Registering your address in Germany

Polizeiliche Anmeldung
Update 01.08.2022

Where and when to do the "Anmeldung"?

In principle, all those who come to Germany and want to stay longer than three months, have to register ("Anmeldung") their residential address with the German authorities after two weeksat the latest. Even if you move within Germany, you must always inform the authorities about your new address.

Important: This registration has nothing to do with the registration you -as an asylum seeker- need to do at the immigration office, i.e. refugees are required to do both. Find out more about registeration process for refugees in the chapter “Registration as an asylum seeker”. Details of registration laws are specified in the Federal Registration Act (BMG).

What do I need to know?

Who must register and when?

Anyone who moves to or within Germany should register their name and residential address at the Residents’ Registration Office ("Einwohnermeldeamt", "Bürgeramt" or "Bürgerbüro") within two weeks at the latest. If you don't register or do it too late, you might have to pay a fine. When you register you will receive an Official Registration Confirmation ("Amtliche Meldebestätigung"). Keep this paper in a safe place. This enables you to prove - even without your ID - that you are registered in a municipality or city in Germany, i.e. you reside there.

What documents do I have to submit to register?

Registration takes place in person at the Residents' Registration Office (“Einwohnermeldeamt”) or Citizens' Office (“Einwohnermeldeamt”)- you can find the address of the offices in your area at melderegister-auskunft.de.

To register, you must present your ID (identity card, residence permit, other residence documents, etc.) and - if available - your passport or your passport replacement documents. You will also need to fill out a registration form. You can get the form directly from the Residents' Registration Office.

In some cities/municipalities, you also need a so-called move-in confirmation from the landlord ("Einzugsbestätigung vom Vermieter") for registration. This is a piece of paper in which your landlord confirms that you are a tenant in their apartment. Sometimes your birth certificate or your marriage certificate may also be required for registration. If you have these documents, bring them with you to the registration as a precaution.

What data is filed by the Registration Office?

The officials at your local Resident's Registration Office store your "individually specific data" ("Personenbezogen Daten"). Data collected include your full name, your current address, your date of birth and family situation. 

What should I do when I'm moving out?

There are more than 5,000 residents' registration offices (“Meldeamt” or ”Bürgeramt”) in Germany, and they are tasked with numerous services. They take care of the registrations, move-outs and address changes, as well as issuing personal and children ID cards, etc. Besides, the residents' registration offices should also provide information from their database if a person makes an inquiry for a registry entry or "Resident's Registration Entry   Request" ("EMA-Anfrage"). Such a request may be useful if you are searching for friends or family members, or in case you want to find a customer who has moved or your debtors.

Private providers also offer this service, but often demand money in return. On melderegister-auskunft.de you can find a list of the reliable private providers. The resident's registration offices also charge a fee, which varies from one municipality to another. Even if the person you are looking for is not found as a result of their service, you still have to pay the fee. The processing time also varies from one office to another. Sometimes it takes only a few days, but it also may take several weeks at times.

What other tasks does the registration office have?

There are more than 5,000 residents' registration offices (“Meldeamt” or ”Bürgeramt”) in Germany, and they are tasked with numerous services. They take care of the registrations, move-outs and address changes, as well as issuing personal and children ID cards, etc. Besides, the residents' registration offices should also provide information from their database if a person makes an inquiry for a registry entry or "Resident's Registration Entry   Request" ("EMA-Anfrage"). Such a request may be useful if you are searching for friends or family members, or in case you want to find a customer who has moved or your debtors.

Private providers also offer this service, but often demand money in return. On melderegister-auskunft.de you can find a list of the reliable private providers. The resident's registration offices also charge a fee, which varies from one municipality to another. Even if the person you are looking for is not found as a result of their service, you still have to pay the fee. The processing time also varies from one office to another. Sometimes it takes only a few days, but it also may take several weeks at times.

Can I demand that my place of residence remains hidden?

According to §51 of the Federal Registration Law you can apply for a blockage of your personal information at your residents' registration office. To do so, you should prove that registration database can be a source of danger for you. That could be the case if you, for example, work in an area where many people are threatened (like a profession in fighting racism) or when someone is stalking you. The information blockage is valid for two years and can be extended upon request. Your resident registration office usually informs you before the blockage is automatically lifted.

What other registration obligations exist?

In addition to the private registration services for individuals, there is also a commercial registry in every District Court ("Handelsregister"). You will find information on local companies if they are subject to mandatory registration. If you own a business or work as self-employed , you can register in the commercial registry.

Important

If you are being stalked or working in a profession in which you are potentially at risk, you can apply to block your personal data at your local Residents' Registration Office by §51 of the Federal Registration Law ("Bundesmeldegesetz"). Your address is then hidden and cannot be queried by a third party.

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