Since we’re a blog that most of the expat community in Germany read, we decided to teach you how to do your Anmeldung in English. Anmeldung is German for registering yourself as a person living in the city you’re living in. A concept that will be a bit weird for some but makes total sense once you understand. We come from Brazil, for us, it was bizarre. Where you come from, do you have to register like here in Germany? For immigrants, can you do your Anmeldung in English too? Or you must know the basics of your language for this kind of stuff?
This post is part of our series to help you move to Germany. We’re trying to cover all the aspects that can generate doubts or anxiety for the newcomers. We have blog posts about finding a flat, a few words about rent and gentrification and even how you can learn German for free. Don’t forget to check the interviews we have with people telling all sorts of stories about their visa process too. In “How to get my Visa?” we cover all kinds of different visas.
How to do your Anmeldung in English
More than just a plain English guide to registering in an address in Berlin, the post helps you also with getting your Meldebescheinigung and a tax ID.
The Meldebescheinigung is a document that confirms that you still live at a specific address, in case the long German word scares you. And the Tax ID is a paper you’ll eventually get once you’re registered
that you must save it with your life since it is how you pay your taxes. (Well, duh)
Registering your address, or in expat slang “do your Anmeldung,” is the first thing you should do after moving to Germany. The law requires it, and there’s no way around it. Without it, you can’t do anything else. You can’t open a bank account (in most banks); you can’t get hired, you can’t start your life. Be aware of WGs that will not allow you to register yourself, ok? It is imperative that you manage to do that somehow.
It is important to say that 99,99% of the banks here will demand your Anmeldebestätigung or your Meldebescheinigung – which I will explain what each one is later – but there’s one bank that won’t. So if you’re having a super hard time getting your Anmeldung in English, check this link below and thank me later.
What does it all mean?
Once you register your address, you get a registration confirmation. The name of that is Anmeldebestätigung or Meldebescheinigung. Why Germany has two equally scary words for the basically same thing? Only Satan knows. We just go along with it, and we don’t ask questions.
The main difference is that the Anmeldebestätigung confirms that you registered an address on a certain date. And the Meldebescheinigung, that you are still registered at this address. Germany is a very complicated country, ok? But Germany is never and will never be known for its relaxed way of doing stuff.
Another difference between both documents is that you only receive the Anmeldebestätigung once. If you lose, you lose. But you can request a Meldebescheinigung anytime you want, and I will cover this at the end of this guide to do your Anmeldung in English.
Besides that paper, you’ll also get another scary named document, the Steueridentifikationsnummer. We’ll call the Steueridentifikationsnummer by its English name for the purpose of not having the horror movie vibe in this post, ok? Steueridentifikationsnummer is a simple Tax ID.
To sum up for you: the certificate of registration, or Meldebescheinigung, is proof that you live where you live. And the Tax ID identifies you with the Finanzamt. Finanzamt is the tax office.
Like previously mentioned, this step is important because it is mandatory and because it’s the first step for everything. You need these documents to apply for a residence permit or any other visa, have a bank account in most banks (check the link I posted above for no-Anmeldung bank account, dude!), to find a job and even to have internet in your house or a post-paid mobile number.
According to the law, you must register within two weeks of your move-in date. But if you’re moving to Berlin, you can relax a bit because this rule is not really enforced here. Berlin is aware of its housing problems, and they will cut you some slack, but you must simply register within a reasonable time. Don’t think it will be ok to register in 2, 3 or 6 months, ok? Do it as soon as possible so you can to avoid trouble.
To make your life easier, I’ve divided this guide to do your Anmeldung in English into steps, and you can go to the step you want by clicking the links here.
- #1st step: The appointment at the Bürgeramnt
- #2nd Step: Have all documents ready
- #3rd step: Show up at the Bürgeramnt
- Extra #A: Have someone else do this process for you
- Extra #B: I lost my Meldebescheinigung, what do I do?
- Extra #C: What is the church tax and how can you avoid it
- Extra #D: If I have to register when I move, do I need to unregister when I move out?
#1st step: The appointment at the Bürgeramnt
First of all, the Bürgeramt is not a place to eat burgers. Jokes aside, the Bürgeramt, or City Hall/Citizen office, is where you need to go for many of the bureaucratic services you must do in Germany. That included the Anmeldung.
A piece of information that most newcomers are unaware of is that you don’t need to go to the closest Bürgeramnt for this. Any Bürgeramnt in the city you live is fine to go to. Just go to this link Anmeldung einer Wohnung and find the easiest appointment for you. If your German is at level zero, make sure you access the website with Chrome because they do a decent job on the German-English translation. It is my personal favorite way to do this first step towards your Anmeldung in English.
If you’re either without a laptop or internet, you can dial 115 and ask for an appointment. This option is mainly in German, but I’ve heard some cases of success in getting the appointment for the Anmelding in English. Who knows, right? Maybe it is your lucky day! No harm in trying.
But if you’ve tried the phone and the website and it was all too complicated, you can always show up at whatever Bürgeramnt of your choice and find your spot there. Most probably you will only find a date for the near future but just in case, read the next steps on this guide for Anmeldung in English and show up prepared.
Again, I know people who did it this way and got it. Our first Anmeldung was like this, without an appointment. And we did in English too. Our first Bürgeramnt was the one in Neukolln, Berlin. But nowadays, most of them in Berlin will have someone that can help you to do your Anmeldung in English.
When you get your appointment, either by phone or online or in person, you’ll receive a Vorgangsnummer. It is your protocol for your appointment. Protect this with your life, ok? Don’t lose it!
#2nd Step: Have all documents ready
Make sure you have all the documents and papers I’ll state here before your appointment, otherwise all your efforts will be for nothing. And you’ll have to go back to the beginning and start all over again.
You must have a valid EU ID and/or your passport with a valid visa, and the Anmeldung form all filled up. You can find the Anmeldung in English here and the German original here.
It is also crucial that you have a Wohnungsgeberbestätigung or Vermieterbescheinigung. This scary German document is proof that the landlord allowed you to live where you live, basically. And you must have one even if you have the contract of your flat under your name.
Stupid? Yes. But is Germany supposed to make sense always? Also yes but in real life, Germany doesn’t. Heh!
This piece of paper you must ask your landlord and/or the company responsible for your contract. If you’re subletting or if you are only renting a room in a flat, the primary tenant must ask the landlord for you. The important thing is, only your contract will get you nowhere if the person doing your Anmeldung is very strict with the rules. Which can or cannot happen in Berlin but play by the safe side, ok?
So, again, to sum up, what you need to do your Anmeldung in English is:
#3rd step: Show up at the Bürgeramnt
And finally the easy part of this whole process of getting your Anmeldung in English, the showing up part. (everybody says YAYYYYY….)
Make sure to double check the date and time of your appointment and try to show up at least 10 or 15 min early to avoid any mess. Most probably you won’t be called in at the exact time, but just in case, you know?
If you want to play safe, you can bring a friend that speaks German just in case. But once you have all the documents ready, doesn’t matter much the language you speak. It is pretty evident that you’re there for the Anmeldung and the process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
When you go to the Bürgeramt, you must sit in the waiting room until your number shows up on the screen. Remember that I’ve told you to save the protocol number with your life? That’s the number they will call.
Once your number is called, you will sit at a clerk’s desk, give your documents and receive your Anmeldebestätigung.
Please make sure you save this piece of paper somewhere safe. Like mentioned before, once you lose, you lose. And if you’re here on a visa or you don’t have your address on your ID, make a copy and have it with you at all times. Most people I know don’t have it, but all the Germans I meet tells me that it is important. You can decide for yourself, ok?
I, Marcela, do not carry my copy with me because I’m a mess and I don’t really have a wallet. But if you are a responsible adult, and you can manage the simple things the adult life demands, do it.
And your Tax Id will arrive on your address a few days or weeks later. If it doesn’t come in 4 or 6 weeks, give it a call to the Bürgeramt because something went wrong. Most probably all will work out fine but have this deadline of 4-6 weeks just in case.
- EU ID or your non-EU passport with your valid visa/resident permit
- The form I gave you filled out correctly
- This paper saying the landlord allows you to live where you live
Extra #A: Have someone else do this process for you
In case you’re a busy bee and have no time to waste on things like that, you can always send your friend or boy/girlfriend to do the dirty work. You must sign a Vollmacht that gives this somebody the power to do the Anmeldung for you. Vollmacht is a simple document that you can do by yourself, but if you need an example, we did one for you in German and you can download it here.
Extra #B: I lost my Meldebescheinigung, what do I do?
Are you a big old mess like I am? You lose all the important papers you get because you’re not German enough for this level of bureaucracy? Worry no more, I’m here to help!
Remember at the beginning of this guide to the Anmeldung in English that I said that you only receive the Anmeldebestätigung once, but you can request a Meldebescheinigung anytime you want? You can ask for another official copy of your Meldebescheinigung at your local Bürgeramt.
Extra #c: What is the church tax and how can you avoid it
If you know anything about the people behind Fotostrasse, you know that we are the opposite of religious. So, for those like us,
that are sure that God is dead and Satan should reign over us all that another tax for the church is not necessary, let us show you how to opt out of it.
The church tax, like the name suggests, is an extra tax that some people in Germany pay. It gets deducted directly from your salary and goes to the Christian church here. It is not mandatory, but I’ve read cases where it is kind of hard to opt out.
Especially if you’re living in very Christian states like Bavaria.
When you do your Anmeldung in Germany for the very first time, you will be asked about which religion you identify with. And if you choose some variations of Jesus-loving religions, you’ll pay a bit less than 10% of your income tax to the church. So be aware. May not sound much, but if you earn around 52 or 55k per year, you’ll be paying around 1000 euros per year for that. Money that you could be used to
worship Satan travel!
And another piece of advice, if you are baptized, even if you say you’re an atheist, you’ll maybe end up paying it! Crazy, huh? And this is valid for expats like you and me, ok? Not only Germans. Your baptism doesn’t necessarily need to happen in Germany for this to happen. I’ve never heard stories from Brazilians having problems, but I know some Polish and Italian friends who had to go an extra mile for this to stop.
If this is a problem you’re having, join our Facebook group and our newsletter to let me know that you want a full article about that. I can do a guide on how to quit the church tax like this guide to get your Anmeldung in English if enough people need.
Extra #D: If I have to register when I move, do I need to unregister when I move out?
In a short version, yes! Yes, you’ll need to unregister. Actually, you MUST do this. Otherwise, you’ll have problems. And I mean financial problems, ok? If you don’t do this, most probably the bills for the mandatory health insurance will pile up and one day you’ll have to pay what you’ve never used. And this one is one of the problems you can have. But I won’t explain all in this guide because it is already far too long. This will be the next guide we’ll publish, and in the meantime, you can contact us on our Facebook Group and subscribe to our newsletter to have all the info you need!
Hope you enjoyed this guide to do your Anmeldung in English and if you did, share it with your friends or anyone in need!