New draft law would make it possible to change your German address online

New draft law would make it possible to change your German address online

New draft law would make it possible to change your German address online

Anybody who has ever moved house knows that changing your address in Germany means a lot of paperwork and appointments. In future, however, it might finally be possible to register online - if a draft law is passed. 

Government overhauls process for registering in Germany

In a further bid to ease the bureaucratic burden on civil administrators and residents, the German federal government has recently unveiled plans to overhaul the 2015 Registration Act. The draft law would enable anyone moving house to register their new address online - a big step in a country famed for its digital frigidity. 

Currently, anyone who moves to a new address within Germany must register their move with their local citizens’ office within 14 days or risk paying a fine. Registering in Germany usually entails attending an appointment in person and presenting documents confirming your identity, as well as proof of residence certificate signed by your new landlord. 

Digital Anmeldung would be sent to new address

If the new law goes ahead, however, residents will be given the option to register their move online. A code will then be sent in the post to their new address. They can then enter this code into a website to complete the registration process. The option to register in person will remain in place for the technophobes among us. 

For the first time, residents would also have the opportunity to digitally access their data that has been stored by local authorities. An administrative portal would enable them to retrieve their data and use it for other administrative purposes. The reform would also make it easier for local authorities in different federal states to access each others’ data. Up until now, a written application has been required. 

The slog to digitise German bureaucracy

The draft law represents a major step in the current government’s plans to drag German bureaucracy into the digital age. Germany currently falls way behind its European peers when it comes to so-called e-governance and is having to make great strides to catch up. “The digitalisation of administrative work is running at full speed,” said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.

The draft law now needs to gain the Bundestag’s approval, before it can take effect. But even if it passes - as it is expected to - it could be quite a while before we see any changes. If approved, the new digital processes will be tested in Hamburg before being implemented nationwide. The switchover is currently slated to take effect in November 2021. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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