When moving to Germany, the Anmeldung (registration) should be top on your list of priorities once you’ve found somewhere to live.
It’s a crucial step in all of the subsequent bureaucracy and administrative tasks you have to come.
It is a legal requirement for everybody to register with their local municipality. This must be completed within 14 days of moving into your new accommodation, although in reality it is difficult for the authorities to prove that you’ve flouted the law.
Incidentally, this also applies if you are living with your partner or a subletting a room from a friend; it’s not just for those of you who have a rental contract in your own name.
So, get this done as soon as you’ve moved into your apartment, before you take the obligatory trip to the famous blue and yellow Swedish furniture store!
Registration in Germany: How to complete your Anmeldung
To successfully complete your Anmeldung you will need:
- Your passport
- Proof of address. This in most cases would be your rental contract but could also include a letter from your sublet or landlord, or a confirmation letter from your partner that you are living with him/her and their proof of Anmeldung.
- In addition, since 2015 by law you must also show a written confirmation from your landlord or your rental agency (Wohnungsgeber). Without this document you cannot register. This is a standard form which doesn’t really vary in content. There are hundreds of examples of this you can download online, such as this one which your landlord just needs to complete and sign.
For a hassle-free experience of registration in Germany, I would highly recommend our friends over at MyGermanExpert – who offer forms translated into English and instructions on how to complete them. This service is now available for all German cities and it’s free.
Registering with the local municipality you’ve just moved to is not only a legal requirement. It also gives you the magic piece of paper known as the Meldebescheinigung which you need to fulfil most of the forthcoming bureaucratic necessities during your first few weeks (and a whole lot more during your stay in Germany!)
It’s one of those catch 22 situations where your registration in Germany is an absolutely vital piece of paper to accomplish pretty much every other official process.
Anmeldung is a relatively straightforward process for EU citizens, which can usually be completed in less than 30 minutes – if you make an appointment online prior to your visit.
If you’re worried about the language barrier (although you really shouldn’t be for something so straightforward), then ask in a local Facebook group for expats or casual job opportunities. You should easily be able to find a native German speaking student who will gladly help you with your registration in Germany for around €25 per hour max.
Bürgeramt vs. Ausländerbehörde
You will need to go in person to your local municipality’s Bürgerbüro or Bürgeramt, which roughly translates into English as “citizen’s office or department”. Some areas may still call this the less common name of Einwohnermeldeamt. In Bavaria, it’s called the Kreisverwaltungsrat, or KVR for short. This process still cannot be completed 100% online.
It’s also the place where Germans go to renew their passports and IDs, and where you would also go to get documents such as parking permits or a licence to own a dog (yes, this is Germany).
For non-EU citizens, you’ll also need to make a trip to the Ausländerbehörde (administrative office for foreign nationals) to get everything accomplished regarding your visa or residence permit, before you take on the standard Bürgeramt / Bürgerbüro visit.
Why do you need to this first? Because as a non-EU citizen, you’ll also need a residence permit to be able to legally reside (and work, if your permit entitles you to do this) in Germany.
The addresses of both the nearest Bürgeramt as well as the Ausländerbehörde can be found on your local municipality’s website. Large cities will have several Bürgerämter but usually only have one Ausländerbehörde. Google is your friend.
If you have moved to Germany to be with your husband, wife or child who is a citizen or legal resident here, then you will additionally need to provide your marriage certificate or child’s birth certificate.
The exception to the requirement to do an Anmeldung is if you’re staying in short-term, tourist accommodation (hotels, tourist apartments or Airbnb) for a few weeks while you look for your own place. This doesn’t require registration as this is considered guest accommodation rather than a permanent place of residence.