Anmeldung: How to Register Your Address in Germany
Historically, Germany has been known as the home of bureaucracy, and there’s really no escaping it when you move to the country. Unfortunately, your first few weeks in Germany are likely to be full of paperwork. And, while the process may seem frustrating to begin with, getting organized as soon as possible will help your transition to a new country all the easier.
If you’ve done any research into the process of moving to Germany, you’ve more than likely come across the word Anmeldung many times. The reason for this is that it is an essential part of setting up your life in your new city. It’s the simple process of registering your address, but it unlocks a number of basic necessities, which we’ll get into later on in the article.
While it may seem daunting, understanding how to register your address in Germany and why it’s so important isn’t so complicated. Here, we answer some commonly asked questions about the Anmeldung and provide a quick step-by-step guide on how to register it in the first place.
1.What is Anmeldung?
Anmeldung refers to the process of registering your address with the local authorities. This is a legal requirement for anyone who plans to stay in Germany for more than three months, whether as a resident or a visitor. The anmeldung process involves going to the local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) and providing proof of identity and your new address, such as a rental contract or utility bill.
Anmeldung is an important step for anyone living in Germany, as it is required for a number of different reasons. For example, you may need to provide proof of anmeldung when opening a bank account or signing up for health insurance.
It is also necessary if you want to apply for a residence permit or work permit in Germany. Additionally, failing to register your address can result in fines or other legal consequences down the line. So if you’re planning on staying in Germany for any length of time longer than 3 months, make sure to complete the anmeldung process as soon as possible after arriving at your new address.
2. Should I register my address and get Anmeldung to live in Germany?
The simple answer to this is you absolutely have to register your address in Germany if you’re planning on living in the country for more than three months. Any less than that, and you don’t need to worry.
The importance of the Anmeldung is not to be underestimated. Without it, you’ll come across heaps of limitations and could face hefty fines if you haven’t sorted it out within 14 days of entering the country.
That’s why we’d recommend organizing your Anmeldung as soon as you set foot in the country. If you’re not sure, Anmeldung is simply the process of registering your address with the local citizen’s office, otherwise known as the Bürgeramt. Local law dictates that you must do this within two weeks of entering the country if you’re planning on staying for longer than three months.
The Anmeldung is not just a necessary process; it is a vital one for an easy transition into life in Germany. For example, without Anmeldung, you’ll be unable to do the following:
- Get a bank account
- Set up a Wi-Fi connection in your home
- Buy a mobile phone contract
- Get health insurance
- Complete university registration
- Receive your resident permit
- Be eligible for your tax ID
3. How to register your German address
To start the process of Anmeldung, you need to already have a permanent address. This is part of the process where many people get stuck; you need to have proof of registration (i.e., to have completed your Anmeldung) to get a rental contract, but you’ll need a rental contract to get your Anmeldung. There are ways around this which we will explain a little later on.
As soon as you have found your home, it’s time to start the process of Anmeldung. Here is how to register your address in Germany in three simple steps.
- Step 1: Get your Bürgeramt appointment
The first thing you will need to do is secure an appointment at your local Bürgeramt. This can be done in person and over the phone, but the easiest way to do it is, in fact, online. This is especially helpful if your German language skills aren’t quite up to scratch just yet.
Check out these quick links to online services for some of Germany’s biggest cities.
- Anmeldung in Berlin
- Telephone: (030) 115
- 50+ Bürgeramt in Berlin
- Anmeldung in Cologne or Koln
- Telephone: 0221 or 115
- 9 Bürgeramt in Cologne
- Anmeldung in Dusseldorf
- Telephone: 0211 8991
- 5+ Bürgeramt in Dusseldorf
- Anmeldung in Hamburg
- Telephone: (040) 115
- 15+ Bürgeramt in Hamburg
- Anmeldung in Frankfurt
- Telephone: +49 69 115
- 11 Bürgeramt in Frankfurt
- Anmeldung in Munich or Munchen
- Telephone: 089 233-96000
- 10+ Bürgerbüro in Munich
- Anmeldung in Stuttgart
- Telephone: +49 711 216-93720
- 22 Bürgeramt in Stuttgart
It is worth keeping in mind that you have to register at the Bürgeramt that is closest to where you live. A good tip is to look first thing in the morning when most appointments or cancellations are released.
If you are really struggling to find a suitable appointment, you can simply turn up at your local Bürgeramt around thirty minutes before opening time and hope that a slot opens up. While you will not be guaranteed an appointment this way, you will be given a ticket and prioritized for any available slots. Just be ready to wait and make sure you have all of your documents ready – we will explain these in detail in Step 2.
If you have chosen to migrate to a smaller German city, you may find that you can’t book an appointment online. However, you can use this handy service by the Deutsche Post to find your local registry office by inputting your postcode and going to the office to book your appointment directly.
Once you’ve secured a date, you should receive a confirmation email with a unique number. Keep this reference safe, as you’ll need it on the day of your appointment.
- Step 2: Put all your documents together
Before the day of your appointment arrives, you will need to make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork to avoid making a second trip and delaying your Anmeldung further. Specific documents may vary from city to city, but generally, you’ll need to make sure you have the following with you:
- Personal identification, e.g., passport. You’ll need this for both yourself and all members of your family that are moving with you.
- Confirmation of rental by your landlord. Otherwise known as the Wohnungsgeberbestätigung, this acts as proof that you have taken out a rental contract and are living at the address that you have provided. This will require the following details; the landlord’s name and address, details of the owner, move-in date, residential address, and details of the tenant.
- Completed Anmeldung Form. These are different from city to city, but you’ll find each version available on the website links provided above. Generally, you’ll need your passport details, new address, move-in, and any details of family members that are moving with you.
- Visa or residency permit if you are from outside of the EU.
- Marriage certification/ birth certificate if this is your first Anmeldung.
- Step 3: Go to your appointment and get the Anmeldung
Perhaps the simplest part of understanding how to register your address in Germany is Step 3 – going to your appointment. On this day, you will need to gather all of the necessary documents and head to your allotted slot in a timely manner. If you’re late, the chances are that you’ll have to reschedule your appointment, which could result in a late Anmeldung and hefty fines.
At your local Bürgeramt, you’ll need to check in at the front desk before taking a seat in the waiting room. Most registry offices are the same and have a large screen at the front. When it is time for your appointment, the reference number that you received when you booked the appointment will flash up on the screen, and you can make your way to the office.
Once you are in the room with your caseworker, simply hand over your documents, and they will do all of the hard work. In some cases, you may be asked a few questions in German. If you’re not confident with your German-speaking abilities, you are allowed to take a friend or colleague with you to help translate. Even if case workers can speak English, they are encouraged to speak German only, so we’d suggest taking some help if you have access to it.
Appointments only tend to last 10-15 minutes, at the end of which you’ll be handed your Meldebescheinigung. This is the magic document you’ve been waiting for, so make sure that you keep it safe.
4. What happens if I can’t attend my own Anmeldung appointment?
If you cannot attend your own appointment for any reason, you can ask someone to go on your behalf. To do this, you’ll need to sign a power of attorney letter (Vollmacht) giving your friend or relative permission to carry out the appointment for you. Just remember to make sure they have all of the documents outlined above.
5. What to do if you haven't found accommodation in the first two weeks
As we mentioned above, there’s a Catch-22 when it comes to the Anmeldung. Without a rental contract, you won’t have the necessary paperwork to complete the registration process. So what are your options?
Hotels can’t be listed on your registration form, and you’ll have a hard time getting an Airbnb owner to partake in extra bureaucracy if you’re not there for long. This leaves you with the option of looking for temporary apartments in Germany that allows Anmeldung.
Short term apartments have become a popular option, not only to get around the Anmeldung Catch-22 but also to provide hassle-free temporary accommodation when you first move to a new city. Not only do these apartments have everything you could need to slip into life in your new city, but your monthly rental price will also include utilities and Wi-Fi in the cost. Some also include monthly cleaning services too.
What’s more, you can secure your perfect home-away-from-home weeks before you move, so it’ll all be ready and waiting for you when you arrive.
Homelike includes extra details on its listings so you can find out if you can register the address on your Anmeldung before you commit to a listing.
6. Can I get Anmeldung with an Airbnb or hotel address?
Talking in a legal sense, you are allowed to get your Anmeldung using an Airbnb address, but not a commercial address like a hotel. However, the practicalities of the process mean doing it this way is unlikely to be successful.
The main reason for this is that you need an authority figure, such as your landlord, to provide proof of your residency. An essential document to register your address in Germany is the Wohnungsgeberbestätigung – a form filled out by your landlord. In some cases where you’ve paid for a long-term stay, the Airbnb owner may agree to sign this for you, but it is rare that this happens.
In the case that you do have success this way, make sure you follow up and change your registration once you move. We’ll explain this process, otherwise known as the Ummeldung, late on in the article.
7. How to find accommodation in major German cities
Germany’s major cities have become popular choices for migrating ex-pats around the world, as well as for internal migration. Unfortunately, this means the supply of housing is far outweighed by the demand, especially in cities such as Berlin, Munich, and Cologne. However, it isn’t all doom and gloom. With a little preparation and research and using a range of different websites, you’ll have a good chance of finding your perfect apartment.
- Furnished accommodation
If you’re moving to Germany for less than a year, you may want to consider furnished accommodation. Furnished apartments will provide all of the things you’ll need to get settled in straight away, including your sofa, bed, and kitchen. Some will even organize utilities and Wi-Fi to be included in the bill so you can slide in hassle-free. While this type of accommodation is less common in the country, there are several websites that specialize in full-furnished flats and housing.
Here are a few places to start your search:
- Homelike. Specializing in serviced accommodation in Germany, you’ll find fully-furnished apartments in all of the big cities. The perk here is that all kitchen utensils, bills, Wi-Fi, and in some cases, cleaning services will be provided too.
- AirBnB. You’ll find everything from short and long-term accommodation on Airbnb, all fully furnished and including bills. Just be careful, as most listings on Airbnb cannot provide Anmeldung.
- Unfurnished accommodation
Unfurnished accommodation tends to be more common in Germany and is ideal for longer-term rentals as it allows you to put your own creative spin on your home. Something that is unusual about German rentals is that they generally don’t come with your kitchen units included. So, you will need to organize this yourself.
Check out these websites for unfurnished listings:
- ImmoScout. Handily available in English, too, ImmoScout has listings from across Germany’s major cities and can put you in direct contact with the listing agent or landlord.
- ImmoWelt. Similar to ImmoScout, you can use the filtered search engine to find accommodation that suits your own specifications.
- Shared accommodation
Flat and house shares are a good option for those on a budget or anyone hoping to meet a new friendship circle whilst living in Germany. In this type of accommodation, you’ll generally have your own private bedroom, but will share living space and kitchen space, and sometimes a bathroom.
For recent listings, try the below websites:
- WG-Gesucht. Find rooms in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, and other German cities and connect with potential roommates. Don’t forget to set up a viewing before you sign a contract.
- WG-Sucht. Connect with local people looking to fill empty rooms in their accommodation and organize a visit with just the touch of a button
8. What happens if you don't register your address or register late
Living in Germany without an Anmeldung can put a heap of limitations on your life, including not being able to open a bank account. However, aside from these restrictions, you could face fines and other legal consequences.
According to German law, you could get fined up to 1000 Euros if you fail to register your address in Germany on time or provide inaccurate information on your application. Rumour has it, however, that the majority of officials are a little more tolerant and may excuse you if you have a legitimate reason for delaying your Anmeldung. To be safe, we’d recommend trying to register within the 14-day timeframe where possible.
9. What to do if you move to a new address
You don’t need to go through the process of Anmeldung every time you move to a new address. Instead, you’ll need to compete what is known as the Ummeldung. This is the simple process of re-registering your address and informing the authorities of your new permanent address. You’ll pretty much follow the same steps as you did for the Anmeldung, but you will need to book an appointment for the Ummeldung instead.
There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you are certain that your new address is temporary and will be moving on again in less than six months, then you can wait until you are at your next permanent address before going through the Ummeldung process. For example, if you are waiting for your flat in Berlin to be complete and will move to your parent’s house when your current lease expires, you can wait until you have moved into Berlin to re-register.
10. What to do about your address if you move out of Germany
Here’s another word for you – Abmeldung.
This is simply the opposite of the Anmeldung and is the process of de-registering your address in Germany. Again, this process must be completed within two weeks of moving away from the country but no sooner than a week before you instead to depart. For this, you will need another form from your landlord confirming that you are, in fact, leaving – this is what is called the Wohnungsgeberbestätigung.
Again, it is imperative that you do this before you move. Without it, you will struggle to cancel phone and Wi-Fi contracts and may even have a hard time canceling things like gym memberships and health insurance.
10. Anmeldung registration info in major German cities
As well as our guide on how to register your address in Germany, it’s always worth doing your own research to make sure you have everything covered. As we have mentioned a few times in this article, minor details can differ between each city’s Anmeldung process.
For this reason, we’d recommend checking out the most up-to-date information on each of the city’s websites below:
Final Thoughts on Anmeldung
As frustrating and inconvenient as the process may be, there is no way of getting around Anmeldung in Germany. After all, registering your address in Germany is much more than simply letting the government know that you are living in the country; it unlocks a lot of basic necessities for living in the country, including opening a bank account, purchasing health insurance, setting up a sim card and even getting a Wi-Fi connection organized for your home.
If you take away anything from us today, here are some things you should remember:
- You must register your address within 14 days if you are staying in Germany for longer than three months
- Book your appointment in advance online and go with all necessary documents prepared
- Every time you move to permanent accommodation, you will need to re-register your address to avoid being fined
We hope that this guide on how to register your address in Germany has demystified the process of Anmeldung and will help you in your journey of relocation, viel glück!