Germany: New law clarifies residence registration requirements

The Federal Registration Act, effective November 1, 2015, replaces existing state residence registration laws, harmonizes registration deadlines and requires residents (including foreign nationals and citizens) to register at a local town hall within two weeks of taking up residence in Germany and to de-register within two weeks after leaving their accommodation. 

Another major change from the current regulations is that residents (including foreign nationals and citizens) registering their residence after November 1, 2015, must obtain a confirmation letter from their landlord. Confirmation letter forms will be supplied by local town halls and may be available online.

Travellers residing in Germany for up to three months are exempt from residence registration as long as they maintain a residence abroad.

Failure to comply with registration requirements can result in administrative fines.

What This Means for Foreign Nationals        

Renters should seek a confirmation letter from their landlord as soon as they arrive in Germany so it is ready in time for the registration deadline.

Although short-term residents are exempt from residence registration, non-visa nationals (such as U.S. citizens and Canadian and Australian nationals) who require a work permit should still register their residence so they can schedule their work permit pick-up appointment with the local immigration office.