Registration in Germany Anmeldung Seen by a Foreigner

Photo of author
Written By Alex

When my wife and I first came to Germany, we lived for almost three months in a vacation apartment, a so-called “Ferienwohnung”. There I had my first registration in Germany.

We knew that it would take us some time to find a permanent apartment for rent.

The company paid for this apartment. So we were automatically eligible to register in Germany at this address.

It is mandatory that you register there within 14 days after arrival.

Registering in Germany ahead of time is not possible, by the way.

We looked for a permanent apartment during the first months to live in.

After we moved to our new address, my wife and I revisited the registration office to change the address.

In this article, I will lead you through this process. And I’ll explain all the necessary steps you need to take to be legally registered in Germany.

Key takeaways

  1. When you register in Germany, you inform the local authorities about your place of residence.
  2. Everyone who moves to or lives in Germany must register with the Residents’ Registration Office.
  3. The registration certificate is necessary if you want to open a bank account.
  4. You can stay in Germany for up to three months for tourist purposes only.
  5. When you go to the registration office, you need certain documents.
  6. If you change your address in Germany, you have to re-register (Ummeldung).
  7. If you want to leave Germany at any time, you must deregister (Abmeldung).
  8. Make sure you cancel current contracts with banks and utility companies before you leave Germany.
einreise nach Deutschland travelling to Germany

Topics in this article

What does registration in Germany mean? >>
Who has to register in Germany? >>
Consequences if you don’t register in Germany? >>
How long without registering in Germany? >>
Which address to register in Germany? >>
Address registration >>
How much does it cost to register in Germany? >>
How long does the registration take? >>
Change your address in Germany (Ummeldung) >>
Register two or more addresses in Germany >>
Leave Germany? Abmeldung >>

What does registration in Germany mean?

Registration (Anmeldung) means that the (local) authorities have to know where you live.

If you move to Germany to study or for work, you have to go to the “Einwohnermeldeamt” (registry office) first.

Independent of the country of origin, everyone has to go through this process.

Anmeldung Registration in German

By the way, in some cities or municipals, the “Einwohnermeldeamt” is also called

  • “Bürgerbüro”
  • “Kreisverwaltungsreferat”
  • or “Bezirksamt”

Who has to register in Germany?

For me, it was quite a surprise that not only non-EU citizens had to register in Germany.

Everyone moving or living in Germany has to register at the registry office after moving to a new address.

There are no exceptions, even for Germans.

Student in Germany Student in Germany

Registering in Germany as a student

In case you need to register as a student, you need to show the following documents:

  • a valid passport alongside your student visa or identity card
  • a completed and signed confirmation from your landlord/landlady
  • if necessary, already a registration form of the registration office (most of the time, you can find those online, and they are called “Anmeldeformular”)

Usually, there are no fees to register in Germany as a student.

Is registration needed if you are an EU citizen?

Yes, you need to get registered in Germany anytime you are moving there for work, study, or in the context of a family reunion.

Even EU residents or residents of a state of the Schengen area need to get registered.

nicht-EU-Bürger non-citizen of the EU in German

Registration in Germany for non-EU citizens

All foreigners outside the EU who wish to stay longer than three months in Germany must obtain a residence permit called “Aufenthaltstitel” in Germany.

Non-EU and non Schengen area citizens need to register as well.

But where is the difference between that specific group and anyone else moving to Germany from another country?

Since 2015, you will also need a written letter from your landlord or property owner that states that you live at the provided address.

This form is called a “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung” in Germany, equivalent to a housing provider confirmation.

Ausländischer Gast foreign visitor in German

Are long-time visitors supposed to register their address in Germany?

Again, everyone staying in Germany longer than three months has to register at the registration authorities (Meldebehörde).

Having that registration certificate (Anmeldebescheinigung) was necessary as soon as we opened a bank account.

If you are lucky and know that you will start a job as soon as you come to Germany, things are more straightforward.

By the way, after registering our address in Germany, we automatically both received our German tax ID. This is required whenever you apply for a job or started your work already.

What are the consequences if you don’t register in Germany?

As registration is compulsory for all citizens and people staying longer than three months in Germany, there are some fines if they find out about you.

Remaining unregistered, registering late, or providing incorrect details about yourself, you can be fined up to 1,000 Euros.

Even if you stay shorter than three months but are either working or studying, you will have to register.

The reasons are:

  • on one hand, will need a tax ID
  • and on the other hand, you need a registration certificate
Zeit Dauer Time in German

How long can I stay without registering in Germany?

I did my Anmeldung in Germany after 11 days.

If you are working or studying, you should make an appointment with your Residents’ Registration Office within the first 14 days.

Do you plan to stay longer than three months in Germany because of application or tourist reasons? You must register with the local authorities within the first three months.

So, in case you entered Germany only for touristy reasons, you can stay without worrying about anything for up to three months.

What kind of address can you register?

There are some valid and invalid types of addresses that you can or can’t get registered in Germany.

Let me list them for you below, as those are good to know of.

Dauerhafte Vermietung Longtime rent in German

Is registration at an AirBnb address possible?

Unfortunately, as it might be very convenient for you, you can’t use any AirBnb apartment in our house to get your address registered in Germany.

The reason is that you can’t register any address on your name where you can’t get a rental contract.

A regular booking through any platform is not enough.

Ferienhaus Ferienwohnung Vacation home Vacation appartment in German

Ferienwohnung: Can I use a vacation home for registration in Germany?

The same goes for holiday apartments, so-called “Ferienwohnungen”.

You will not be able to get an officially recognized rental contract for this kind of apartment, no matter how long you stay there.

But, there is one exception: If your company pays for your rent and the landlord agrees with it, you may be able to get the “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung.”

The exception is that everyone knows that you will be living there only temporarily.

Usually, landlords tend not to be as concerned about a foreigner living there, as long as a company backs him up during the time.

Das Hotel Hotel in German

Is it possible to register my address in a hotel?

And for the same reason, we had to find out that it’s not possible to rent a hotel room.

You can’t register it there because there won’t be any sign that shows your name on it anywhere.

Have you rented an apartment / house?

In this case, both, a rented apartment or house, are fine.

You can get registered there really quickly as soon as you get the “Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung” from your landlord.

They are willing to provide you with that, as rental contracts usually last over a more extended period.

Own apartment/house?

Talking about your apartment or house is a whole different story.

Suppose you could buy a house either before traveling to Germany or right after you arrive.

In that case, nobody will ever question or need an accommodation certificate as you are the landlord.

The “Einwohnermeldebehörde” will only ask you to prove that you own this house.

Registering your address in Germany in a serviced apartment

Usually, serviced apartments allow the registration.

And they can provide you with the “Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung” (housing provider confirmation).

Serviced apartments can be very convenient as you do have room service if needed.

They are also equipped for longer stay guests and can provide cribs if needed.

Einwohnermeldeamt_Dortmund Registration office in Dortmund
Joehawkins, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Where to go for the address registration?

If you are ready to register your address (Anmeldung) in Germany, make sure that you make an appointment within the first 14 days of your stay in Germany.

Book an appointment with Einwohnermeldeamt

Contact your local Bürgeramt or Einwohnermeldeamt online and book your appointment.

It may take weeks until you will finally get your appointment.

This is how you can find the registration office in Germany, in your city

Search in your search engine the word “einwohnermeldeamt” + the name of the city

registering address anmeldung in Germany find registration office

Go to the registration office

On the day of your appointment, go to the registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt).

My recommendation is to arrive there ahead of time to make sure that you can find everything at the registration office.

By booking it within 14 days after arrival, you will be ok, and there are no fines to be paid for late registration.

Alle Dokumente All documents for Anmeldung Registration in Germany

Make sure you have all the documents with you

Please make sure that you have all the required documents at hand.

Those are:

  • a valid passport or national ID
  • the rental agreement (usually a signed rental contract)
  • and a filled-out registration called either “Meldeschein” or “Anmeldung.”
Sprechen Sie Englisch Do you speak English in German

Do people speak English at the registration office?

There might be the challenge of meeting with an officer who does not speak English at all.

If possible, make sure that you bring a German-speaking friend with you.

If you cannot be there in person, you have to option to send a German speaker on your behalf.

They only need a signed letter from you in the form of a “Vollmacht” (Power of Attorney) in addition to the other documents.

After going through all the required steps, make sure that you put your family name on your letterbox. Why? Because you will receive a letter confirming registration after a few days or weeks.

Here is a funny video (made with hidden camera) made in the registration office in Flensburg Germany:

How much does it cost to register your address in Germany?

Even if I found this process quite challenging when I went there for the first time after moving to Germany. However, the registration itself is for free.

You will not have to pay for the services from the registration office when registering your address.

Dokumente für die Anmledung Document for the registration in Germany

What documents do I need for the address registration?

As previously mentioned, if you move to Germany for work, you will only need the following documents:

a valid passport or national ID (if you are from the EU)

a rental agreement in the form of a rental contract called the “Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung”

a previously filled out registration form called “Meldeschein” or “Anmeldeschein”

when you are married and your spouse is moving with you, you need an original marriage certificate

If you have kids, you need a birth certificate as well as an official translation of these certificates

If you are registering in Germany for studying at a local university, there are a few more documents that you will need:

  • student visa

Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung (Certificate of Residence in Germany)

Anyone living permanently in Germany must register at their place of residence.

This certificate confirms that a tenant has moved into or out of an apartment and is now a resident at that location.

Landlords make their apartments available for rent, so they must issue the “Wohngeberbestätigung” for the respective “Einwohnermeldeamt”.

Synonyms for Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung

Sometimes, people also use other words for the “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung”:

  • Vermieterbescheinigung
  • Mieterbescheinigung
  • Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung
  • or „Wohnbestätigung“

You can get this document from your landlord.

Anmeldeschein (Registration Form in Germany)

You need to submit a registration form to your local citizens’ office “Bürgerbüro” or “Kreisverwaltungsreferat –(KVR).

After your appointment, you will receive a proof of registration called “Meldebescheinigung,” which you will need to set up a bank account or to sign up for health insurance “Krankenversicherung”.

I highly recommend taking the time to have a look at the “Anmeldeschein”. Do this before your appointment so that you can fill out everything accordingly.

Those forms are unfortunately only provided in German.

How long does the registration take?

In my case, it only took a few minutes.

This was very surprising for both of us as we came from a more bureaucratic country.

Compared to that, the registration went extremely fast.

We were amazed at how fast it can be when you come well prepared.

Ummeldung Changing your address in Germany

What to do when you change your address? Ummeldung

After a few months of staying in the holiday apartment “Ferienwohnung,” we had to change our address again.

The process for the address change or “Ummeldung” is the same.

You again have to book an appointment within 14 days after moving and bring the new documents with you.

It was even easier for us as we already knew what to do this time.

Since then, we only moved one more time when we bought our house and moved to it.

The only difference is that you don’t have to bring the “Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung” with you.

The registration office will automatically be forward your address to your new tax office. And also to the church community if you are a member of the catholic or evangelic church.

Zweitwohnsitz anmelden Registration of the second home in German

Can I register two or more addresses in Germany?

Yes, you can register more than one address in Germany.

Here they call it “Zweitwohnsitz” or “Nebenwohnsitz”.

The registration of a secondary residence is, in most cases, again free of charge. I only heard that some communities might ask for a small registration fee of about 10 euros.

The process itself is the same when registering for your primary residence.

If you use this second home to be closer to your workplace, you can benefit from tay deductions.

Read more in my article about tax return in Germany.

Abmeldung Deregistration of the address in Germany

What to do when you leave Germany? Abmeldung

If you are ever considering leaving Germany, you need to follow the same process again.

Go to Bürgeramt for deregistration

Go to the “Kreisverwaltungsreferat” or “Bürgeramt” and let them know that you no longer live in Germany. For the deregistration, you will need to show them again a few documents:

  • Your valid passport or national ID (if you are from the EU)
  • A filled out deregistration form “Abmeldeformular”

“Kreisverwaltungsreferat” = municipal administration authority

Deregistration in Germany is free

Again, the deregistration is for free. They will most likely put a sticker into your passport or your German national ID (if you have one). This is the confirmation that you no longer have a principal place of residence in Germany.

In addition to that, you will also receive official confirmation of deregistration or “Abmeldebestätigung” from your “KVR”.

Vertragskündigung Termination of contract in German

Terminate running contracts

This “Abmeldebestätigung” comes in very handy when you have to terminate any contracts with different home utilities providers of such as:

In this particular case, you always have a special right of termination.

As you can see, registering or deregistering in Germany is not as difficult as it may seem. Einwohnermeldeamt only requires a few documents.

And they provide their service free of charge.

My wife and I had a good experience with our local authorities, even if they do not always speak English very well.

If you ask one of your new neighbors, a colleague, or a friend of yours with German-language capabilities, I am sure this process will be even more straightforward for you.

Official information can be obtained also here:

Health in Germany: Federal Ministry of Health in Germany

Travelling to Germany : Federal Foreign Office in Germany

Study in Germany: Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany – Study in Germany

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