Prior to leaving Germany permanently, there are several things you need to clarify and take care of. This checklist is to make your relocation as smooth as possible.
Usually, you must inform the landlord at least 3 months in advance to terminate the lease agreement on time. As the exact regulations depend on your specific contract, please check your rental agreement and the notice period well in advance. If you own a house or condominium, make arrangements to sell or rent it out.
Avoid the unpleasant circumstance of having to pay for bills in Germany even after having left the country. Often a notice period of at least 90 days is required. Inform your gas, water, electricity, cable and internet provider about the cancellation and inform about the last meter reading well before you move out. Remember to also cancel your newspaper, magazines or DVD subscriptions.
If you have children in school or kindergarten, give advance notice to avoid extra charges.
To cancel your statutory or private health insurance in Germany, you need to get in touch with your health insurance provider to let them know when you will be moving abroad. Please check the cancellation period of your specific health insurance contract well in advance to not miss any deadlines. As health insurance is obligatory for all residents in Germany, you need to prove that you no longer reside here. For this, submit a copy of the deregistration certificate (in German “Abmeldebescheinigung”) from the Residents' Registration Office to your health insurance provider as soon as you have deregistered (see last point of this checklist).
Consider closing your bank account. For this, send an informal cancellation letter to your bank, including your name, address and details of your new bank account in order to transfer the remaining balance. Make sure that there are no outstanding direct debits or standing orders.
You may have accumulated plenty of things since you moved to Germany such as heavy furniture, electrical appliances, a bike etc. Now you have to decide whether to take them with you or not.
If you cannot separate yourself from things that don’t fit into your luggage, inquire for cost estimates from different shipping companies (http://www.unigrouprelocation.com/).
If you are responsible for finding a new tenant for your accommodation, you can offer the new tenant your furniture for sale or for free. To sell or give things away, you can also make a list of all items and put it up on bulletin boards at work, university, the library or super markets or on online forums such as “Ebay-Kleinanzeigen”
Consider donating your furniture and electrical appliances that are in very good condition rather than throwing them away. You can donate them to organisations such as “Cash&Raus” (https://www.skmd.de/cash-raus/moebelspende/).
Bulky waste, such as heavy broken furniture, must be disposed of correctly. For this, set up an appointment with the waste management company (https://www.awista.de/privathaushalte/sperrmuell/), which will pick up your bulky waste at the front door of the building of your accommodation.
To avoid becoming a victim of identity fraud when you leave the country, make sure your personal and important documents don’t fall into the hands of strangers. For this, you can make use of the „Nachsendeservice“ of the Deutsche Post (www.deutschepost.de/nachsendeservice), which will redirect all your mail to your new address.
If you were employed in Germany and therefore were paying into the social security system, you can inform yourself on whether crediting the pension periods or reimbursement of pension contributions is possible and advisable. Find helpful information and support here: https://www.findyourpension.eu
Remember when you arrived in Germany? One of the first things you had to do, was register at your local Residents’ Registration Office (in German “Einwohnermeldeamt” or also “Bürgerbüro”). Now that you are planning to leave the country, you are obliged to inform the German authorities by deregistering. You can do this at your local Residents’ Registration Office earliest one week before your move-out date. You just need to bring your passport.
In Düsseldorf, you can book an appointment for your deregistration (in German “Abmeldung”) here: