How to Register in Berlin
Do ‘Anmeldung’ online
You have just arrived in Berlin? Well, then first of all a warm welcome to the city of singles, contradictions and exciting people! In spite of its very unique character, Berlin isn’t exempted from the German bureaucratic web. Once arrived the first thing you have to do is find a place. As soon as you have moved in, you need to register at a registration office.
In this blog you learn everything you need to know about registration. We tell you which documents you need and what you must pay attention to when you fill out the forms to avoid fees! To register you simply have to fill out the registration form. The registration form is in German but you can fill out in English on our website.
#1 What is ‘Anmeldung’?
‘Anmeldung‘ means residence registration.
Everyone who lives in Germany must register their German address at the so-called registration office (Buergeramt). There’s no way around it.
If you do not register, you have to pay a fine.
#2 Who must register in Berlin?
If you are in Germany on holiday, obviously you don’t need to register your residence. However, you are obliged to register,
〉 If you intend to stay and live in Germany for longer than three months
〉 If you work or study in Germany
〉 If you want to sign any contract in Germany i.e. open a bank account
#3 When must I register in Berlin?
Officially you have 2 weeks to register in Berlin.
Of course, sometimes finding a flat can take a bit longer.
It is sufficient to make an appointment within 2 weeks of arriving.
Everyone knows that the Berlin registration offices are extremely busy. So it’s normally no problem if you register a little late.
However, you must not forget to register. Without registration, you cannot work or study in Germany. You cannot sign any contracts either.
#4 I can’t find a place – what do I do?
Don’t worry. As long as you haven’t officially moved into a place with a sublet or rental contract, you don’t have to register. If you live at a hostel or in a hotel, you are not required to register.
You can only register if you have a proper tenancy agreement. The landlord must sign a form when you move to a new place. Without this landlord confirmation you cannot register. As such, you cannot ‘just’ register at a friend’s place.
Lots of foreigners in Berlin have a hard time finding a permanent place to stay. This is particularly difficult, if they have not got a job yet. Vice versa you cannot start working if you are not registered. So it’s a bit of a vicious cycle. It’s always good to start by living in a hostel first. Once you’ve got a job contract you should be able to find something relatively quickly.
#5 What documents do I need for registration?
In order to register in Germany (anmelden), you must bring the following documents with you:
- Registration Form (Anmeldeformular)
- Landlord confirmation form (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung)
- Marriage certificate and children’s birth certificates, if your partner and children live with you in Germany.
- Don’t forget to take our free German Language Guide “At the Registration Office”.
Without these documents your registration cannot be processed. You must take these documents to any registration office (Bürgeramt) in Berlin. An official will make sure that you have provided all the necessary documents for your registration (Anmeldung).
Tip: You don’t want to pay German Church tax? Then leave the ‘confession’ field in the registration form blank. If you choose a confession 8% of your income tax rate is automatically deducted and goes to church activities.
#6 How can I fill out the registration form (Anmeldung) in English?
On our website you can fill out the registration form in English.
Once you fill out the registration form on our website, it is automatically translated into German.
After a few minutes you will receive an email with a PDF.
This PDF is the German registration form with your data on it. We also send you the landlord confirmation form in this email. This form must be signed by your landlord or rental agency.
Without the landlord confirmation you cannot register. If you cannot get the signature, get in touch with your local registration office.
Claim 50 Euros for registering in Berlin
If you are in Berlin to study at a university then you are eligible to get 50 Euros ‘welcome money’ (Begrüßungsgeld) from the city of Berlin! All you need to do is download the ‘Welcome Money’ application form and take it to the registration office when you register. The easiest way to find the application form is to google ‘Berlin Begrüßungsgeld + your university’.
You can only get it when you are registering in Berlin for the first time. You cannot apply for it retrospectively.
#7 Where do I register in Berlin? How to make an online appointment?
Now that you have the registration form and all the documents together, you need to go to your local registration office in person.
They have recently changed rules, so now everyone has to make an appointment.
Click on “Termin berlinweit suchen” button on the top right corner to search for an online appointment for residence registration. Select a date and time.
Keep looking at the appointments every 30 minutes – at some point, an appointment will become free.
You can also call the central registration office hotline on 030 – 115 to make an appointment.
Say “Ich möchte einen Termin machen, um meinen Wohnsitz in Berlin anzumelden” (I want to make an appointment to register my residence in Berlin).
#8 What if all online appointments at the Bürgeramt are booked out?
Don’t worry. It’s normal that the appointments for Anmeldung at the Bürgeramt are booked out several months in advance.
There’s a little trick you can do.
Just keep pressing the refresh button on the website on which you can book an appointment. Especially in the mornings new appointments are added by several registration offices. Sometimes people also cancel their appointments. You will definitely find an appointment if you keep looking.
Remember that for the Anmeldung you can go to any Bürgeramt in Berlin – just go wherever a free appointment pops up.
Update June 2016 – You can also try your luck and go about an hour before opening time to these registration offices in Berlin without an appointment:
Donaustraße 29, Berlin-Neukoelln
Alice-Salomon-Platz 3, 12627 Berlin
#9 Does the registration affect my income tax rate?
Yes, it does.
The information you give on the registration form affects how much income tax you have to pay in Germany (Steuerklasse).
It’s best to register together with your wife/ husband/civil partner. Bring to your marriage certificate and your children’s birth certificates, as it will ensure you are put in the right tax bracket; it may also save you money because married people pay less income tax in Germany.
If you register by yourself without any certificates of your family members, then you will usually be classified into tax bracket 1 (the highest income tax threshold!) until you prove that you ought to be classified differently.
Further information can be found in our blog on “Income tax in Germany”.
#10 Going to the registration office in Berlin – what to do?
Make sure that you arrive at least 10 minutes before your appointment. Finding the correct waiting room can be confusing. Just follow the signs saying ‘Bürgeramt’. Best is to ask your way around.
If you have booked an appointment online, you receive your personal waiting number in a confirmation email. You then wait for your number to be displayed on a screen together with a corresponding room number. Quickly walk to the room. Most officials speak English in case you don’t speak German. Give the official all your registration documents. If everything is fine, you will get your registration confirmation right away (Anmeldebestätigung/ Meldebescheinigung).
Important: Check the registration confirmation right away! You want to make sure that your name and address is spelled correctly.
Be sure to keep the registration confirmation it in a safe place – you will need it on a number of occasions.
I have a new address in Berlin. Do I need to register again (Ummeldung)?
To register a change of address, you simply repeat the process of registration. The forms for a change of address (Ummeldung) and residence registration (Anmeldung) are identical!
I’m leaving Berlin. How do I deregister?
Yes, you do.
If you leave Germany and move to another country, you must deregister.
Deregistering is also a necessary way to get out of contracts in Germany. For example, if you have a 24 months phone contract, but you show the phone provider a deregistration form after 4 months, then they are legally obliged to cancel the contract with you.
For example, your gym must let you out of the contract, even if the official duration is not over yet. Nevertheless, you will need to cover any outstanding payments for objects you have already obtained (like a mobile phone in a mobile phone contract).
If you do not deregister all your contracts are still enforceable, as you are technically still living in Germany. So deregistering is very important.
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