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.

Another +1 for new Berlin folks

Previously, I wrote about using PrimePantry for my first proper grocery shopping trip. This came about since I don’t know German that well, wanted to save time shopping and wanted more types of product.

At the same session, I was doing a lot of household related shopping.  When I first moved into my apartment, it was already furnished and basically ready to move in but I wanted to buy some household items anyway. I had planned to go out but … again would have to face the task trying to translate things from German to English (again, I know very little German and have only been here for less than a week), getting lost, getting hopelessly distracted by doing tourist things since I’m still in tourist mode.  I decided instead to just buy it all online.

I think this screenshot also shows another one of my dilemmas:

Yes, that’s for buying something as simple as a new set of pillow cases and now my pillow world has completely diversified.

First week in Germany: The Language

This YouTube video is also a good overview of the difficulties that you can have for not speaking German in Germany:

A few people have told me that you can get by with English in Berlin, but I have found this to be far from the case. From government papers, to contracts, from work opportunities to making friends and doing normal everyday activities like grocery shopping…it is immensely helpful that you know some of the German language. So while you can get by being a tourist visiting Berlin, it’s a different story when you are actually trying to live in Berlin.

This was more evident on my first day in Berlin, in Aldi. At the dairy aisle, I was thinking about which yogurt to buy when I had a man’s voice say something in German near me. I didn’t take much notice of him, then I heard the word a very strained “Bitte” and I looked sideways. It turned out that he was hauling some large boxes and I was in the way, so I quickly got out of the way. Another time was in Aldi, when the lady asked for coins…I thought that I was short of cash, so I took out a large note. She shook her head and proceeded to give me the change anyway. Since then I’ve been making the effort to actually hand something in correct cash just to avoid these types of scenarios!

This is all probably minor, but now my mind is thinking various what if scenarios when things are spoken to you in German…

Anyway, right now I am making as much of an improvement as I can to understand the language. I find that my reading and writing comprehension is better than my spoken and I probably fared the worst when it comes to understanding spoken German. Although, I was in Aldi again when I overheard and recognised “Wie gehts!” and was understanding the numbers spoken to me.