View Full Version : How to get Residence Permit in Germany?

05-19-2004, 07:31 PM
Making sure that you have the right paperwork to stay in Germany often results in an expat’s first real contact with the nation’s bureaucracy. In the first of a two part series, Andrew McCathie sets out a guide to take you through what can be a somewhat daunting process.

A friend once related to me how soon after arriving in Germany he dreamt that he’d had the good fortune of meeting someone in a bar.

But before the rest of the evening could proceed his new love interest first demanded to see his “polizeiliche Anmeldebestätigung”.

Indeed, after moving to Germany, it seems that everyone wants to see your “polizeiliche Anmeldebestätigung”. This is the piece of paper which shows that you are registered with the police.

You will find that almost everyone from libraries, through to accountants, bureaucrats arranging residence permits (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) and banks will want to see it before dealing with you.

If you do get caught up in trouble (even for something minor such as neighbours complaining to the police about late night music) you may find that “polizeiliche Anmeldebestätigung” is one of the first thing that the local constabulary will also want to see.

How to obtain a “polizeiliche Anmeldebestätigung”

Registering with the police is one of the first things you have to do following your arrival in Germany.

Obtaining a “polizeiliche Anmeldebestätigung” means going to the local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt/Meldestelle) which is normally part of the local police station or Town Hall (Rathaus).

Coming from countries with somewhat dubious police records, registering with the police is often something that many people prefer not to get involved with.

But according to German law, you have to register with the police if you intend to live in the nation for more than three months. This should happen within seven days of your arrival in Germany or at least as soon as you have arranged or rented accommodation.

It applies to all residents, both Germans and non-Germans. Failure to register means that you could incur a fine of up to EUR 38.

You can normally track down your local Meldestelle via the internet, combining the local area you live in with the word “Landeseinwohneramt”.

For many newcomers to Germany, registering with the police is often their first contact with the nation’s bureaucracy.

Those lucky enough to have a relocation firm arranging their move or are shifting with a company may find that someone else might take over the task.

The waiting game

Depending on where you apply, it can be a long wait sitting in a less than cheerful office watching numbers ticking away until you’re number comes up and you are called forth to present your papers.

The Meldestelle handles a range of issue, including renewing passports for Germans, so don’t think you can dash in and out. Be prepared to sit it out.

For those living in heavily populated city areas a little planning can help. Work out when you can go, drop by the office beforehand and see what time it opens. It’s best to try to get there early.

Once you get into the office it should all go relatively smoothly with the person behind the desk normally quickly punching your name in the computer – it’s over in a matter of minutes.

Upon completion you will be presented with a ‘polizeiliche Anmeldebestätigung’.

Considering the number times it seems (at least initially) that you are called to present your Anmeldebestätigung, it’s not bad to carry at least a photocopy of it with you at all times.

What you need

It is fairly obvious what you need to take – passport and lease or rental agreement.

A registration form is available free at the Meldestelle. In some parts of the country you can buy a registration form (Anmeldungsformular) for about EUR 1 from stationary shops.

When to an-, um- or abmelden

Once you decide that it is time to move on, you have to front up at the Meldestelle again to go through the job of being “abgemeldet” (de-registered). Some offices allow you to send your “Abmeldung” back though the post, so you don’t have to go through the joy of sitting for another long period in the Meldestelle waiting room.

But should you decide to move to another part of the city you need to “ummelden” (register a change of address) and to take the evidence that you have been “umgemeldet” with you when you register at your new Meldestelle.

part2 :
A "polizeiliche Anmeldebestätigung" (police registration) represents one of the first steps towards arranging a residence permit in Germany. In the second of a two part series, Andrew McCathie takes you through the possibly even more daunting process of finally getting a residence permit stamp in your passport.

Having registered with the police and secured your “polizeiliche Anmeldebestätigung” now comes the hard bit: arranging your “Aufenthaltsgenehmigung” or “Aufenthaltserlaubnis” (residence permit). This normally means a visit to the “Ausländerbehörde” (authority for foreigners) in your city.

In the dramatic days following the implosion of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the Ausländerbehörden in many cities in the western half of Germany found itself at the frontline in the new battle to reach the west following the freeing up of borders to the country’s east.

The waiting rooms and corridors of many Ausländerbehörden swelled over with those attempting to make their way from the former communist states of Central Europe to a new life in the west.

Long queues

Long queues appeared at the gates of the Ausländerbehörde from very early morning. Summer was normally the best time so as to avoid spending lengthy periods standing around in the cold waiting to be let through the Pearly Gates of your local Ausländerbehörde.

Indeed, no matter how legitimate the claim for residency, gaining a permit was often a long and stressful affair with officials appearing reluctant to allow anyone into the country and sometimes ticking off would-be permit holders for not speaking correct German.

Arriving at seven in the morning meant with any luck you could be on your way by three in the afternoon. This was after spending the whole day locked up in a crowed almost Soviet-style waiting room with an enormous array of people also trying to arrange a residence permit. The only thing you all had in common was that the first letter your surname.

A series of bad press reports about life at the Wedding Ausländerbehörde in Berlin meant that the German Press Office stepped in and took over handling of reporters’ residence permits so to keep a nosy press away from the building.

Once again if a relocation firm is arranging your move to German or you are coming with a company, you might be lucky enough to find that someone else looks after the visit to the Ausländerbehörde.

More recently, however, the officials seem to have sharpened up their act. Nowadays visiting the Ausländerbehörde is not the nightmare it once was with those seeking residence permits normally filtered off into different offices based on nationality.

Of course this also means that those from the European Union and other non-EU Anglo Saxon countries don’t see the way permit seekers from more, shall we say troublesome nations, are handled by the officials.

It is still the case that it is best to get there early as you could face a lengthy wait. You are required to apply for a residence permit within three months of your arrival in Germany so there is some scope for planning the day at the Ausländerbehörde.

Internet revolution

As a further step towards becoming more a user-friendly process, many Ausländerbehörden and Landeseinwohnerämter have joined the Internet revolution. This means that in addition to setting out general information about the services the offices’ provide, the key forms are also there for downloading and to be filled out in advance.

How to find your local Ausländerbehörde

The easiest way to find your local Ausländerbehörde is to look up your city’s official website and find the Landeseinwohneramt. When you get to the building you will be looking for Abteilung Ausländerangelegenheiten (department for foreigners’ matters).

What you need

Two passport photos
Evidence of purpose of stay. For example: employment contract, university enrolment
Evidence of Support. For example: enrolment record (university), contract of employment, evidence of earnings, bank statement
Evidence of health insurance (if this is not provided by your employer)
Polizeiliche Anmeldebestätigung
Before you make the journey to the local Ausländerbehörde it is worthwhile ringing up first and checking out the latest details. Normally someone will ask you which country you come from and you will be switched through to the appropriate office.
You should check on the current costs and the opening times. It’s also advisable to go through the list of things you need for the Aufenthaltsgenehmigung. In some circumstances you can even make an appointment. >

As a guide, those from EU nations are not charged for a Aufenthaltsgenehmigung. For those, however, from non-EU nations it costs about EUR50 for the first application and EUR25 for each extension. An unlimited residence permit (unbefristete Aufenthaltserlaubnis) costs about EUR60.

How long is it valid

In general, an Aufenthaltserlaubnis is granted for two years. But this can vary between nationalities as well as EU and non-EU. A provisional permit, which is valid for up to three months can be granted while you arrange your paperwork (health insurance, employment documents). After five years you can apply for an unlimited residence permit.

It should also be noted that under the general heading of Aufenthaltserlaubnis or Aufenthaltsgenehmigung there are several sub-categories.

This includes an Aufenthaltsbewilligung which is for non-EU members who are in Germany for a limited period of time such as for a special academic project. There is also an Aufenthaltsbefugnis, which is for refugees and an Aufenthaltsberechtigung, which is a permit for permanent residency for those from non-EU member states.

05-23-2004, 07:22 PM
hi krish.....neenga intha process ellam studentsukku sollureengala illa working peopleukku sollureengala?

romba complicateda neenga ethaiyo sonna maathiri irukku....

05-24-2004, 12:25 PM
this is general for all. s..it is bit complicated if u r new to germany.


05-24-2004, 06:00 PM
hi krish...
i havent encountered any such great things when i landed here in germany......
it was really cool and easy to go towards these processes..the way u said things will definitely make a person to be afraid of things happening in germany.....

05-24-2004, 06:10 PM
hi krish...
i havent encountered any such great things when i landed here in germany......
it was really cool and easy to go towards these processes..the way u said things will definitely make a person to be afraid of things happening in germany.....

u found it easy becos, some of ur seniors might have helped u in all aspects. its the same with me. it was really very easy for me becos one of my friend accompanied me whereever i go for this kind of burocratic stuffs. but if u write the whole process, then it looks like it is complicated. ofcourse if u do it by urself, then it wll be like this only.

this is nothing when u compared it with "Arbeitsamt" procedures for getting ur work permit even as a student. ok now somehow the rules has changed and it is bit easy when compared to the year 2001.


05-24-2004, 06:32 PM
ya ofcourse my seniors said me but ..it was only me alone went thro all my procedures....but i found it very easy ...

there was not too hard things like this as u hav said ....may be now it has changed a lot-....
like things have been made easier.....

but if a student who sees this right now may b afraid on seeing this long procedure.......

athukku sonnaen

05-24-2004, 07:00 PM
romba bayama irukku bharani :( foreign porathunaa avlo kastamaa???? :(

05-24-2004, 07:02 PM
appadi ellam illa thiru...ellam jujubi thaan :ahha:

05-24-2004, 07:11 PM
hmmm periya aalunga sollureenga ketukaren :(

05-25-2004, 04:24 PM
romba bayama irukku bharani :( foreign porathunaa avlo kastamaa???? :(

onnum bayapada vendam thiru..ellam inga vandha romba pazhagi poidum. innum sila rules and regulationskku idhellam onnumey illa..

so cheers/Krishng.