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Welcome to Germany! Before you can enjoy your new life, you are faced with one of the most notorious bureaucratic processes: Anmeldung in Germany. You are legally required to register your address in Germany. It sounds easy. But it may be more complicated in reality.
In this article, we will talk about what is Anmeldung in Germany and why it is important. We will also go through all the detailed steps and required documents. And we will provide you with some best tips to make the process as smooth as possible. Besides, you will also find answers here to some of the most commonly asked questions about Anmeldung in Germany.
A short summary for the busy people
You need to have a new address before you can do your Anmeldung in Germany.
Need your Anmeldung but have not found your dream apartment yet? Try the followings:
🔹Search for flats with a limited-time contract
🔹Look for a shared flat
Book an appointment by phone, in person, or online.
Ways to get your appointment faster:
🔹Refresh the appointment website regularly to spot a free slot
🔹Try a different registration office
🔹Walk-in without an appointment (May not be possible for some offices)
Check the nearest registration office on this website.
Documents you may need:
🔹Registration form (Anmeldeformular/ Meldeschein)
🔹Tenancy confirmation (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung)
🔹Supplement of your registration (Beiblatt zur Anmeldung)
🔹Declaration of consent (Einverständniserklärung)
Get a quick and certified translation of your documents here.
🔹Attend on time
🔹Wait for your number
🔹See the officer
🔹Get the registration certificate
🔹Get your tax ID
Are you stressed about your Anmeldung in Germany? I can totally understand your pain.
I still remember how stressful it was when I first moved to Munich. I found out that I could not use the address of my temporary room for address registration. And I urgently needed a tax ID because of a job offer.
But hey, things worked out for me in the end. I have done 7 times Anmeldung in the last 12 years in Germany. And I am now here to tell you how you can make it too so that you can start enjoying your new life in Germany.
So, let’s start!
What is Anmeldung in Germany?
Anmeldung means registering your address in Germany with your local authority. The registration office has different names depending on where you are in Germany. For example, the German word can be Bürgeramt, Einwohnermeldeamt, Rathaus, Bürgeramt, etc. So, don’t be confused.
If you plan to stay in Germany for more than 3 months, you must register your address within 2 weeks of moving to your new apartment. This rule applies to both German citizens and foreigners who live in Germany.
Why is Anmeldung important in Germany?
Anmeldung is required by law in Germany. This is so that the government has updated information about where every resident lives. It is one of the most important things to do after you move to Germany.
After registering your address in Germany, you will get a registration certificate and your tax ID. These documents are essential if you want to live a normal life in Germany.
Registration certificate (Anmeldebescheinigung)
This is a certificate that you will get from the local authority after registering your address. Depending on where you are, this certificate is also called Anmeldebestätigung, Meldebestätigung, or Meldeschein.
You need this certificate for your everyday life in Germany. For example, opening a bank account, accessing different government services, applying for a visa, getting your internet contract and phone contract, signing up for health insurance, etc.
Tax ID (Steueridentifikationsnummer)
Your tax ID will be sent to you per post about 2-3 weeks after registering your address in Germany. Make sure your name is on your post box to receive letters!
Alternatively, you can get your tax ID faster by going to the tax office with your registration certificate and passport.
Your tax ID is very important especially if you work in Germany. You should give your employer your tax ID so that the taxes are deducted correctly from your pay slips. It is possible to start working in Germany without a tax ID. However, you will be taxed at a much higher rate. You can get back your overcharged tax when you submit your tax return after the year ends.
You will also need your tax ID if you want to start a business in Germany. Other situations you may need your tax ID include getting child benefits, signing up for a pension such as Riester Rente, getting financial assistance for your studies (BAföG), etc.
Note that a tax ID is not the same as a tax number. Every German person is assigned a tax ID at birth. (Yes, they already have a tax ID since they are babies!) And the tax ID will not change and is valid for the whole life. On the other hand, you can have more than one tax number during your life. For example, you can get a new tax number if you move to another area or if you start a new business.
Who needs to do Anmeldung in Germany?
Everyone who lives in Germany is required by law to register his address. It doesn’t matter where you are from and why you live in Germany. However, if you belong to one of the below, you are not required to register your address in Germany.
You will live in your new address for less than 6 months
If you are already registered with your old address, and you will move to a new place for less than 6 months, you are not required to register your new address. If you are still staying at your new address after 6 months, you will have to register the new address within 2 weeks.
Plan to live in Germany for less than 3 months
If you come from another country and plan to stay in Germany for less than 3 months, you are not required to register.
Note that if you plan to study or work in Germany for less than 3 months, you may still need to register your address. Remember that your employer will need your tax ID to charge you the correct tax rate.
Even if you plan to stay for less than 3 months in Germany and you are not required to register your address, you may still want to do so. Without the registration certificate, you may have problems opening a bank account or signing up for other contracts such as mobile phone and internet.
If you are just a tourist in Germany for less than 3 months, you do not have to do the Anmeldung.
How much does Anmeldung cost in Germany?
The good news is that it is free to register your address in Germany. You don’t have to pay anything to the local authority.
A Step-by-Step Guide on how to do your Anmeldung in Germany
Note that the exact procedure to do your Anmeldung may be a bit different depending on where you are in Germany. But in general, you can follow the below steps.
Step 1 – Find your apartment in Germany
This is pretty clear. Before you can register your address in Germany, you first need to find your apartment. It sounds easy but it is not. When I first moved to Munich because of my job, I moved 5 times within a year! I was so worried and stressed that I wouldn’t be able to find anything. At the same time, I was under time pressure to register my address so that I could move on with my daily life in Germany.
To help you overcome these struggles, I have written the below guides:
- Renting in Germany – Ultimate English Guide to Finding Your Apartment in Germany
- How to find a place to live in Germany?
Not sure how much rent you should be paying?
Check this out: Cost of living in Germany – How to save money?
Step 2 – Get an appointment
If you live in a big city in Germany, you will likely need to get an appointment to do your Anmeldung. According to German law, you must do your Anmeldung in person. So, online registration is not possible. However, it is possible to authorize someone to do the Anmeldung on your behalf.
How to book an appointment?
You can book an appointment by phone, in person, or online. If your German is not good enough, the easiest way would be to book an appointment online. You can find the nearest registration office on this website. Just choose “Einwohnermeldeamt” and enter your postal code.
Big city vs. small town
You are legally required to do your Anmeldung in Germany within 14 days after you move to your new apartment. This is not a problem if you live in a small town.
When I moved from Berlin to a small town near Munich, I was shocked that I didn’t need any appointment to do the Anmeldung. All I did was just walk in and I got everything done in 15 minutes! It was hard for me to believe that it was real because I had to wait for 3 hours to get my registration certificate in the Berlin office back then!
Read also: Living in Germany – Big City vs. Small Town
How long do you need to wait to get an appointment?
I have always heard horror stories from people who live in big cities like Berlin. They may sometimes need to wait for 6-8 weeks until they get their appointment!
I know that the law requires you to register your address in 14 days. But because it is so difficult to get an appointment in a big city, it should be okay as long as you book your appointment within 14 days.
Unfortunately, the long waiting time can cause a lot of stress for newcomers in Germany. As mentioned before, it is hard to live a normal life if you don’t have your address registration certificate. For example, opening a bank account or signing up for contracts.
If you are having difficulties getting an appointment as soon as possible, try the below methods:
a. Check the appointment website regularly
The appointment availability can be changing all the time. What you can do is keep refreshing the appointment website. Many people said that they were able to get an earlier appointment when they refresh the website early in the morning. It sounds a bit stupid. But it works. Sometimes other people cancel their appointments, and the time slots are then freed up.
b. Try another registration office
If you live in a big city, there can be many different registration offices. Note that you can choose to do your Anmeldung in a different registration office, but not necessarily the one near you. So, if you do not find an early appointment at the nearest registration office, try to look at others too.
Offices outside of the city center may have more time slots available. You may have to go farther away, but it is worth it if you can get your registration certificate sooner.
c. Go there in person
Different registration offices may have different procedures. For example, in Berlin, you need to have an appointment before going there. But in many other places, an appointment may not be always necessary. Of course, if you live in a big city, it is always good to make an appointment. Without an appointment, you may need to wait for hours there!
However, if you need your Anmeldung in Germany urgently, you can try going there without an appointment. Before doing so, make sure the office accepts walk-ins by calling or checking the website. If it does, the best is to go early in the morning (30 minutes before the opening time). Going later means that you will see a long queue.
Step 3 – Collect all the document
You can see below the documents that are generally needed when you register your address in Germany. Note that a rental contract may not be required but it is good to bring it with you to your appointment.
The registration form is called “Anmeldeformular” or “Meldeschein” in German. This form includes info such as your new address, passport, move-in date, family status, religion, and details of other family members whom you will live with.
The registration form is only in German. It is usually filled in by the officer during your registration. But it is also possible to fill it out beforehand and bring it to your appointment.
Important: If you indicate in the form that you are Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish, you will be liable for church tax even when you are a foreigner. The church tax rate in Germany is 8% to 9% on your income tax. And the tax will be deducted directly from your salary.
For more info, check this out: Church Tax in Germany 2022 – How to Avoid Paying It?
You will need to bring your ID/passport when registering your address. If you live in the new apartment with other family members, it is sufficient to have one person go to do the Anmeldung. In that case, this person will have to bring the passports of the other family members as well.
This is called Wohnungsgeberbestätigung in German. This is a form filled out by your landlord for address registration purposes. When you register your address with the local authority, you need to bring the Wohnungsgeberbestätigung with you. Just your rental contract is not sufficient.
The Wohnungsgeberbestätigung states details of the landlord and the tenant, as well as the address and move-in date.
The Wohnungsgeberbestätigung should be signed by your landlord or other people who are authorized by the landlord. For example, if you rent a shared flat, the main tenant may sign the Wohnungsgeberbestätigung if the landlord allows the subletting of the flat. If you own your property in Germany, you can sign the Wohnungsgeberbestätigung by yourself.
Supplement of your registration
The German term for this is Beiblatt zur Anmeldung. You only need this if you have another registered address in Germany and you want to add your new address additionally. You will have to determine which apartment is the main address.
If applicable, you will need to bring your marriage certificate when registering your address in Germany. If the marriage certificate is not in German, you will need to have a translated version. You can get a quick and certified translation here.
In some cases, you may need to bring your birth certificate as well. If you are registering for your family members, you may also need to bring their birth certificates. In case the birth certificates are not in German, you can get a quick and certified translation here.
If you have a residence permit, your old address is stated there. The registration office can put a sticker with your new address on your residence permit.
Declaration of consent
This is called Einverständniserklärung in German. If you are registering for a child, you may need a declaration of consent from the absent parent and their ID/passport.
Step 4 – Going to the registration office
Attend on time
If you have an appointment, make sure you attend on time and bring all the necessary documents with you. If you are late, your time slot may be given to someone else and you may have to get a new appointment again.
Wait for your number
When you arrive at the office, you will likely have to wait in a waiting area. You will see an electronic screen that shows the appointment number. Once you see your number, you can go to the desk number shown on the screen.
If you just walk in without an appointment, you will need to get a ticket from a machine. The ticket will have a number on it. Similarly, you will have to wait until your number shows up on the electronic screen.
See the officer
When it is your turn, you will need to go to the desk where an officer will ask you several questions relating to the registration form. The officer will likely speak German only. So, if you cannot speak German, it would be good to bring a German-speaking friend with you. You can also authorize someone else to go to the appointment on your behalf.
If that is not possible, you can try to fill in the registration form beforehand and bring it to the appointment. At least you will be familiar with the form. And the officer has something to refer to.
As mentioned before, be aware of the religion field in the registration form. You will have to pay church tax in Germany, which is 8% or 9% of your income tax, if you indicate that you are Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish on the registration form.
Get the registration certificate
The Anmeldung process will take about 10 to 15 minutes (not including the waiting time!). If everything is fine, you will receive your registration certificate (Anmeldebescheinigung).
Make sure to check if all the data on the certificate is correct. You will have to keep this certificate in a safe place. Don’t lose it as it is a very important document and you will need this a lot when you live in Germany!
Get your tax ID
If you need a tax ID, it will be sent to you by mail 2 to 3 weeks after your registration. You can also go to the tax office with your registration certificate and passport if you need your tax ID urgently.
What if you have not found any apartment yet?
It can be extremely difficult to find a place to live in Germany, especially in the big cities. I went through this process myself and I know how frustrating that is.
When I first arrived in Berlin as a student, it was almost impossible to find anything. With the help of my classmate, I was lucky to get a room in the student dormitory in the end.
Then, I moved to Munich. The same thing happened. I moved 5 times in a year until I finally settled in the apartment of my boyfriend (now husband).
So, I feel your pain.
After arriving in Germany, it is super important to get the registration certificate as soon as possible. Without it, you can’t really move on with your daily life in Germany.
If you have not found your dream apartment yet but need to get your registration certificate urgently, you can try the following methods.
1. Rent a furnished apartment temporarily
Furnished apartments are more expensive to rent. But it is much easier to get one. You can live there for a short time so that you can get your registration certificate. During that time, you can also search for a permanent apartment.
- Largest online marketplace for long-term furnished apartment rentals
- Fast and simple – Book your apartment directly online
- No extra customer fees
- All the utility costs are included in the rent
- Flexible – some apartments can be canceled for free up to 2 days before move-in
- Many pet-friendly apartments and deposit-free apartments
- Trusted by 24 German universities.
- Thousands of apartments, studios, and rooms available for rent
- Landlords are verified
For more different ways to find your apartment, check this out: Renting in Germany – Ultimate English Guide to Finding Your Apartment in Germany
2. Search for flats with a limited-time contract
Some landlords rent out their apartments with a limited-time contract. Those offers are usually easier to get as most people are looking for a permanent rental contract.
You can rent such flats temporarily so that you can get your registration certificate. And at the same time, you can look for a permanent apartment.
3. Look for a shared flat
Similarly, you can also first look for a shared flat. When I moved to Munich, I lived in many different shared flats.
Firstly, it is cheaper to live there. Secondly, the shared flats I lived in are all with limited-time contracts. Some students may rent out their flats for a few months when they study a semester abroad. Those offers are easier to get as the contracts are only temporary.
Once you rent your temporary place, you can use that address to register. You can get your registration certificate and move on with your daily life. Then, you gain some time until you find your dream apartment.
Can you always register your address?
Before you sign your rental contract, make sure you can use that address for registration. During my flat hunting process, I have seen flats where the main tenants told me that I wouldn’t be allowed to register that address. For me, that is a big no-no. I would definitely not live there if I am not allowed to register with that address.
Why may the main tenant not let you register the address?
Sometimes, the main tenant is subletting the flat illegally, without permission from the landlord. That’s why he may not let you register the address. If the landlord finds out about the illegal subletting, this is a violation of the rental contract and the tenant can be evicted.
Can your landlord refuse to let you register?
By law, your landlord must let you register. If he refuses, you can inform the registration office about that.
Having a dispute with your landlord
What if your landlord wants to kick you out of the flat without a valid reason or he does not observe the notice period?
What if your landlord takes your deposit and refuses to pay you back?
How do you know if your landlord is allowed to increase your rent that much?
What if you have a dispute with your landlord over the amount of the utility costs?
Unfortunately, disputes with landlords are common in Germany. As a tenant, you do have a lot of housing rights. But this doesn’t help you if you don’t have a proper understanding of your rights.
That is why it is important to have legal insurance in Germany. With legal insurance, you can protect your own rights by having access to your lawyer easily.
We recommend Getsafe legal insurance because of its English support. Its digital insurance products require no paperwork and you can file claims easily in the app. You can also get a 15 Euros discount now!
Legal insurance does not just protect you from unjustified action from your landlord. Sometimes, it is unavoidable to have disagreements with your employer, tax office, or even your neighbors. For example, if you are fired by your employer illegally.
Having legal insurance in Germany protects your right. You can seek the justice you deserve without worrying about money.
For more details about it works, check this out: Legal Insurance Germany – English Guide (+ 3 Best Offers)
Can you use a friend’s address to register?
By law, you should register an address where you are actually living in. So, you cannot just use a friend’s address to register if you do not live there. If you do live with your friend, you may use that address to register, provided that the landlord agrees that you move in.
It can be a bad idea if your friend lets you register at his address without informing the landlord. This is actually illegal subletting. If the landlord finds out, this is a violation of the rental contract and he has the right to evict your friend from the apartment.
Can you use the address of your hotel or Airbnb apartment for registration?
You need a rental contract to register your address. To register, you need an address where you can put your name on the doorbell and receive mail. So, you cannot use your hotel or Airbnb apartment for address registration in Germany. Unless you are staying there for more than 6 months, the owner of your Airbnb apartment will normally not let you register.
Anmeldung in Germany – What if you are late?
You are required by law to register your address within 2 weeks of moving into your new apartment in Germany. You may need to pay a fine of up to 1,000 EUR if you fail to do so.
Fortunately, most officers are quite lenient with this. They may not fine you especially if you have a valid reason. For example, in big cities like Berlin, it is hard to get an appointment. Sometimes, it may even take weeks or months until you have your appointment!
Even though they may not fine you, you should still register your address as soon as possible. As mentioned before, you cannot really live a normal life in Germany without having your registration certificate.
Anmeldung in Germany – Do you need to speak German?
Just like in any other German government department, most officers will only speak German with you in the registration office. However, it also depends on the officer. If you are lucky, your officer may speak some English with you.
For example, when I registered my address in Berlin, I was there alone and I couldn’t speak any German. The officer who helped me spoke some broken English with me. And we somehow made it work.
When I moved to a village near Munich, nobody in the local registration office spoke English. I had to go there with my German roommate who helped to translate.
As you can see, it depends on your luck. But I would highly recommend you bring a German speaker with you to the appointment. Maybe your roommate, your colleague, or your classmate.
If that is not possible, you may want to pre-fill your registration form and bring it to the appointment. Most of the communication with the officer will be about your personal data on the form. You can download the form beforehand and get familiar with it.
How many people can register at the same address?
It depends on the size of the property. There are rules in Germany that set the minimum space a person needs. And the rules vary based on the state.
In general, an adult needs at least 9 or 10 square meters. For children up to 6 years old, it is about 6 square meters. It means that you are not allowed to live with your big family in a very small apartment.
What if you move within Germany?
You will still need to register your new address if you move within Germany. This is called “Ummeldung“. It means that you are changing your registered address rather than registering your address for the first time.
When I came to Munich, I moved 5 times in a year. And yes, I had to go to the registration office 5 times to change my address. The process of “Ummeldung” and “Anmeldung” is exactly the same. Just a different name.
If you are moving within Germany, you should sign up for the post-forwarding service from the Deutsche Post. If you sign up, Deutsche Post will forward all your posts that are sent to your old address to your new address. This ensures that you are not missing any mail during your moving process. And you will have enough time to notify different parties such as your banks, employer, government offices, etc. You can use this post-forwarding service for up to 24 months.
For more about posts and mail in Germany, check this out: Post and Mail – How to send a letter or parcel in Germany? (With Examples)
Can you authorize someone to do your Anmeldung in Germany?
In some cases, it is possible to authorize someone else to register your address on your behalf. You will need to provide a signed power of attorney (Vollmacht) to the person who acts on your behalf. Besides, the authorized person also needs to take all your required documents to the appointment such as your passport and marriage certificate.
As mentioned before, if you live with your family members at the same address, it is sufficient to have one person go to do the Anmeldung. Besides, you are responsible to register your children. In that case, remember to bring all the required documents from your family members as well.
When should you deregister in Germany?
If you are moving within Germany, you need to register your new address with the authority. With the new registration, your old address will be automatically deregistered. So, you don’t need to take care of deregistering it by yourself.
However, if you are leaving Germany permanently, you will need to go to the registration office and deregister your address. After the deregistration, you will get a confirmation (Abmeldebestätigung). With this confirmation, you have a special right to quit long-term contracts such as your phone contract and internet contract, gym membership, insurance contracts, etc.
Besides, you can stop paying the mandatory license fee for public service broadcasting (Rundfunkbeitrag) after you deregister.
If you forget to deregister, the government may continue to send letters to your registered address in Germany. It will be your responsibility if you fail to do any actions required by the government because you cannot receive mail. For example, you may be subjected to a fine if you fail to submit any requirement document at the deadline set by the tax office.
What to do after your Anmeldung in Germany?
Sign up for different contracts
Now, you have registered your address, you can finally move on with your life in Germany. With the registration certificate, you can open your bank account in Germany, sign up for German health insurance, and other services such as mobile phone, internet, electricity, etc.
Inform your employer
Once you have your tax ID, you will need to give it to your employer so that your tax can be deducted correctly.
The TV tax
After your Anmeldung, you will also receive a letter regarding the “Rundfunkbeitrag“. This is a mandatory license fee for public service broadcasting in Germany that every household must pay. Unless you live in a shared flat, you will likely need to register with the GEZ (Gebühreneinzugszentrale) and pay a small fee monthly.
Insurance in Germany
When you have your new apartment, it is also time to think about what insurance you may need. Even though it is not compulsory, it may make sense to get liability insurance in Germany. It is one of the most important types of insurance in Germany. It can protect you if you cause any damages to third parties (e.g. for your new apartment). The best part? It can be as cheap as 2 EUR per month!
Wondering what other insurance you may need in Germany? Check this out: Insurance in Germany – Which one do you need?
Anmeldung in Germany can be stressful. I understand that it is not perfect to start your new life in Germany with such a stressful and bureaucratic process. But everyone in Germany needs to go through this. I hope this article helps you with your Anmeldung process in Germany!
Do you still have questions? Feel free to ask in the comment session!
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Have you just moved to Germany? How did you feel about your Anmeldung process in Germany? Was it easy or stressful? Leave a comment below and share your tips and experience!
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