Living in Hamburg

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First Steps in Hamburg

Which steps should you take to successfully settle down in Hamburg? We've provided you with some useful tips.

Every beginning is difficult. That's why the Hamburg Welcome Center gives you useful tips on the first steps you should take to arrive in Hamburg and to settle in as fast as possible.

Administrative procedures in Germany and thus also in Hamburg seem complicated at first. But a planned procedure ensures step by step that you will soon have all the necessary documents in your hands and that your professional and private new start in Hamburg will be successful.

Accommodation Search

When looking for suitable accommodation, use the local newspapers or the numerous online platforms on which landlords and brokers offer apartments and houses in the Hanseatic City. Alternatively, you can also contact housing cooperatives.


In Germany you are obliged to register your place of residence. If you move within Hamburg or from abroad into an apartment in Hamburg, you must register within two weeks in one of the locations for Residents' Affairs of Hamburg Service vor Ort.

Bank Account

If you want to live and work in Germany for a longer period of time, you usually need a bank account. A registration certificate (you will get one after registering your address) is required for this.

Health Insurance

You are obliged to take out health insurance. If you are employed subject to social security contributions, you will receive your social security number, which your employer will apply for on your behalf.

Residence Permit

Immigrants from non-EU countrys need a residence permit for a longer duration of their stay. The purpose of your stay (e.g. Studying, Working, Research) in Hamburg determines the type and duration of the permit.

Job Search

Numerous Internet portals and job advertisements in local and national newspapers are available to help you find a job. When it comes to recognising your foreign vocational qualification, you will receive information about the process from the Hamburg Welcome Center.

Kindergarten and School

Select a childcare facility or school for your children and apply for child benefit. Please note that your child will initially attend an International Preparation Class for up to twelve months if he or she does not yet have a good command of the written and spoken German language.

Language Courses for Adults

Numerous providers offer German courses for adults. These courses must be certified for recognition when applying for residence permits.

Driving Licence

And in order to stay mobile and discover the metropolitan region of Hamburg, please inquire whether and for how long your foreign driving licence is valid in Germany. Alternatively, you can also use the wide range of local public transport in Hamburg and the surrounding area.