How to register your residence in Germany – Anmeldung process, appointment at the Bürgeramt and obtaining the Wohnungsgeberbestätigung

Checklist of things you need

In order to register your residence in Germany, you need the following items:

  1. Signed and dated rental contract with the landlord.
  2. Signed and dated landlord confirmation form (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung). You can only obtain this form once you have moved in.  Landlords / rental agencies may not hand this out until you ask for it – so make sure to ask for a copy.  This is a new requirement that has been in effect since late 2016.
  3. Identification documents (ie passport, any other identification documents you need)
  4. Registration Form (Anmeldeformular).  It is possible to fill this form out and translated using Google Translate.
  5. Your confirmed appointment at the Bürgeramt. Simply choose the Anmelden einer Wohnung option to register your residence then select a date that suits you.  You need to register within two weeks of arrival, but I was only able to get an appointment after three weeks which was fine.

Day of the appointment

Bring your emailed confirmation with you to show to the reception and they can motion you to a waiting area.

Inside the waiting area is a screen where you wait for your transaction number to come up alongside the name of the desk number to go to for the form registration.

Then you provide the documents to the staff member.  It takes about 10-15 minutes to add everything in the system (depending on how slow they type, really), then you’re all set!

Make sure to double check your details and that they provide you with a registration certificate (called “Meldebescheinigung”)

They will print out a couple of pages, one page will be handed to you. After I stepped out the Bürgeramt, I decided to double check my details and they had my birth of date wrong.

When I got back, I tried to communicate to reception in bad German/English, but they could’t understand what I was trying to say, though luckily the staff that did my details saw me, then understood the issue.

After they finished up with another client, they sorted out my paperwork to the right birthday.  Then, he handed me a different piece which is the registration certificate (called “Meldebescheinigung”).

Can you get your Identifikationnummer on the same day?

I initially was planning to get my Identifikationnummer on the same day since I have read that once you register, you can go to the Finanzamt and try to obtain it.  I asked the Bürgeramt, and they said that I need to wait a couple of weeks for the letter.

Got A Question About Working Holiday Visas? Some things to keep in mind when you are information gathering!

It has come to my attention that there are quiet a number of blog posts and forum posts out there from WHV holders, including potential holders. I am also seeing threads created in general expat/immigration type of forums.

The issue with obtaining WHV information online (outside of what’s on the consulate), and that includes my blog, is that you don’t know if this info is relevant to you.

In addition, the main issue about creating threads looking for advice in forums is that frankly, many of the commentators out there are not at all familiar with the WHV.  You then run the risk of getting advice that’s just completely-out-there-wrong.

If you are looking for information about WHV, I highly recommend that you get information from current and past WHV holders.  WHV is a very specific and unique visa category and many people are not familiar with the nuances involved in this category.

As a current and past holder of working holiday visas for Canada, the UK, Ireland and Germany (as of May 2017!), I know that while I do look for advice, I’ve also found advice that I know is either inconvinient, or incorrect.

For example, I have written some blog posts preparing for my move to Germany (preparation, apartment) and doing these have made the process smooth for me.  There are posts out there that talk about not getting your visa until after arrival – which would make things unecessarily difficult for you since there is the added issue of finding housing and potential risk of getting your paperwork wrong.

I also recommend finding and securing an apartment online.  Now, someone replied back to me saying that there are scams online.  Yes, I am completely aware of these scams (I have even reported some myself), and at the same time, I also know of several people who were scammed even after viewing the apartment in real life.  Just have your common sense and wits about you when making these types of decisions.

Anyway, I just thought to write this post in case someone out there is looking for WHV info.

How I Spent February-March Planning My Move to Germany

November 2015 was the first time I started planning my move to Germany.  In fact, I had put forward the exact month and year that I’ve be moving – March 2017.  I remember at that time, two years just seemed so far away, but life has a habit of just moving along, then next thing you know it’s March 2017 and I’ve just bought my flights to Berlin and waiting on my German work visa.

From November 2015 to February 2017, I barely did any planning. The only thing I did was send an email to the German consulate in Canada (where I was residing at the time) in August 2016 at the possibility of obtaining my German visa at the Consultate based in Toronto.  Nothing more was done after that.

It wasn’t until late February 2017 that thing slowly started to pick up.  I sent an email to the German consultate in Ireland (where I was residing at the time) to check if I can apply at their Consulate and got my confirmation.  I was contemplating on applying after arrival and figured that it would be much more difficult doing so.

I started researching options to find a place and there were many.  I realized, at least from one reply, that the real estate agents usually would prefer to arrange viewings on the week of arrival, so they told me to get in touch with them again later on in the date.

During that time, I was spending more and more time at moving-to-Berlin type of blogs and making a lot of notes along the way.  Everything from the kinds of visas that I can apply for, to the whole registration process, and so on.  Much of what I have done during this time has been process-oriented focusing on administrative details and practical stuff to do.  I don’t have the time or energy to go around Pinteresting Berlin inspiration photos or read through things to do in Berlin for the weekend.

Early March 2017 I arranged my appointment with the Consulate, did some more apartment research.  I was very keen to find an apartment before arrival since I was aware of how much things I will be bringing with me, that I’ll still be working full-time, that I have an online course that I need to finish and that I will have some issues with the whole not-speaking-German thing.

I also arranged my residence appointment at the Bürgeramt for March 30 – the day before my contract started.  Though at the time, I was missing one important document that I can only obtain after moving in.

Mid March 2017, I have found my apartment and arranged to have the paperwork, contract and security deposit sent through.  I also booked my flights.

I missed my earlir Consulate appointment, and ended up having to reschedule.  I was two weeks behind schedule of getting my German visa.

I also finished organizing through the logistics of my move from the Berlin airport, to the airport hotel and from the airport hotel to my new apartment.  For example, what transport options are available to me?  How many minutes if the taxi ride from the airport to my apartment in case I don’t feel like using public transport? That sort of stuff.

I was also making notes of what I need to do at the Finanzamt.  The plan is that on the same day as my residence registration, I was going to go to the finance office and try to get my tax ID on the same day (didn’t work out) and talk to them about setting up my freelance number (didn’t work out..again…language barriers)..  I wrote down what public transport options to take, how long is the car drive in case I need to use a taxi, what paperwork to fill in and so on.

Again, it was all administrative stuff.

Late March 2017 I try to open a bank account.  Unfortunately, didn’t work out with the whole identification thing.  Plus, the customer service was not good so for me, it was a red flag not to use them!

I also get my signed contract from the landlord.

March 27 2017 I get my German work visa – just a mere one day from flying out to Berlin and picking up the keys to my apartment!  This was all completely stress inducing.  The reason why it was this close was because I missed my earlier appointment with the Consulate and had to reschedule.