Here is all you need to know when registering your address in Berlin. This guide includes the recent changes in laws dated November 2015.
1. Place to Live
The first step to live legally in Germany is to find an accommodation as soon as possible. In fact, you cannot live in Germany more than 3 months without having an officially registered address (there are some exceptions). Here is an apartment listing site for Germany to help you out.
2. Anmeldung (Bürgeramt Registration)
If you want to live in Germany, you have to do your Bürgeramt registration. This is achieved by submitting an Anmeldung form (Anmeldeformular) to your local registration office called Bürgeramt (also called Einwohnermeldeamt, which it’s the citizens office at the Bürgeramt). This is required for any change of address.
At the Bürgeramt you will receive a proof of registration (see image below) called Anmeldebestätigung which is needed for many officialmatters, such as opening a bank account or registering with a German health insurance.
In all Germany, the Anmeldung needs to be done within 14 days of relocating to your new German address. Everyone living in Germany, even if temporarily, has the obligation to register/re-register at one of the many Bürgerämter.
As of November 2015, you also need to provide the Bürgeramt official with a written confirmation completed & signed by your landlord//owner/main renter (if sublet) to prove that you’ve have actually moved into the place you want to register. The Landlord Confirmation Letter is called “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung”. You can download it here (in case the landlord doesn’t hand it to you on his/her own accord).
If you have not found a permanent residence yet, it is often possible to register with your hotel, hostel or work address. Ask your hotel or HR department for further details.
Additional documents to bring with you:
- a valid ID or passport;
- a rental agreement; or a sublet contract in case you are subletting or staying at a friend’s place;
- (if applicable) your marriage certificate and/or your child’s birth certificate (translated in German).
When leaving the country, you need to deregister your German address, this is called the Abmeldung.
3. German Tax ID (IdNr.)
Once you’ve done your Anmeldung, the tax office (Finanzamt) will send you the tax ID (Steuer-ID) to your registered German address automatically within 2-3 weeks. The tax ID is important for the purposes of taxation, government benefits and health care. Find more details about the German tax ID in here.
In case you’ve lost it, you would need to apply for a tax ID online. Be aware that the processing time could be up to 3 months!
Important: The “Steuer-ID” is not to be confused with the so called “Steuernummer”, which is a tax number only necessary for freelancers (to be requested from the Finanzamt).
4. TV License (Broadcast Receiving License) Once registered at the Bürgeramt, you will get by post at your registered address some documents necessary to pay the German TV license (formerly GEZ, currently “Beitragsservice von ARD, ZDF und Deutschlandradio”).
This license is mandatory, even if you do not have any TV or radio, and costs 17,98€ per month and per residence. Once you receive the bill (see image below), you have 1 week to pay before getting a fine. You can decide on your payment intervals when you apply for the license (i.e. monthly, quarterly, twice a year or yearly).
Be careful as fake letters are circulating! The official letter must contain your surname. Find below an example of FAKE letter:
5. Church Tax
While filling out your Anmeldung form, you will have to state your religion on it. All people in Germany who are officially registered as Catholic, Protestant or Jews pay a religious tax on their annual income tax bill.
If you do not want to pay the so called Kirchensteuer, you will have to state it in your form! The Church tax, which is 8 to 9 percent of the annual income tax, would be automatically deducted each month from your payslip.
Please consider that if you decide to not pay this religious tax, you will, for instance, not be allowed to receive communion, confession or get married in a church in Germany.
6. Welcome Money for Students
The city of Berlin is giving away 50 Euro as welcome money to all students enrolled at a German public University in Berlin registering at the Bürgeramt for the first time.
You will have to fill in this form to request the money and bring it to the Bürgeramt with your completed Anmeldung form. If you need further details, please contact the department for student affairs at your University.
7. Where to register? Do I need an Appointment?
All of Germany has recently decided to make all the Bürgerämter available only by appointment.
When the day of your appointment comes, you just need to show up at your chosen Bürgerämt with a complete Anmeldung form, a signed letter from the landlord (or main renter in case of a sublet), a valid ID or passport and a lease or a sublet contract. If applicable, make sure to also bring all translated documents proving your civil status (married, divorced, with children,…) and other documents related to the people registering at the same address (wife, partner, child….).
We advise you to check the following websites for further details:
Tip for Berlin: If you need a Bürgeramt appointment, go to berlin.de first thing in the morning. You might find appointments available for the same day/week due to recent cancellations.
8. When to register?
By law, you have to do your Anmeldung within 14 days of relocating to your new German address. Booking an appointment is enough to meet the deadline!
Then there is the rest: residence permit, bank account, health insurance, find a job, German courses… but this is another story!
Good Luck with your new life in Germany! :)
Author: © myGermanExpert
Source: Original blog article link