AKA: ADDRESS REGISTRATION
Anmeldung, or in English: Address registration is the first step to take after moving to Berlin. By taking this step, you are registering as a resident of Berlin. As a result, you can consume government services given to residents, such as education for your children and visa services. Furthermore, the Anmeldung is an integral part of your identity document and is to be presented in various situations, starting from setting up a bank account and ending with getting a public library card.
In order to get your Anmeldung, you need to go to the governmental office responsible for residence services, a place called "Bürgeramt". Since Berlin is a city-state, each district has their own Bürgerämter (yes, in plural, there are several offices in each district). You are free to get your Anmeldung in any Bürgeramt in Berlin, and not necessarily in the one closest to where you live.
What is it, actually?
The address registration (Anmeldung) is one of the most important documents you will have while living in Germany. This document determines that you are a resident of Berlin and contains basic personal information about you: your name, your address and your date of birth. Officially, the document is a part of your identification document, so that you are officially obligated to carry it with you, unless if you have your address on your visa card or on a German ID. You will need it in different occasions in Berlin; for example, while applying for a residence permit at the immigration office, while opening a bank account (in most cases), in order to onboard as an employee or even when registering to the public library. It is also important to mention that when registering in Bürgeramt, some duties are applied to you, such as paying TV tax. We will refer to those further down this article.
What do I need to do?
In principle you need to go to the Bürgeramt within two weeks after moving into your apartment and register as residents. However, since it is not easy to get appointments at Bürgeramt, you will probably not be fined if you will arrive a bit later than two weeks after moving into your apartment.
If you're subletting, we recommend you to discuss the Anmeldung situation with the person you're signing the contract with before signing, in order to prevent misunderstandings and disapproval of the Anmeldung from the side of your landlord - as this might cause difficulties in settling down in Berlin.
What do I need to bring with me?
The Anmeldung process is bureaucratically simple. You need to bring your passport, a filled out form and a confirmation from the person who rents the apartment to you.
You might have to show further documentation. For example, if you are married, you will be asked to present your marriage certificate, sometimes along with a certified translation into German. If you have children, you will be asked to show their passports and birth certificates, again, sometimes with a certified translation into German.
What do I get?
You will receive a page with your address in Berlin, your name, your date of birth and an original stamp of the state of Berlin. Keep this document very safe. We recommend scanning the document and saving it on your cloud or any backup device. Additionally, you should carry a printed copy with you, along with your passport or European ID-Card.
And how much does it cost?
The address registration process (Anmeldung) is free of charge.
Do I need to make an appointment in advance?
We highly recommend booking an appointment in advance. Due the long waiting periods for appointments in Berlin, we always recommend trying to book an appointment before you arrive in Berlin.
You can, of course, also try to just drop in and try to get your Anmeldung at the same day (EDIT: on non-corona times). If you choose to do so, you might face a situation in which all waiting numbers for that day are already given.
The best way to book an appointment is by calling the Berlin-Hotline 115 (however service is usually provided in German). Here you can find a list of all the Bürgeramts in Berlin and the availability to make an appointment in each of them.
Should I be accompanied by a German speaker?
Most of the newcomers in Berlin deal with the Anmeldung by themselves even without speaking German, as it is a simple process which does not require much interaction with the case worker. It is recommended to take someone with you if there are certain emphases you want registered in the resident registry, such as familial status issues, or if you don't feel confident to do it by yourself.
I have my Anmeldung! Now what?
Congratulations, you have now registered your address in Berlin! In the next few weeks, you will receive two letters via post:
In the first letter you will find your tax identification number. You will recognize it through the black box in the upper right hand side, in which the number is stated. You can also recognize the words "steuerliche Identifikationsnummer". You will need your identification number when you start to work, and until then, you should keep it with your documents. In case you didn't receive the number via post within three weeks from your registration, you can go to any Bürgeramt in the city and ask for it (EDIT: in non-corona days). You should receive it free of charge and on the spot.
The second letter you will get will contain information about the public broadcasting tax (Rundfunkbeitrag), as well as a request to register yourself in their system.
When is my Anmeldung cancelled?
The Anmeldung is usually not cancelled as long as the mail person can drop your official mail in your mailbox. This means that the registration is not automatically cancelled when you move to a new apartment, even if your lease expires. You are obliged to change the address in Bürgeramt after each time you move.
It also works the other way around: if the mail person cannot find your name on any of the mailboxes in your house, your address registration might get cancelled. In case that your name is not written on the mailbox and doorbell, try adding it via sticker, or, if this is not possible, registering with someone by using the field "bei", or c/o in the application form. If you used the "bei" field, your official mail will be posted to you, and the mail person will know in which mailbox the letter should go. In this case, your address will look, for example, like so:
c / o Hauptmieter
What happens if I move?
Your Anmeldung will have to move with you :)
Simply stated, you will need to repeat the process in your new apartment: book a new Anmeldung appointment, get the landlord confirmation (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung) and attend a new appointment, during which your address will be updated. This procedure is actually called Ummeldung, as you are moving from one apartment to another one.
Yes, you have to do that every time you move to a new apartment.
And what happens if I leave Germany?
In that case, you will have to de-register your address: this procedure is called Abmeldung. It has to be done <7 days before your leaving date, and requires another registry at Bürgeramt. Even though this procedure can be done over the post, we recommend going to Bürgeramt in person and attending an appointment, so that you will have the proof of Abmeldung in your hands. This is super important as this proof is needed in order to cancel contracts and obligations.
NEED MORE SUPPORT? WE ARE HERE TO HELP :)