Registering a residence in Germany – how does it work?

Registering your address is the most important thing you need to do after moving to Germany. Whether you plan to stay in Germany for more than three months or settle permanently in a German city, you must register your new residence with the local authorities in the city where you live.

Below you will learn why registering your residence in Germany is important, what you need to do so, and how to get through the bureaucratic process as quickly and painlessly as possible. With this information, you will be well-prepared for the visit to the authorities and can then devote yourself to the pleasant things of student life in Germany!

General information on registration in Germany

In Germany, every resident is required to register his or her place of residence. It does not matter what nationality you have. The registration takes place at the local authority, which is responsible for it. Even if you want to open a bank account, sign a cell phone or Internet contract or use other contractual services in Germany, you usually have to register officially in your city.

There is a time limit of 14 days for the registration of the residence, within which the registration must take place. It is not possible to register your residence in advance. As proof of current residence, you must bring the rental contract or a housing provider confirmation, which informs about the exact date of moving in.

When do I have to register as an international student in Germany?

International students also have 14 days to register their residence in Germany. This means that as soon as you move into your new flat or sign the lease, you have 14 days to register your move. Otherwise, you may be subject to a fine. In this case, you may have to pay a fine.

Why do I have to register my place of residence in Germany?

The obligation to register the place of residence is anchored in Section 17 of the German Federal Registration Act. The registered place of residence is then also noted as such in the identity card. The background to this legal obligation is the avoidance of so-called bogus registrations. In this way, the German state hopes to be able to curb various forms of crime.

Where can I register as an international student?

The registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) is responsible for registering your place of residence in Germany. It is usually located in the citizens’ office (Bürgerbüro) of the local town hall or municipal or city administration. The staff there will take care of the registration of your place of residence and transfer your data to the population register.
As a non-EU citizen, you also need a residence permit for a stay in Germany that lasts longer than 90 days. You can obtain this from the foreigners’ authority responsible for your place of study. You have three months to apply for your residence permit.

Which documents are needed for the residence registration?

To register your residence in Germany, you need the following documents:

  • You must bring your identity card and/or a passport (possibly also with a visa) to the Residents’ Registration Office.
  • In addition, you will need the completed and signed housing provider confirmation, which you will receive from your landlord or landlady. The housing provider confirmation must contain the name and address of the housing provider, your move-in date and the specific address of your flat as well as the information whether it is a move-in or move-out.
  • If necessary, you will need a registration form from the residents’ registration office. In large cities, it is sometimes possible to obtain the appropriate forms on the Internet in order to save time on site.
  • You may also need a marriage certificate and (if already available) the original birth certificates of your children as well as an official translation of these documents.

After registering your residence, you can then, if necessary, apply for your residence permit in person. How to do this and which documents you need for this, you can find out here.

How much will it cost me to register my place of residence?

As a rule, the process at the Einwohnermeldeamt should not cost you anything. Nevertheless, it can happen that a city or municipality charges a small fee for the administrative effort. If this is the case, then the registration of your residence in Germany should not cost you more than 10 euros, anything else would be disproportionate. Nevertheless, you can find out in advance about any costs that may be incurred by calling or researching on the Internet on the homepage of your new place of residence. If you need your residence permit at the Aliens’ Registration Office, you will have to pay 110 euros for it.

What are the consequences of registering your residence in Germany?

After you officially move into Germany, you will also have to pay fees for German broadcasting in the future. This fee is due once a month, regardless of whether or not you own a broadcasting-capable device such as a radio or television. The number of people in the household also plays no role in the assessment of the broadcasting fee. If you move into a flat on your own, you must register using the online form at www.rundfunkbeitrag.de. However, if you live in a shared flat where a broadcasting fee is already paid, you usually don’t have to do anything else.

Find your guest family with Fintiba

Finding accommodation in Germany can be a big challenge. That’s why we want to make your first time in Germany easier by partnering with Hestia. Together, we offer you the opportunity to live with a German host family until you find a suitable place of your own.

I would like to open a current account – how do I proceed?

In order to open a current account in Germany, international students who come from non-EU countries need a certificate of registration from the local residents’ registration office. Before you can open a current account, you must be able to present official proof that you are registered in Germany and have a German residential address. You also need a work permit, which you can obtain from the German mission in your country of origin. Usually, it is the German embassy or the corresponding consulate.

Advice on where to open a current account you can find in our article about current accounts and on our current account solutions page. As an alternative to the current account, however, you can also use the so-called basic account or Everyman account. You can even open this account without a permanent residence, because it is usually sufficient to provide a postal address in Germany, such as the address of a friend or an institution.

Where can I get help with questions and uncertainties?

As you can see, there are some bureaucratic steps to be taken in Germany before you can relax and settle down. However, you should not let this unsettle you. If you are unsure or have any questions, you will certainly find a contact person at your university’s student union who can help you. Maybe you live in a shared flat with nice roommates who can help you with the administrative work.

Your Fintiba Study Guide.
Germany at one glance.

From preparing your stay to mastering your visa application and navigating through daily life in Germany. Our Study Guide within the Fintiba app provides you with relevant information throughout all important stages of your German adventure – tailored to your individual situation.

Last update: May 21, 2021

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