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November 26, 2014

Registering in Germany: Anmeldung Guide

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The Anmeldung Guide


Anmeldung
Last update: February 2018

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Tax Return


8 Things you should know about the Bürgeramt registration


This Anmeldung Guide was written to help foreigners start their life in Germany. The Anmeldung is the most important step when relocating to Germany. Here are 8 things you should know about the Anmeldung to start off well in Germany.


Register in Germany
One

Place to Live

The first step to live & work legally in Germany is to find an accommodation as soon as possible. In fact, you cannot live in Germany more than 3 months without having an officially registered address. 

There are some exceptions: the Anmeldung may not be a necessary step if you plan to stay in Germany as a tourist for a few months, but bear in mind that you will not be able to open a bank account* and get any electricity or internet contract without registering your German address.

[* Exception: No Anmeldung or Steuer-ID is necessary with N26]


In brief, who is obliged to register at the Bürgeramt?

  • People who intend to live in Germany for more than three months;
  • People who want to work or study (at a university) in Germany;
  • People who want to sign any kind of contract in Germany (register with a German health insurance, get an electricity or internet contract, and so on).



Two

Anmeldung
[City Registration]

If you plan on: living in Germany for more than 3 months / working in Germany / attending a College/University in Germany, you have to do your Bürgeramt registration. This is achieved by submitting in person an Anmeldung form (Anmeldeformular) to your local registration office called Bürgeramt or Bürgerbüro, or even Kundenzentrum and KVR (also called Einwohnermeldeamt, which it's the citizens office at the Bürgeramt). This is required for any change of address. 

At the Bürgeramt you will receive a proof of registration (see image below) called either Meldebestätigung, Anmeldebestätigung or Meldeschein, which is needed for many official matters, such as opening a bank account, obtaining a residence permit or applying for a German health insurance. 


Anmeldebestätigung
Copy of a Proof of Registration 


The Bürgeramt registration needs to be done within 14 days of relocating to your new German address. Everyone living in Germany, even if temporarily, has the obligation to register/re-register at one of the many Bürgerämter.

As of November 2015, you also need to provide the Bürgeramt official with a written confirmation completed & signed by your landlord (or by the main renter for sublets or by the rental agency*) to prove that you've have actually moved into the place you want to register. The document is called "Wohnungsgeberbestätigung". You can download it here below:


[* The sublessor or rental agency needs to get the authorization from the landlord as that step would be checked by the authorities].

That letter above must be shown to the Bürgeramt official possibly during the registration or no later than 2 weeks after your registered at the Bürgeramt. The landlord is obliged to cooperate and can notify the authorities himself/herself. If this isn't the case, he/she could get a fine up to 1,000€.

If you have not found a "permanent" residence yet, it is sometimes possible to register with your hotel, hostel or work address. Ask your hotel or HR department for further details. 


Additional documents to bring

  • Valid ID or passport (incl. visa, if applicable). 
  • Rental agreement (not necessary anymore, but sometimes it can still be useful if there is some doubt about any of your details).
In case you are subletting the place:
  • The "Landlord Letter" (see link above) could be signed by the main renter if authorized by the landlord/owner. 
If applicable: 
  • You will also need to bring your marriage certificate and/or your child's birth certificate if your spouse/partner/children live in Germany (translated in German by a sworn translator). Sometimes, the original version is enough if you come from the EU/EEA.
  • A POA (Power of Attorney) completed & signed by yourself in case you send someone else to register on your behalf. Download a copy in here

Important: 
When you leave the country, you need to de-register your German address, this is called the "Abmeldung". This process could be done by email (most of the time).

>> Bürgeramt Checklist: click here <<


Three

Tax ID (IdNr.)

Once you've done your Anmeldung, the federal tax authority will send your tax ID (also called Identification number) to your registered German address automatically within 2-3 weeks. If you cannot wait, you can directly try to go to your local Finanzamt (check your registered address ZIP code) and request it, but it's not sure they will already have it in their system!

The tax ID is important for the purposes of taxation, government benefits and health care. 

Your future employer might request you that unique number. Some employers would directly contact the German tax authority to get that number. Most companies are doing their best to accommodate the needs of their new employees who start their new life in Germany, so they will usually wait for your tax ID (max. 3 months) and not tax you at the full rate.

Do not confuse that "IdNr." with the so called "Steuernummer"! The "Steuernummer" needs to be requested from the Finanzamt if you intend to work as a freelancer. 


In case you've lost your tax ID (Steuer-ID), you can apply for it online 
(processing time could be up to 3 weeks!) 


Four

TV License (Broadcast Receiving License)

Once registered at the Bürgeramt, you will get by post at your registered address some documents necessary to pay the German TV license (formerly GEZ, currently "Beitragsservice von ARD, ZDF und Deutschlandradio"). 

This license is mandatory, even if you do not have any TV or radio, and costs 17,50€ per month and per residence (17,98€ until 31.03.2015). Once you receive the bill (see image below), you have 1 week to pay. You can decide on your payment intervals when you apply for the license (i.e. monthly, quarterly, twice a year or yearly).


German TV License
Example of a letter for the TV License 


Be careful as fake letters are circulating! The official letter must contain your surname. Find below an example of FAKE letter:

Fake Letter
Example of a fake TV License Letter 


Five

Church Tax

While filling out your Anmeldung form, you will have to state your religion on it. All people in Germany who are officially registered as Catholic, Protestant or Jews pay a religious tax on their annual income tax bill. 

If you do not want to pay the so called Kirchensteuer, you will have to state it in your Anmeldung form! The Church tax, which is 8 to 9 percent of the annual income tax, would be automatically deducted each month from your payslip.

Please consider that if you decide to not pay this religious tax, you will, for instance, not be allowed to receive communion, confession or get married in church.




Six

Welcome Money for Students in Berlin

Update: 
Starting from February 2016, by decision of the Senate of Berlin, there will be no more "welcome money" for students enrolled at a German public university.


Seven

Where to register?
Do I need an Appointment?

Almost all of Germany has recently decided to make all the registration offices available only by appointment. 

You might still register without an appointment if you live in a small town or the citizens office is not busy.

When the day of your appointment comes, you just need to show up at your chosen Bürgeramt/Bürgerbüro/KVR with a complete Anmeldung form, a signed confirmation letter from the landlord (or main renter for sublets) and a valid ID or passport. 

If applicable, make sure to also bring all translated documents proving your civil status (married, divorced, with children,...) and other documents related to the people registering at the same address (wife, partner, child....). 

Search for your local citizens office by inserting your postcode here.

We advise you to check the following websites for further details:



Tips for Berlin
* [Doesn't always work] You can still go to the Bürgeramt, wait in line, and get an appointment for the same day! Typical case: Go to your local Bürgeramt at 7.45 am, wait in line for 1 hour, and get an appointment for 2:00 pm. 

* If you need a Bürgeramt appointment and can't find any date available, go to berlin.de first thing in the morning & hit the "refresh" button from time to time. You might find appointments available for the same day/week due to cancellations over last night and new appointments added for that week.









There is sometimes no need of taking an appointment if you're moving in a small town. Appointments are usually mandatory in big German cities!


Eight

When to register?

You have to do your Anmeldung within 14 days of relocating to your new German address.

Booking an appointment is enough to meet the deadline!



Next

Then there is the rest: 
residence permit, bank account, health insurance, find a job, German courses... but this is another story! ;-)

Good Luck with your new life in Germany!

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If your German is not good enough and you need help to fill in the Anmeldung Form, click here.

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