After you move to Berlin and find a place to live, you must register your address at the Bürgeramt. This is called the Anmeldung. It's very important.

This guide explains why you must register, and how to do it.

Why you need to register

The Anmeldung is very important. When you register your address, you get three things:

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

How to register your address

Step 1: Get a Bürgeramt appointment

Get an appointment for Anmeldung einer Wohnung. It can be in 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.

Other ways to get an 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. You can also get a tax ID without registering your address.

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. If you are patient, you can find an appointment in the next 2 weeks. This tool can help.

When you book an appointment, you get an appointment number (Vorgangsnummer). Save it somewhere! You need it when you go to your appointment. If you lose it, call 115 and ask for it1. The Bürgeramt reception can also give it to you.

Step 2: Gather the required documents

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

  • The Wohnungsgeberbestätigung
    You get this document from the Wohnungsgeber. This is usually your landlord. You can't register your address without this document. A rent contract is not enough1, 2. You should bring the original document, but copies are usually accepted1.
    • If you rent a room or a sublet, the main tenant (Hauptmieter) can also give you this document. They need the permission of the landlord1, 2.
    • If you move with your spouse, they can give it to you. They don't need the permission of the landlord.
    • If you move with your boyfriend or girlfriend, they can give it to you. They need the permission of the landlord.
  • 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.

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 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 can 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 2 to 4 weeks later1. You can get your tax ID faster if you go to the Finanzamt after your appointment. You can also get a tax ID without registering your address.

Before you leave, check if the information on your Anmeldebestätigung is correct. Bürgeramt employees often make mistakes1.

Questions and answers

Do I need to register my address?

Yes. You must register your address§17. It's the law.

There are exceptions:

  • You visit for less than 3 months
    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
  • You will move in the next 6 months
    If you are already registered at another address, and you will 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.

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 a fine. 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?

Only if you already live in Berlin. If this is your first Anmeldung in Berlin, you must do it in person1. They will not let someone else do it. If you already live in Berlin, and you want to change your address, someone else can go for you.

Red Tape Translation and Booka Local offer this service. They can also go with you if you just need a translator.

If you send someone else, there are extra requirements:

  1. The Bürgeramt needs a signed Vollmacht.
  2. The Bürgeramt needs your original passport, not a photocopy.
  3. The signatures on your passport, on the Anmeldung form and on the Vollmacht must look the same.

Can the landlord refuse to let me register?

No, but there are many reasons why you can't register§19:

  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:
    • Subletting a room
      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.
    • Subletting the whole apartment
      The landlord can refuse to let the tenant sublet their entire apartment1.
    • Spouse and children
      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.
    • Visitors
      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 can't register, it's a big problem for you.

HomeLike, HousingAnywhere and Wunderflats 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 later.

If you have questions, talk to a tenant association, 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 it.

Can I do my Anmeldung at a hotel or AirBnB?

Generally, no. Most hotels, hostels and AirBnBs won't let you register your address. The rules are different for hotels and commercial apartments. They are not forced to let you register.§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 stay less than 3 months, they don't need to let you register.
  • If you are not registered in Germany
    If you stay there for more than 3 months, the accommodation must let you register1, 2, 3. If you stay less than 3 months, they don't need to let you register.

If you are moving to Germany, rent a place that lets you register. This is very important. If you can't register, it will make your life much harder. Apartment listings on HomeLike, HousingAnywhere and Wunderflats show you if you can register.

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 take the correct income tax from your paychecks. If you can't register your address, you can request a tax ID from the Finanzamt.

You don't need a tax ID to start working. While you wait for your tax ID, you employer will put you in tax class 61, and you will pay much more income tax. When you get your tax ID, your employer will adjust your income tax. If you paid too much taxes, you will get money back on your next paycheck. You can also get your money back by filing a tax declaration1, 2.

Some employers don't 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 and Booka Local 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 ➞

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?

The TV tax

When you register your address, the Bürgeramt tells the ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice. They will collect the TV tax at your new address.

What is the TV tax? ➞

Other steps

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

How to move to Berlin ➞