud of their sausage dishes and many fine beers.

Customs regulations for moving to Germany include several forms of documentation, including a letter from your employer, registration at your new address in Germany, a copy of your passport, a goods inventory list, and a letter signed by the shipper that certain prohibited items are not included in the shipment. Most items will qualify for duty free shipment if they meet certain qualifications, and the primary one is that you have lived outside the European Union (EU) for at least 12 months. Other rules include: the household goods must have been owned for at least six months prior to the shipping date to Germany, and they will be re-used in Germany for the same purposes. Also, the goods must stay in the possession of the importers for 12 months after they are imported. Any new items or goods that do not meet this requirement will incur the standard import duties and VAT tax.

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