Getting a registration certificate (variously called an Anmeldebescheinigung, Meldebescheinigung or Anmeldebestätigung in German) is the first and most important step that expats in Germany have to take.
What is the registration certificate?
A registration certificate is a proof of address, given to everyone who lives in Germany, whether expat or German citizen.
The registration certificate will be required for all kinds of processes in Germany, especially ones that involve any kind of a contract, such as:
- Applying for a residence permit
- Enrolling at a university
- Opening a bank account
- Taking out health insurance
- Getting a mobile phone
Note that the registration certificate does not automatically grant expats the right to live and work in Germany. You may also need to apply for a residence permit.
How do I get a registration certificate?
You will receive your registration certificate when you register at your local citizens’ office (Bürgeramt). Anyone who will be staying in Germany for longer than three months is legally obliged to register at their address within 14 days of moving in. If you will be staying less than three months, you will still need to register if you want to take out any kind of contract.
When registering your address, you will need to provide a valid proof of identity like a passport or an ID card (not a driving licence) and a proof of residence certificate (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung) from your landlord. Non-EU citizens will also have to provide a visa unless your country is exempt from visa requirements.
If all of your documents are in order, you will be provided with a registration certificate straight away. Your tax ID, a different document which you need to start a job or take out a pension, will be posted to you separately.