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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I hope some of these questions can get answered.... i have a few.....

I am a married USA citizen that is deciding to move and live in Germany for at least 8 years (long term)
  • wife is Indonesian, has Indonesian passport (USA green card holder) we have been married for 13 years and got married in USA through K1/K2 USA VISA.
  • wife's daughter (my step daughter) has Indonesian passport (USA green card holder) I have not officially adopted her, nor plan to.
  • our son was born in USA and has USA passport.

My company would take care of the work visa for myself, and whatever other paperwork is needed (they are a German company, owned by a USA firm)
  • how would my wife be able to live in Germany?
    • and eventually, how would she be able to work in Germany?
  • how would my step daughter be able to live in Germany?
  • I assume since my son has an USA passport, this is automatic when I get the proper paperwork from my company to work and live in Germany?


If/When my family moves to Germany:
  • is health insurance for my whole family taken care of through my German Taxes?
  • school for my children: is public german school taken care of through my German taxes?
    • Child 1 is 12 years old
    • Child 2 is 16 years old
  • can both of my children attend the schools through a college education, as long as myself and my wife live in Germany?

Any other possible problems that might occur, things I have not thought of, please let me know.

thanks!
 

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From an immigration perspective, assuming you have a valid work permit and all that, there's no problem with your wife and son joining you as dependants. Your wife will have permission to work. I would assume that her daughter (your stepdaughter) could join as her dependent, but you definitely want to verify that now, and also find out what happens when she turns 18. If you can't find an answer online, contact the nearest German consulate or the foreigners' office (Ausländerbehörde) in the city where you are planning to move.

By the way, nothing is "automatic" - after arrival you will all need to troop down to the foreigners' office to apply for residence permits. If your wife and stepdaughter do not have US passports then they probably also need visas before they can enter Germany (US citizens are a "privileged" nationality; they do not need a visa to enter, but can take care of the formalities within 90 days; a visa is optional but may still be useful if it allows you to begin working immediately upon arrival.)

To your specific questions:

You pay for health insurance. If you are employed in a salaried position and under 55 years of age you should be able to go into the public system; you will pay approximately 7.5% of your salary up to a certain limit, I believe, and your family would be covered as well. You can find online tax and social insurance calculators that will tell you what your payments are for a given salary.

Your children would be eligible for public school in Germany, free of charge, but unless they speak excellent German there's no possible way they could survive at their ages. (The younger might, but likely not in Gymnasium, which is the path for university admission.) Unless you are very lucky and find a place at one of the few bilingual English-German public schools, you'll be paying for private international school.

German universities are free for any student, foreign or domestic. Your children would simply apply with whatever citizenship they have. Note that the language of instruction is primarily German!
 

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Hello, I hope some of these questions can get answered.... i have a few.....

I am a married USA citizen that is deciding to move and live in Germany for at least 8 years (long term)
  • wife is Indonesian, has Indonesian passport (USA green card holder) we have been married for 13 years and got married in USA through K1/K2 USA VISA.
  • wife's daughter (my step daughter) has Indonesian passport (USA green card holder) I have not officially adopted her, nor plan to.
  • our son was born in USA and has USA passport.

My company would take care of the work visa for myself, and whatever other paperwork is needed (they are a German company, owned by a USA firm)
  • how would my wife be able to live in Germany?
    • and eventually, how would she be able to work in Germany?
  • how would my step daughter be able to live in Germany?
  • I assume since my son has an USA passport, this is automatic when I get the proper paperwork from my company to work and live in Germany?


If/When my family moves to Germany:
  • is health insurance for my whole family taken care of through my German Taxes?
  • school for my children: is public german school taken care of through my German taxes?
    • Child 1 is 12 years old
    • Child 2 is 16 years old
  • can both of my children attend the schools through a college education, as long as myself and my wife live in Germany?

Any other possible problems that might occur, things I have not thought of, please let me know.

thanks!
You might want to contact the relevant German Embassy or Consulate regarding the 16-year-old. Not because of her nationality or non-adopted status but because she is 16.


It´s harder to get a visa for children over 16 if they do not already speak a good amount of German, mainly because it will be nigh impossible for them to be successful in grades 11 to 12/13 when preparation for the exam happens that enables them to enroll in university. Other high schools - those not directly leading to university but to an apprenticeship, end after 10th grade roughly at age 16. Your daughter won´t have a comparable school leaving certificate.

I think it would be prudent to secure private international schooling with English as the language of instruction and provide proof of that with her visa application.

What will your situation in Germany be? City? Town? Rural? Which state? All of that will influence your options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the help.

My particular situation is we can live just about anywhere, as potentially, I will be a remote worker taking care of a sales territory. But I am leaning towards the Munich or Nuremberg areas, if there are any reputable international schools that teach in English.

As I am learning, even though that school for my 16 year old is taught in English, she will need to learn German for higher education and the university.
 

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I can't speak to reputation but major cities will have international schools, plus anywhere you find a concentration of foreign executive types who can afford it. If university in Germany is the goal, ensure that the school offers an IB diploma or the UK equivalent of a German Abitur. A regular US high-school diploma is not enough for admission, although there is a useful option for upgrading called Studienkolleg, a one-year program (taught in German) that students take prior to beginning their degree.
 

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A regular US high-school diploma is not enough for admission,
One of the reasons a US high school diploma is often not enough for admission to a European university is that many of the EU countries' public school systems have a 13 year program (i.e. 1 year past the 12 year US HS diploma). I know here in France, to enter a French university as a first year student, they generally require a US student to have completed at least one year of US "college" (i.e. university).

But as Harry says, a working level of German is pretty much obligatory in most German universities. I have heard of a few "English language" programs, but usually those are specialty private schools or graduate programs. An IB (International Baccalaureate) program would be ideal, and I think includes that 13th year. Details here in the Wikipedia article on the IB: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IB_Diploma_Programme
 

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Thanks for the help.

My particular situation is we can live just about anywhere, as potentially, I will be a remote worker taking care of a sales territory. But I am leaning towards the Munich or Nuremberg areas, if there are any reputable international schools that teach in English.

As I am learning, even though that school for my 16 year old is taught in English, she will need to learn German for higher education and the university.
Germany has 16 states and 16 different school systems. Generally, the systems are three-tiered. Two tiers end after 10th grade but there are possibilities to continue studies then or later.

The tier that requires the highest academic ability goes to either grade 12 or 13, depending on German state and type of high school. Regardless of that, the German Abitur is roughly equivalent to a US associate´s degree and US students have to either show two years of US college or attend the Studienkolleg.

To get an overview of what the German university system offers, which programs are tuition free and which are not, as well as availability of programs taught in English (honestly, would not recommend if they want to work in Germany afterward) or bilingual programs, play around here:

 

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Thanks for the help.

My particular situation is we can live just about anywhere, as potentially, I will be a remote worker taking care of a sales territory. But I am leaning towards the Munich or Nuremberg areas, if there are any reputable international schools that teach in English.

As I am learning, even though that school for my 16 year old is taught in English, she will need to learn German for higher education and the university.
Which grade is she in right now?

When we returned from Scotland to Germany, my daughter had completed 10th grade, but the exams for potentially leaving school are held in 11th grade in Scotland, so she did not have a school leaving certificate to show for entry into 11th grade.

We asked for her to be enrolled in 10th grade in Germany but pupils coming from outside Germany can not directly go into a grade that ends with school leaving exams without having their last (her 9th grade report) report card be officially recognized by the relevant German authority, which can take months.

In the end we decided that she would have a better chance to get the type of grades needed in 10th grade to then be allowed to go on to 11th, if she just did both 9th and 10th grade in Germany. It was frustrating at times due to the slight age difference but it was invaluable because German school culture is quite different from UK school culture and expectations (and that of the USA), so she is now a bit older, but she has a solid foundation, knows what is expected and at what kind of level.

In Berlin, there are bilingual state schools, from primary school, to what you would call middle school, to 13th grade. She had been offered a place at the school that offers 11th to 13th grade but in the end opted for a school that teaches in German.


I expect there should be something similar available in Bavaria, due to the long time presence of the US Armed Forces there.
 
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