The first-steps checklist to help you get settled in Germany

The first-steps checklist to help you get settled in Germany

by Stripes Europe Staff
Stripes Europe

Welcome to Germany! Here is a one-stop checklist to help get you settled in a timely manner:


  • Attend newcomer orientation
  • Obtain ID card, as needed, and enroll/update in DEERS/IACS
  • Ensure passport has SOFA stamp
  • Enroll or update Tricare and complete medical in-processing
  • Sign up for an APO box, if your sponsor has not already done so


  • Determine entitlements with Finance Office
  • Establish account with installation financial institution
  • Withdraw euros
  • Research online bill-pay options
  • Contact U.S. banks to close accounts, as needed


  • Schedule and study for driver’s exam
  • Pass exam and get USAREUR License
  • Pick up a copy of the Stripes Road Guide
  • Get rental car
  • When car arrives or is purchased, get insurance, register and pass inspection
  • Enroll in the duty-free NATO Forces Fuel Card Program
  • Obtain International License if you plan on driving outside of Germany


  • Establish TLA and OHA
  • Prioritize needs and wants
  • Visit for a list of approved homes in your area
  • Schedule appointments to tour homes
  • Ensure Housing Office inspects property and reviews contract
  • Obtain VAT form for finder’s fee, if applicable
  • Sign paperwork after review by Housing Office and completion of VAT form
  • Establish utilities with VAT/UTAP Office
  • Sign up for communication services
  • Purchase liability and home insurance
  • Contact FMS and browse AFRC/ACS lending closet, thrift stores, flea markets and classifieds for household items


  • Locate nearest emergency room
  • Add emergency numbers to cell phone
  • Establish relationships with local medical providers
  • Pick up a copy of the Stripes Germany Health & Medical Guide


  • Have vaccination records, transcripts, PCS orders, passports and birth certificates readily available
  • Contact Enrollment Office to begin application process for DoDEA-Europe
  • Contact SLO for information about home schooling, referrals and transition assistance
  • Visit installation child care facilities to apply and get on waitlist
  • Ensure vaccinations are current and schedule wellness exams


  • Ensure pet has international microchip
  • Register pet at installation vet clinic
  • Find German vet clinic that provides emergency care
  • Get updated ID tags with local contact information
  • Obtain pet passport
  • It’s recommended you purchase pet insurance
  • Register pet with local government, if required
  • Find boarding center or pet sitter
  • Maintain annual rabies vaccinations during overseas tour
  • Understand local pet laws:


  • Create a account and update resume
  • Visit Education Center to learn about course offerings
  • Visit ACS, Red Cross & USO for volunteer opportunities and employment assistance
  • Sign up through to vote in elections back home


  • Program important numbers into your cell phone
  • Start recycling according to local requirements
  • Adjust routines to observe quiet hours
  • Carry euros and VAT forms when shopping and traveling
  • Learn basic German phrases
  • Get to know your neighbors
  • Join spouses’ club, German-American club or other activities
  • Consider the many opportunities MWR provides to explore Germany
  • Plan trips to explore Europe with
  • Pick up the Stripes Europe magazine

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