10 Steps to sorting your German paperwork

Practical Guide to sorting your German Paperwork

(for non-EU nationals - long-term stay)

Last update: November 2021
German Paperwork

10 Steps to living in Germany 


Apply for a job or university 

(of course, not from within Germany)

If you get a job or get accepted by a German university, you are then allowed to apply for an entry visa

Here is our Job Listing blog article that could help you find a job.

  • If you are a citizen from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand and the USA (except for the Green card holders), you can apply for a job while in Germany (within 3 months) as you do not need any entry visa.
  • If you are a citizen from Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino, you do not need an entry visa if your only purpose is studying, so you can apply for a student permit while in Germany. However, you will not be allowed to work at all. If you want to work, you need to apply for a visa before entering Germany.


Apply for a visa at the German mission abroad

If the visa gets accepted, you are allowed to enter Germany temporarily (entry visa).


Look for a permanent place to live

This is mandatory: if you don't have a "permanent" place, you will not be allowed to stay in Germany and proceed with the registration process.

Unofficially: You can always find a temporary place to stay & register, then search for a permanent place (e.g. a sublet).


Anmeldung (City Registration)

You can fill in your "Anmeldeformular" in English, French, Spanish or Italian here and bring it to the local citizens' office in order to get an important paper called "Anmeldebestätigung" (proof of residence).

Read more about that process here: Registration in Germany.


Obtain a German Health Insurance

No matter whether you are staying abroad for a long term or only for a short break – do not forget that health insurance is compulsory for the whole population in Germany. If you need free and independent advice about the German health insurance system, you can get in touch with our trusted and independent insurance partner here.


Apply for a Residence Title at your local Ausländerbehörde

Your visa was only allowing you to enter Germany and sort out your Anmeldung; your electronic permit will allow you to stay in the country for at least a few years (specified on your permit). Find your local aliens' office using this website.


Provisional document

If your permit is accepted, you will get a provisional certificate allowing you to work or enrol at the university. It will take some weeks to issue a proper electronic permit.


Apply for a German Tax ID

[This step is not necessary anymore. Step 4 is enough to get your tax ID]

Tax ID

Employees have their income tax deducted from their salary at source. If you don't have a tax ID (In other words, if you don't have your Anmeldung), you will be taxed at the maximum rate possible and will not be able to claim any tax back in the future. 

The tax office will send you the tax ID automatically to your registered German address within 2-3 weeks after you've done your Anmeldung.

In case you've lost your tax ID, you can apply for one online:
👉 Tax ID Application Form 👈

By doing the Anmeldung, you will also be assigned a tax ID. You will receive it by post within 2-3 weeks.

Tax Number (for freelancers)

If you want to work as a freelancer, you need to apply for a German tax number (Steuernummer) at your local Finanzamt. If you want, you can register as a freelancer online and in English using this company. It's free!


Your German Residence Title

After 3 or 4 weeks of waiting (for the student or work permit), you will finally get your Residence Title (all-in-one card: "Visa and Permit").


Open a German Bank Account

This is mandatory if you want to get paid by your employer or register as a freelancer. 

You can open a bank account for free either with DKB, which includes a Free Visa card or with N26 which includes a Free Mastercard debit (no Anmeldung required). In this article, you can find a comparison of the most popular banks in Germany.


Enjoy your stay in Germany!



Free Anmeldung Form