After you move to Berlin and find a place to live, you must register your address. This is called the Anmeldung.

When you register your address, you get three things:

  • A registration certificate (Anmeldebestätigung)
    This document proves that you live in Berlin. You need this certificate to open a bank account, get a phone contract, get an internet contract, register a car, get a Kitagutschein, etc1. You health insurance company can also ask for it.
  • A tax ID (Steuer-ID)
    Your employer needs your tax ID as soon as possible to calculate your income tax, but you don't need it to start working. You need your children's tax ID to apply for child benefits (Kindergeld)1. You also need a tax ID to start a business. More information about the tax ID.
  • A registered address
    This is where they send official letters about you, your taxes, your business, your residence permit and other things.

The Anmeldung does not give you the right to live and work in Germany. If you need a residence permit to live in Germany, you must also apply for it at the Ausländerbehörde.

Step 1: Get a Bürgeramt appointment

Get an appointment for Anmeldung einer Wohnung. You can get an appointment at any Bürgeramt in Berlin, not just the one near you. You can't do your Anmeldung without an appointment. Your appointment must be after you move in1.

How to get a Bürgeramt appointment ➞

If you come from another country, book your appointment in advance, even before you arrive in Berlin. It helps you register your address faster. This is important, because you need a registration certificate and a tax ID as soon as possible.

Sometimes, there are no appointments. Check again every few minutes, and you will find one. There are more appointments during business hours. You don't need to look early in the morning1. There as many appointments at 7AM as at 10AM.

When you book an appointment, you get an appointment number (Vorgangsnummer). You need that number when you go to your appointment. If you lose it, call 115 and ask for it1. You can also ask for it at the Bürgeramt reception.

Step 2: Gather the required documents

When you visit the Bürgeramt for your Anmeldung, you must bring these documents:

  • The Wohnungsgeberbestätigung
    You get this document from the Wohnungsgeber. This is usually your landlord. If you rent a room or a sublet, the main tenant (Hauptmieter) can also give you this document, with the permission of the landlord1, 2. You can't register your address without this document. A rent contract is not enough1, 2, but it's sometimes accepted1. You should bring the original document, but copies are usually accepted1.
  • The filled Anmeldung form
    You can find an English translation here. Appmeldung, sorted.berlin and Amty can help you fill this form.
  • A valid ID document
    Bring your original passport, not a photocopy. You can also use a EU national ID1. If you have a German national ID (Personalausweis), bring it with you. They will put a sticker with your new address on your Personalausweis.
  • Your residence permit
    If you have a residence permit, bring it with you. Your residence permit has your old address on it. They will put a sticker with your new address on your residence permit1, 2, 3.
  • Your vehicle registration papers
    If you have a vehicle, and it's registered at your old address, bring your Zulassungsbescheinigung Teil 1. They will put a sticker with your new address on your registration papers. It will cost 10.80€ per vehicle.
  • Cash or a Girokarte
    The Anmeldung is free, but if you have vehicles, you pay 10.80€ per vehicle. You can only pay with cash, or with a Girokarte. Some Bürgeramt locations accept Visa and Mastercard1.

For your first Anmeldung

If this is your first Anmeldung, you must bring more documents:

  • Marriage certificate
    The marriage certificate must be verified in the country where it was issued1.
  • Birth certificate

When you register a child's address

When you register an underage child's address, you might need a letter of consent from their legal guardian1.

  • Letter of consent from the legal guardians (Einverständniserklärung)
    • If you are separated, and your child is moving with you, you need a letter of consent from the other parent. For example, if the child lived with their mother, and is moving with their father.
    • If the child does not live with their legal guardian, you need a letter of consent from their legal guardian.

Step 3: Go to your Bürgeramt appointment

Go to the Bürgeramt on the date of your appointment. Bring the documents listed above.

If you don't speak German, you should bring a friend who speaks German. Some of the employees speak English, but not all of them. You can also hire a relocation consultant or a translator to go with you. You can also go alone. The process is very simple. You will be okay.

When you go to the Bürgeramt, arrive a few minutes early, find the waiting room, and wait until they call your appointment number. You got that number when you booked your appointment. You will sit at a desk, give your documents, and get your Anmeldebestätigung. They will put a sticker with your new address on your Personalausweis, residence permit and vehicle registration papers. The appointment takes around 10 minutes.

The employee will give you the Anmeldebestätigung during your appointment. If this is your first Anmeldung, you will get a tax ID by mail a few days later1. You can get your tax ID faster if you go to the Finanzamt after your appointment.

Questions and answers

Do I need to register my address?

Yes. You must register your address§17. It's the law. There are exceptions:

  • If you visit from another country, and you stay in Germany for less than 3 months, you don't need to register your address.§27.2
  • If you are already registered at another address, and you stay at your new address for less than 6 month.§27.2 For example, if you are registered at your parents' house, and you live with a friend for a few months.

You must register your address to get other things you need, like health insurance, a bank account and a tax ID (Steuer-ID).

When you register your address, you get a registration certificate (Anmeldebestätigung). You need this certificate every time you must prove that you live in Berlin: to open a bank account, get a cellphone contract, an internet contract, a driving licence, etc1.

Around 2 weeks after you register your address, you get a tax ID in the mail. Your employer needs your tax ID as soon as possible to calculate your income tax, but you don't need it to start working.

Your health insurer also needs your registration certificate and tax ID as soon as possible.

Do I need to register within 14 days?

You should register within 14 days of your move-in date1, but this rule is not enforced in Berlin1, 2, 3. It's hard to get an appointment in only 14 days. If you take a few weeks to register, you will not get fined. Just register as soon as you can1.

Do I need to deregister my old address?

No, you only need to register your new address. Your old address will be deregistered automatically. You only need to do deregister (Abmeldung) if you leave Germany.

How to deregister your address in Berlin ➞

Can someone do the Anmeldung for me?

Yes. If you don't have time go to the Bürgeramt, someone else can go for you. You must give them a signed power of attorney letter (Vollmacht). Use this power of attorney template. The signatures on your passport, on the Anmeldung form and on the Vollmacht must look the same. They must bring your original passport, not a photocopy.

If this is your first Anmeldung in Berlin, you must do it in person1. They often refuse to let someone else do your Anmeldung, even with a power of attorney letter.

There are also services that do the Anmeldung for you. Red Tape Translation can go to the Bürgeramt and register the address for you. If you don't speak German, or you don't have time to go to the Bürgeramt, this is a good solution.

If you just need a translator, you can use Red Tape Translation and Booka Local can help you.

Can the landlord refuse to let me register?

No, generally, they can't refuse§19. There are other reasons why the landlord won't let you register:

  1. The landlord doesn't know that you live there
    The tenant sublets the apartment without the landlord's permission. This is illegal. If the landlord finds out, they can kick you out. You will have 3 months to leave1, 2. The main tenant can also get kicked out. There are some exceptions:
    • If the tenant still lives in the apartment, they have the right to sublet part of their apartment, unless it's too small1. They still need the landlord's permission, but the landlord can't really refuse1, 2, 3, 4.
    • The landlord can refuse to let the tenant sublet their entire apartment1.
    • Your spouse and your children can live with you without the landlord's permission. Your girlfriend or boyfriend needs the landlord's permission to live with you1.
    • Hosting visitors does not count as subletting. You don't need the landlord's permission to host people you know, even for a few weeks1.
  2. The landlord doesn't want to let you register there
    This is illegal. If you have a lease, the landlord must let you register your address1. If you tell the Bürgeramt, they will force the landlord to let you register1, 2, 3.
  3. It's a commercial accommodation
    The rules are different for hotels and commercial apartments§29. This is why hotels and Airbnb apartments refuse to let you register.
    • If you are already registered in Germany
      If you live there for more than 6 months, the accommodation must let you register1, 2, 3.
    • If you are not registered in Germany
      If you live there for more than 3 months, the accommodation must let you register1, 2, 3.

If you are looking for your first apartment in Berlin, this is often a problem. Illegal sublets and most AirBnBs won't let you register. Wunderflats and HousingAnywhere show you if you can register. Those furnished apartments are very expensive, but they let you move in and focus on other problems. They give you more time to find a good, cheap apartment.

If you have questions, you can talk to a tenant association (Mieterverein), or use your legal insurance to talk to a lawyer.

Can I do my Anmeldung if my name is not on the mailbox?

Yes, but you must add "c/o" to your address when you register1. If you don't do this, you won't get mail from the government, and you won't get your tax ID.

If your name is not on the lease, landlords sometimes refuse to put your name on the mailbox1. When your name is not on the mailbox, you must write your address like this everywhere1, 2:

[your name]
c/o [name of person on the mailbox]

Musterstraße 123
10115 Berlin

You can register with a "c/o" address. Many of my readers confirm that they did it2021.

Can I do my Anmeldung at a hotel or AirBnB?

Generally, no. Most hotels, hostels and AirBnBs won't let you register your address. They are not forced to let you register. The rules are different for hotels and commercial apartments:§29

  • If you are already registered in Germany
    If you stay there for more than 6 months, the accommodation must let you register1, 2, 3.
  • If you are not registered in Germany
    If you stay there for more than 3 months, the accommodation must let you register1, 2, 3.

Can I do my Anmeldung later?

Yes. After you move in, you have 14 days to register, but many people take longer. You will not get a fine, even if you wait a few weeks to register1, 2, 3. Just register as soon as possible.

Can I get a job without my Anmeldung?

Yes. When you do your Anmeldung for the first time, you get a tax ID. Your employer needs your tax ID to calculate your income tax. If you don't have a tax ID, your employer will take more income tax from your salary1, 2, 3. You will get that money back when you file your taxes1, 2. Many employers do not know this. They think you can't start working without a tax ID.

Do I need to speak German to do my Anmeldung?

Probably. Some Bürgeramt employees speak English, but many don't. The Anmeldung is very simple, but if you can, bring a German speaker with you.

If you need a translator, Red Tape Translation, Booka Local and Amtio can go to the Bürgeramt with you. If this is your first Anmeldung and you don't speak German, this is a good solution.

Do I have to pay church tax?

It depends. When you register for the first time, they ask you what your religion is. Depending on your answer, you might have to pay an extra tax: the church tax. This tax is 8% or 9% of your income tax (not 8-9% of your income)1. It's taken directly from your paycheck. A single person earning 50 000€ a year would pay 800 to 900€ per year in church tax1.

Church tax calculator - kirchenaustritt.de

If you were baptised in your home country, they might collect church tax even if you register as an atheist. Look at your paychecks, and look for unexpected church tax payments.

How to stop paying church tax - Settle in Berlin

How much does the Anmeldung cost?

It's free, but if you must update your vehicle registration papers, you must pay 10.80€ per vehicle. You can only pay with cash or with a Girokarte. Some Bürgeramt locations accept Visa and Mastercard1.

How many people can register at one address?

In Berlin, every person needs 9 m2. Children up to 6 years old need 6 m2. For example, 10 people can register in a 90 m2 apartment. Two adults and a 5 year old child need at least 24 m2.1

How can I do the Ummeldung?

The Ummeldung and the Anmeldung are the same thing. "Anmeldung" means "address registration" in general. "Ummeldung" means "address change". The process is exactly the same.

When you change your address, bring your residence permit, Personalausweis and vehicle registration papers with you. They will put a sticker with your new address on them. You must pay 10.80€ per vehicle

What's next?

After you have found an apartment, moved in and registered your address, here is what you should do:

How to move to Berlin ➞