Tag Archives: expat life

German Citizenship eligibility

Upcoming Changes in German Citizenship Eligibility

Germany has always been a popular destination for immigrants due to its strong economy and central position in Europe. Despite the number of people who come to the country to work and study, Germany has traditionally granted fewer citizenships based on residency than other European Union countries.

However, we have some good news for you! Earlier this year, a new citizenship bill was proposed in Germany to simplify the citizenship process. The goal is to tackle this issue and promote a more welcoming and inclusive society.

As of August 2023, the German government’s cabinet has approved the bill, which will now be presented in front of the Bundestag (Parliament). Nancy Faeser, the Interior Minister of Germany, has confirmed that if everything goes as planned, the law might come into force by January 2024.

But what are the changes that will come along with this law and how will it benefit expats? Keep reading to find out!

Reduced Residency Requirement

One of the main proposed changes in the new German citizenship legislation is the reduction of the minimum residency requirement. That means that, instead of the eight-year minimum stay in Germany that is currently required, five years of residency will be enough to qualify an individual for citizenship. By speeding up the citizenship process, the country is aiming to promote a feeling of integration and belonging.

Moreover, the new bill aims to tackle the issue of citizenship rights for kids born to foreign parents within Germany. Presently, these children are granted German citizenship only if one parent has lived in Germany for a minimum of eight years before their birth. This scenario seems to be changing with the new bill, which aims to lower this requirement to five years too.

Furthermore, in specific situations, certain individuals could even be eligible for German citizenship with just three years of residing in the country. This special provision for naturalization encompasses those who have showcased remarkable educational or professional achievements, exhibited significant social dedication, and possess exceptional language proficiency (at the C1 level).

Dual and multiple citizenship

Another important achievement of the new law is the fact that dual and multiple citizenships will be accepted. This means that people won’t have to give up their citizenship from their home country when becoming a German citizen. This change is highly remarkable, especially for people who came to Germany but still want to keep their connection to their home country.

Dual and multiple citizenship

Another important achievement of the new law is the fact that dual and multiple citizenships will be accepted. This means that people won’t have to give up their citizenship from their home country when becoming a German citizen. This change is highly remarkable, especially for people who came to Germany but still want to keep their connection to their home country.

It’s important to mention that right now, Germany allows for dual citizenship for people from EU countries, Switzerland, and in certain specific situations. But the upcoming adjustments will broaden this permission, which will be really helpful for individuals who come from countries outside the EU.

Additionally, children who get German citizenship through these new rules will also be able to keep their parents’ citizenship. This is a crucial improvement, as they will be able to stay connected to their roots, while also enjoying the rights of being a German citizen.

Furthermore, the proposed bill aims to do away with the forfeiture of German nationality in instances of adoption by a foreign national, as stipulated in § 27 of the German Nationality Act (StAG). That means that, if someone from another country adopts a German child, that child won’t lose their German citizenship because of the adoption.

New changes for the Gastarbeiter Generation

The new law is also acknowledging the challenges and hurdles that the “Gastarbeiter” generation had to face. This is the name that was given to immigrants who came to Germany for work during the “Economic Miracle” from the 1950s to the 1970s.

To help those who came to Germany back then, instead of demanding a minimum of B1 level in German, the new rule states that oral and conversational skills in German are enough to be eligible for citizenship.

What are the benefits of German citizenship?

Certainly, obtaining citizenship brings along a range of valuable benefits that can significantly improve your life in Germany as an expat.

1. Social Benefits

Becoming a citizen offers a sense of belonging and full integration into the country’s way of life. It provides individuals with the opportunity to actively participate in local communities, engage in civic activities, and exercise their rights as full-fledged members of the society.

2. International Travel and Mobility

One of the main benefits is the increased freedom of international travel. Citizens typically hold stronger passports, allowing them to visit more countries without the need for visas or with simplified visa processes.

3. Family and Education

Citizenship often extends its advantages to the entire family. Family reunification becomes easier, enabling family members to join the citizen in the country. Moreover, citizens usually have preferential access to quality education and healthcare systems, securing a brighter future for their children.

4. Political Participation

When obtaining citizenship, new citizens will have the right to vote and participate in political processes, giving them a voice in decisions that affect their lives and the future of the country.

5. Social Welfare and Support

Citizens are often entitled to a wider range of social welfare benefits, including unemployment benefits, retirement pensions, and social assistance programs, which can provide a safety net during challenging times.

6. Employment Opportunities

Acquiring citizenship can open up new career prospects, especially in sectors that require public service or a strong national affiliation.

7. Property Ownership and Investment

Citizenship may come with fewer restrictions on property ownership and investment opportunities. This can be especially beneficial for those interested in acquiring real estate or starting businesses in the country.

8. Identity and Cultural Connection

Citizenship provides an official recognition of an individual’s connection to the country. It signifies a commitment to the nation’s culture, history, and values, allowing individuals to proudly identify with new home.

What are the potential disadvantages?

Of course, while gaining citizenship offers a range of advantages, it’s essential to be aware of the potential drawbacks that might accompany this significant step. Making an informed decision involves weighing both the benefits and potential downsides. However, we want to tell you that despite the disadvantages that could come with acquiring citizenship, it is still well worth it.

1. Tax Obligations

Becoming a German citizen could have tax implications, particularly if you have significant income or financial assets. Germany has a progressive tax system, and as a citizen, you might be subject to higher tax rates on your global income and assets.

2. National Services Requirements

Germany abolished mandatory military service in 2011, but it’s important to note that citizenship might involve specific duties in times of national emergencies or crisis situations.

3. Loss of Non-Citizen Benefits

In some cases, permanent residents might have special rights or privileges that citizens do not. For instance, you might lose eligibility for certain government benefits or programs that are available only to non-citizens.

In conclusion, the new German citizenship law holds substantial benefits for expats. By simplifying and expediting the process of acquiring citizenship, it offers a significant advantage. Collectively, the aforementioned amendments create a more inclusive and supportive environment, fostering a sense of belonging and integration for everyone in Germany.

Working in Germany

7 Questions Answered: Working in Germany

Check out our 7 Questions Answered: Working in Germany. For expatriates coming to Germany, it can be a difficult task to locate employment. Furthermore, the process of attempting to find work here (applying for jobs, multiple rejections and so forth) can be quite stressful.

Luckily, we are here to provide you with any and all resources that will assist you in your job search and working in Germany, ensuring your success. Don’t lose faith – it’s not as hard as it seems.

1. What are the requirements to work in Germany as an expat?

The regulations regarding the employment of foreign citizens in Germany will depend on the individual’s country of origin; typically, this is divided into those that come from EU and non-EU nations.

Expats move to Germany

No visa or work permit is required for an individual from the EU/EEA countries, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland to be employed in Germany; only a valid ID card or passport is necessary to register upon one’s arrival.

Residents from the United States, Japan, Australia, Israel, Canada, South Korea or New Zealand must acquire a residence permit to enter Germany. However, a work permit is not mandatory to be able to take up employment in the nation.

For all citizens from countries other than Germany, a work visa is essential before entering the country. Basically, to be granted this visa, there must already be an accepted job offer or contract in place.

2. Can I find a job in Germany without speaking German?

Yes, it is possible to find English-speaking jobs in Germany. According to the German Federal Employment Agency, foreign workers made up 12% of Germany’s workforce in 2018. Having a basic knowledge of German could help expats speed up the job search process, as openings are available in various sectors.

3. How can I find a job in Germany as an expat?

In today’s digital world, the best way to look for a job in Germany is to utilize online job sites. Stepstone, Indeed and LinkedIn are some of the most widely used platforms in the country.

For those not familiar with the German language, we have compiled a list of top English-speaking job websites that will be useful during your search:

It is highly recommended that you have a well-constructed LinkedIn profile. There are an increasing number of businesses publicizing job openings on the platform, enabling applicants to apply directly. To make the job search more straightforward, use the keyword “English” when searching for offers.

Besides these platforms, the Federal Government of Germany published an up-to-date list with figures of the current available job occupations across the country depending on the sector that you might also find useful.

It is worth taking a look at the job postings, even though the majority of job titles are written in German. Several positions only necessitate English fluency and many of the job descriptions are provided in English.

4. Which jobs are in demand in Germany? 

Job openings in Germany that require engineering, software development and digital communications skills are in high demand, according to recent statistics. In addition, there is a high demand for IT specialists, physicians, nurses, scientists, analysts and sales managers, among others.

Highly Demanded Jobs in Germany

Don’t lose hope if your qualifications don’t line up with the positions available; there are plenty of job opportunities in Germany. In fact, Germany has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe (3.1%) so you have a good chance at finding a great job.


5. What is the minimum wage in Germany?

In 2022, the minimum wage in Germany experienced an increase on two occasions. This resulted in a per hour rate of 9.82 euros, which amounts to 1,571 euros if one holds a full-time job of 40 hours per week. 

Consequently, already among the highest in the world, German salaries were further bolstered by this change. From July 1st, this amount went up again to 10,45 euros per hour (1,672 €).

Additionally, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) increased minimum wage to 12 euros per hour in October 2022.

If you wish to know more about what your average salary in Germany would look like given your qualifications, check out the salary tool offered by StepStone here.

6. What is a normal working day in Germany?

Just in like most countries, working in Germany offers the possibility to work in full-time or part-time positions. In general, the typical working week for full-time positions is between 36 and 40 hours. On average, people work seven or eight hours per day, five days per week.

The German Labour and Employment law states that working hours must not exceed 48 hours in a given week if someone has multiple jobs. Additionally workers are legally allowed 24 days of annual leave yearly; however, many businesses provide their personnel with 30 days of paid holiday time.

7. Is insurance a requirement for employment in Germany?

Yes, health insurance is mandatory for everyone who wishes to work in Germany, without any exceptions. However, exploring the possibility of working as an expat can seem daunting. There are various sources providing help and guidance.

If you need any more information regarding health insurance or the type of insurance that you need, do not hesitate to contact our partners from MW Expat, they will advise you on what is the best option for you depending on your personal situation and find the best solution.

Working in Germany – How to Find a Job in Germany

We hope that you found this guide about working in Germany useful for your job search. We wish you all the good luck in the world!

Driving in Germany

Driving in Glorious Germany: 4 Steps

Driving in  Glorious Germany! Germany is known for its highways. On many routes, there is no speed limit. The highway network stretches all over Germany and you can quickly get from one city to the next (if there are no traffic jams).

Whether you have your own car, rent a car, or use car-sharing, having a valid driver’s license as an expat in Germany is definitely a big advantage.


Driving in Germany with a foreign license

If you come from an EU or EEA country (European economic area) country, your driver’s license is valid until the expiry of its term of validity.

If you come from a third country, your foreign driver’s license is valid for 6 months. The start of the period is the registration of a residence in Germany. A translation must be included if the license is not in English.

To continue driving in Germany after 6 months, the foreign driver’s license must be exchanged for a German one. The process depends on the country in which the license was issued.

In some cases, there is no need for a theoretical or practical exam. For example, when the minimum EU standards for driving tests are given.

If you are from a country where an exam is required, you need to pass the driving theory and practical test. The good thing is, you don’t have to take theory and driving lessons. You can decide on your own if and when you want to absolve the test.

Steps to get a German driver’s license

1. Choose the driver’s license class

In Germany, we have different driver’s license classes depending on what kind of license you want to achieve. Here is a rough overview of the different classes:

  • A / A1 / A2 / AM / Mofa / B197: Motorcycle driver’s license
  • B / B96 / BE / B197: passenger car driver’s license
  • C / C1 / C1E / CE: Truck driver’s license

2. Prerequisite for the driving test in Germany

When registering for a driver’s license you have to fulfil some requirements.

  • ID or passport
  • Biometrical passport photo
  • Eye examination
  • First-aid course

3. Choose the right driving school in Germany

In Germany, there exists a variety of driving schools. It might be difficult to choose one if you don’t have any references. Project Expat can help you to find the right driving school for you. Check out our driving school service partners here.

Once you have chosen a driving school, you will receive a training plan and training materials. You may need to attend a certain number of theory lessons before you can take the exam.

The practical training consists of several driving lessons with a driving instructor. Night and highway driving are also included. Depending on your driving behaviour and experience, you may have more or fewer driving hours.

4. Getting your driver’s license

The practical driving test takes place with your driving instructor and an examiner. If you pass the test, the examiner will issue you with a temporary driver’s license. Then you can get your permanent license at the traffic authority.

Tips for driving in Germany

Manual cars

When renting a car, most of the time you still get manual models. So, remember when booking to choose an automatic one if you feel more comfortable with it.


Germany is famous for its Autobahnen or motorways. There is generally no speed limit on highways. However, restrictions often apply when the roads pass cities. Therefore, always keep your eyes open and observe the speed limits.

Furthermore, always drive in the right lane. You can pass other cars by using the left lane.

No drinking and driving

For novice drivers in the probationary period and drivers under 21, the limit of 0.0 per mille (0 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood) applies.

The general blood-alcohol limit for driving is 0.5 per mille (= 50 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, or 0,05%). Drivers who endanger traffic must expect to be punished from a blood-alcohol level of 0.3 per mille.

Watch out for pedestrians

In German cities, the speed limit is reduced to 50km/h. Often only 30 km/h is allowed to take pedestrians into account. If there is a pedestrian zone you are often not allowed to drive at all or only at walking speed. Here pedestrians have the right of way.

Driving a car in Germany has many advantages. On the one hand, you can explore the country very well by car and can reach even smaller villages and remote sights.

If you live in Germany for a longer period of time, a German driver’s license is indispensable. With a car, you can make your everyday life easier in many ways.

At Project Expat, we are happy to assist you in finding suitable English-speaking driving schools.

Do you want to buy a car and need a car insurance? Check out our English-speaking services.

We from Project Expat are happy to support you with our network of excellent English-speaking partners until you feel more comfortable in the German language.

Explore our service categories for more English-speaking services in Germany here.

German Etiquette

The German Etiquette: 4 Tips for Expats

Just like in every other country, there are also rules you should be aware of in German etiquette. In private, you can certainly neglect them now and then, but in the business world, they are more relevant. It’s important for expats in Germany to know about them.

Greetings and “Sie” vs. “Du”

In professional and private life before Corona, it was customary to shake hands in greeting. Since the pandemic, people are more careful and have dropped this ritual, but it will certainly return to everyday life in Germany.

Simply asking someone how it’s going isn’t a German trait. That’s because trivial chitchat is not a core German skill. Here, people get straight to the point. Questions about how you’re feeling, which people in the U.S., for example, use as a polite phrase, can result in Germans using the opportunity to really talk things out — be it about the children’s school problems, the father-in-law’s hernia, or the misery of the world, in general. So plan some time if you really want to know: How are you?

For many English-speaking expats learning German, the salutation is often confusing. Unlike in English, there are two variations of the salutation in German: The formal Sie and the more informal Du. In everyday life and the closer environment, say with friends and family, you would use Du, while in the business world, Sie is the common form of address.

You should pay particular attention to this point of German etiquette if you live in Germany. The same applies to people you are just getting to know. Ideally, you should first use Sie before changing to Du later on. Here, too, there are some rules to follow: In business, the higher-ranking person offers the Du, or the older to the younger person, or the woman to the man, if he has not been with the company much longer than she has.

Of course, you can refuse switching to the more informal Du if you wish. You should, however, always be aware of what such a rebuff could trigger in the counterpart.

Etiquette in the Workplace

As far as the dress code in the German business world is concerned, it depends on the industry and the company you work in. Both men and women usually wear suits or dresses in more formal settings like banks. In companies, it depends on whether you have an client contact (also suit) or you are sitting in the office.

If it’s the latter, you can often dress more casually. Also, with business meals, there are many small stumbling blocks, which actually depend on how official this meeting is going to be. When living in Germany, you should remember that you don’t say “Cheers”, but “Prost” or “zum Wohl!” Otherwise, pauses in conversation are unpleasant, and it is better to engage in a little small talk.

Just like in most countries, the first impression is crucial – be it in private or business life. Therefore, when living in Germany, you should pay attention to punctuality because it can make a big difference.

The rule in Germany on the business level considers up to 15 minutes before time to be the symbol of true punctuality. If you are stuck in a traffic jam or are late for any other reason, just give them a quick call and explain the situation. If a business partner is late, according to German etiquette, you should allow 15 to 20 minutes for waiting.

Toasting without eye contact is another area that expats in Germany should focus upon. In other countries, people may simply raise their glasses and toast each other. Not so in Germany. It’s better to look your counterpart directly in the eye when you toast. Otherwise, you’ll be unlucky in love. Toasting crosswise is also considered a bad omen, even in business circles.

German Etiquette When Going Out to Eat

Something to keep in mind when going to a restaurant is that in Germany, you don’t actually ask for free tap water as an accompanying drink. Here, you have to order mineral water from the menu. Some restaurant operators react in a quite unfriendly way if you do not follow this rule. While it does get better in some parts of the country, you should pay attention to how the locals handle it at first.

Men can usually impress German women when they hold the door open for her, take her coat or jacket, offer her a seat in a restaurant and adjust her chair. Meanwhile, it’s a little more difficult when settling the bill on a date.

Should you want to bring flowers, be mindful of the colour you choose. Flower etiquette in Germany is complicated and can lead to embarrassing misunderstandings. This is because red flowers, especially red roses, are for romantic situations. White flowers, on the other hand, are considered grave decorations and are used at funerals. If you want to avoid the flower faux pas, it is best to ask the florist for advice.

Subtle Details of Daily Life

Beside all these facts, there are some things that are important to Germans. For example, waste separation. Germans are very environmentally conscious and separate their trash to make recycling easier. If your neighbours see you throwing recyclable glass or paper in the regular trash, it could put a strain on your relationship forever.

Moreover, you should be aware of the fact that Germans usually have no issues with nudity. There are often nude beaches, and in the sauna, you are basically naked, and they are gender-neutral. As a foreigner, you may be irritated at first, but those who want to go in there dressed will get rather astonished looks.

Parking on the bike path is a total no-no. Germany may be a car country, but cyclists are conquering the cities. Drivers who park on bike paths have to expect scratches in their paintwork. And pedestrians who get in the way can expect harsh abuse.

Don’t Be Scared of German Etiquette!

There are still numerous “rules” to follow, but you’ll get to know them over time. A final tip is to model the behaviour of the people around you, who usually know what is appropriate and correct in the respective situation.

In addition, if a faux pas does happen to you, it is not so bad, because they happen to Germans as well. Take the whole thing with a bit of humour and everything will be fine, thus letting you get settled in your life as an expat in Germany! Also Check out our Blog on German Superstitions.

Learning German

Learning German as an Expat

Often the move to another country is very stressful. You have many things to organize and want to find a nice new home. With the stress of moving, there is often no time to focus on learning German. But studying the local language is vital for a successful integration.

In this blog article we will show you why it is important to learn German and how you can easily get started.


Why is learning German useful?

Studying German for a good work experience

If you are an expat living in Germany, having a good command of English is often sufficient in your professional life. But besides professional discussions, private conversations and small talks among work colleagues are often spoken in German. In order to connect and get to know your colleagues better, it is vital to have a basic knowledge of German.

Some employers support their foreign employees with internal language courses or subsidize courses at German language schools.

Discover extensive professional German language courses here.

Some foreigners do not have a permanent job in Germany yet and are just in the application phase. Here it is even more important to learn German. It is a great advantage if you have a basic knowledge of German for job interviews. This way you can stand out from other applicants and show your interest in the country and the language.

Learning German to get along well in everyday life

Even if German is not necessarily required in a professional context, you can benefit from German skills in everyday life. For example, at the checkout in the supermarket, for bureaucracy matters, parent teacher conferences, and other events. Many Germans have little knowledge of English or feel uncomfortable speaking in another language. If you learn German, you can accomplish many things more easily.

Furthermore, if you want to volunteer or work in a club, learning German is important. You can make new friends and attend in sports activities more easily.

Social aspects

The sooner you start learning German, the easier it will be for you to participate in society and lead a self-determined life in Germany. Besides the German language, values and culture are also important to know. Almost all German language schools teach both – language and values.

How to start learning German?

You can learn German in different ways. If you already have a full-time job, you will probably only have free time to learn in the evenings or on weekends. There are evening and weekend courses, intensive courses and now a wide range of online courses. Have a look at our language partner Goethe Institut.

Furthermore, you have the opportunity to complete various German exams. According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), we distinguish between the following levels:

  • A1 and A2: This level is aimed at language beginners with no or very little previous knowledge.
  • B1 and B2: As an advanced language student, you will expand and deepen your knowledge and will be able to communicate independently in your job and everyday life after graduation.
  • C1 and C2: After completing the highest level, you will have German skills comparable to a native speaker.

Learning German is not easy for many foreigners. This can be due to various reasons. Learning a foreign language alongside a full-time job can be very tiring. You often must take care of your family on the side, leaving little time for learning.

But the effort is worth it. You will quickly notice that with time and practice, you will get better and better and will be able to establish social contacts in a way that would have been difficult without German language skills.

Are you eager to start right away with your German classes? See here our partners for language services.

We from Project Expat are happy to support you with our network of excellent English-speaking partners until you feel more comfortable in the German language.

Explore here our service categories.