If you have just moved to Berlin, and you are planning to stay for more than just a few months, you will need to complete your registration (Anmeldung) within fourteen days at your local authority office (Einwohneramt).
The Anmeldung is essential if you are spending more than three months in Germany
Whether you have come to Germany to work, to study or just for an extended stay of at least three months, obtaining an attestation of your registration at your German address (Meldebescheinigung) is essential, for instance to open a bank account or to even to get a mobile phone contract, in some cases.
In theory you should register within two weeks. In Berlin, however, it is difficult – almost impossible – to get an appointment already within the first fortnight of your stay – the waiting list is generally way too long. The most important is therefore that you book your appointment within the first two weeks, and the appointment can then take place at a later date.
For Berlin, you can book an appointment online here. You will be offered an appointment in any district of the city. In smaller cities, you should have registered within the first week or two.
You need a permanent home to be registered, so if you are staying at a hotel, hostel or at an Airbnb rental, you wont be able to register. Unless, in the latter case, your Airbnb host has prepared a rental contract for you, which reflects the terms of the arrangement you have via Airbnb (length of stay, price, etc), and that your name is on your housedoor and letter box. Otherwise, you wont be able to register, and as long as you live in temporary accommodation for only less than three months, it won’t become an issue. If, on the other hand, you are still in temporary accommodation after three months, talk to your host or landlord to see if they can extend some form of rental contract to you.
What documents do you need?
Make sure you bring your tenancy contract as well as proof of identity (passport or ID) with you. It is helpful to know some basic German as many officers won’t be proficient. Also, if you are lucky enough to own your own home, expect the registration clerks to still assume you are a tenant, and to frown when you explain to them that you actually are an owner occupier. This is not common in Berlin, especially among young people.
So, in summary, here is your checklist for your Anmeldung. Make sure you bring:
- Your ID, or ideally, your passport is essential. A driver’s licence may not be enough.
- Your rental contract for the address you want to register as your home. If you are the owner, bring your purchase contract or a land registry (Grundbuchamt) extract proving ownership.
- An attestation from your landlord confirming you are living there. This is a new law which came into effect as of 1 November 2015, requiring landlords to provide their tenants with this signed form within two weeks of moving in. It applies to flatshares as well! The form (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung) can be found here.
- A filled in registration form (Anmeldeformular), which you can find here.
- Your visa (if you have one). If you have a EU or EEA passport, you won’t need a visa.
- Any legal documents relating to your civil status (marriage / divorce certificate), birth certificate of children, etc. if it is the first time you register in Germany.
What you should also know about the Anmeldung
If you have made your appointment online, make sure you are on time, else you may well lose your slot. If you don’t have an appointment, make sure you get a waiting ticket with a number on it, and wait until your number gets called.
If it is the first time you register in Germany, you should receive a tax identification number within one to two weeks. You will need this to be employable in Germany.
If you leave the country, you need to fill in the Abmeldeformular.
However if you move within Germany, you just need to register in your new hometown or area, no need to deregister where you lived previously – it will be done automatically.