In a nutshell
New Federal Registration Act (BMG) as of 01.11.2015: Please note that since then a housing provider confirmation must be submitted. The tenancy agreement alone is no longer sufficient.
Anyone moving into an apartment must register with the registration office of the new place of residence. The deadline for registration is two weeks after moving in.
If residents have only one dwelling in Germany (96% of all cases), this is a sole dwelling according to the linguistic usage of the registration law - and not a main dwelling. However, the legal meaning of the sole dwelling is identical to that of the main dwelling.
If residents have dwellings in several German municipalities, the dwelling which is predominantly used at any given time is the main dwelling. The other dwellings are secondary dwellings.
All other domestic dwellings that have not been designated as the main dwelling by the registration office are secondary dwellings. The obligation to register also applies to secondary residences.
Determining the main residence
The registration law differentiates the determination of the main residence for the following groups of persons:
- Single residents (single, divorced, widowed or married, living permanently separated or one spouse living abroad): The main dwelling of single residents is the dwelling predominantly used at any given time.
- Married residents (unless they are permanently separated and both live in Switzerland): The main residence of married residents is the family home that is predominantly used for the time being (family home). If there is no family dwelling (i.e. if the spouses or children are not registered together for any dwelling), the main dwelling is the dwelling predominantly used by the spouses concerned.
- Minors (under 18 years of age): The main residence of minor residents is the residence predominantly used by the legal guardians.
- Disabled persons in institutions for the disabled: The main residence of disabled persons of full age who are accommodated in a facility for the disabled remains the residence of the previous legal guardians at the request of the disabled persons until they reach the age of 27.
The predominant use of a dwelling is to be assumed where the resident (in the case of married persons: where the family) most frequently stays. For this purpose, the expected days of stay for the next 12 months are to be counted and compared for each dwelling (forecast).
The registration office checks whether the statements on the predominant use are credible (plausibility check). In this context, the distance between the stated places of residence, the usual travel time between them and the frequency of journeys home are of major importance.
Cases of doubt
Only if it is not possible to objectively determine the dwelling that is predominantly used in terms of time without any doubt or if the comparison of the times of use results in only minor differences (up to one month, for example), is the municipality in which, according to the declaration of the resident, the main focus of living relations is located generally decisive for determining the main dwelling.
New Federal Registration Act (BMG) as of 01.11.2015
The new BMG creates uniform federal regulations for the first time. Here are the most important changes:
Registration of a dwelling
- The general obligation to register remains. Anyone who moves into an apartment must register with the registration office of the new place of residence. However, the deadline for registration is extended from one to two weeks after moving in.
The following exceptions to the obligation to register are newly included in the Federal Registration Act
- Anyone who is currently registered with a registration office in Germany and moves into a further dwelling for a stay of no longer than six months does not have to register for this further dwelling. After the six months have expired, registration must be carried out within two weeks if the apartment is actually still being used.
- For tourists who otherwise live abroad and are not registered in Germany, there is an obligation to register after three months.
- As long as citizens are currently registered with a registration office in Germany, they generally do not have to register if they are admitted to or move into hospitals, nursing homes or other facilities that serve to care for people in need of care or disabled people or to provide home education.
Confirmation of housing provider always required
The obligation of the housing provider to cooperate in the registration process has been reintroduced. Housing providers must confirm in writing that the occupant has moved in. The housing provider confirmation is to be presented to the registration authority at the time of registration.
A housing provider is someone who actually lets another person use a dwelling, regardless of whether this is based on an effective legal relationship.
The housing provider is usually the owner who rents out the dwelling. However, a person or body appointed by the owner to let the dwelling may also be the landlord. For example, housing associations can be owners and issue the housing provider confirmation through employees authorised to represent them. Property managers can also act as agents for the owner.
For people who live as subtenants, the main tenant can be the housing provider. The main tenant may also be the housing provider if part of a dwelling is left to a third party for actual use without consideration or merely for reimbursement of expenses. It should be noted that some apartment owners/landlords allow subletting only by agreement. In these cases, the owner issues the housing provider confirmation. You should find out more about this from your apartment owner/landlord.
In the case of self-occupation of an apartment by the owner, the confirmation is issued as a self-declaration by the person obliged to register. As proof of ownership, the extract from the land register or a notarial certification of the acquisition of ownership must be submitted.
In any case, the housing provider is legally obliged to provide the certificate.
- Identity card or passport: Please note the validity.
- Housing provider confirmation (-> Links); In the case of owner occupation of an apartment, the confirmation is made as a self-declaration by the person required to register. As proof of ownership, the extract from the land register or a notarial certification of the acquisition of ownership must be submitted.
- Birth certificate in case of invalid personal document
- Minor children: For the registration of minor children, single or unmarried parents must submit proof of custody and, in the case of mutual custody, a declaration of consent as well as a copy of the identity card or passport of the second custodian.
- When registering a dwelling of persons from abroad, all previous and current civil status certificates must be submitted.
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- Federal Registration Act (BMG)