Register your place of residence in Germany: power of attorney, costs, GEZ and required documents

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Do you know that you have to register your place of residence in Germany if you move within the city limits? 

Register your place of residence: If you have already moved out of your current apartment house and have completed the move, the hardest work is done, but the bureaucratic procedure remains. This article explains how and where you can register your place of residence, how long you have to do it, and what you need for it.

Register your place of residence

Register or register your place of residence?

This difference will be important for you when it comes to whether you are going to stay in your current city or if you are moving into your first own apartment and will be responsible for another residents’ registration office. The latter is the case if you for example move from Berlin to Cologne. Then you have to register your new place of residence with the registration authority responsible for you after the move . 

The local registration office where your new home is located is always responsible for changing your place of residence. These registration offices are often located in the town hall, town hall or citizens’ registration office of the respective city or municipality. You can find out the telephone number on the internet, in the telephone book or through information. The centers of the residents’ registration offices can also give you all the important information such as telephone number, contact person, opening hours and address. 

Which deadlines have to be observed when re-registering?

If you move into a new apartment, you have to register within a certain period according to Section 17 of the Federal Registration Act (BMG) . How long you have to do this depends on the responsible registration authority. Usually the period is one to two weeks. This period is also mentioned in the BMG. 

Failure to meet the prescribed deadline can result in a fine. The decision on the imposition of such a fine is always made by the responsible clerk. Normally, the fine for exceeding the deadline for changing your place of residence is between 20 and 30 euros. 

Because the registration offices in many cities are overloaded, you should make an appointment early on so that you can really meet the deadline. If the deadline was not your responsibility, the clerk will not impose a fine. 

Register your place of residence

Register your place of residence with a power of attorney

In principle, it is possible to send a representative to the registration office to do the re-registration for you. If, for example, you have to travel for a long period of time immediately after changing your place of residence, you can issue a person you trust with power of attorney to re-register, hand over the necessary documents and your representative can then register your place of residence. 

How such a power of attorney is formulated is up to you. It can also be handwritten. In order for the registration authority to accept them, certain information must be included:

  • Name of issuer and authorized representative
  • Date of birth of the issuer and the authorized representative
  • Current address of the issuer and the authorized person
  • Name and address of the registration authority
  • Signature (by hand) of the authorized representative

Important note: Some residents’ registration offices now offer the option of re-registering your place of residence by post or using an online form. On the websites of the authorities there is usually an indication of whether it is possible to change your place of residence by post or electronically. 

Incidentally, up to the age of 16 your parents or the parent with legal guardianship are responsible for changing your place of residence. You can not legally change your place of residence  until you reach the age of 18 without their assistance .

You need these documents if you want to register your place of residence

As with almost every official process, you also need documents for the re-registration. Normally you need the following documents for the registration office :

  • Identity card and/or passport (of all persons to be registered)
  • Registration form (often available as a printable online form, filled out and signed)
  • Landlord certificate as proof of an existing rental agreement (also known as landlord confirmation)
  • Extract from the land register, notary contract or current property tax assessment (only when moving to a condominium or home)

If you have all the documents with you, you can register your place of residence in just a few minutes. So that you don’t have to bridge long waiting times, it makes sense to make an appointment for the re-registration in advance. This can save you a lot of time. 

Register your place of residence

What are the costs of re-registering your place of residence

In many cities and communities, registering your place of residence is free of charge as long as you do not have to pay a fine because you are late. It is not uncommon for the registration offices to charge a so-called processing fee of a maximum of 20 euros as the cost of changing your place of residence. 

So take enough cash or your credit card with you to your re-registration appointment. As already mentioned, you will only incur additional costs if you do not meet the deadline for changing your place of residence through your own fault. 

Registering your place of residence with other institutions such as the GEZ Were
you able to register your place of residence? Good, because you also have to inform other institutions about your change of residence and make certain registrations again, e.g. e.g.:

  • GEZ
  • Telephone and Internet (including mobile operators)
  • electricity and gas
  • Employer (in the case of unemployment assistance or Hartz-4, the Federal Employment Agency)
  • Tax office
  • Bank
  • Kindergarten and/or school (of the children)
  • Insurances
  • Vehicle registration authority
  • Societies or clubs
  • Subscriptions (e.g. for magazines, daily newspapers)

Practical tip: What many people tend to forget is the forwarding request for the post. In this way, you can ensure that you receive all important shipments in good time, even after you have moved. At the same time as the forwarding order, you can also order a notification service. Then everyone who sends mail to you will receive a notification with your new address. 

If you place such a forwarding and notification order online, make sure that it is really Deutsche Post that you are communicating with. There are third-party providers that only have nothing to do with Swiss Post on closer inspection and charge significantly higher costs. 

Above all, you should register your place of residence, because only then can you complete many of the above-mentioned administrative procedures. Many would like a confirmation of the re-registration for their records.

Register your place of residence

Conclusion: Registering your place of residence should be well planned

Even if you have a lot to think about when changing your place of residence and moving into your first apartment, registering your place of residence is an important step. After all, the new apartment is officially his place of residence. Due to the various change-of-registration options (in person, online, by post), this task takes very little time. 

If you really don’t find time, a representative with power of attorney to re-register can take over the administrative process for you. Registering your place of residence is also so important because you can only inform other institutions afterwards, such as the registration office for your vehicle. In addition, re-registration is required by law and you can certainly use the fine for not complying with the re-registration deadline for other things.

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