The city of Aachen is an historic place, with tiny passageways and ancient buildings. The influence of Charlemagne is still strong here, as can be seen in the structure of the Gothic-style city hall. Taking a walk through the streets of this city will cast your mind back to the fairytales of your childhood. Aachen offers an excellent standard of living, good cuisine and a cosmopolitan population, which makes it a popular destination for many expats who wish to take their retirement somewhere slightly different. It is Germany's most westerly city and borders Belgium and the Netherlands. The population of Aachen is a real melting pot, with over 260,000 people hailing from around 160 different nations.
If you are an EU resident, you will be able to move freely through Germany and into Aachen. If you are from outside the EU, you will need to find the correct visa process for you and your family. Visiting Aachen is easy, but if you intend to stay for a length of time you will need to follow certain procedures. All foreigners from outside Germany, being they EU residents or not, intending to stay for more than three months must apply for a residence permit. This is not the same as an entry visa, which will only allow access for a limited time. Residents of the EU, USA, Canada, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, Australia and Switzerland are allowed free entry into the country and can apply for a residence permit once in Germany. If you live outside of these areas then you should contact the German Embassy in your country of residence, prior to moving.
For more detailed information on visas, check our in-depth article in our Extended Germany Guide.
Many expats stay in Aachen for between three and five years, so the accommodation rental market is quite busy. Buying your own home involves entering the world of property tax, so it is not something many short term residents wish to become involved in. One of the best options for finding rental properties before you leave home is the internet, where you can enquire about potential places to stay. If you intend to find somewhere to live on arrival, then there are plenty of hotels to stay in while you look. Furnished accommodation is a popular option on the continent and Aachen is no exception. These are excellent options and in comparison to furnishing your own flat will save you plenty of money. For instance, a fully furnished one bedroom city center apartment would cost as little as 350 EUR per month. These all-inclusive options provide you with everything, even cutlery and kitchen utensils.