Anmeldung : the compulsory residence registration – simply explained.

Who knew that one of your first encounters with German bureaucracy could be so terrifying? This step is so essential to landing on both your feet. It’s however not so easy when arriving here without help, German skills or proper context.

anmeldung germany english

This small guide is explaining how to do the Anmeldung in English in Germany. It also aims at giving you tips to save time, stress & money. And if everything fails, you can always ask a question in the comments.

What is the Anmeldung in Germany?

The Anmeldung is Germany is registering your current residence with the local authorities, living at a specific address. This is one the most important administrative steps for anybody moving to Germany. Anmeldung comes from “An/melden“, to register in German.

When doing so, you will be given the “Meldebescheinigung“, a residence registration certificate. This innocent piece of paper will be necessary in many aspects of your life in this country. You will be asked for this if you want to sign-up for health insurance, open a bank account, set up an internet connection or simply obtain a tax number and start working.

Update Jan 2021: Corona is still here to stay folks, the Anmeldung can often not be processed in person. Some cities in Germany will accept to do this via email/post/phone but other might not. You will need to contact your local Bürgeramt in your own district and see what ways they offer. Good luck!

All you need to do the Anmeldung is :

  • Bring your ID card or passport with you.
  • If relevant, bring your current residence permit/visa with you.
  • Bring your tenancy or sublet contract. If you are simply temporarily staying at a friend’s or a relative’s while looking for something more permanent, have them write and sign a letter stating that you are staying with them. Here is a draft you can use.
  • Bring a confirmation that you have moved in from the landlord, the “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung” (document below or here).
  • Fill in that form called “Anmeldung bei einer Meldebehörde” that you get at any Bürgeramt’s website or use Appmeldung instead to fill it in easily in English.
  • If you are married/in a partnership, they will also want see a relevant marriage certificate, translated in German.
  • Go to the nearest Bürgeramt of you area (list below)
  • Have patience

Unless you have an appointment, you will have to wait between 1h and 2h before you can actually meet a city employee that will magically type in all the info you provided in da computer. It only lasts about 5min and voila ! You are done with the Anmeldung.

This is maybe what the whole experience might feel like…

The Anmeldung is an administrative process that is compulsory as it’s how the German authorities tracks population. However; it won’t be the end of the world if you do it a bit later than required, especially in bigger cities, where waiting times are longer.

If you are to stay in Berlin or in Germany for less than 3 months :

The Anmeldung may not be a necessary step if you plan to stay for less than 3 months. You can then be considered as a tourist for this period. However you won’t be able to open any internet or electricity contract, so make sure you can sort that out through other ways (like through a sublet for example). If you want a mobile phone, simply use a pre-paid offer from Blue, Lidl mobile or equivalent.

Bürgeramt, Bürgerbüro, Rathaus, or Kundezentrum?

This post was originally meant to be read by Berliners only, thus only the term Bürgeramt was used here. However, since people from everywhere in Germany are reading this, it’s worthwhile to say that it’s called differently in other parts of the country. So check the local lingo. 🙂 Those terms can be used interchangeably in this post.

Filling-in the Anmeldung forms in English, is that possible?

If you really don’t know any German and don’t know anybody who can help, this simple task can be hard to achieve. There are so many things to think about when moving to Germany, so it’s sometimes nice to take a little shortcut! To make your life easier, you can turn to Appmeldung, which lets you do exactly that for Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich. Disclaimer: Appmeldung was built by the guy behind this blog.

How to get an appointment at the Bürgeramt, fast?

Booking an appointment is highly recommended to avoid lengthy waiting times:

However the demand for appointements is so high that the first available slot is usually weeks away. A tip to get an appointment in the next few days instead is to check the booking system at 8 a.m. This is when the whole system is refreshed and it often shows open slots when it didn’t a few minutes before. Increase your chances by doing a city-wide search. Sometimes, you can even get something for the same day!

Et voila, you are on the fast track!

Things to to know before your appointment for the Anmeldung

  1. During your appointment for the Anmeldung, you will also be able to notify the authorities that you need a tax ID (Steuernummer). You will need that if you decide to find a job in Germany. For some reason, when I did it myself, I never received the said tax number. I had to go then to the Tax center (Finanzamt) to get it myself. You can find more information about the tax ID and the Finanzamt here.
  2. You have the possibility to let the authorities know what your religion is. Be aware that if you do so, you will be eligible for an extra tax in case you decide to stay longer. I just choose to state that I was an atheist. More about info church tax in Germany this way.

FAQ about the Anmeldung in Germany

I am subletting a room. Do i really need to have the Wohnungsgeberbestätigung filled in by the landlord? Can the main tenant do it?

The German administration wants landlords to fill in that document to confirm that you moved in. This also makes sure that the landlord is aware of the sublet, which is required by law. Although i cannot recommend you to do it, it seems that some people have had the main tenant filled it in and gotten away with it. It seems that the Bürgeramt employees don’t care and/or don’t check. It’s up to you to take that risk.

I am subletting a room but the main tenant doesn’t want me to register there. Why?

This probably means that they are not allowed to sub-rent their room. They maybe live in a WBS flat (where rent is subsidized by the city) or they haven’t let the landlord know about it. This is a bad bet if you need to register to start working and stuff.

I am staying at friend’s before finding something more permanent, can i register with them for now?

It’s obvious, to register your flat with the Anmeldung, you need to have found one. But for many of us, we haven’t found one yet. A simple letter from a friend letting you stay at their place will be enough to register. Same goes in case of a sublet situation. Bear in mind that in theory, the landlord should always be aware of who is living in the place, providing a written confirmation that you have moved in there.

Which Bürgeramt accept people without appointements? The next available appointment is in 3 weeks, i need something sooner.

Each Bürgeramt seems to have its own policy regarding appointments. The best is maybe to call one to check with them. If they do accept walk-ins, go queue there 30min before opening time to make sure you have a ticket. You may also want to go to less busy offices. Read onto the next question for more details.

Do i need to register at a Bürgeramt in the Bezirk where i live?

You can register at any Bürgeramt in Berlin. This is especially useful if you need to register fast. You can travel to a less popular Bezirke that has less traffic to get an appointment sooner. You’d need to check about that for other cities than Berlin.

Is there a maximum amount of people that can register in a single living space?

It depends on a few factors and on where you live. In Berlin, the law says that for each adult person, there should be at least 9 sqm, and for kids only 6 sqm. In Bavaria, that is 10 sqm per person over 6 years old, 6 sqm per person under 6 years old.

I need to register fast & i don’t have time to register or i’m afraid to do mistakes because of the language, can i send someone else to do it for me?

Absolutely. Someone can represent you and do all this for you provided this person has all the required documents together with your ID/Passport and a Vollmacht (a procuration) for this person.

Anmeldung in Berlin : list of Bürgeramt per city district

Here is a complete list of all Bürgerämter to make an appointment with one of them. You can also scroll down to see some districts here after.

If you don’t live in another city than Berlin, simply enter your postal code on this page to find out where to go.

Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg:

Bürgeramt 1
Yorckstr. 4 – 11, 10965 Berlin, Main Entrance, 3rd Floor
website

Bürgeramt 2
Schlesische Str. 27 A, 10997 Berlin
website

Bürgeramt 3
Frankfurter Allee 35/37, 10247 Berlin, Entrance B
website

Neukölln

Bürgeramt Rathaus Neukölln
Karl-Marx-Str. 83
12043 Berlin – Neukölln
website

Mitte

Bürgeramt 1
Mathilde-Jacob-Platz 1
10551 Berlin
website

Bürgeramt 2
Karl-Marx-Allee 31
10178 Berlin
website

Bürgeramt 3
Müllerstr. 147
13353 Berlin
website

Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf

Rathaus Charlottenburg
Otto-Suhr-Allee 100,
10585 Berlin.
website

Hohenzollerndamm
Hohenzollerndamm 177,
10713 Berlin.
website

Heerstr.
Heerstr. 12,
14052 Berlin.
website

1,026 Comments

  • Reply Badr Eddine 06/11/2016 at 20:56

    I heard that the new rules requires for the Anmeldung that the tenant to be directly bound with the landlord, the owner of the house or a real estate agency.

  • Reply Nicole 05/11/2016 at 11:56

    Hi. I am staying in Berlin on a scholarship until the end of December and my institution needs me to register at the Anmeldung. The problem is that I am staying in an apartment I rented through AirBnB and the office would not take the printed reservation. Also my landlord would not sign the form to say I am staying here. What should I do? Do you know if AirBnB have an email address where I contact them?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/11/2016 at 16:05

      Hi Nicole. Thanks for leaving a comment. Unfortunately, it is something you should have agreed upon with your landlord before booking his/her place. Reaching out to Airbnb would also lead nowhere as they don’t have any power to force them to do anything. You best options are to either try to negotiate something with your current landlord (who probably is not allowed to rent his/her place, if he/she won’t allow you to register), or find some new place where you can register. i’m sorry there are no easy solutions here. 🙁

  • Reply Jonathan 03/11/2016 at 20:39

    Hello,I just made anmeldung today..as I cant have my name on postbox,is there other way to get tax number and id? thank you

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/11/2016 at 09:48

      Hi John. As i mentioned it on the post about tax ids here, you can go to the Finanzamt to get it but they will ask questions why you can’t receive it at home like everyone else. I’d advise you just do put your name on the mailbox, if you live there, you are entitled to do that.

      • Reply Jonathan 04/11/2016 at 19:24

        Problem is that a sub tenant doesnt let me to put name on mailbox because his landlord doesnt know that I am registered at his adress..Do you know maybe how long does it take for tax number to come by post? btw thank you a lot for helpful blog and replies!

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/11/2016 at 16:08

          Usually about 2 weeks, maximum 3.

  • Reply James Dinsdale 01/11/2016 at 18:12

    Hi,
    I head out to Berlin on Monday ahead of properly moving later at the end of the year. I have my tenant contract but obviously I can’t provide a document from my landlord saying I’ve moved in already. Will thisstill be okay?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/11/2016 at 09:38

      Hi James. Good organization but unfortunately, the Bürgeramt’s website does state that you should register after you move in and not before. The good thing is that since you are early, you have all the time to gather all the required documents, and call in advance (a month before you move in maybe) to get an appointment.

  • Reply Mar Sierra 31/10/2016 at 23:15

    Hi, thanks for writing in such detail.
    So I’m applying for the freelance visa and already have all the documents prepared. I have 15 days until my 90 days expire, and i just saw that the next available at the Registration Office is next January 25… does that mean that I need to exit the Shengen area until my appointment? or can I just walk in with the hopes that they receive my case within the next 15 days? have you heard if it’s possible?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/11/2016 at 09:58

      Hi Mar Sierra. As i mention it on this page about Visa, it is possible to go without an appointment to get a ticket. However, you might have to go queue very early to get in line. How early? Maybe ask on a group like Berlin Expats on Facebook. Best of luck.

    • Reply Marie Laurence Basque 15/11/2016 at 19:39

      Hi Mar, I might be facing the same situation and would really appreciate it if you could let me know how it went. You can reach me at ml.ba[email protected]. Thanks a lot.

  • Reply Agata 25/10/2016 at 12:32

    Hi,
    do you know if there’s any document that I could change my paperform Anmeldung to? Some sort of ID that confirms, that I am resident here but is not related to nationality? I have read some time ago that there was some sort of document like this in the past.
    Thank you,

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/10/2016 at 16:34

      Are you maybe referring to permanent residency for non-EU citizens? This other document you talk about doesn’t ring a bell.

  • Reply keegan 19/10/2016 at 22:08

    Do you know if you can bring your contract or do you have to have the landlord form?

    Thanks for your tips so far!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 20/10/2016 at 08:53

      Hi Keegan. As mentioned in the article, you need to have both documents.

  • Reply Brian 17/10/2016 at 09:20

    Hello!
    First off I would like to thank you for your extremely helpful articles. They really are making things much easier. Second, I would like to ask three questions, and I don’t know if this has been addressed in previous comments before as there are so many of them. First, I wanted to ask if I would be allowed to get my Anmeldung even if I’m subletting an apartment or renting from something like Wunderflats or AirBNB? Second, is it legal to offer the landlord/subletter more money (bigger deposit, extra 50-100 euros on monthly rent) to get them to ignore the fact that I won’t have proof of income, bank account, or credit scores when I first get to Berlin? Finally, assuming I can’t get an early appointment to register and have to wait several months, would that be problematic (assuming I’m subletting and things like internet connectivity and electricity are all taken care of/included in the rent)?

    Thank you

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/10/2016 at 19:35

      Hi Brian. I’m glad you find this site useful. I will keep it short. There is no rule concerning short-term rentals, just make sure that all parties are aware you want to register before signing the contract as you need their approval (usually not a problem with Wunderflats). Yes, it is even advised to try to make up for your lack of proof in income by giving more money upfront. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. It’s not a problem (regarding the law) to be late to register as there is a well known shortage of appointements in the city, howevever it might become a problem if you find a job a need a tax ID, bank account etc for your employer.

  • Reply Alice 15/10/2016 at 15:46

    Hi

    I have just arrived – I cannot seem to get an appointment for over 2 months! I am going to turn up first thing Monday morning to register as staying with a friend so I can get everything else sorted. My question is – do they speak English? Or should I find someone to come with me to translate?

    Thanks!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 16/10/2016 at 10:44

      Most the agents can speak english but most of them won’t because the liability stays with them if they give you wrong information. Since speaking in your second language increases the chances of misinterpretations, they might not take the risk. Best is to bring a friend with you.

    • Reply Alana 21/10/2016 at 16:56

      How did you go with turning up without an appointment? I’m thinking about doing the same thing this Monday I’m just not sure if it’s worth the trip, thoughts?

  • Reply AJB 10/10/2016 at 11:22

    Hello

    Do you know anything about the ‘Führungszeugnis’ and the proceedures for acquiring one? I’m in Berlin, and looking for work and have been asked twice now for one.

    Thanks!

    AJB

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 11/10/2016 at 11:55

      Hello there. This translates to your criminal record, which your future employer might need if you work with children or for any other sensitive field. You can get one by following those requirements : https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/120926/

  • Reply Ana 05/10/2016 at 10:58

    Thank you !

  • Reply Faraz 02/10/2016 at 00:47

    Hi, I am presently based in New Delhi, India and will soon be studying a masters at TU Berlin. I have been searching for a one room flat or WG in Studentenwerk WH for me stay in Berlin but most are asking for long waiting time. After almost searching for months there has been no success. Have tried other few places as well but all ask for Schufa/ Credit Scores, some have no reservation policy etc.

    Since an ‘Anmeldung’ has to be provided (soon after arrival), I would like to know that if i stay with a acquaintance or friend for 2-3 months before I get my own apartment or maybe in a hostel like on Booking.com/ AirBNB, how can I register at Bürgeramt for Anmeldung (naturally without a contract).

    Would be obliged for the an answer.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/10/2016 at 10:33

      Hi Faraz, Like i mentioned in the article, you can stay with a friend and register there with the agreement of their landlord before you find your own place. You can also turn to services like Wunderflats who can connect you with short term furnished flats rentals, without any SCHUFA requirements.

  • Reply Dave 24/09/2016 at 20:06

    This blog is the best I’ve read, thank you! I’m moving to Berlin from the UK in a month and will already have a job as I am transferring within my current place of work. As part of my relocation they will provide me with tempory accommodation for up to the first two months. I’ll need to set up a bank account and have a tax code in order for me to get paid at the end of the first month however I’ve read here and elsewhere that you can not get this whilst in tempory accommodation (could be a hotel or a short-stay apartment). What should I do?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/09/2016 at 17:30

      Hi there Dave. I’m glad you like the content. The ability to register has nothing to do with the nature of your contract. You just need to have the confirmation from the landlord and some sort of tenancy contract. This can happen also for temporary accomodation. Get in touch with the relocation company or your work, they should be used to that issue and be able to sort you out if you aren’t in touch with the landlord directly.

  • Reply Karina 21/09/2016 at 17:54

    Hi beautiful Berliners, so I moved within Berlin 2 months ago and I have not registered my new address. And now, I am in a situation where I have to register. Obviously, it’s been more than 14 days. Do you think those people at the office can be flexible and let me get away with it, or should I just change my move in date on the contract…? Note that I don’t speak German so I’m unable to argue with the office people.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/09/2016 at 20:04

      I don’t think they will really care, you can still be considered a tourist after all. I shouldn’t worry about this.

  • Reply Shankar 19/09/2016 at 13:40

    Thanks for such a post about the pertaining issues most of us have.
    I am a student in cologne and my studenten wohnheim period is getting over by september end. I have an internship from december in Berlin. I will get a apartment by then in Berlin.
    Is it okay if I stay for the next two months at my friends place( he is also a student staying in a studenten wohnheim), also without changing my address of current dorm from my bank, rathaus and insurance places etc. Please advice on this regard.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/09/2016 at 16:49

      Hi Shankar. In short: Probably yes, but register as soon as possible in your new place in Berlin. Call a month before to get an appointment in December so everything’s done in good enough time.

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