Moving to another country requires a lot more paperwork than moving within one. You have made your way to Germany, so be assured that you will have many appointments with the numerous city offices for one thing or another.
The first and foremost thing that you need to do is Register your address (Anmeldung). To do so, visit your local Citizens Office/ Office for Civil & Council Services or ” Bürgerbüro”, with the following documents.
- Identity card(s) of the person(s) to be registered i.e. Passports
- Duly filled Registration Form (Anmeldeformular)
- Written Confirmation from your landlord (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung)
Once the registration is done, you will receive a receipt (Amtliche Meldebestätigung) which you must keep for future references. This is not to be confused with Registration Certificate (Meldebescheinigung).
There are 2 things that will be automatically done once you have registered your address.
1. Tax Identification Number (Identifikationsnummer)
This is a unique identification number provided for each registered individual, by the German Federal Tax Office. This includes children as well. Further details are available in the below link.
Tax Identification Number: Your Questions answered
2. Radio and Television Registration
You can access various public television and radio stations via antenna, cable or satellite. For this, you have to pay the obligatory radio & TV licence fee. The monthly fees for television and radio is approx. 18 euros at present. The principle “One flat, one fee” is followed and hence it is sufficient for any one member per flat to pay the fee.
You will receive details of the above by post to your registered address within 2-3 weeks.
- Look for the official website of your city/town/village. This will be a treasure trove of information for you on all things legal and local.
- The registration form and confirmation from landlord form will be available at the citizen’s office or you can look to download it from the official website.
- Many places now offer the option of booking an appointment online which helps skip lengthy queues and save time.
- In some cities, administrative offices (Bezirksverwaltung) also offer a range of services. Citizen’s office tends to get too crowded at times and hence visiting the administrative offices will help you get the job done faster.
- You must register your address within 1 week of arrival, else you are likely to invite a fine.
- During your registration appointment you will be asked for your religion. If you are Protestant or Catholic, you will need to pay church tax (8-10 % of your annual income tax). To avoid paying it, make sure you register yourself as “without religion”.
- Every time you move to another city in Germany, you have to de-register yourself from the current city and register yourself in the new one. Also, note that even if you are moving within the same city, you are required to notify the city office and change your address. In both these cases, registering should be done within 1 week of shifting.
- Do not forget to de-register while leaving the country for good. If it is temporary, no problem. But a duration of 180 days or more will automatically will result in your residence permit being invalid. However, in some cases it can be extended to a year.
- The Tax Identification Number remains the same throughout one’s life. This holds good even if you leave the country for good and then maybe change your mind and return.
- Note that each registered individual will receive a letter to pay the radio and television licence fee. You need to register online as per the instructions. One person needs to set up his/ her account and the other members of the flat can be registered under the same account to ensure “One flat, one fee”.
For any further queries, do leave a reply/ message. Also, please feel free to add any details, that may help another.