First Steps in Germany
The first important bureaucratic steps in Berlin.
The Welcome Service is happy to help you with:
Booking an appointment
Filling out the registration form
Applying for the certificate of conduct (Führungszeugnis) for official purposes
Registration (Anmeldung einer Wohnung)
Within two weeks of moving into a new place, you need to register at one of the 40 district offices in Berlin. You will need to make an appointment in advance. You can do so online or call 115 for the district office hotline (Bürgertelefon). Appointments fill up fast, so you should plan to schedule yours at least a month in advance.
*** Tip: It helps if you are willing to take an appointment anywhere in the city: Click on “Termin berlinweit suchen” when you go to schedule online.
You will need to present the following documents when you go in for your appointment to register:
- Government issued identification (such as a national ID card) or passport, and/or supplementary passport documents for foreign nationals (e.g., residency permit)
A completed registration form
- An official occupancy notice from the property manager/owner of your new place
- rental agreement
Government identification or birth certificates of any children who are also moving in
You do not have to pay any fees to register.
At the end of your appointment, you will receive a certificate of registration ("Anmeldung"). Keep it in a safe place with your other personal records. You will need it again for various official purposes, e.g., when you apply for a residence permit or when you open a bank account.
Tax Identification Number (Steueridentifikationsnummer)
The first time you register in Germany, the Federal Central Tax Office will issue you a tax identification number and send it to you by mail within about two weeks. Your employer will need your tax identification number in order to share important tax information with financial administration offices.
*** Tip: Make sure that your name is on your mailbox at home so that you can receive the letter with your tax ID when it comes.
Certificate of Conduct for Official Purposes (Führungszeugnis zur Vorlage bei einer Behörde)
If the personnel office requests a certificate of conduct for official purposes, you can apply for one at the district office.
The certificate of conduct costs 13.00 euros (amount based on information available as of March 2020).
***Tip: Make a note of the full address of your personnel officer (including their administrative reference code), as the official certificate of conduct cannot be sent to your home address.
If you do not have a passport from an EU member state and you plan to stay in Germany for more than three months, you will need to apply for a residence permit at the local immigration office. You can schedule an appointment yourself or take advantage of support offered by the Division of International Affairs at Freie Universität Berlin. Their staff can advise you and help you with the application process. Further information can be found on the Berlin Immigration Office website, or you can contact Freie Universität’s International Affairs directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Applications for a residence permit can only be submitted within the six weeks just before your prior permit expires.
If you would like Freie Universität’s passport support service to help, you will need to provide them with the following:
- A completed application form (application for a temporary residence permit/granting a residence permit)
- A valid passport
- Employment agreement/statement of intent
- A biometric passport photo
- Certificate of registration from the district office (Bürgeramt)
- Proof of health insurance
- Proof that you are financially self-supporting e.g., employment contract)
In case you want to apply and schedule an appointment yourself, please note that the online appointments fill up months in advance. Please schedule an appointment as early as possible. To check current availability, please visit the Berlin Immigration Office website.
Contact Passport Service at Freie Universität Berlin
Tel.: 030 – 838 -57304
Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. and 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
- Informationen about entry and residence permits
- Schedule an appointment
- Application for residence permit (Berlin Immigration Office)