What is the Anmeldung?
The ‘Anmeldung’ is the process of registering that you live at an address with the local city authorities. This process is country-wide, however it is quite a notorious amongst Berliners and expats as being a painful process each time you move.
Why do I need to go through the Anmeldung process?
You’ll need to register and get the ‘Anmeldungbescheinigung’ document for a number of different reasons:
Getting your Tax ID (Steuernummer) – your employer will probably start chasing you for this on your first day. If you are new to Germany, you will be put on an emergency tax code until the employer has received your real tax ID. If you are a single, this emergency tax code is normally identical to your real tax code, however if you are married you may be paying too much tax until you get this new tax ID and pass it on to your company’s HR department. You can claim this tax overpayment back later.
Being able to start new contracts (internet, phone, gym etc.) - When you want to take out a new contract, such as a new broadband connection, you will often have to present the stamped form from the Anmeldung appointment to the salesperson. I have even been asked for this when renting a car.
Opening a bank account – I bank with Deutsche Bank and managed to open an account before I had carried out the Anmeldung process. However, some banks may ask for the Anmeldung document before you can open an account. If you need to open an account urgently before you have the correct documents, try Deutsche Bank or Commerzbank.
Because you’re meant to - You are meant to register with the city within 14 days of moving to Berlin. Although this time limit is fairly ridiculous and quite often unachievable in Berlin, you are still meant to register as soon as possible.
How do I register?
This is what makes the Anmeldung process notorious. To register with the city, you will need to go to a local government office called the Bürgerämt. There are two options for this, either you find an office where you can turn up and wait for an appointment in person, or you can book an appointment. Depending on the office you choose, you may not be able to walk in and wait without an appointment. From my personal experience, a two month wait is not uncommon.
To book an appointment, you can either call the hotline ‘115’ (030 115) and speak to someone (often they speak English) or click here to open the website and book online
What do I need to take with me to the appointment?
You will need to take:
- Passport / Identity Card
- Tenancy contract (it will probably not be needed but useful in case they ask for it)
- Landlord confirmation form (your landlord will fill this out)
- Anmeldung form that you have filled out
- Church Tax
Although this may seem random, it is worth mentioning. When filling out your anmeldung form, you will need to state your religion. In Germany, if you are registered as Catholic, Protestant or Jewish, you will have to pay an extra religious tax. This allows you receive communion or get married in a church, among other things. If you are not religious, make sure that you state that on the form.
How does the process work?
When booking your appointment you will receive a date and time, along with a number. When you go to the Bürgerämt, you will see TV screens on the walls of the waiting rooms. Your number will eventually appear on the screen telling you what room to go to. Go to this room and an agent will assist you. If successful, a document will be printed for you and will be stamped by the agent. Double check to make sure the details are correct before you leave and make sure you scan the form in and back the copy up as soon as you get home, otherwise it could be a lengthy and complicated process to get another one!
This link explains the process and provides links to the forms and online appointment booking system. If you need to view this in English, use Google Chrome, right click and select ‘Translate to English’ or use a browser with a translation plugin.