What does this even mean? It means “register” and “unregister” and it refers to the process of letting the city authorities know you’ve arrived and intend to stay as a resident within their jurisdiction OR that you’re leaving. When you leave, and stay within Germany, the Abmeldung is done automatically for you once you Anmeldung in your new city.If you leave Germany, have your landlord fill out this (for Wiesbaden) one week prior to your move.
Who needs to register?
- Visitors or anyone intending to stay longer than 3 months
- Meaning it needs to be done before obtaining a resident permit
- If you want to work or study
- Meaning it needs to be done before obtaining a work or student visa
- Or if you need any kind of official contract, such as a cell phone, health insurance, bank account, etc.
But what if you’re coming into Germany as a first time resident? In general, the process is the same in every city/town with the exception being the smaller villages. There you need to figure out where the major office is for your “metropolitan” region. Some jurisdictions even allow this to be done online.
But, since I did it in Wiesbaden, here’s how you do it in Wiesbaden:
- This should be done quite soon, ideally within the first 3-5 days as it must be done within 14. I say 3-5 because if there are any issues with a lease, obtaining permission to use an address, it could take some time to sort them out and the Bürgerbüro is not lenient. In my case, I was in this office before I’d fully recovered from jet-lag.
- When you get to Wiesbaden, you need to have an address you would like to register. If you don’t have a place to live yet, and most likely you won’t, you can register using your hotel, AirBnB, or possibly a friend’s address if you’re staying with them. I cannot comment personally on doing those options as I had an address and a rental contract upon arrival.
- As of November 2015, the law changed slightly, and now one also needs a Wohnungsbesichtigung signed by the landlord (Wiesbaden also allows for online completion). This will also be used to move out of Germany.
- Gather these documents:
- Lease or rental agreement
- Passport (with visa if needed)
- Marriage certificate and birth certificates of any children living with you, if applicable
- Go to the Bürgerbüro (in Wiesbaden, go up to the second floor) (or do it online, 9 € charge). While you’re here, get your passport photos taken across the hall for roughly 14 €to save you a trip when/if you need to get a visa later on.
- I recommend making an appointment online, otherwise, my wait time was 1.5 hours when I did this
- If you’ve made an appointment, look up at the screens to see if your number has been called and which desk you should go to
- If you don’t have an appointment, take a number and wait. The screens will show you which category of number you should pick.
- When you are registering, you will be asked about the Kirchensteuer (church tax). If you elect to register your faith, and you are a Catholic or one of the protestant churches allowed to collect tax, you do so here. The tax is approximately 9% of your income (8% in Bavaria). If you do not belong to one of these groups, then elect to register as “VD” or “verschiedene Denomination.”
- If you register VD, you cannot formally participate in the churches mentioned.
- They hand you your new official residence form, with a nice stamp on it, and this should be kept with your lease or wherever else you keep important documents. Your landlord may also request a copy. Even getting a library card, I had to show them this form 🙂 You will 100% need it for the visa process.
I have read that after this process is done, one receives their Steuer ID, however this never happened for me so I can’t comment there.
But most definitely, after you do this, you will now receive the TV tax from ARD/ZDF. It’s called the Rundfunkbeitrag and you must pay this bill. It is roughly 18,00 € per month per HOUSEHOLD, not per person. If you don’t pay, do not be surprised if people show up to your door with a bill, it’s taken very seriously. It doesn’t matter if you don’t even have the TV hooked up to anything but the power outlet (as we do) or don’t even own a radio (we don’t) because it’s expanded it’s coverage to internet connected devices. However it’s easy enough to set it up on auto-pay and I would recommend the quarterly payment option as it gives you a small discount.