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 a registration certificate (Anmeldebestätigung). You need this certificate to open a bank account, get a cellphone contract, get an internet contract, etc1.

After you register your address, you will get a tax ID (Steuer-ID) by 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 children need a tax ID before you apply for child benefits (Kindergeld)1. You also need a tax ID to start a business.

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.

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. Your appointment must be after you move in1.

Do not go to the Bürgeramt without an appointment. You can't do your Anmeldung without one.

There are 2 ways to get a Bürgeramt appointment:

  1. Call 115. This is the Bürgertelefon. It helps Berliners get appointments. They do not always speak English.
  2. Book an appointment online.

Sometimes, there are no appointments. Check again every few minutes until you find one.

When you book an appointment, you receive an appointment number (Vorgangsnummer). Don't lose that number! If you lose it, you can call 115 to get it back1. They can also find your appointment number at the Bürgeramt reception.

Step 2: Gather the required documents

Before you visit the Bürgeramt, you must get 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.
  • 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 national ID from a EU country1.
  • 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 papers. It will cost 10.80€ per vehicle.
  • Cash or a Girokarte
    Registering your address is free, but if you have vehicles, you pay 10.80€ per vehicle. You can only pay with cash, or with a Girokarte. Credit cards are not accepted.

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 of origin1.
  • 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 a different parent, you need a letter of consent from the other parent. For example, if the child lived with his mother, and is moving with his 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, so you will be okay.

When you go to the Bürgeramt, arrive a few minutes in advance, find the waiting room, and wait until they call your appointment number. You received that number when you booked the appointment. You will sit at a desk, give your documents, and receive your Anmeldebestätigung. If you have a car, they will put a sticker with your new address on your registration papers. The appointment takes around 10 minutes.

The employee will give you the Anmeldebestätigung during your appointment. A few days later, you will receive your tax ID by mail1. You can get your tax ID faster by going to the Finanzamt.

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 to open a bank account, get a cellphone contract, get an internet contract, get a driving licence, etc1.

After you register your address, you will 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.

Related guide: The Abmeldung - How to deregister 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 show 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.

Can the landlord refuse to let me register?

No. The landlord can't refuse to let you register1. Registering your address is a right. There are two reasons why people don't want to let you register your address:

  • The landlord doesn't know that you live there
    The tenant sublets the apartment without the landlord's permission. This is not legal. If the landlord finds out, they can end the lease, and kick you out. You will have 3 months to move out1, 2. The main tenant will also have to move out. There are some exceptions:
    • The landlord can't refuse to let the tenant sublet a room, unless the apartment is too small. You still need to ask for permission. The landlord can charge more rent when you sublet an apartment1, 2, 3, 4.
    • The landlord can refuse to let the tenant sublet the entire apartment.
  • The landlord doesn't want to let you register there
    This is illegal. The landlord must let you register your address1. If you tell the Bürgeramt, they will force the landlord to let you register1, 2, 3.

If you are looking for your first apartment in Berlin, this is often a problem. AirBnBs and illegal sublets won't let you register. Wunderflats apartments always let you register. HousingAnywhere also has a filter for apartments that let you register. Those furnished apartments are expensive, but they allow you focus on other problems. You can find a better, cheaper apartment once you are in Berlin.

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 receive mail from the government, and you won't receive 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

Some people say that it's not possible to register with "c/o" anymore1, but many of our readers did it in 2020. I confirm that it is possible.

Related guide: How to address a letter in Germany

Can I do my Anmeldung at a hotel or AirBnB?

Generally, no. Most hotels, hostels and AirBnBs won't let you register your address there. They are not forced to let you register, unless they let you stay for more than 6 months1.

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 do my Anmeldung by post or email?

No. This is not possible anymore.

Related guide: Can you do your Anmeldung during Coronavirus?

Can I get a job without my Anmeldung?

Yes. When you do your Anmeldung, 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 only get that money back when you file a tax declaration1, 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 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, and it's taken directly from your paycheque. A single person earning 50 000€ a year would pay 800 to 900€ per year in church tax.

If you were baptised in your home country, they might collect church tax even if you registered as an atheist. Watch your paycheques for unexpected church tax payments, just in case.

Settle in Berlin wrote a guide on how to stop paying church tax.

How much does the Anmeldung cost?

It is 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. Credit cards are not accepted.

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". You must follow the same steps.

What's next?

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