Before You Go to Berlin
Before You Get on the Plane
Before visiting Berlin, you’ll want to make sure that all of your important documentation is up to date and available. It might help to make a checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything. The documents that you will need to bring with you include: a visa, driver’s license, picture identification card, passport, marriage certificates, and health care cards.
Essentially, if you are citizen of the EU/EEA you do not need a visa to enter Germany. You simply need to register at a local police station if you plan on an extended stay in Berlin longer than 90 days. For this, you will need your passport (or photo ID) and a copy of your lease agreement. For more information on longer stays in Berlin, read further on, to our Relocation Tips.
It's a good idea to have accommodation for a period of time already waiting for you in Berlin. It will probably take longer to find the perfect spot to live on a more permenant basis than the amount of time you'd like to spend in a hotel, so that's why we think that a medium-term rental on FlatClub is the best solution. You'll be afforded an opportunity to get to know the city a lot better for a couple of months, and develop a homeplace & base of operations in Berlin before you commit to one location. It's also a great chance for people who are only going to be in Berlin temporarily to have a more 'normal' life, and certanly a less expensive trip.
Non-EU/EEA citizens are generally required to acquire a valid visa to enter Germany. The exception to this rule applies to nationals from Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States; all of whom do not need a visa to enter Germany for stays less than 90 days.
Many Germans speak English. However, this is not guaranteed. It’s therefore a good idea to brush up on some basic phrases while staying in Berlin.
Have a check-up with your doctor and dentist before you go. Receive all necessary immunizations before you leave. Also stock up on prescriptions to take with you – you'll most likely be able to get them while staying in Berlin but it's just another thing to worry about while you're there.
By Train - Walk from your gate at airport Schoenefeld (SXF) to the train station (approx. 5-10 mins, just follow the signs). Purchase a zone ABC ticket if you are heading into central Berlin. You can either purchase a single ticket for 3,10 Euro or a day ticket for 7,00 Euro. If you are heading towards centre of Berlin you are likely to take the S9 train and switch at OstKreuz. Plan for about 50 minutes travel time. Plan your journey here: BVG Planner
Cab - There are plenty of Taxis outside of the Terminal. Taking a cab into central Berlin will cost you approximately 30,00 - 40,00 Euro and take you roughly 20-30 minutes (according to traffic). Try and avoid peak traffic times.
TXL Bus - There is no direct train to Tegel so taking the bus is probably the cheaper alternative to a taxi at roughly 3,10 Euro. The express bus shuttles back and forth between Tegel and Alexanderplatz, taking approx. 30-40 minutes. More information can be found here: Airport Service TXL
Cab - A cab will come to roughly 20,00 - 25,00 Euro from central Berlin to Tegel and vice versa. Depending on traffic you should plan for approximately 20 minutes travel time.
As with any city, your personal safety needs to be a priority while visiting Berlin. Take the time to program your phone, as well as memorize the following emergency numbers:
- Police (Polizei) Tel: 110
- Fire Service (Feuerwehr) Tel: 112
- Ambulance (Rettungswagen) Tel: 112
- Non-Emergency – Doctor on call Tel: 116, 117
A few practical safety tips will help ensure that your trip to Berlin is both safe and enjoyable:
- Make sure to carry your cell phone with you at all times
- Avoid going out alone at night
- Don’t carry excessive amounts of cash on your person
- Ensure that you don’t have your valuables on display, particularly when using public transport.