Registering a Flat in Berlin: The Anmeldebestätigung

Doing anything in Germany can involve lots of bureaucracy. Registering your apartment is no different.

Paperwork Kings

German wins hands down. Al you need to remember is that the stamp is holy. She is more important than a holographic seal. The stamp is royalty.

In a world where paperwork is king and Berlin being stuck in the 80s, sometimes it can seem audacious to receive a reply in written form after sending an email, or a completely inactive social media team, or more spectacularly, some institutions may even offer a fax number.

Sometimes they can really make it hard for you, should you not read the small print or organise yourself properly. You might get comments such as: “No, we can’t help you. It’s in the fine print”

or “Did you not turn over the bit of paper to look at the other side? It clearly states you need to bring xyz.”, paired with a smug look that says: “Well, look at you. Your life is utter chaos. Shame on you.”

A few months ago, I decided to take some small steps to organise everything in terms of paperwork to avoid fines, delays, negative experiences.

Germany uses the concept of registering your address in order to measure population. Citizens are “gesetzlich verpflichtet” (legally required) to register their current address and their residency in Berlin within the first 2 weeks of arriving*. I personally, have not had a very smooth or positive experience with bureaucracy in the Bürgeramt (Administrative Office for Citizens) and I wish someone explained it all in the first place, which would have avoided the following inconveniences:

  • Wasted journeys

  • Rejected documents

*They’re very aware that getting an appointment may take a month or two, and the fines are rarely implemented unless you are very, very late in registering.

Therefore, I have compiled some facts (not feelings) with the best tips for anyone coming to live in Berlin, so they are able register a flat and set things up properly.

Advantages of registering

1. You can get a job (you will receive a tax number – Steuernummer)
2. You can open a bank account (n26 is the best for expats, see my oage
3. You can create a Spar-Abo (monthly/yearly ticket) with DB / BVG / S-Bahn Berlin and get a cheaper monthly transport ticket
4. You can study in Germany where tuition fees are much lower
5. You can sign a contract for a flat with a longer tenancy (3 months+)

Tips for registering a flat

– If you are staying for a semester of 3 months or less it is not necessary to register.
– If you have not found a flat yet and are living in a hostel / hotel / airbnb, you do not need to register a flat right away, so no panic.
– Do not worry about the 2 week rule, just take 5 minutes to make an online appointment so you can show you have make an effort to register. I waited 1.5 hours in 30 degree heat in Neukölln, just to be told there were no appointments left. Don’t be doing that now.
– If you move out, remember to make another appointment and de-register. Do not forget this.

What to bring for successful visit at Bürgeramt:

1. Your original passport (no copy)
2. Your ‘Wohnungsgeberbestätigung’ proof of residency; (as of 1 November 2015 this is now required rather than the tenancy contract) find it here under “Formulare” (click the third link)
3. Your ‘Anmeldeformular’ registering form; found here under “Formulare” (click the firstlink)
4. Any marriage certificates or children’s birth certificates

How to get an appointment

Be patient. Expect to wait 2-4 weeks for an appointment. My best advice is to book online and just wait for the appointment. Try to book a slot either at the very start of the day at 8am or go at the end of the day. Expect to be turned away if you have not got the right documents with you. You just have to repeat the process after that in order to register a flat.

Call the hotline:

030 115 they will tell you when there is an appointment available next.
The registration offices can get very busy so expect your appointment to be a bit late. Follow the signs for the Ausländerbehörde or any words which contain �?Anmeldung’ – or ask someone for help.
Go to the website click here

Things to be aware of

– The Bürgeramt employees do not always speak English, so take someone with you who can help you or find an interpreter. Red Tape Translation can help with registering a flat.

– If you do not register, or register too late there may be a fine of 25-500€ ; in very bad cases more.
– You may have to come back to the Bürgeramt if they are not happy with your documents.
– You should register and de-register every address you live in – be organised and print a few copies of the forms I linked above.
– Do not expect them to be friendly.

A little story for you showing you cultural differences:

When I went to the Bürgeramt in Rathaus Neukölln in 2015, before I sat down, the Mitarbeiter said “oh, so you’re from Poland, RIGHT?”. I silently handed over my passport, to which they then demanded I tell them if I am from Great Britain or England. I was stunned and tried to explain in terms of a map, fearing they would not give me that piece of paper with a stamp to register my flat that I needed in order to start my life in Berlin. That story still amuses me today.

Useful phrases

Ich möchte gern einen Termin vereinbaren, bitte – I would like to make an appointment
Ich möchte meine Wohnung anmelden, bitte – I would like to register my apartment
Ich habe die richtigen Unterlagen dabei – I have the correct documents with me

Bräuchten Sie noch etwas von mir? – Do you require anything else from me (document-wise – say this with a smile and you will win over their hearts things will be okay).