Relocation during Corona-Pandemic: 7 tips for a peaceful life
No body plans to relocate during a pandemic. But sometimes life happens. Our clients were either on their way to Germany or have just now arrived, and found themselves doing their relocation process in the middle of a pandemic.
Things that are usually to be taken for granted, such as health insurance, Anmeldung and setting up a bank account, become very complicated. What should one do in the meanwhile?
Some tipps to survive this challanging time in a foreign country.
1. Make sure to have health insurance: In this weird time, the most important thing is to make sure you can get medical services if you need them. Therefore, health insurance is the most important thing. If you started working (meaning: were put on the German payroll) and completed a public health insurance registration, you should be covered. Even if you did not get your Anmeldung yet.
If you did not start working yet, please make sure to have travel or private insurance. I have heard from a client of mine that some travel insurances will not cover any Coronavirus related stuff, meaning: therapy, medication, hospitalization or vaccination. Therefore, we highly recommend to make sure that Coronavirus-related stuff will be covered by your insurance.
2. Anmeldung: Unfortunately, it can be very difficult up to almost impossible to get your Anmeldung done currently. Very annoying, but this is the reality: Bürgeramt will only provide service on urgent cases, so you could get your Anmeldung only if they think your case is urgent. My recommendation will be to try and survive this time without an Anmeldung. You can (and must) get it done when the world returns to normal, but for the time being, try to find creative ways to live without it.
3. Bank account: One of the main problems in not having an Anmeldung is that as a non-German it will probably be complicated for you to set up a bank account. You can try finding a bank which is still open, show them the landlord confirmation as a proof of address and hope they will accept you.
Worst case scenario, you will have to survive this time without a German bank account. In that case, try to ask your employer to set up payments to your account abroad and use your credit card.
4. Tax ID: No Anmeldung - no tax ID. It is good to know that payroll companies can run your registration as an employee also retroactively for 3 months. You will get your Anmeldung and tax ID when the world turns to normal :)
5. Stay informed: Expat-life is not always easy. Living in a foreign country without spaking the language and knowing the system can be tricky. Try to keep as informed as possible. The purpose of this blog is to assist in keeping expats in the loop and to provide them with information about the current emergency situation in Berlin. There are more great resources in English, both in social media and in other websites, such as The Local. Even the official website of Berlin offers some information in English.
6. Build your network:
Moving to a new country is not easy. All of a suddon you do not have your network and loved ones with you, and need to start over: find new friends, get to know new colleagues, know your neighbours... This can be even more challanging if you cannot leave your house! Try to use technology and social media in order to find people in your situation. The best tip I can give you is to not isolate yourself socially: get to know your co-workers and colleagues over video chat, try to start conversations with nice people in your situation, who you can meet over social media, ask friends from back home to introduce you to their friends in Berlin, and so on. The best way to survive this time is together, with other people, as a group.
7. Maintain your work - life balance: Working remotely can be challanging. The best way to deal with it is by keeping your routine! Get up early (as early as you would have gotten up if the world was normal), dress up (as if you would leave the house and go to work), work in steady hours, do what you need to do in order to be concentrated during your work hours (e.g. take breaks). Outside of work hours, do not just sit on your sofa without doing anything: work out, cook nice food, watch nice movies, chat with friends - do anything that makes you happy.
Any more tips for newcomers? Feel free to share!