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I have been informed by my new employer that I need to supply them with a valid German bank account. I am starting with them in one month, and have no apartment (in the search for which I also need a German bank account to get access to credit scores..). So, this is a vicious circle I need to break.

Are there any German bank that would allow foreigners (Romanians, to be exact) to open domestic (German) accounts given that the requester does not reside in Germany?

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    I assume the job is in Germany. You don't need to give the bank info to the employer until the end of the first month (or so). I think you definitely have to be in Germany to open an account, and I suspect you also need to be registered there, which you cannot do before you have an address. – Tomas By May 14 '18 at 18:09
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    What might possibly work is if you have some offical documentation of your Romanian address (written in a language they can read), and a letter from your new employer. You would still need to go there in person, I firmly believe. Unlike some other countries, they are not interested in your utility bills. – Tomas By May 14 '18 at 21:10
  • You can forget opening bank account remotely, but it should be possible to find a bank that would open an account for non-resident. The monthly fees are likely to be much higher. I've never heard you need a bank account to rent an appartment in Germany... – user9879 May 16 '18 at 11:34
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Opening an account in German bank is possible to do remotely, e.g. via regular mail or online. Some of them do open accounts for foreigners living outside Germany. Unfortunately, in many cases, the list of supported countries does not include Romania.

However, if you search carefully, there are also banks that can open accounts remotely for foreigners living outside Germany including Romania, e.g. DKB, comdirekt, Consorsbank (for these 3 banks I just checked if it is possible to put Romania for both citizenship and place of residence in the application form of these banks) etc. All these accounts are free of charge, e.g. there is no monthly fee.

Another option could be that you go to bank in Germany in person and ask them to open an account for you.

Besides that, I'm not sure why your employer asks you to provide them a valid German bank account. I doubt that this is a legal requirement, especially taking into account the fact that SEPA money transfers within an EU are free of charge.

Next, as far as I know, there is no law that requires you to have a bank account or credit score or even European citizenship or German visa to rent an apartment. Of course, it could be more complicated without it, but there are still may be some apartments available for rent, especially from private people. In some cities, under such a conditions, it can be extremely hard to find an apartment, but there should be special options like dormitory for students, flats provided by your employer, apartments with furniture for short- and middle-term rent (example for Potsdam: https://how8.de/en/), AirBnB (if it is allowed in the city and if you can get a proper rental agreement for a couple of months), etc.

I'm also not sure if a rental agreement / registration is legally required for EU citizens to work in Germany. Imagine, if you fly every day to work or live in another country near Germany (e.g., Poland), you may live in that other country but work in Germany.

IMHO, if you move to Germany, the best way to start with legal issues is to rent an apartment and register there. Opening the bank account would be the next step.

P.S. I'm not a lawyer.

  • Thanks for the tips and remarks. Neither DKB, N26/Commerzbank or Postbank support remote account creation in my situation. Yes, as you confirmed, selecting the country is allowed by their frontend form logic, but should you submit the application, DKB informs you that the operation is only available for Swiss, Austrian and German residents only. N26 seems to warn you earlier about not supporting Romania on their country list. Working in Germany must be taxed in Germany. Many employers prefer a German bank for their own reasons. Renting apartments without a Schufa is Dark Souls on hard mode. – teodron May 17 '18 at 14:49
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    OK, you are right. I just listed the banks where you can at least apply for an account. Have you tried Consorsbank as well? Btw, please also try fidor.de and netbank. For renting apartments, I think that if you want to relocate, the best way is to start with short- or middle-term rental agreement. Nobody says that it is easy (especially in such cities as Munich), but one of solutions I listed may work. Please also check wg-gesucht.de for short-term rentals. In parallel, try to convince your employer to use Romanian account for the first month or so. – Andrey Sapegin May 18 '18 at 7:50
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    Employers requiring a German bank are breaking the law. They are not allowed to discriminate against a SEPA account in a different country. (They are allowed to require a Euro account though.) – Martin Bonner supports Monica Sep 6 '18 at 7:29
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To open a German bank account, you need to be there, in person. This is due to various money laundering and anti-terrorism laws, not even a power of attorney will work. You need to be there personally, with a valid ID document.

I don't know if any German banks have offices in Romania where you could open an account in person. If a bank that suits you has a Romanian office, it might be worth asking.

  • Not every bank allow non-residents to open account. But Postbank do, at least did. – user9879 May 17 '18 at 8:25

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