Once you find a home in Frankfurt, the last step towards becoming a citizen of the city is to register with the local municipality. No worries, because with this 3 step process you’ll be fully prepared before you even arrive in Frankfurt am Main. So let’s make your welcome to Frankfurt official and get you some essential documents at the same time!
Without an official place to live, you won’t be allowed to stay in Germany for more than 3 months. So once you find your own apartment or studio, you’ll want to let the City know you’re there to stay! In fact, you need to register with the city within 2 weeks of your move-in date! And once you’re finished, you’ll have your proof of residence and Tax-ID in the pocket as well! What do I need those for? Well, let me tell you!
The Tax identification number is a unique identifier that makes sure the German tax authorities know who you are. So, this Steueridentifikationsnummer is something your employer will need once you start working as an employee or an intern. You can work without this information, but you’ll be taxed at a much higher rate! Not something we recommend, as your cost of living budget might get into a pinch. Another reason for you to tackle this sooner rather than later.
When you complete your registration, you’ll also receive a document called Anmeldebestätigung or Meldebescheinigung. You’ll receive an Anmeldebestätigung upon your first registration at a new address, and a Meldebescheinigung is more like an excerpt that can be requested later, if you need to prove that you still live at the same address.
The proof of residence this document provides is necessary to employ services that need this type of verification:
By proving you actually live where you say you live makes sure that nobody can take out a contract in your name and makes it a lot easier to avoid mistakes when signing up for services like this. So make sure you keep these documents safe!
Now let’s get down to the actual process itself. There are a number of things you can do to prepare, even from abroad, but in the end you’ll always have to make a personal appearance at one of the local bürgerbüro city registration offices found across its urban neighbourhoods.
Step 1 and 2 could technically be interchangeable, but you can prepare your documents even while you’re not exactly sure when and where you’ll be moving in. Either way, the city will require a number of documents about you and anyone moving with you, such as your spouse or children.
Here’s the list of required documents, so you can prepare them in advance:
Frankfurt’s diverse neighbourhoods are also home to the local Burgeramt, municipality offices that often also include a bügerbüro, where you can complete your registration. Thankfully, you can arrange an appointment from behind your computer, wherever you are! So, as soon as you know when you’ll be moving into your new place in Frankfurt, you can book an appointment at the most convenient time slot.
On the website, select the most relevant option from the drop down menu next to ‘Anmeldung einer Wohnung’. You’ll then be taken to a map of the city, where you can click the Bürgerbüro of choice. I recommend you make your choice based on the most favourable time slot, as each office can easily be reached by Frankfurt’s excellent public transport system.
So, when the day of your appointment finally comes up, you make your way to the bügerbüro you made the appointment with. Make sure you’re on time! Germans appreciate punctuality, so this is a good way to get used to that. If it’s busy, you might be assigned a number (vorgangsnummer). In that case, just sit and wait until your number appears or is called. Don’t miss it, though! Or you might have to plan a new appointment. If it’s quiet, you can usually announce your arrival at the clerk and they will call you when ready. The meeting itself is simply handing over your documents to the clerk, maybe answer a few questions and then you’re done!
Once approved, you’ll usually receive your documents through the mail. This can take up to a month to arrive. So, make sure your mailbox has your name on it, making it easy for the mailman to deliver your important papers to the right address! There you have it, and I can offer you an official welcome to Frankfurt!