Residence registration

When moving to Germany to take up permanent residence, i.e. staying for more than three months, you must register your address with the authorities within seven days of arrival in most Bundesländer with the exception of Schleswig-Holstein, Sachsen, Brandenburg and Berlin, where you register within two weeks, and Rheinland-Pfaltz, where you must register "unverzüglich" or immediately. In German this is called Anmeldung. This applies not just to foreign nationals, but also to local German citizens. Germans and foreigners alike, when moving between cities within Germany, must register their new address on arrival in the new city. When leaving Germany one must deregister again. In German this is called Abmeldung.

Residence registration / Anmeldung

The residence registration is handled at offices called the Einwohnermeldeamt. Google that word, together with the name of your city, in order to find the relevant local address. For example: Google Einwohnermeldeamt Berlin. Note that in Munich the Einwohnermeldeamt is alternatively known as the Kreisverwaltungsreferat, or KVR for short.

Note that registration of residence and address is the very first paperwork task to be done on moving to Germany. Visa applications and residence and work permits come later.

Change of address / Ummeldung

To register a change of address you don't need to go to the KVR in person. Instead you can usually download the form off the web and send it in by post. The forms for Ummeldung and Anmeldung are one and the same.

Deregistration / Abmeldung

If moving within Germany, you don't need to deregister. When you register at your new place of residence, notice of your move and change of address will be sent automatically to your last place of residence

If moving outside of Germany, you must deregister - not doing this means various contracts etc. are enforceable, as you are technically still living in Germany. To deregister you just go to the residence bureau (Einwohnermeldeamt) and say you need to pick up a form to deregister (Abmeldung). They fill it out that is it. Not very painful. Or you can do it without visiting the office in person, but just submit the form.

Regional residence offices

See meldeaemter.de for a list of all regional offices and their address information.

Notes to remember

Make sure you leave the box for "Religion" blank (or enter "VD" for "Verschiedene" when filling in the online PDF form) unless you want to pay church tax (8% or 9% of your income tax).

Make sure your name is on your postbox once you've registered, unless you've registered as "c/o XYZ" as otherwise you risk post not being delivered.

The information submitted in a registration is shared with numerous other parties such as political parties and the GEZ (the TV license people). If you want to prevent this sharing of information (important for tin-foil hat wearers) then you should complete another form called the Übermittlungsperre.

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