A guide aiming to help newcomers to have a successful start in Berlin!

First steps

Are you coming to (or just arrived in) Berlin? Awesome. In the table below you will find a summary (and recommendation!) of the first tasks that you might need to do in order to have a great start in the city. For more information, please read the rest of this guide.

Task When Where Requirements
Residence Registration As soon as possible In one of the city's Bürgeramts See "Address registration"
Buy a public transport ticket As soon as possible U-Bahn, S-Bahn station, BVG store None.
Get a prepaid German phone number It can be done shortly after you arrive In any store that sells prepaid phone cards (Telekom, O2, Vodafone, etc.) Your passport
Opening a bank account After the residence registration Bank of your choice Passport and residence registration
Choose a health insurance provider It can be done shortly after you arrive Usually by email None (some might require registration certificate)
Get your social security number After registering with a health insurance provider By email Having a health insurance
Get your Tax Id number At least 7 days after the residence registration Finanzamt of your district residence registration


  1. Introduction
  2. Address Registration
    1. What you need
    2. How to fill out the form
    3. How the registration works
    4. Tips
  3. Public transport
    1. How to buy tickets
    2. Getting a yearly transport ticket
    3. Tips
  4. Mobile phones
    1. Pre-paid options
  5. Opening a bank account
    1. Traditional Banks
    2. Online Banks
  6. Health Insurance
    1. Public health insurance
  7. Working in Germany
    1. Social security number
    2. Tax Id number
  8. Changing your Tax Class
    1. How to fill out the form
  9. Obtaining a Drivers License
    1. Drivers license tests
    2. Translation of your current drivers license
    3. Prior to submitting your application at the Bürgeramt
    4. Bürgeramt application notes
    5. Approximate costs
    6. After you pass your practical license test
    7. Picking up your permanent license
    8. Resources
  10. Renting an apartment
    1. Requirements
    2. Before you start
    3. The process
  11. Social Networks

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