Deregistration in Germany: Why and How to Deregister (Abmeldung)

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Leaving Germany and moving abroad can be an exciting adventure, but it also involves some bureaucratic steps. One important task to complete before you go is deregistration in Germany (Abmeldung), which involves officially informing the local authorities that you no longer live in the country. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about deregistration in Germany. We will also provide you with some helpful tips to deregister in Germany to ensure a smooth departure.

A short and sweet summary for the busy people

  1. You need to deregister if you are leaving Germany for good to avoid any future tax, legal, or contract issues.
  2. You can deregister in Germany no more than 7 days before your move-out date. Or you can do so within 14 days after you have moved. The best is to do it before you move.
  3. The best way to deregister is by going to the local registration office in person. But you may also deregister online, by registered mail, or even by email, depending on the office.
  4. The main things you need are your passport and the filled-in deregistration form.
  5. You will need a German address to receive the deregistration certificate if you do not deregister in person.
  6. You can use SympatMe to handle all the German bureaucracy in English, even if you have left Germany already.

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If you’re leaving Germany to start a new life, just know that it involves a bit of paperwork. Just like how you had to register your address when you first arrived, now you need to deregister at the local registration office when you leave. This is called the “Abmeldung“.

Remember, deregistration is just one of the steps if you plan to leave Germany. I left Germany after living there for 12 years and I have gone through all the different steps before my move.

For a full checklist, check out how I did it: Leaving Germany | A Checklist Based on My Firsthand Experience

Why should you deregister in Germany?

You may ask, why bother with deregistering when leaving Germany? Can’t you just leave the country and be done with it?

While it may seem like an unnecessary extra step, deregistering before leaving Germany can save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

Here are some of the advantages of deregistering before leaving Germany:

  1. Avoid paying unnecessary bills and fees for services you’re no longer using, such as health insurance and TV tax.
  2. Show proof that you’ve officially stopped living at your old address. This makes it easier for you to cancel ongoing contracts like gym
    memberships, internet and phone plans, insurance, and utility bills.
  3. Get a refund of your pension payments two years after you leave Germany, if you are eligible.
  4. And, if you forget to deregister or do it too late, you might get a fine of up to 1,000 euros. So, don’t forget to take care of it!

How about the German tax?

Just keep in mind that deregistering has some practical effects, like notifying the immigration office and tax authorities that you’ve left Germany. Make sure to consult with a tax counselor about your tax obligations in Germany after leaving.

In my case, I still need to pay German tax after leaving because of my rental properties in Germany. So, don’t just assume that you don’t need to file your German tax anymore after you leave.

Read also: Tax Return in Germany – Comprehensive English Guide

Check with your local registration office

Overall, it’s important to follow the necessary processes when leaving to avoid future bureaucratic headaches. I have covered all the details here about deregistration in Germany.

But it’s always a good idea to do a thorough check on the website of your local registration office to make sure you’re not missing anything. Every office may have slightly different procedures and requirements.

Who needs deregistration in Germany?

If you’re planning to leave the country and move to another place, then you gotta do your Abmeldung, which is basically deregistering your residence.

It doesn’t matter if you’re German or not, if you’ve registered your address in Germany, you have to do it. But, if you’ve never actually registered in Germany, then you don’t have to worry about it.

Now, if you’re just moving inside Germany, then you don’t need to deregister your old address. Instead, you just need to register your new address, which is called Ummeldung or “re-registration”.

Your old address will automatically be deregistered when you register your new address, so it’s pretty easy.

And just to be clear, if you’re just temporarily leaving Germany and coming back to the same address, you don’t need to deregister.

Read also: Moving back home after living abroad

When should you deregister in Germany?

If you’re leaving Germany for good and won’t have an address there anymore, you must complete your deregistration. You can do this up to 14 days after you leave, but it is better to do it before you leave.

But don’t do it too early or it might not be processed. You can send off the deregistration form 7 days before your departure.

What is the deregistration certificate?

The deregistration certificate is the document you get after you deregister in Germany, and it’s super important! This is the document you need to cancel contracts and subscriptions like your TV tax, health insurance, and others.

How to deregister in Germany?

If you are leaving Germany and need to deregister, you must contact your local registration office to follow their instructions.

The deregistration process can vary slightly from city to city. So, it’s important to check the requirements of the specific city where you need to deregister.

You can find the nearest registration office on this website. Just choose “Einwohnermeldeamt” and enter your postal code.

In general, you can deregister in Germany in the 4 ways below:

1. Deregistration in Germany – Do it in person

So if you’re leaving Germany and need to deregister your residency, you can do it in person at a local registration office, also called “Bürgeramt” or “Einwohnermeldeamt“.

Here is what you need to do”

  • Book an appointment in advance (by calling or booking online)
  • Bring a filled-out deregistration form (downloaded online or requested in person)
  • Bring your passport or ID
  • Your residence permit (if appliable)
  • Birth certificate of your children (if they don’t have their passports)

I would highly recommend deregistration in person if you can. You can receive your deregistration certificate right away. This is the quickest and the least problematic way to deregister in Germany.

2. Deregistration by sending a registered letter in Germany

You can also deregister in Germany by sending a registered letter. In that case, you will need to mail the following document to the local registration office:

  • A filled-out deregistration form
  • A copy of your passport or ID
  • Your residence permit (if appliable)
  • Birth certificate of your children (if they don’t have their passports)

In case you are deregistering other family members, remember to include copies of their passports/IDs as well. If you’re outside of Germany, make sure to provide a German address to receive your deregistration confirmation.

Read also: Post and Mail – How to send a letter or parcel in Germany? (With Examples)

3. Deregistration by sending an email

I wouldn’t recommend this option as this is not very reliable. Firstly, not all registration offices allow this. Secondly, you may not receive a confirmation email.

In case you still want to try with email, you will need to provide the following documents in your email:

  • A filled-out deregistration form
  • A copy of your passport or ID
  • Your residence permit (if appliable)
  • Birth certificate of your children (if they don’t have a passport)

Again, if you are deregistering other family members, you will need to include copies of their passports/IDs as well. Besides, you will have to provide a German address to receive your deregistration confirmation. It may take a few weeks to receive your deregistration confirmation after sending your email.

Before sending the email, make sure your local registration office accepts this option for deregistration in Germany!

4. Deregistration in Germany online

I tried this option when we tried to deregister in Germany. I thought, who would like to travel to the office if one can do it online?

I went through all the procedures online and filled in the details to deregister. And then, something went wrong. For some reason, I couldn’t choose the correct data in the form online. Besides, the instruction online stated that I could only receive the deregistration certificate after my move-out date!

So, I called the deregistration office and was told that if I want the deregistration certificate immediately, I would have to deregister in person.

So, we did it in person.

I went there with my husband in person and got all the deregistration certificates for my whole family on the spot. That’s why I would recommend going there in person. Online may not necessarily be better. I had wasted a lot of time trying to do that online but it didn’t work out.

So, in case you want to try doing it online, you would first need to go to the website of your local registration office. You can find instructions there to see if they accept online deregistration or not.

If yes, you will need to basically fill out all the data online. This includes your personal data, your current address, your new address, etc. I recommend calling the deregistration office to check the status if you have any questions about filling out the application online.

Can I deregister for my family as well?

Yes. You can deregister yourself, your partner (if you’re married), and your children. I went with my husband to the registration office without our two kids. And we got out with the deregistration certificates for all four of us.

How much is it to deregister in Germany?

The good news is that it is free to deregister in Germany!

How long does it take to get the deregistration confirmation in Germany?

Well, it really depends on a few things, like which city you’re in and how you’re requesting it.

If you go in person, you can get it right away. And best of all, it won’t cost you a penny. But if you request it via mail, it could take up to 3 weeks to arrive. And in some cases, it may even take longer.

Keep in mind, though, that if you’re in a smaller city, the processing time might be faster. If you need the confirmation urgently, I suggest going in person to get it.

As mentioned before, I tried to obtain my deregistration confirmation online. But unfortunately, it didn’t work out. So, I decided to go to the registration office in person and was able to get my confirmation immediately, free of charge.

What if you leave already without deregistration in Germany?

So, you left Germany and forgot to deregister?

Don’t worry, it’s not too late!

You can still fill out the deregistration form online indicating the correct move-out date (even if it’s in the past) and send it to the registration office in the city where you used to live.

However, be aware that your deregistration certificate may not be sent to an international address. You can ask a friend or someone you know in Germany to receive the deregistration certificate and send it to you.


So there you have it! If you’re an expat in Germany and planning to leave, make sure you don’t forget to deregister at your local registration office. It might involve a bit of bureaucracy, but it’s an important step to avoid any future headaches.

And don’t forget to check out my personal checklist for leaving Germany. I have gone through this and know how stressful it can be. Just remember to plan ahead and check all the necessary steps to ensure a smooth departure from Germany.

Good luck on your next journey!

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What is your experience of deregistration in Germany? Leave a comment below and share your thought!

About the author

Originally from Hong Kong, Sindy spent 13 years in Germany before moving to the US. Her blog is your ultimate resource for navigating Germany, offering pro tips on bureaucracy, job hunting, education, culture, family life, and more.

With a "been there, done that" attitude, Sindy, a certified public accountant, draws on her extensive finance and accounting background to provide professional insights with a friendly touch.

Having navigated German life with her German husband and raising two kids there, Sindy brings a personal touch to her advice. Let this blog help fellow expats like you navigate the ins and outs of life in Germany!

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