Registering is a legal obligation in Germany. The law requires you to do that within 2 weeks of taking on an apartment or house in Germany. The official recording of your whereabouts goes hand-in-hand with the issuance of your tax id, tax class, your confirmation of your church membership, and the notification of public TV and radio. This happens automatically without you even noticing. As a result, you will not be forgotten when it comes to tax payment or the fee for TV.

A copy of your “Meldebescheinigung” - the paper issued within the registration appointment will also be needed for a couple of contracts, but most importantly for opening a bank account and contracting health insurance. Your children will also be assigned a tax ID and that is then necessary to provide when applying for children allowance.

The most important facts:

  • Registering in person or by PoA
  • at any of the customer service centers (Kundenzentrum)
  • 2 weeks after moving into your apartment
  • documents: passport & move-in confirmation by the landlord & completed form
  • Fee: none

Where to register

In Berlin, you need to show up in person at one of the 40 citizens offices ("Buergeramt"). There are numerous such centers all over Berlin:

Landlord confirmation for your move in - "Wohnungsgeberbestätigung"

When you have moved into your apartment, your landlord should issue the confirmation right away and either bring it to the handover or send it immediately after by post. Make sure your post box is labeled. If you live in a hotel, you may need to have some skills in convincing the hotel staff to issue the same. They are legally allowed to confirm that you are living in one of their rooms. Still, many hotels or Airbnb hosts will not agree to give you the confirmation. We thus recommend that you address your need before booking and eventually choose another accommodation. You need the paper as original and all your family members, including children, if any, need to be listed. There is no way to get registered without that confirmation.

The registration form for Berlin

Ideally, complete the registration form before your appointment and make sure you have any accompanying documents at hand. The form enables to register two people. If you want to register more than 2 people, i.e., children, you have to fill in several forms. In such case, you need to bring the birth certificate. A lot of officers will ask for a translation performed by a certified translator. If you want to register your married spouse, you need to bring your marriage certificate. Again, translated.

Download the template here: berlin-registration-template

Download a template with English commentary: berlin-registration-template-with-comments

When to register - Online Appointment Reservation

In Berlin, you have to make a reservation and the lead time is considerable. 5 to 8 weeks is a very probable period, and that could end unfortunate in conjunction with your 90 days expiring. Thus, make the reservation while you are still in your home country. The registration can be made at any district office in Berlin (the so-called "Berliner Bürgerämter"). If you have never before registered in Germany, you have to go in person. Otherwise, you can authorize somebody to go on your behalf.

The page tells you all you need to know and bring when registering, but in German language only. Towards the bottom you will find the header "Zuständige Behörde", whereafter all the so-called Buergeraemter are listed. Since you don't yet know which district you will live in, it is best to choose Bürgeramt Berlin Mitte, Bürgeramt Berlin Kreuzberg or Bürgeramt Berlin Charlottenburg, as these are fairly centrally located and easy to reach by public transport. However, you may choose any of them, and the online appointment system will give you available dates before then displaying all Buergeraemter offering free appointment slots on the chosen day. Choose by clicking on "Termin buchen" which means "reserve an appointment". A calendar will pop up. Pink dates are fully booked, only blue dates are still available. Choose the respective next month to get to available dates. A lot of district offices will not have any available appointments, and you will need to check in and do the task again regularly.

The booking of an appointment is sufficient to meet the deadline.

You will receive an email confirming your appointment. Bring this with you as it proves the reservation date.  Otherwise, you will risk a penalty.

All of the customer service centers are easy to reach via public transport. Please be aware that you CANNOT go to one of the customer service centers without an appointment. You will be rejected.

Registering a family

Further documents must be submitted by:

  • Married / Partnered couples:
    • marriage certificate (original)
  • Divorcees:
    • divorce decree (original)
  • Widowed persons:
    • death certificate (original)
  • Holders of an electronic residence permit (eAT):
    • the residence permit

Officers at the customer services centers usually don't speak sufficient English. Moreover, they are advised to use German language only, since they are notifying you of legal topics and the risk to translate wrongly is considerable. hence, it is a general approach by authorities to speak German only. This does also affect your documents. The success is much more likely if you come by with translated documents - albeit, English language is usually accepted. Since you need to provide originals, the translation must have been made by a certified translator.