Anmeldung in Germany: Comprehensive Guide to Help You Register an Address

Anmeldung in Germany - An English Guide

What is Anmeldung?

Either you’ve just found your first room/apartment, or you’ve moved within Germany, the next compulsory step is rather simple – Anmeldung / Ummeldung

It is the process of registering yourself at your new address with the city for administrative purposes.

Anmeldung: Literally translated, it means “to register”. It refers to the process of registering a place of residence with your local registration office.

Ummeldung: In essence, it’s the same process as anmeldung. Ummeldung is the term used instead of anmeldung if you’ve moved within the same city or town and the registration office remains the same.

Note:
Anmeldung: New Registration Office
Ummeldung: Same Registration Office

Tip: No one will bat an eye if you go to the same registrations office and ask for an anmeldung. The difference is purely of bureaucratic nature.

Who is required to do it?

Whether you’re moving to Germany to live, work or study, anmeldung becomes a mandatory step under the following circumstances;

  • If your stay in Germany is longer than 3 months i.e. you’re not a tourist
  • If you’re already registered in Germany and are relocating elsewhere for a period exceeding 6 months (Ummeldung in case of relocation in the same city under the jurisdiction of the same registration office.) – Source: German Law

In simpler words, when you’re moving to Germany for long-term and every time your address changes.

Why do you need to do it?

The simple explanation is that it is required by law to get registered at the address you’re living and failing to do so would be illegal and opens the doors for hefty fines.

The registration offices are designated for the purpose of having the residents in their jurisdiction registered in order to have an updated catalog of identity and address for every resident.

Furthermore, registration is also a prerequisite for the issuance of,

  • Anmeldebescheinigung – Registration Confirmation Certificate:
    Once the official process is completed and you’re registered into the system with your address, you’ll get a confirmation certificate. This certificate is necessary for a variety of reasons for e.g. to get health insurance, to open a bank account (an exception to the rule), to sign contracts, etc.

  • Steueridentifikationnummer – German Tax ID
    The first time you register yourself in Germany, you’ll also be issued a Tax ID. It is sent in the form of a letter to the registered address and therefore, can take up to several weeks. Tax-ID is not the same as Tax-Number

Tax-ID is not the same as Tax-Number:

Note: If you’re on a visa, then you’ll need the Anmeldebescheinigung for the extension.

When do you need to do it?

According to the German law;

Having said that,

You’ll most probably never get the chance to be registered in the 14-day window and no one will care if you add a week or two on top. The registration offices are busy throughout the year and appointments are often week or months into the future.

I personally got an appointment 3 months from the date I appeared for registration.

What do you need to do it?

You know what’s a worse feeling than having your S-Bahn delayed while its freezing?

It’s having to wait hours for your appointment only to be told that you need to do it all over again because you forget some documents – and I speak from experience.

So, let’s make sure you don’t have to experience those feelings.

Following is a list of documents, as per German Immigration Law, that you need to have on you for the appointment;

  • A Valid German ID Document – Passport, Visa, Aufenthaltstitel
  • A Document of Confirmation from the Landlord – Wohnungsgeberbestätigung
    It is a signed document from the landlord (Wohnungsgeber – Accommodation Giver) for the registrations office that confirms (bestätigung) that a tenant(s) has moved into the Room/Apartment on a given date. (Download Wohnungsgeberbestätigung Sample Form)
  • Completed and Signed Registrations Form – Anmeldeformular
    It’s a simple form that you can either get from the reception of the registration office, or you can download it from here.

If available;

  • Marriage and/or Birth Certificates
  • Power of Attorney, written and signed by you – Vollmacht
    If someone decides to carry out the whole process for you on your behalf, then you’ll need to hand them all the necessary documents along with the power of attorney stating that you agree to be represented by that person. (Download Vollmacht Sample Form)

Finally, the most important thing that needs not forgetting;

  • A German Language Guide
    Even if you’re living in cities like Berlin, Hamburg or München, the chances of having gotten through just on English might be slim. It’s always better to have a translator/guide beside you just in case.
    If you’re living in a smaller city, then you most definitely need to accompanied by one

    Having one isn’t a requirement, but you know that they say – Better Safe than Sorry

Where to do it?

So you’ve collected all the necessary documents and are ready to get angemeldet?

Your next step is to identify your local registrations office. But that’s easy said than done!

Across Germany, these offices, despite offering the same services, are referred to by a variety of names. Some of the most common ones are,

  1. Einwohnermeldeamt
  2. Bürgerbüro or Bürgeramt
  3. Bezirksamt

However;

If you’re a foreigner i.e non-German, then you should consider contacting the Ausländerbehörde.

I’ve always been directed to them for my an- and ummeldungs.

This might help you find the nearest option

Tip: Consider joining a local Facebook Group and have them point you in the right direction.

How to do it?

Got all the documents ready?

Found the address of the registration office?

Great!

Depending on what registration office you’re required to visit, you’ll have to do one of two things;

  1. Book an online appointment
    This would be the ideal situation as you can do it from the comfort of your couch.
    Just go to the website of the local registration office and navigate to the appointment section and choose a date of your liking.
    Some office offer booking through phone calls as well.

  2. Visit the office personally
    More often than not, you’ll have to visit the office without an appointment.

    MAKE SURE TO CHECK THE OFFICE HOURS BEFORE GOING
    Now either you’ll be given an appointment at the reception (Yes! I know that’s stupid, but I’m not the one calling the shots 😊) or you’ll have to wait till everyone who decided to get registered at the same day as you and came before you are done registering (you might have to come the next if the time isn’t on your side)

Patience is the name of the game here.

So, make sure you arrive early and have a phone with 100% battery and no immediate plans.

Tip: Use the Local Facebook Group for information about the process and plan accordingly

What does it cost and is there a penalty for late registration?

Generally, this process is free of cost.

However, if you delay the process by months, then you might have to pay a fine. Normally, the offices are lenient with the fines and you almost always never have to pay, but there are some exceptions.

Note: If your appointment in 3-4 into the future, that doesn’t count as late registration as you applied within the official time frame.

FAQs about Anmeldung

While researching for this article, I came across a bunch of queries that I couldn’t fit into the article. Despite being related to the matter, I choose not to include them because I wanted to keep the article short and to the point. … (1000+ words already – Sorry😊)

How long does the registration process take?
8-10 min – given that you have all the necessary documents on hand and don’t take the waiting time into account.

Can I do it online?
No – According to Law, someone must appear in person for the registration – Source: German Law

Can someone do Anmeldung for me?
Yes – You’ll need to sign a Power of Attorney (Vollmacht) that allows someone to represent you.

Can I register my family by myself, without them having to go?
Yes – You’ll need all the documents mentioned above along with marriage/birth certificates (This applies only for the 1st registration only). Having a Power of Attorney would be a good idea just to be on the safe side.
One Registration Form (Anmeldeformular) can be used for the family members while printing and filling a new one doesn’t do any harm.

Is there any special law for kids?
Yes – Kids under the age of 16 are the responsibility of their guardian and they are obligated to register them according to law – Source: German Law

Can 2 or more people show up for the same appointment?
Yes and No – only if you’re married.

How many people can register at one place?
This depends on a couple of things.
Landlords Permission – You can rent the biggest house on the block, but if your landlord only signs a contract with 3 people, then those 3 are allowed to register. You can sublet a room with the permission of the landlord.
Apartment Size – There isn’t a fixed number here, but the rule of thumb is that each adult should have 9-12 sqm and the kids 5-8 sqm space.

Tax ID (Steueridentifikationsnummer or Identifikationsnummer) hasn’t arrived yet?
In that case, you’ll have to pay a visit to the nearest Tax Office (Finanzamt).  

Does the Tax Id change with a new registration?
No – This is generated once and remains the same throughout his/her lifetime. However, the Tax-Number is subjected to change upon reallocation.

Can the landlord refuse to let me register?
No – It is required by law to register yourself at the address where you’re living this is a right that the landlord can’t refuse you. In such cases, contacting the police would be the best option.

Can the main tenant refuse to let me register?
Yes and No – It is required by law to register yourself at the address where you’re living, and this is a right that the landlord can’t refuse you.
However, if he/she still persists, then one of the following cases apply;
– The main tenant might be offering accommodation for 4-7 months due to a job/activity in a different city and would return.
– The main tenant is offering illegal accommodation i.e. the landlord doesn’t know.

Can the main tenant fill the Wohnungsgeberbestätigung form?
Yes and No – Although it is a document that needs to be filled by the landlord, there are instances where the main tenant can fill it as well. The employees at the registration office don’t check that thoroughly as long as you have a valid address/contract with a move-in date.

Final Words

Did I miss something out?

Or do you have a different question?

In any case, let me know if the comments below.

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