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How to Move to Germany with No Money

If you want to move to Germany, chances are you’re going to need some money saved up. Germany isn’t the cheapest country in the world, so you’ll need to be financially prepared. That being said, there are ways to move to Germany with no money. 

From jobs that come with accommodation to visas that allow you to look for jobs while living in Germany, here is my guide on how to move to Germany with no money. Let’s dive in and find out more.

Unavoidable Costs of Moving to Germany

First things first, let’s take a look at some of the costs of moving to Germany that are hard to ignore. When we say “how to move to Germany with no money”, we don’t mean zero dollars in your bank account. That’s unrealistic and chances are the German government won’t give you a visa if you don’t have the necessary funds to support yourself.

So, some of the basic costs that come with moving to Germany include:

  • International flights
  • Accommodation (some places will provide this, but more on that later)
  • Health insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Shipping and baggage costs for your stuff

This obviously doesn’t cover every cost when moving to Germany, but these are the basics and you need to make sure you have enough money to cover this. The average rent in Germany is €942 per month, but that number goes a lot higher in Berlin and Munich. 

Depending on where you’re flying from and to, you can get one-way flights from the US to Germany for as little as $250 but it’s a lot more common for flights to be around $300-400. 

All long-stay visas in Germany cost €75 and you will not be able to stay longer than three months or work in Germany without one, so this absolutely needs to be factored into your budget.  


Okay, visas aren’t flashy or glamorous, but you will need one if you want to stay in Germany for a longer period of time, or you want to work, you need this piece of paper. Luckily, there are a few visa options if you don’t have a job and your funds are limited.

a passport with visa

Job Seeker Visas

One of the most popular visas in Germany is the job seeker visa. This allows you to stay in Germany for six months while you try to find a job that’ll sponsor you for a more permanent work visa. 

You’ll need five years of experience in your given field and/or a professional certificate or diploma to prove you know what you’re doing. There is a financial requirement, but it’s to make sure you can support yourself while you’re looking for a job. This is normally a rate of €947 per month. 

Freelancer Visa

Although Germany doesn’t have a specific digital nomad visa, it does have a freelancer visa. So, if you’re self-employed on a freelance basis, you can apply to life and work in Germany.

You have to prove that there are clients in Germany willing to work with you, and again, you have to prove that you can support yourself while you’re there. 

It also helps if you’ve been working as a freelancer for a while, and this doesn’t necessarily have to be in a creative field, there are also pathways for medical or technical freelancers as well. 

I‘ve lived abroad for many years and love helping others find work abroad and figure out their “Move Abroad Plan.” Check out my class below to get you started ASAP!

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Student Visa

If you’re looking to live in Germany as a student, there are student visas available. Many student visas also allow you to work alongside your studies with a maximum of 120 days or 240 half-days of paid work per year.

For this one, there are a lot of hoops to jump through, including being accepted at a university, finding your accommodation in advance, and having enough money to sustain yourself, at least initially until you can find a part-time job. 

Language Learning Visa

Similar to the student visa, Germany has a specific language-learning visa that allows you to stay in Germany for between three months and a year. You have to complete at least 18 hours of lessons each week to remain eligible, but you can’t work on this visa. 

You can look for sponsored work while you’re there, but you can’t convert this visa into a work visa, instead, you have to fully reapply for a new visa. 

Claiming German Citizenship

If you have familial ties to Germany, you can also apply for dual or full citizenship. This can be a long process, but it does mean that you won’t need a visa to move to Germany. You’ll also need to check if you’ll have to renounce any claims of citizenship to your current country, as some places don’t allow dual citizenship!

However, this is pretty much the only visa situation that allows you to move to Germany with no money. As a citizen, you don’t need to show minimum financial requirements or have a job offer to live there. Having citizenship also makes getting a job a lot easier, as there is less paperwork for the business to deal with!

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Jobs with Accommodation

If you’re looking to keep costs low and move to Germany with a job in hand, there are a few different careers that sometimes come with accommodation as part of the compensation package. This obviously depends on the company, so it’s worth double checking before you apply.

Teach English 

Teaching English is a classic work abroad job for a reason. If you’re a native speaker and have completed a TEFL course or any degree in English, chances are very good that you can apply for an English language teacher role in Germany.

children sitting with a woman facing each other

Some schools might require additional teaching experience, but there are definitely roles out there for people with limited experience.

It’s common for English teacher jobs to include all your visa costs included in the package, but a few also include accommodation and international flights. If they don’t include accommodation, the school usually can help you out with finding affordable solutions or may know of other teachers looking to split rental costs. 

Work as an Au Pair

Another classic way to move to Germany with no money is to become an Au Pair. The Au Pair tradition is still alive and well in Europe and Germany is no exception. You will need some kind of childcare experience whether that’s babysitting, a diploma in childcare or education, or similar nursery experience.

a woman kissing the baby

Honestly, the pay for being an Au Pair isn’t the best – it ends up being around €800 a month – however, you basically have no outgoings. You live with the family, eat food there, sometimes have access to the family car, and will have your visa paid for by the Au Pair agency in a lot of instances.

So, you’re basically saving all your wages for your days off or for a rainy day fund!

Work in a Hostel

Accommodation can suck up a lot of your wage, so if you’re a sociable person, then working in a hostel might be the answer to your German expat problems. You can work at the reception desk, run the bar, sort out housekeeping, or look after the social schedule.

Much like being an Au Pair, the wage for this is pretty low – normally minimum wage – but you’ll likely be staying in the hostel for free with use of the kitchen facilities and getting discounts on drinks and tours offered by the hostel itself. 

Resort Work

If you’re looking for seasonal work in Germany or want to move for a shorter period to see if Germany is for you, there are resorts around the Black Forest that hire on a seasonal basis. There are also a few ski resorts that hire seasonally as well if winter is more your vibe.

Depending on the resort, they should help you out with accommodation in addition to your wages and employee discounts around the resort. For ski resorts, if you’re applying through BUNAC or a similar package scheme, you may be able to get financial assistance with your visa and international flights too!

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Finally, we have the staple of the moving abroad with no money scene – Workaway. In exchange for assistance around the house or a certain business, you can get your accommodation for free. 

Gigs on Workaway vary from language practice to farming and pet sitting to marketing assistance to fruit picking and beyond. There are thousands of jobs on there and plenty all around Germany. Some of them pay a small wage as well as offering free accommodation, but this is pretty rare.

The other thing to look out for is whether or not you get meals included, or if you have access to any transport to get to nearby towns. Even though this is technically volunteer work, you may need a visa for some of these gigs, so read the fine print very carefully before applying. 

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