Where and when should I register?

If you have fled to Germany, you should register with authorities such as the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), the Foreigners' Registration Office ("Ausländerbehörde") or the police post at your Initial Reception Centre ("Ankunftszentrum"). It might be the case that you have been already registered at the German border or in your first place of arrival in the country. In any case, you will be registered as a refugee, and your fingerprint and some other personal data will be recorded. This process is called PIK ("Personalisierungsinfastrukturkomponente"). You will then receive proof of arrival ("Ankunftsnachweis").

In principle, not only fugitives but 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 weeks. Even if you are not a refugee, you still must contact local authorities such as "Einwohnermeldeamt" or "Bürgeramt", as the Federal Registration Law (BMG) specifies.

After registration, you should apply for a Residence Permit at the Foreigners' Registration Office ("Ausländerbehörde"). You can read more about four different forms of protection for refugees in the Right of Residence chapter. For more information on how to apply for asylum, see the Asylum Procedure chapter.

Initial and Residential Registration

Who must register and when?

What is a "Proof of Arrival"?

Why is my fingerprint recorded?

What data is filed by the Registration Office ("Meldeamt")?

What should I do when I'm moving out?

What other tasks does the registration office have?

Can I demand that my place of residence remains hidden?

What other registration services exist?


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.