Municipal registration and residence permit

As soon as you have found accommodation, you have to register with the local Residents' Registration Office. The office gives you a written confirmation of Registration (Meldebestätigung). After that, you can apply for your residence permit.

Every international student who moves to Germany has to register with the residents‘ registration office – usually within one week. At the Residents‘ Registration Office you have to fill out a registration form. Then you receive a written confirmation of registration. Be sure to keep this document because you will need it to obtain a residence permit from the foreigners’ registration office.

Student at the Registration Office
Student at the Registration Office © DAAD/Jan Zappner

FIRST STEP: REGISTRATION CONFIRMATION AT THE RESIDENTS‘ REGISTRATION OFFICE

As soon as you have found accommodation in Germany, you have to register with the local residents‘ registration office. In some cities, the residents‘ registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) is also called Bürgerbüro or Bezirksamt. You should register within one or two weeks (varies depending on the requirements of the local residents‘ registration office), or you could have to pay an administrative fine (Bußgeld). Sometimes you don’t get an appointment within one or two weeks. What is important is that you booked an appointment as required within one or two weeks. You can usually arrange an appointment .

Important: Keep the confirmation of registration

The residents‘ registration office will give you a registration confirmation when you register with them. Be sure to keep this document! You will need it when you apply for a residence permit at the foreigners’ registration office. If you move again during your stay in Germany, you have to re-register with the residents‘ registration office within one or two weeks! If you move within the same city, you register with the same residents‘ registration office. If you move to a new city, you need to register with the local residents‘ registration office there.

SECOND STEP: RESIDENCE PERMIT FROM THE FOREIGNERS REGISTRATION OFFICE

Residence permit
Residence permit© DAAD/contentküche

Do you come from the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland?

Then you do not need a residence permit, but often you have to provide proof of health insurance and proof of financial resources in order to register with the residents‘ registration office. In that case, the residents‘ registration office will give you a confirmation of your right of residence when you register there for your place of residence.

You do NOT come from the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland?

If you are not a citizen of one of the above countries and you would like to study in Germany for more than 90 days, you also have to go to the foreigners’ registration office in the city where you are studying. You can obtain the address from the International Office. You have to apply for your residence permit at the foreigners’ registration office of the city where you are studying within the first three months.

The residence permit is issued in the form of a so-called “electronic residence title“ (elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel). That’s a card with an integrated chip that holds certain data, for instance your passport photo and your fingerprints.

After four to six weeks you can personally pick up your residence permit from the foreigners’ registration office. It is initially issued for at least one year and no more than two years, but it can be extended. The extension depends on your studies progressing “regularly” (meaning you should adhere to the standard period of study). You need documentation from your university to show this. It is imperative that you apply for the extension before your current residence permit expires!

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