Your first priority when coming to Germany should be health insurance. Medication, doctors and hospitals are extremely expensive, so you must make sure that you are covered for sickness and emergencies.
In addition, you will usually not get a residency permit without proof of adequate insurance. Health insurance is also mandatory for all employees and students in Germany, so you will not be able to start working or studying without it.
Since 1 January 2009, anyone resident in Germany is required to possess health insurance cover from a provider licensed in Germany.
However, if you wish to take up long-term residence in Germany you must exchange the card for a local health insurance scheme. Holders of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are entitled to medical treatment under the same terms as German citizens. However, if they plan to stay in the country longer than a year (or become employed in Germany), they should sign up for insurance with a local health insurance provider.
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