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11 German words you need for an appointment at the Bürgeramt

Tom Ashton-Davies
Tom Ashton-Davies - [email protected]
11 German words you need for an appointment at the Bürgeramt
A man walks to the Bürgeramt in Erfurt. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Martin Schutt

Whether registering a change of address or applying for a passport for your child, Germany's 'citizens' offices' have many practical purposes. Here's the key vocab you need for a smooth visit.


Quite literally translating to an office or department (das Amt) for citizens (Bürger*innen), the Bürgeramt is the home of administration tasks and is a symbol of German bureaucracy.

There are a few key vocabulary words you'll need in your repertoire for the different appointments that the Bürgeramt (also known as the Bürgerbüro, Bürgerdienst, Meldebehörde or Einwohnermeldeamt) offers, including Anmeldung appointments (registering your address) and registering your marriage or a birth. 

READ ALSO: Bürgeramt: Berlin plans to open four new citizens' offices

Der Termin

The word that will begin any process at the Bürgeramt: der Termin (appointment). 

Different places have different methods of scheduling an appointment, but you will either be able to book online, phone the Bürgeramt, or visit in person to secure an appointment. 

Larger cities often have limited appointments, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time and plan at least a few weeks in advance.

Die Anmeldung

Anmeldung is the process of registering your address when you first move into a new flat or home in Germany. Firstly, you will need to find an accomodation that allows for an Anmeldung. 

Once you're lucky enough to find a flat, you can then begin preparing your Anmeldung paperwork. 

READ ALSO: How to understand the German 'Anmeldung'

This consists of a Wohnungsgeberbestätigung form that is completed and signed by your landlord (der Vermieter/die Vermieterin), an Anmeldung form which contains your personal details, and your passport. 

If you are married, divorced, widowed or in a civil partnership, you will have to prove this with an Eheurkunde (wedding certificate), Scheidungsurkunde (divorce certificate), etc.

If you are also registering for your children, you should also bring their birth certificates.

Lastly, if you have a national visa (category D visa) or German residence permit, you should also bring this.

A sign for a Bürgeramt in Berlin.

A sign for a Bürgeramt in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Wolfgang Kumm

Die Abmeldung 

Abmeldung is the process of deregistering your address at the Bürgeramt when you leave Germany.

If you are staying in Germany but changing address, you will hear the term Unmeldung for this process.

Failing to do so could result in issues with taxation and health insurance. 


Die Meldebescheinigung 

In the context of the Bürgeramt, the Meldebescheinigung refers to a registration certificate. 

It confirms your residence at a specific address and is normally required for various administrative and legal purposes. 

Der Ausweis

Your Ausweis is your identification. 

You will normally need your passport (der Pass) to prove your identity at any Bürgeramt appointment. 

Die Steueridentifikationsnummer (also die Steuernummer)

Your Steueridentifikationsnummer is your unique tax ID. 

It can be used to verify your identity when conducting administrative transactions, applying for various social services or government benefits, and is also sometimes required when registering your residence (Anmeldung).

Der Aufenthaltstitel 

Der Aufenthaltstitel (residence permit) is an official document issued by the immigration authorities that allows non-EU/EEA citizens to reside in Germany for a specified period. 

It is granted based on various factors such as employment, family reunification and education.

If you struggle to find an appointment for a visa in your country country of origin, some countries such as the US, UK and Australia allow you to apply for a residence permit once you arrive in Germany. 

Be aware that you should have enough days left in your 90-day Schengen allowance to enter Germany if this is the case. 

Die Zahlungsmethode 

Literally the payment method, this term becomes relevant when there are fees associated with certain services or applications at the Bürgeramt.

Different Bürgerämter have different methods of payment that they accept, so be sure to check whether you will need cash, specific payment cards or if you need to make a bank transfer.


Die Verlängerung 

If you have a residence permit or any other document that has an expiration date, you may need to apply for a Verlängerung (extension) at the Bürgeramt

Sometimes, it is essential to provide specific documentation and fulfill certain criteria to be eligible for an extension.

Die Unterschrift 

One of the most important parts of bureaucracy, your Unterschrift (signature) will often round off many processes at the Bürgeramt

Die Vollmacht

Vollmacht refers to a power of attorney or authorisation letter. 

If you are unable to visit the Bürgeramt, you can grant somebody else the power to act on your behalf. 

You typically need to provide a written Vollmacht document that clearly states the authority you are granting to your representative. 

The document should specify which tasks or transactions your representative can handle.

The Bürgeramt can be an overwhelming experience, so mastering these terms could ease your worries, paving the way for a smoother and more efficient experience.


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