- 1 Why do I need to deregister when leaving Germany?
- 2 Why do I need a deregistration confirmation (Abmeldebestätigung)?
- 3 Who needs to deregister?
- 4 Do I have to deregister when moving to another address within Germany? (Ummeldung)
- 5 What is the deadline to deregister in Germany?
- 6 How can I deregister when still in Germany?
- 7 How can I deregister when I already left Germany?
- 8 Which documents do I need for my deregistration?
- 9 The nine most important things to get right when deregistering in Germany
- 10 How do I know whether my deregistration application was successful?
- 11 How long does it take until I receive my deregistration confirmation from the registration office?
- 12 How can I receive my deregistration confirmation when I am already abroad?
- 13 Where do I need to bring/ send my deregistration documents to?
- 14 How many people can I deregister with one deregistration form?
- 15 I lost my deregistration confirmation.Can I get a new one?
- 16 How can I deregister in person if I don’t speak German?
- 17 Specific deregistration processes in the city of Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt am Main, Hannover, Düsseldorf and Munich
Why do I need to deregister when leaving Germany?
Anyone who is leaving Germany and moving to another country is legally required to deregister.
The so-called Abmeldung (German term for deregistration) should ideally be done before your departure as it is less complicated for you to do it in person than via mail (why will be explained later in this article).
However, it is also possible to do it after you have left. Based on the German “registration law” you need to deregister 7 days before and the latest 14 days after you have left the country – see details here – Bundesmeldegesetz (BMG) § 17 Abmeldung.
If you forget to deregister and pass the 14 days after your official move-out date, you can potentially get a fine, however, this is rather unlikely1Speaking from our experience as a service provider, who has completed the deregistration for hundreds of clients, a fine was never imposed. However, unfortunately, this is not a guarantee. Find more details about this topic here.
Why do I need a deregistration confirmation (Abmeldebestätigung)?
Obtaining this official document is very important when leaving Germany. Otherwise you might still have to pay taxes here. Legally all registered people living in Germany have to pay taxes here.
Further, you will need the deregistration confirmation to cancel your broadcast license, health insurance 22As an example see TK insurance requirements to cancel your membership when moving away here and other contracts. The confirmation mostly allows you to cancel contracts even before they would actually end. Therefore, it is highly recommendable to deregister as soon as possible.
Who needs to deregister?
Everyone leaving Germany and moving to another country must deregister their residence (Germans call it Wohnsitz abmelden). This applies to both foreigners and Germans.
You also have to deregister if you…
- are leaving one of several apartments in Germany, for which you are registered and your main apartment persists
- give up a main or secondary residence, without moving in to another apartment
In case you have not actually been registered in Germany you will not need to deregister.
Do I have to deregister when moving to another address within Germany? (Ummeldung)
When moving within Germany, you will not have to deregister your address. However, you have to register the new address. Germans call this Ummeldung (re-registration).
It is important that you are registered at the address where you are living. When filling out the new registration form, note down your old address on the form. The registration office will automatically deregister your old address and replace it by the new one. You can also keep two residences but make sure to indicate this on the form.
What is the deadline to deregister in Germany?
Ideally, you should deregister before you leave. However, officially you should send off your deregistration form not earlier than 7 days before your departure, otherwise the officials might not be able to process your application. Legally you are required to deregister within 14 days after your depature.
If you forget to deregister and pass the 14 days after your official move-out date, you can potentially get a fine, however, this is rather unlikely.
How can I deregister when still in Germany?
In person: You can easily deregister your residency by going to a local registration office (Bürgeramt) and inform them that you are moving (abroad). Please note that you need to book an appointment in advance.
Following, you will find a list of documents which you need to bring.
When deregistering in person, you will receive a confirmation (Abmeldebestätigung) of your deregistration right away.
How can I deregister when I already left Germany?
Via an authorized representative: If you can not make it to the registration office yourself, you can authorize another person using a proxy form. This person also needs to book an appointment with your local registration office.
As when deregistering in person, your representative will receive a confirmation (Abmeldebestätigung) of your deregistration right away.
Via mail: In case you already left Germany or because you don´t have the time to go in person, you can also complete the process by sending the required documents by mail to your local registration office. But, do not send the documents earlier than 7 days before the actual move out date. A few registration offices also accept deregistration applications via email. To make sure they do, please check the information on their website.
Important note: It is highly reccommended to provide a German residential address in order to receive your deregistration confirmation. Read more about “How to receive a deregistration confirmation” here.
Which documents do I need for my deregistration?
|In person||– your valid passport (including your visa or permit of residence if you are from a non-EU country)|
– passports of all persons moving away in case of a deregistration of additional family members
|Via mail (email)||– a copy of your passport |
– passport copies of all family members who are to be deregistered from that address
– the completed deregistration form for you + all family members who are to be deregistered with your signature
– a cover letter stating at which German address you would like to receive your deregistration confirmation at (best would be to use a friend’s address)
|Via a representative||– the representative’s own passport|
– a copy of your valid passport (including your visa or permit of residence if you are from a non-EU country)
– a copy of the passports of all persons moving away in case of a deregistration of additional family members
– completed deregistration form with your signature (matching the signature of your passport)
– signed proxy form
Please note: since 2016 you will not need a landlord confirmation to deregister anymore
The nine most important things to get right when deregistering in Germany
- Don´t hand in the application too early. Maximum seven days before the move-out date
- Sign the documents with your official signature shown in your passport
- Provide a copy of your passport including the page which shows your signature
- Provide a valid German residential address to receive a confirmation
- Keep in mind that your documents will most likely not be send abroad if not descriped differently on the official website of your city
- Include a cover letter to explain where the documents should be send to
- Make sure that the spelling of the addresses and names are accurate
- Get the correct address of your responsible registration office
- Have a printer, stamps and an envelope nearby
- Site note 1: Don´t forget to cancel your broadcast license with GEZ 😉
- Site note 2: Don´t want to worry about all these points? Get in touch, we can help.
Step by step guide for your deregistration via mail
This step by step guide explains what to do in order to deregister from Germany
Download deregistration form
Download the deregistration form here.
Fill in your details
Simply fill in your details.
Print and sign the form
Print and sign the documents. Note: It´s mandatory to use the same signature you used to sign your passport.
Scan your passport
Scan and print your passport and include it when sending the documents.
Send the documents
Send the form to your responsible local registration office, the Bürgeramt.
Wait for the reply
It usually takes between 1-3 weeks before the administration sends out your deregistration confirmation. If you have not heard from them after 4 weeks, we suggest to call them directly. The confirmation will be send to the address you are deregistering per default. Most registration offices will not send the deregistration confirmation to your new address abroad. To confirm your deregistration, call the registration office or provide a German address they can send the confirmation to.
Create a cover letter (optional, but recommended)
It is highly recommended to add a cover letter, to clarify at which address you´d like to receive the confirmation at.
NOTE: Most of the registration offices DO NOT send a confirmation abroad. Make sure to provide a valid German residential address (e.g. a friends place) to receive your deregistration confirmation.
How do I know whether my deregistration application was successful?
You know that your deregistration was successful once you received the deregistration confirmation.
Requesting your deregistration via mail, this usually takes 2-3 weeks. If you have not heard back from the registration office after 4 weeks, you can try calling them and ask for information or get a so called “Melderegisterauskunft” (registration information) at your city. 3As an example see Melderegisterauskunft Berlin here
Google: “Melderegisterauskunft + your city”
Please note: If something in your deregistration application does not fulfill the requirements, the registration office is not obliged to inform you about the issue and usually just stops processing your application. Hence, it is important to fulfill all requirements in the first place. See a full list of things to get right here.
How long does it take until I receive my deregistration confirmation from the registration office?
(Requested via mail)
Depending on the city, it can take up to 3 weeks before receiving the confirmation. The smaller the city, the quicker they are.
Corona update: Due to the pandemic, most registration offices face a higher work load. This is why it might take even longer than 3 weeks before they send out your “Abmeldebestätigung”.
How can I receive my deregistration confirmation when I am already abroad?
By default the registration office will send your deregistration confirmation to your former German address. It´s strange, cause you just left this address, right? Welcome to funny but not funny German bureaucracy.
Furthermore it is not guaranteed that they will send the confirmation to an address outside fo Germany.
Solution: To optain the confirmation when being abroad already, it is highly recommended to provide a valid German residential address. You could ask a friend, flatmate or colleague to receive the document or use a service provider who will include this in their service.
Note: Add the following sentence to your cover letter to explain that you´d like to receive the document at a specific place: “Bitte senden Sie die Abmeldebescheinigung an die nachstehende deutsche Adresse: (insert German address)“.
(English: Please send the deregistration confirmation to the following German address: (insert German address)).
Where do I need to bring/ send my deregistration documents to?
As described above, you can either request your deregistration in person (yourself or by an authorized representative) or via mail. Either way you can usually go/ send the documents to every registration office (Bürgeramt) in the city where you are registered. You can also find out which registration office you have to go to by checking your registration confirmation document.
Further, you can search the internet for “Abmeldung + the city (+district) where you would like to deregister”. Once searched, you should immediately get results by the respective registration office.
… Or have a look here to find a list of all registration offices in different, big German cities.
How many people can I deregister with one deregistration form?
With one deregistration form you can deregister yourself + your family – meaning your partner only if you are married, and your children. If the form only gives space for three people, simply use another form for the rest of your family.
I lost my deregistration confirmation.
Can I get a new one?
You will only receive one official deregistration confirmation. However, you can request additional registration certificates stating your current residential status for a fee (5,00 -10,00 €). You can request a “Meldebescheinigung” (registration certificate) either in person or via mail at your local registration office which (inmost cases) need the same documents as for a deregistration confirmation (stated above).4As an example for Berlin, see where you can request a “Meldebescheinigung” here
How can I deregister in person if I don’t speak German?
You can always try to communicate with the authorities in English. However, they don’t always speak English. The bigger the city, the higher are the chances that they do..
The easiest option is to bring a friend/ colleague who speaks German with you to the registration office.
Furthermore the Google Translate App should work totaly fine as well. Most of the people working at the registration office are friendly and will appreciate the effort of communicating in German.
Useful German terms for the deregistration process
|Einwohnermeldeamt||Residents’ registration office|
|Abmeldebescheinigung/ Abmeldebestätigung||Deregistration certificate/ confirmation|
|Tag des Auszugs||Move-out day|
|Bisherige Wohnung||Previous flat|
|Künftige Wohnung||Future flat|
Why should I also cancel my German public broadcast license (GEZ) when deregistering?
If you leave Germany and don’t cancel your public broadcast license, they will continue to charge you. And if you don’t pay their bills, they might charge additional fees. Hence, it is favorable to cancel it right away when leaving Germany.
What else do I need to think of when moving away/ deregistering in Germany?
If you leave Germany for good, you might want to take a look at our checklist for people who leave Germany to not forget about something important:
Specific deregistration processes in the city of Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt am Main, Hannover, Düsseldorf and Munich
The deregistration process can differ slightly per city: as in Munich, you need to fill out a different deregistration form as in most other cities, some registration offices in Frankfurt a.M. are temporarily closed due to Covid-19, in Düsseldorf you can request your deregistration via an authorized representative with a specific proxy form, in Cologne you can not request your deregistration via email, Berlin registration offices prefer you to get your deregistration done at the registration office in the district of your residential address and in Hannover you don’t need to fill out a specific form but just provide the registration office with a blank sheet of paper with certain information…
Below we have linked step-by-step guides which describe the processes specifically for your city.