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Resident Registration

Any person who moves into long-term accomodation in Berlin (i.e. renting a room or a flat) is required by law to register with their local district authority (Bezirksamt). This first piece of documentation is the basis for all further bureaucratic activity, including applying for a residence permit.

Note: since 2005 most EU citizens do not need to obtain a residence permit, but can instead apply for a Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung at the same place where they make their resident registration. See the page on residence permits for further details.

What's the deadline for registration?

You must register within 7 days of moving in to your accommodation.

(However the only person who can determine exactly when you moved in is yourself, so this usually isn't a problem).

Where can you register?

You need to go to your local Bürgeramt (Resident's Bureau). Opening days and times vary; the most current information is available at:

http://www.berlin.de/verwaltungsfuehrer/buergerberatung/ (German only)

Select the borough (Bezirk) you live in for more information.

There's also an overview map with the locations of the individual Bürgeramter marked with little Berlin flags.

Usually you can turn up during normal opening hours, take a number from a machine and wait for the number to be called out. (Tip: go early!). It's also possible to make appointments, although policy varies between Bürgeramter.

Some Bürgeramter also have a mobile service and are available at shopping malls etc., although you probably won't find one when you need it.

(Note: until a few years ago the place to go was a Meldestelle, usually attached to a police station; and some sources still refer to resident registration as "registering with the police" etc., although it is and always has been a purely civil and not police affair).

What do you need to take with you?

You'll need your passport and your rental agreement (Mietvertrag).

(Note: until fairly recently it was necessary to have your landlord sign your registration form; this is no longer the case).

What do you get?

You'll receive your Anmeldebestätigung, which consists of part of the form you filled out, complete with a big fat stamp and the usually illegible signature of the official who deals with you. This, together with your passport or other legal ID, is your official proof of address for living in Berlin and is necessary for whenever you need to confirm your address (e.g. when opening a bank account, obtaining a library card or renting a DVD / video).

Further reference

Useful links (German only):