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European SOS 112 The number 112 can be dialed to reach emergency services - medical, fire and police - from anywhere in Europe. This Pan-European emergency number 112 can be called from any telephone (landline, pay phone or mobile cellular phone). Calls are free. It can be used for any life-threatening situation, including: Serious medical problems (accident, unconscious person, severe injuries, chest pain, seizure) Any type of fire (house, car) Life-threatening situations (crimes) SOS 112 website:http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/112/index_en.htm
Information on the 112 number from the European Commission website

Wikipedia Article about Emergency Medical Services in Germany

The rules for getting a German driving license vary greatly depending where you come from. Individual U.S. states having different agreements with Germany regarding driver license exchange and recognition.

You can drive legally in Germany with your U.S. license for up to  six months. If you stay here less than a year, you can ask your local Fuehrerscheinstelle (DMV) to extend that period to cover your stay. You will need to  bring a certified translation of your home license from ADAC and proof of your intended length of residency; e.g. plane ticket, or a work contract etc.

If you'll be staying longer than a year you must apply for a  regular Fuehrerschein (license) to drive in Germany after your first six months in country. If your home state in the U.S.  has a license exchange agreement with Germany, you have up to three years to swap/exchange 

You can simply exchange your license if you come from U.S. states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington State, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

If you come from Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee or Washington D.C. you will need to take the written test, but not the driving test.

If your license is from  any of the U.S. states not listed, you will most likely be required to take both the written and driving examination [See below]

Exchanging your home license for a German one is usually straight-forward.  You should call the exact office that will issue your license to find out exactly what you need to bring, and get the name of the person you talk to. You may be required to bring an eye exam (just about any optical shop can do it, for about EUR 5), and an official translation of your home license from the ADAC

If your license is from U.S. states not listed, you will most likely be required to take both the written and driving examination.

The written test, which covers such things as rules of the road and traffic signs, can be taken in a number of languages, including English. It's taken at a drivers' school (Fahrschule), so let them know in advance what language you prefer. Be warned, the test is tough, and 30% of the people who take it fail to pass it on the first try. So you should study for it. There is a book in English, Lehrbuch Englisch (Fahren Lernen B), that many find a big help. You can buy it from a driving school for about €50, or you may find used copies being offered on line.

The test is multiple choice, but there isn't necessarily only one correct answer to each question. Some or all of the answers may be correct. You can get an idea of what it is like, in English with the correct answers checked, at http://www.osterberger.org/test.html

Fahrschule cars for the driving examination are equipped with dual controls so that the instructor can take over any time the student gets into serious trouble. The law sets minimum durations and mileage for each aspect of the driving instruction: at least 225 minutes and 50 kilometers per session on highways or country roads: at least 135 minutes on the Autobahn with each journey lasting at least 45 minutes, and 90 minutes for driving in twilight or darkness, half of this on highways or country roads.

Those attending a driving school won't necessarily be treated as beginning drivers. Many schools have set up simplified courses for experienced drivers, which will cost you about €200 as opposed to the over €1,000 that a beginner would have to pay. If a school tells you it doesn't offer such a course, find one that does.

The driver's license is issued by an agency of the local police. To exchange your license you should take it to your local driver's registration office (Führerscheinstelle). You should have a certified translation. You can get a translation from the ADAC automobile club. (Their office in Hesse charges €36 for members and €46 for non-members.) A person must present an application, a passport, a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis), two passport-sized photos, proof of attendance at a Fahrschule if required, proof of completion of a first aid course and certification of a vision test which either an optometrist or the Technische Überwachungsverein (TüV) may administer.

Some Americans who work and live in the German states of Hamburg, Hesse, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Saarland may now have it easier. In some cases it may be possible to convert licenses without any written or driving exam no matter what US state they come from. The rules differ somewhat in each of those four German states. In some cases your work must be with an American firm, and in some cases spouses are not allowed to make the simple conversion.

Helpful Links:
http://www.expatica.com/de/essentials_moving_to/essentials/how-to-get-a-driving-license-in-germany-34198_9937.html?ppager=0

http://www.howtogermany.com/pages/driving.html

http://www.amcham.de/location-germany/drivers-license.html

You may get married in Germany if you are not a German resident. The necessary documentation varies by registration office (Standesamt), so the first step is to make an appointment with the local Standesamt to determine what their requirements are.

Documents you are almost certain to need are your passport and a recent (less than six months old) copy of your birth certificate, along with a certificate of no impediments or certificate of free status (Ehefähigkeitszeugnis) from your home embassy proving you are eligible to marry. All documents from another country will require an Apostille (a certification from the issuing authority that it is a legal document). Obviously, you need to ask your own embassy or the German embassy in your country what specific requirements you need to fulfill.

One source of information is the U.S. Embassy's German website:

https://de.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/marriage/

The Legal Guide to Germany http://www.lg2g.info/ has produced an excellent article detailing the laws and regulations pertaining to this as well as new provisions  proposed in the Ex-Patriot Act [Now incorporated into the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act]  which could pose special problems for Americans who could have their passports canceled or revoked as a result.

What are the legal consequences when a person cannot produce her passport? § 52 I 1 no. AufenthG provides that a granted permit can be revoked. Besides that, the American is subject to prosecution and can be punished with imprisonment up to one year or a fine for not taking out reasonable measures to reobtain a passport (§ 95 AufenthG). If a residence permit is revoked the American is obligated to leave the country (§ 50 AufenthG). Assuming this person does not volunteer to leave, then expulsion proceedings will be initiated.

The full article can be found here:
http://www.agbc-berlin.de/modules/news/article.php?storyid=130&location_id=123&topicid=2

Request for certificates from the vital records registry (translated from wikipedia)

In Germany the original of the birth registry from which birth certificates as well as certified copies of the birth records are kept at the Stadesamt (bureau of vital statistics) in the city where the birth occured. Birth records are kept and kept for 110 years, after which they are sent to the local archives.

Since smaller towns and cities are no longer owned by the municipality, changes and revisions in the area of ​​the municipality must be observed.

At any time, a birth certificate or a certified transcript from the birth register (for example, registration of marriage) can be issued if one belongs to the legitimate group of persons. (the person themself as well as relatives in a straight line (children, parents, grandparents).

To this end, almost all major registrars now have comprehensive information or an online form on their own homepage. It is also possible to order by means of a letter or an e-mail with the complete personal data as well as a copy of the ID card or passport for the proof of the authorization, which is sent directly to the respective office.

One should avoid 3rd party services on the internet which add costs (in addition to the fees of the documents at the office) for the procurement of a certificate. These third parties are not in affiliated with the registrars. As a rule, the registrars can not send certificates on the basis of the documents provided by third parties.

The fee rates are determined by the respective federal state.

If the device has a  label saying that it will work with 240V, then it will work in Germany although it may need a plug converter or replacement power cord.

Most modern electronic devices tend to have such a label. Most desktop computers have a switch to change between 120V and 240V.

Anything without such a label is unlikely to work. In particular, lights, hair dryers and similar items will not work correctly and could cause damage to the device or worse if used with the wrong voltage.

External voltage converters a.k.a. step-down converters are available which will allow use of most 120V U.S. devices. These converters are often bulky and large and vary greatly in price according to the wattage rating. Never Use a Surge Protector with a Step-Down Transformer, it could kill you! [See Below]

If you want to us a TV (not a computer monitor), it must support the PAL video format. In the U.S. NTSC format is used. Some LCD TVs support both standards, but you will have to read the labels.

  •  single speed AC motors will run slower here due to the slower line frequency
  • Satellite and cable receivers (set-top boxes) won't work at all here - different transmission standards
  • Ensure any step-down (230v-110v) transformer is correctly rated for the total number of devices you will connect - allow at least 50%, better 100% safety margin (so if a device is rated at 500W use a 1000W transformer).
  • Where US devices are correctly rated for European power NEVER use a plug-adapter in long term use - always replace the power plug or cable with the European equivalent
  • Cordless/wireless devices, especially older ones, such as baby alarms, walkie-talkies, cordless phones may work here but might not be licensed for the radio frequencies they use - penalties can be extreme (as some US radio frequencies interfere with European emergency services)
  • Any residual guarantee you may have on newer equipment brought from the US may no longer be valid if you connect to a European supply using a transformer or adapter, unless the specification for the device confirms is is directly compatible with European power sources</li><li>Equipment not verified (e.g. CE or TÜV certification) for use in Europe may invalidate a German/European insurance policy if they are the cause of a claim (e.g. your US TV bursts into flames and burns down your house - a German insurance might contest any subsequent claim in its entirety!)
  • Helpful Links:Wikipedia article: Voltage Converters
  • Never Use a Surge Protector with a Step-Down Transformer!!

U.S. citizens in possession of a valid U.S. passport do not need a visa for airport transit, tourist or business trips for stays up to 90 days. All persons who wish to stay in Germany for more than 90 days are required to obtain a residence permit.

If you intend to stay longer than 90 days, you are required to register at the local Standesamt – Einwohnermeldeamt (Registration Office) within one week of arrival.

Citizens of the United States of America may apply for their residence permit after entering Germany without a visa. Alternatively they can apply for a residence permit prior to entry at the German Embassy in Washington or at a German Consulate (currently located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York or San Francisco). Inquiries can be made at the German Embassy at http://www.germany-info.org.

All persons who wish to seek gainful employment in Germany are required to obtain a residence permit in the form of a visa. The residence permit ("Aufenthaltserlaubnis") only allows you to take up gainful employment (employee or self-employment) if the residence permit expressly entitles you to do this.

Once in Germany, the following procedure generally applies for job seekers:

Once you have an offer of employment and have registered your residence, you need to go to the Ausländerbehörde (Immigration Office). Check with your local Einwohnermeldeamt or Rathaus for the exact address and office hours of the Ausländerbehörde in your city.

The Ausländerbehörde will check whether the general legal prerequisites are fulfilled for issuing an "Aufenthaltserlaubnis".

If these are fulfilled, the immigration authorities request approval from the "Bundesagentur für Arbeit" (Federal Employment Agency) for taking up employment in a particular job for which you are applying.

WEBSITE: https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/

A work permit is only given if the job cannot be filled by a German, EU citizen or other applicants given preferential treatment (e.g. third-country nationals who have been living in Germany for a longer period of time). This is known as the Priority Principle ("Vorrangprinzip"). After a specific period of time has lapsed, it is possible for the U.S. citizen applicant to have the same access to the labor market as German and EU citizens.

Answer Source: auswaertiges-amt.de

Responsibility for recognizing qualifications and courses of study for the purpose of granting access to universities or further studies lies with the German higher education institutions. To help them assess foreign university entrance qualifications, the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK) provides country-specific recommendations. These can be found on the ZAB database (under "Zeugnisbewertungen": the information is available only in German) using the link below. You can find more information on the website of the European Network of Information Centres (ENIC) and the National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARIC). Also, the EU Commission offers information on the relevant provisions within the European Union on its websites.

The responsibility for recognizing foreign qualifications for the purpose of taking up employment lies with the recognition authorities in the German state (Land) in which the applicatn lives or hopes to live. Information on this, too, can be found in the ZAB database (under "Dokumente" or "Suständige Stellen in Deutschland": again, the information is available only in German).

Furthermore, since 4 January 2010 the ZAB has, for a fee, provided private applicants with assessments of their qualifications (not the same as recognition) on the basis of the so-called Lisbon Convention. Further information about the content and possible uses of such assesments as well as the application form can be found on the KMK website given below (the information is available in Germany only).

Detailed information about the recognition of foreign school and higher education qualifications for academic and employment purposes can be found on the website of the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education (KMK). Limited information is available in English.

http://www.howtogermany.com/pages/pets.html

If you wish to bring a cat or dog into Germany, the animal must have been vaccinated for rabies at least 30 days but no more than 12 months prior to its entry. Proof of examination must be presented at the border.

It is a European Union requirement that dogs and cats have an identification number, either on a clearly visible tattoo or as a microchip, and that this number corresponds to one on the proof of examination. (For travel between European Union countries, the pets must now have a passport, issued by a licensed veterinarian.)

If you live in rented quarters you must have the permission of the landlord before keeping a pet, and, as in the U.S., dogs must be licensed. Cats need no license. Check with the authorities for rules regarding other pets.

Certain breeds of dogs present special problems. The rules vary from state to state in Germany, but most consider Pit Bulls, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers too dangerous. Their import is banned. Several of the states, including Bavaria, Brandenburg and North Rhine-Westphalia, also have what they consider a Category 2 Kampfhund, and this includes the Rottweiler.

There is no outright ban on the import of Rottweilers, but they must be submitted to a viciousness test. If they pass the test they are treated like any other dog. But if they fail they are subject to the same rules as the Pit Bulls and Terriers. If they are not outright banned from the state they face a high licensing fee, must be neutered and must be muzzled and kept on a leash whenever they are off the owner's property.

For more detailed information on which breeds may be banned and in which states the ban is effective it would be wise to contact a specialist in importing pets. You can also  <CLICK HERE> for a detailed list of banned breeds and other information about restrictions on dangerous dogs.

With these and all pets, the owner is legally responsible for anything the animal does. They are subject to huge lawsuits if, for instance, a dog runs a motorcyclist off the road and he is disabled for life. A personal liability policy arising out of ownership of a dog costs about €70 a year in Germany. It's a good idea to obtain this insurance.

Dogs are not allowed in grocery stores, butcher shops and other shops where fresh food is sold. Some Konditerei, or cafes, don't allow them either. Establishments that don't want you to bring your dog inside will have a small sign affixed on the window. It usually shows a picture of a dog and will read something like, Wir müssen leider daraussen warten (unfortunately, we must wait outside).

You can take your dog or cat with you when traveling. Train tickets in Germany can be purchased for them at about half the regular fare. Rules for air transport of animals vary from airline to airline, but, in response to customer demand, they are usually friendly about it. The airline should be notified when you book the flight if you plan to take a pet.

It's almost always required that the traveling animal be in a shipping crate that is sturdy, properly ventilated and large enough so that the pet may freely stand, turn around and lie down. Prescribed crates are available at pet stores and from most airlines. Remember to check with the airline when in doubt.

The crate usually goes in a pressurized cargo bay, though some airlines allow passengers to carry their pets in the cabin if the crate can fit under a seat.

There are pet travel services that can be useful, especially if the animal won't be accompanied by the owner. They also can advise on pitfalls to shipment such as a quarantine period at the destination.

 

Almost all goods - excluding the obviously illegal - can be imported into Germany. Non-EU citizens arriving by sea or air may bring in a total of €430 worth of goods, excluding specific restrictions on alcohol and tobacco.

However, once you have exceeded the duty-free limit, you will be required to pay sales tax (VAT) of 19 percent in addition to varying customs fee on the value of the item.

For a more comprehensive list of customs charges, go to the English-language FAQs (frequently asked questions) of the (Zollamt) German customs office's web page: http://www.zoll.de

If you are moving to Germany, you are allowed to bring your household goods and one used vehicle with you, duty free. You must document that you have given up your residence in your home country, are establishing a residence in Germany, that the household goods have been used by you for at least six months before moving and will continue to be used by you for 12 months after relocating. You must also prove you have been the sole owner of the vehicle for at least six months before moving.

More information can be found by following the German Missions' website links for the following countries:
United States- http://www.germany.info

US Embassy Emergency Contact Information

If you are an American citizen with an after hours emergency, please call the Consulate in your area and ask to be connected to the consulate duty officer.
Berlin: (030) 8305-0
Frankfurt: (069) 7535-0
Munich: (089)-2888-0

Source: soc.culture.german
In Germany the season of Carnival is referred to as Karneval or Fastnacht or Fasching depending on the region.  It's very different from e.g. Brazilian or Venecian (Venice/Italy) Carnival. In general, Carnival is a Catholic festival. In predominantly protestant areas you'll find little Carnival activities. It is the period before Ash Wednesday, before the Lent, the fasting-days, begin. People take it as the last opportunity to drink, eat and frolic to their hearts content.

Until Easter things will be going to some extremes. A common trait throughout Germany is people's liking for costumes and disguises, may they be traditional (e.g. in Baden or in Venice/Italy) or leaning towards the bizarre side as in the Rheinische Karneval, (i.e. between Mainz and the Dutch border along the river Rhine) Naturally, children like to dress up but adults do so, as well.
 
The Alemannische Fasnet, celebrated mainly in Southwestern Germany and northern Switzerland, has its roots in pagan beliefs and is preoccupied with chasing ghosts and demons by intimidating them with very elaborate scary wooden masks, fire and the terrible noise of pipes and drums. One of the most impressive displays of the alemannische Fasnet can be watched in Basel, Switzerland at the Narrensprung (run of the fools).  For the Narrensprung, which starts early in the morning between 4am and 5am, all the lights in the city of Basel are turned off and men disguised in traditional costumes parade through the streets, accompanied by marching bands playing traditional songs.

The Rheinische Karneval has its roots in the French occupation of the
 Rhineland following Napoleaon in the early 1800s, mocking the occupiers. Traditional Karneval costumes are modeled on the military uniforms of that time. The season begins on 11/11 at 11:11 a.m. at which time people on market places of every major Rhineland town celebrate Hoppeditz Erwachen (The awaking of Hoppeditz, a figure in the Carnival).  Typical music is played, disguised people drink beer, wine, champagne...  and Hoppeditz rises from his bed (or grave).  This beginning mark is not really a big event, however, very quickly normal day-to-day life takes over again; Christmas passes..., Silvester passes...  but eventually Carnival gets going! Some Sitzungen start being held here and there; people commence at halls for a show that starts precisely at 7:11 (or 8:11) p.m. On the stage a panel of eleven (the Elferrat) presides the Sitzung and some artists (who can be ordinary people) come on stage.  Music groups perform and dance groups and especially Buettenredner -- men and women who make mocking speeches about everyday life, politics (local, national, international) and so on.  The most important of the evening are, however, the Prince and Princess of Carnival. Every town has their own royal couple.  The Prince and Princess' guards bear wooden rifles and wear uniforms resembling those of Napoleons armies which occupied the Rhineland from about 1800 to 1815. Their manner of conducting serves to ridicule military in general.

The hot phase of Karneval starts on 11:11am of the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, the so-called Weiberfastnacht (Carnival of women), the day women take control. (Wearers of ties beware! Women might carry scissors to trim your manly accessories -- and you won't even be allowed to complain!-)

From Saturday to Tuesday parades take place in many towns; the most important ones are on Rosenmontag ... starting at (you guess!) 11:11am. The three big ones are in Duesseldorf, Cologne and Mainz. In the parades you see some brass bands, a lot of disguised people, a few guests from abroad (US brass bands, Brazilian groups; only in the big parades) and many Motivwagen. Those are tractors with a trailor displaying a motive, some paper dolls representing celebraties or politicians to mock about... other Wagen carry the Prince and Princess, or their guards or the children prince and princess. All parading groups throw sweets or other goodies into the watching crowd. Spectators along the way shout Helau or Alaaf (depending on the area.)
 
There are different traditions to end up Carnival. On Ash Wednesday 0:00, Carnival is over. The Hoppeditz goes back to his grave, or the nubbel has to be burnt...Until Easter things will be going to some extremes. A common trait throughout Germany is people's liking for costumes and disguises, may they be traditional (e.g. in Baden or in Venice/Italy) or leaning towards the bizarre side as in the Rheinische Karneval, (i.e. between Mainz and the Dutch border along the river Rhine) Naturally, children like to dress up but adults do so, as well.
 
The Alemannische Fasnet, celebrated mainly in Southwestern Germany and northern Switzerland, has its roots in pagan beliefs and is preoccupied with chasing ghosts and demons by intimidating them with very elaborate scary wooden masks, fire and the terrible noise of pipes and drums. One of the most impressive displays of the alemannische Fasnet can be watched in Basel, Switzerland at the Narrensprung (run of the fools).  For the Narrensprung, which starts early in the morning between 4am and 5am, all the lights in the city of Basel are turned off and men disguised in traditional costumes parade through the streets, accompanied by marching bands playing traditional songs.

The Rheinische Karneval has its roots in the French occupation of the
 Rhineland following Napoleaon in the early 1800s, mocking the occupiers. Traditional Karneval costumes are modeled on the military uniforms of that time. The season begins on 11/11 at 11:11 a.m. at which time people on market places of every major Rhineland town celebrate Hoppeditz Erwachen (The awaking of Hoppeditz, a figure in the Carnival).  Typical music is played, disguised people drink beer, wine, champagne...  and Hoppeditz rises from his bed (or grave).  This beginning mark is not really a big event, however, very quickly normal day-to-day life takes over again; Christmas passes..., Silvester passes...  but eventually Carnival gets going! Some Sitzungen start being held here and there; people commence at halls for a show that starts precisely at 7:11 (or 8:11) p.m. On the stage a panel of eleven (the Elferrat) presides the Sitzung and some artists (who can be ordinary people) come on stage.  Music groups perform and dance groups and especially Buettenredner -- men and women who make mocking speeches about everyday life, politics (local, national, international) and so on.  The most important of the evening are, however, the Prince and Princess of Carnival. Every town has their own royal couple.  The Prince and Princess' guards bear wooden rifles and wear uniforms resembling those of Napoleons armies which occupied the Rhineland from about 1800 to 1815. Their manner of conducting serves to ridicule military in general.

The hot phase of Karneval starts on 11:11am of the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, the so-called Weiberfastnacht (Carnival of women), the day women take control. (Wearers of ties beware! Women might carry scissors to trim your manly accessories -- and you won't even be allowed to complain!-)

From Saturday to Tuesday parades take place in many towns; the most important ones are on Rosenmontag ... starting at (you guess!) 11:11am. The three big ones are in Duesseldorf, Cologne and Mainz. In the parades you see some brass bands, a lot of disguised people, a few guests from abroad (US brass bands, Brazilian groups; only in the big parades) and many Motivwagen. Those are tractors with a trailor displaying a motive, some paper dolls representing celebraties or politicians to mock about... other Wagen carry the Prince and Princess, or their guards or the children prince and princess. All parading groups throw sweets or other goodies into the watching crowd. Spectators along the way shout Helau or Alaaf (depending on the area.)
 
There are different traditions to end up Carnival. On Ash Wednesday 0:00, Carnival is over. The Hoppeditz goes back to his grave, or the nubbel has to be burnt...[/left]

http://www.faqs.org/faqs/german-faq/

http://www.watzmann.net/scg/

1.  Introduction to the FAQ List

  This posting contains answers to frequently asked questions in
  soc.culture.german.  Please check this posting first before you ask a
  question in soc.culture.german.

  1.1.  Where can I get it ?

  The FAQ is available on a website
  <http://www.watzmann.net/scg/index.html> from which you can also
  download it in various formats.

  It is posted to soc.culture.german on the first of every month.

 

SOURCE: http://payments-in-germany.de/

Überweisung / bank transfer in Germany

The Überweisung or bank transfer is by far the most common method of payment in Germany, both for paying invoices (unless you use direct debit) and for person to person payments.
Filling out a Überweisung form

If you hold a current account with a German bank you can usually get the necessary forms free of charge from your branch, your bank and it´s sorting code will normally be pre-printed and your bank may sometimes also pre-print your name and account number for your convenience.

The form consists of two pages, the orange sheet shown above which you need to hand in to your bank and a thinner, second page for your records. If you fill in the form by hand print all names and numbers clearly in black or blue ink, using capital letters where possible and keep to the boxes as this makes reading the form easier and also indicates how many characters any given field may have:
Your name, the beneficiary´s name and his bank´s name can be up to 27 characters long.

Account numbers have a maximum of 10 digits, if the number you were given is shorter just enter the number you know (spaces, dashes etc. are sometimes used to make account numbers easier to read but should be omitted when making a payment).
The Bank Sort Code (Bankleitzahl) is always 8 digits long and is used to route your payment so please print it clearly.
You have to lines of Verwendungszweck (multi-purpose or reference field), max. 27 characters each, to tell the beneficiary what the payment is for (e.g. number of the invoice).

Date and sign the bank transfer before handing it in to your bank, the signature on the bank transfer should match the specimen signature you gave when you opened the account.

Collected responses from various sources:
http://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=216657&pid=2416328&st=0&#entry2416328

I charged EUR 26 per 90 hours, no receipt. I know one guy who charges EUR 30 per 90 minutes also with no receipt.      But people who had private, professional (i.e. working) students who wanted a receipt charged at least about EUR 30 per 45 minutes.

Around here, the going rate for Nachhilfe is between 12 and 15 Euro for 60 minutes. On the other hand, giving lessons to a business person is around 30 Euro for 60 minutes

Source: WSJ Article

  • If you are a U.S. citizen or green card holder living outside the U.S., you can receive your Social Security payment as long as: 
  • You’re eligible for Social Security payments, having earned the required 40 credits by contributing to U.S. Social Security for at least 10 years.
  • You’re at least 62 years old. 
  • You’re not living in certain countries, such as Cuba or North Korea.

 

  • Note: Generally, payments also cannot be sent to individuals residing in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan or Vietnam.
    (This list changes from time to time, so check with the Social Security Administration for updates.)   

Your benefits can be mailed to your foreign address or deposited electronically in a financial institution located in your country of residence or in the U.S. (subject to the restrictions above).

[Source:WSJ Article]

Qualification rules for either spousal or survivor benefits is complex and governed by a mishmash of historic Social Security treaties (or lack of) between the U.S. and various countries. For the purpose of this discussion, we are talking about NRA spouses who do not qualify for Social Security in their own right and have not lived in the U.S. with their U.S. citizen spouses.  Additionally, as with U.S. spouses, to receive benefits the NRA spouse must be of full retirement age (or age 62 for reduced benefits) and the U.S. citizen spouse must be receiving benefits.    In general, there are two broad themes that run through the treaties: citizenship and residency.   

Citizenship Rule:  If an NRA spouse is a citizen of one of the following countries they are eligible for spousal and survivor benefits regardless of their country of residence (subject to restrictions on payment covered above):  Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K.   

Residency Rule:  Similarly, if an NRA spouse is a resident (not necessarily a citizen) of one of the following countries with which the U.S. currently has a bilateral Social Security agreement, he or she is eligible for spousal and survivor benefits: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea,  Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K.   

Note, the countries listed above change from time-to-time.
Contact the Social Security Administration's international office  for updated information.

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