Moving to a new address
Are you preparing to move to or within Germany? Whether you plan to move to a new city or stay in your current city you need to make sure you follow a few very important steps in order to avoid any problems. But, don’t worry – we have you covered with our simple-to-follow guide!
So, where do you begin?
You’ve already found your new place, your lease is signed, and you’re packing your things to prepare for your next adventure! That’s so exciting! Congratulations! You are well on your way to a new adventure! Now you need to prepare your to-do list – and it should contain more than just hiring movers or changing your address with the Post. After all, we are in Germany and there are rules and processes for everything.
Change your address
Depending on where you are from, you will have already thought about this step – but you need to know we are not talking about just letting the Post know so that you get your mail delivered to your new place. Within the first 2 weeks of moving, you must have already registered your new address at the local citizens’ office – in German it is called the Bürgeramt.
Failing to register could impact some pretty major things like your taxes, visa, and insurance, so be sure to avoid missing this step at all costs to avoid fines of up to 1,000 euros, and not being able to receive important letters from the Bürgeramt office!
Remember the Bürgeramtoffice can be pretty slow to set up appointments and get through all the processes, so start this step as soon as possible. As soon as you have your lease, you need to ask your Landlord for a proof of residence certificate, in German it is called a Wohnungsgeberbestätigung. A rental contract will not be enough for you to change your address with the Bürgeramt.
What is the Bürgeramt office for?
The Bürgeramt office is a place you will want to become familiar with. In fact, you may have already visited to do any of the following necessary tasks:
- Registering or deregistering your address
*If you are leaving Germany permanently, you also need to de-register the Bürgeramt within 2 weeks of moving out. You are not allowed to de-register more than one week before you move away.
- Obtaining certificates of registration
- Exchanging your driving license for a German one
- Car registration
- Obtaining recognition for foreign documents
- Applying for housing benefit
- Registering your business
- Obtaining a residents’ parking permit
- Paying dog tax and receiving licenses for pets
You have two options here
- If you are moving within the city or town (municipality) you currently live in, you will need to proceed with the Ummelden process
- If you are moving to a new city or town (municipality), you will want to proceed with the Anmelden process
Now that you know which appointment you need to schedule, contact your local Bürgeramt.
You will need to bring the following items to your appointment:
- valid ID
- visa or residence permit (if applicable)
- and proof of residence certificate.
Utilities, Internet, and Landlines
Besides the Bürgeramt office, you need to inform other authorities of your address change. If you’re a renter, inform your landlord in writing at least 3 months before you plan to move. If you’re not in a shared accommodation where the landlord handles bills, you must inform your utility companies before you move.
For phone line and internet services, you might be able to keep your current contracts, or you will need to give 3 months’ notice and choose new utility companies for your new home. This step takes a little research, and it is important to ask questions with your provider to ensure you have chosen the best option.
Here’s where something in the moving process can be easier! Instead of notifying several different organizations about your move, you can simply use the Deutsche Post’s redirection or moving announcement services.
Deutsche Post offers two services that can simplify the process of notifying multiple organizations about your change of address.
The first is the redirection service, which automatically forwards your letters to your new address for up to 24 months. This can help ensure that important mail doesn’t get lost during the transition.
The second service is the moving announcement, which can inform your bank, health insurance, pension provider, and other organizations about your new address in one fell swoop. This free service can save you time and hassle.
In addition, it’s important to inform your old tax office of your change of address, since your competent tax office, called Finanzamt in German, may change when you move. This can prevent any confusion and fines that could result from late submission of tax returns. Make sure to notify your old tax office well in advance to avoid any issues.
You don’t have to do it alone!
As an expat, I have been there! I know all too well just how helpful it is to have someone there to help talk to the Bürgeramt office and make sure you have everything in order – especially for the first move and when your German is not that great at first, and you are still unfamiliar with all the processes. That’s why we are here to help! You can schedule a consultation call with us to discuss how we can best help you.