Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and is situated on the river Elbe. The city is one of the major tech hubs in Germany and in Europe.

If you are reading this, we assume that you are thinking of or have received an offer of employment in Hamburg. This guide is intended to give you a run-down of all you need to know about relocating to Hamburg.

Getting Started:

Before relocating to Hamburg, there are a number of things that you may want to take into consideration before you make the move.

1.    Accommodation

2.    Bank Account

3.    Tax Number

4.    Salary and Taxation Guide for the area

5.    Cost of Living

6.    Visas

7.    Other – Overview of the city, healthcare, transport, weather and useful websites.


Finding accommodation in Hamburg is competitive, so be prepared and start searching as soon as possible.

Make sure to keep in mind where you are working and try to find a house/apartment near suitable transportation links.

An option for those unsure of searching for property on their own, or want to streamline the experience can visit and they will provide you with the help you need looking for a new place to call home. Just visit the website and input your search, you can then take one of their virtual tours and see what the place is like and check out the landlord policies.

When you make a reservation on a property, that property stays blocked until the landlord responds to your request (up to 24 hours). Once the landlord accepts, your payment method will automatically be charged. This is where you pay the first payment of the property as well as a small fee for the websites expenses.

They will then put you in direct contact with your landlord via email, so you can arrange a time to collect keys, move in time, and transfer any documents that have been requested by the landlord.

For more information visit their website.

Useful Links:

Rental Prices:

As of 2018 please see the rental prices of an apartment in Hamburg.

Average cost of 1 Bed apartment in Hamburg city centre – €845

Average cost of 3 Bed apartment in Hamburg city centre – €1,814

Rooms for rent around Hamburg can vary – €450-1,000


Supporting Documents:

It is likely that upon looking for accommodation to rent you will be asked for the following documents, so be sure to have them available when you begin your search to avoid any delays. When you are looking for accommodation, it is recommended that you have the following:

·      Copies of Photo ID, Permits and Visas

·      A bank statement/ German Credit Report

·      Proof of employment – Usually your contract

·      A letter of reference from your previous landlord

Fees, Keys and Deposits

A deposit (Kaution) of 3 months’ rent is standard. The amount of the deposit should not exceed 3 months’ rent, and must be kept in an escrow account – a type of savings account separate from the landlord’s or estate agent’s business accounts. You may need to open a German bank account.


The description of the property should indicate whether the rent includes the utility bills. If rent doesn’t include utility bills it is called a ‘cold rent’ (Kaltmiete), if it does it is called a ‘warm rent’ (Warmmiete), this will include heating bills and may include other costs. Details should be laid out in the Tenancy Agreement. You should find out about connecting the Internet and phone line, as well as licences for German television and radio.

Bank Account

Opening a bank account upon arrival is one of the most important things you should do. Most employers will only transfer money into a German bank account, so it is essential you set one up as soon as possible. Without a German bank account you will also not be able to get property, utility bills, or a German mobile phone.

Most popular banks in Germany:

·      Deutsche Kredit Bank (DKB)

·      Comdirect

·      Commerzbank

·      Netbank

·      Sparkasse

Things to consider:

Before deciding which bank to go with, bear in mind that Hamburg does not have too many ATM machines around. Therefore, if you are stuck for cash and need to use a different banks ATM you can get stung with a high charge. Most places in Hamburg accept cards, but it is something to keep in mind.

Tax Number

You will need to provide your new employer with your German Tax number. Without it you will pay a more tax than you have to, and will not be able to get the government benefits you may be entitled to. Once you have received your Tax number you do not need to re-apply on a yearly basis, this is assigned to you for life.

To apply for your tax number (Steuer-Indentifikationsnummer) go to your local tax office (Burgeramt), they will ask you to fill out a number of forms, and will send your tax number to your address within two weeks

If you need your tax number urgently, you can ask for one at the finanzamt, which you give directly to your employer.

You can start this process at the following link:

Tax Calculator

Cost of Living

Please see below for the cost of living in Hamburg, as of June 2018.



Citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland:

As citizens of the EU with the right to freedom of movement, you have unrestricted access to the German labour market. You do not need a visa or a residence permit either to enter or work in Germany. The same applies if you come from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

Citizens of all other states:

You must apply for your visa in your home country before travelling to Germany. You submit your application to the German mission responsible for your place of residence – that is, to an embassy or consulate general

You must hold a degree from a recognised university to be eligible for a working visa.

You should consult with the responsible German mission sufficiently ahead of time concerning the documentation required for your application. Please make sure to enter Germany with a visa that accurately represents the purpose of your stay. Only then is it possible for the foreign nationals’ registration authority responsible for your place of residence in Germany to smoothly process an extension or change of your visa. A visa that has been issued for a short-term stay in Germany cannot be to a permanent residency visa.

Nationals of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, or the USA may enter Germany even without a visa and apply for a residence permit giving entitlement to work before taking up employment. Only nationals of these countries can apply to their local foreign nationals’ registration authority after having already entered Germany.

For further information:


 Overview of Hamburg –

Quick Facts:

·      Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city, with a population of 1.76 million.

·      14% of Hamburg is green – it is home to the biggest Japanese Gardens in Europe!

·      The city centre is home to two lakes, where you can get involved with a number of water sports, or sit and relax in the lake side bars, cafes and restaurants.

·      Hamburg’s town hall is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Germany, and has 647 rooms!

·      Hamburg has 2,300 bridges – that is more than Venice and Amsterdam combined!

·      Hamburg also has the first zoo with no cages, the world’s largest train set, and during the Hamburger Dom (held three times a year) – 3km of funfair!

Cities Equality Ranking:

Hamburg is one of the top ranking cities in Europe when it comes to equality. It is currently ranked the 24th best city in Europe for equality based on research carried out on a number of factors such as; male/female labour force participation, income inequality, accessibility and a number of other factors.

For more information –


Costs for general healthcare, medical and medical insurance such as general practitioner consultation rates, hospital private ward daily rate, non-prescription medicine, and private medical insurance/medical aid contributions is equally expensive on average compared to other cities.

Most German residents are part of the government health system. If a resident has a gross salary of less than €59,400 per year or €4,950 per month, membership to the government health system is mandatory. The system is administered by over 113 health insurers who charge the same basic rate of 14.6% plus a possible median supplemental rate of 1% of eligible gross salary to a maximum monthly income of €4,425. If a resident of Germany earns more than this, they do not have to pay a higher insurance premium. Assuming a maximum monthly premium of €700 as an employee earning at or above the threshold and are therefore a voluntary member, your contribution is approx. €377 and your employer will pay approx. €323. Generally the minimum period of membership with a health insurer is 18 months.


The transport links throughout Hamburg are good. There are buses, overland trains (S-Bahn) and underground trains (U-Bahn), which can all be covered by one ticket. Tickets can be purchased at any S-Bahn or U-Bahn stops on multi-lingual ticket machines. Available tickets are single, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.

Please note, a fare avoidance carries a fine of €40.00

Useful Website:

Useful Websites

Finally we would like to leave you with some links to some websites you might find helpful. You can click on the links below which we hope provide you with even more useful information.