Stuttgart is the sixth largest city in Germany, with a population of just over 600,000 inhabitants, with the wider metropolitan area home to around 5.3 million people. The city is situated in the South West of Germany, in a densely populated area known as Stuttgart Region.
Stuttgart’s strong economy has long enticed workers from across Germany and beyond, and the area has a foreign population of around 40%, most of them well-integrated into the local community.
Expats moving to Stuttgart might expect to find a sprawling industrialized city, due to its reputation as one of the powerhouses of Germany. What they will find, instead, is a city nestled between vineyards and covered in green parks.
Depending on your country of origin, there is a variety of visa options. It is generally recommended that you check with the German embassy in your home country to find out which one you will need before you enter Germany. Germans do have a love of bureaucracy, so ensure that you have all the documents required before you relocate.
Expats from EEA countries, as well as Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein, do not need an employment visa. If you are hailing from some other country, you will need to have a job lined up and present a copy of your work contract at the nearest German embassy or consulate.
All inhabitants of Germany must register at their local town hall. To receive a registration document (Meldebestätigung), you will need your passport and house rental agreement. This is a necessary step for every house move, even within the same town. This document is used to verify your identity and address by various other official departments.
For more detailed information on both German visas as well as residence permits, please consult our dedicated content section on Visa and Administration in Germany.
The local newspaper is a good place to start looking for accommodation, particularly on Saturday, when the real estate (Immobilien) supplement is typically printed. You can normally access the information online, too. Free local newspapers are distributed in most areas, and may have advertisements in the immediate vicinity. A further option are online markets, such as immobilienscout24.de or immowelt.de (both websites in German), which provide a selection of homes in the wider area.
Note that Germans count rooms not bedrooms, i.e. all living space other than bathrooms or kitchen, so a “2 Zimmerwohnung” or "2ZW", would be an apartment with two empty rooms that you could use as a one bedroom plus living room apartment or as a two bedroom apartment sans any extra living space.
Stuttgart is one of the more expensive cities in Germany, and apartments are much more affordable than houses. The basic rental cost (Kaltmiete or KM) is advertised without utility costs. The advert will give an estimated cost of utilities (Nebenkosten or NK), often paid directly to the utility companies, and based on previous renters’ usage.
Homes in Germany are often rented without a kitchen, but you may be able purchase the one that is fitted from the previous tenant, which you can then sell on when you leave. It is not customary to include refrigerators, washing machines, or dryers, but some apartments have communal laundry rooms in the basement to use at a small cost. You may also have to pay an “Ablöse” to the previous tenant for lamp fittings, curtains, etc. if you want to keep them.