One of the first things you must do once you arrive in Germany is to register your address at the Town Hall. In Germany, the Town Hall can be referred to in a number of ways, including Rathaus, Bürgerbüro, Bürgeramt Einwohnermeldeamt, Stadtverwaltung, or Ausländerbehörde. The name varies from city to city, and hence it is recommended that you do a little research on your own in this regard.
Usually, you are required to register at the Town Hall within 2 weeks after coming to Germany. The process of registering at the Town Hall is known as Anmeldung in Deutsch. It is advisable not to delay the registration process, as it is an important part of getting set up.
Once you have completed your Anmeldung, you receive the Residency Registration Certificate (Anmeldebestätigung). This certificate is crucial in order to complete the service order at the Deutsche bank and have your bank account start functioning normally. It is also required to obtain the Tax number (Steuernummer) which is important if you intend on working part-time during your studies. Hence, make sure to complete the Anmeldung as soon as possible.
In case you have not found a permanent place to stay, you can request the owner of the place where you are temporarily living to act as your temporary address for the purpose of completing the registration with the Town Hall. Also, it should be kept in mind that the officials at the Town Hall only speak Deutsch; so if you do not have a good understanding of the language, it is advisable to take someone who is a fluent speaker of Deutsche along with you.
In order to complete your registration with the Town Hall, you need to have the following documents with you:
- A valid passport
- The rental contract (signed by the landlord or the property owner)
- Marriage certificate (if applicable, even if your spouse is not moving in with you)
- A letter from the landlord (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung) confirming that you are, indeed, living at the residence
The following points should be kept in mind:
- Keep your registration document secure — it is very important
- If you are here as a married single, you will have to complete the information to show the names and birth dates of your spouse and children, even if they are not moving in with you
- Each time you move house you will need to register at the registration office closest to your new home; they will inform your former registration office. If you leave Germany, you must formally de-register