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

Why you need to register

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

When you register your address, you get:

  • A registration certificate (Anmeldebestätigung)
    It proves that you live in Berlin. You need it to access many government services. You sometimes need it to get a bank account, a SIM card, an internet contract and health insurance.
  • A tax ID (Steuer-ID)
    Your employer needs it as soon as possible. You also need it to start a business. You need your children's tax ID to get a daycare voucher and child benefits1. You can get a tax ID without registering your address.
  • A registered address
    The government sends all important letters to your registered address. Some things are impossible without a registered address.

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, you must apply for it.

How to register your address

Step 1: Get a Bürgeramt appointment

Get an appointment to register your address. You can go to any Bürgeramt in Berlin, but not in Brandenburg. Your appointment must be after you move in1.

Other ways to get an appointment ➞

If you can, book your appointment in advance. It helps you register your address faster.

If there are no appointments, check again every few minutes. New appointments appear during business hours. You don't need to look early in the morning1.

When you book your appointment, you get an appointment number (Vorgangsnummer). You need it when you go to your appointment. If you lose this number, ask the Bürgeramt reception for it, or call 1151.

Step 2: Gather the required documents

Bring these documents to your appointment:

  • Your Wohnungsgeberbestätigung
    You get it from the Wohnungsgeber before you move in. You can't register your address without this document. A rent contract is not enough1, 2. Copies are accepted, but the original document is better1.
    • 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, but the landlord can't really refuse1.
  • The filled Anmeldung form
  • A valid ID document
    Bring your original passport, not a photocopy. You can also use a EU national ID1. If you have a national ID (Personalausweis), bring it with you. They will put a sticker on it with your new address.
  • 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 on it with your new address1, 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 on it with your new address. It costs 10.80€ per vehicle.
  • Cash or a Girokarte
    The Anmeldung is free, but if you have vehicles, it costs 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 also bring:

  • Your marriage certificate
    The marriage certificate must be verified in the country where it was issued1.
  • Your 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 with all your documents.

If you don't speak German, bring a friend or a translator. Some Bürgeramt employees speak English, but many don't. Translators like Red Tape Translation and Booka Local can go to the Bürgeramt with you. You can also go alone. The process is very simple. You will be okay.

Arrive a few minutes early. It gives you time to find the waiting room. Wait until they call your appointment number on the screen. The screen tells you which office to go to.

You will sit at a desk, give your documents, and get your Anmeldebestätigung. They also will put a sticker with your new address on your Personalausweis, residence permit and vehicle registration papers.

Check if the information on your Anmeldebestätigung is correct. Bürgeramt employees often make mistakes1.

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.

If you can't register your address

Sometimes, you can't do you Anmeldung at your current address. If you don't have a registered address, you can't access certain government services. If you just moved to Germany, this will make your life really hard.

Can the landlord refuse to let me register?

No, but there are many reasons why you can't 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:
    • 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 you, but the landlord can't really refuse1.
    • 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§19. 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 accommodations
    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.

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 get a job without an Anmeldung?

Yes. Your employer only needs your tax ID. If you can't register your address, you can request a tax ID directly from the Finanzamt.

How to get a tax ID ➞

Can I get a tax ID without an Anmeldung?

Yes. See how to get a tax ID.

    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 do deregister if you leave Germany.

    If you just change your address, your old address will be deregistered automatically.

    Who needs to deregister? ➞

    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 for you.

    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.

    If you send someone else to do your Anmeldung, 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 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 many register with one appointment?

    Yes. You can register with the same appointment if:

    • you already live together
    • and you move together to the same address

    For example, you can do the Anmeldung for your whole family in one appointment.

    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 the Bürgeramt employee can ask you a few questions in German. For example, which floor you live on, or how many people live with you.

    Translators like Red Tape Translation and Booka Local can go to the Bürgeramt with you.

    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 start paying church tax.

    Church 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. Watch your paychecks 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.

    What's next?

    Change your address

    You must tell everyone about your new address. When you register your address, the Bürgeramt tells some people, but not everyone.

    How to change your address ➞

    Other steps

    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? ➞

    You should get liability insurance for your new apartment. It's not required, but it is a really good idea. Most Germans have it.

    How to choose liability insurance ➞

    If you just moved to Berlin, I have more advice for you.

    How to move to Berlin ➞