How to mail a letter in Germany

This is how you can send a letter by post in Germany, even if you don’t have a printer.

At the post office

Write your address on the envelope or package, and bring it to the post office. You don’t need a stamp; you can buy it there. Bring cash; some post offices don’t accept Visa or Mastercard.

Map of mailboxes and post offices

In a mailbox

Write your address on the envelope, then get a digital stamp from the Post & DHL app. You get a code that you must write on the envelope. It does not work for international mail.

Put the letter in a yellow Deutsche Post post box.

Map of mailboxes and post offices

A yellow Deutsche Post mailbox
A Deutsche Post mailbox

From your computer

If you don’t have a printer at home, or you want to save time, send a letter from your computer. You type text or upload a PDF, and it’s delivered by post.

To mail a letter from a computer, use these services:

  • Superpost (English) — Send text or PDF documents in any format. More expensive, but easier to use. No account needed.
  • LetterXpress (German) — Send text or PDF documents in any format. You must create an account and add at least 5€ in funds.
  • eBrief (German) — Send PDF documents in the DIN 5008 format. You must create an account.

By registered mail

A registered letter (Einschreibebrief) comes with a tracking number and a proof of delivery. Use them when you want to be sure that your letter is delivered. It costs more than a normal letter.

There are different kinds of registered letters:1

  • Einschreiben Einwurf
    They just put the letter in the mailbox. No signature is needed. You can’t tell exactly when they received your letter, because it could stay in the mailbox. Use it to cancel an insurance or a subscription or a membership. They can arrive faster than standard registered letters, because no one needs to open the door and accept the letter.
  • Einschreiben Standard
    They need someone’s signature to deliver the letter. Anyone can sign, not just the recipient: a family member, a roommate, the office front desk – anyone who opens the door. Use it to end a contract, or an apartment lease.2
    You can pay for extra options:
    • Eigenhändig
      They need the signature of the recipient to deliver the letter. No one else can accept the letter. Use it to send written warnings and important legal documents.
    • mit Rückschein
      They need someone’s signature to deliver the letter. You get a copy of the signature. Use it to send a job resignation.

Registered letters are not faster than normal letters.3 The recipient can be on vacation, refuse to open the door, or pretend that you sent them an empty page.4 It’s not a perfect solution. The safest way to send a letter is to hire a messenger (Bote), or to deliver the letter yourself with a witness.

How to send a registered letter

You can go to the post office, or send it from a computer with LetterXpress.

Sources and footnotes