Whether you have your residence/employment visa or not if you plan on staying beyond just a quick visit you need to register at your town’s Einwohnermeldeamt (Registration Office) within 7 days of arriving. Beyond the fact that it’s required by law once you complete the process you will be given an official document, the Anmeldebestätigung. This document is key for such tasks as:
- opening a bank account
- purchasing a car
- signing up for cell phone service.
Most of the time you will find the Einwohnermeldeamt is part of the Bürgeramt (Resident’s Bureau)in the Rathaus (Town Hall). Specifically for Lörrach, the Stadt Lörrach Rathaus has directions and office hours here. The US Embassy in Berlin describes this process here.
For the Einwohnermeldeamt to process your paperwork you will need:
- Lease or other documentation from you landlord or company (if you’re staying in corporate housing)
- We found it helpful to have our letters/contracts of employment from our companies as well, though officially these are not required.
In filling out the form there are several things to note and phrases to know (if my translation is wrong please leave a note in the comments and I’ll correct it):
- Bisherige Wohnung [Previous housing/location] Nicht ausfüllen, wenn bisherige Wohnung beibehalten wird. [Don't fill this section out if you are keeping your previous housing].
- Die Anmeldung bezieht sich auf folgende Personen: [This document covers the following people]: Familienname (ggf. auch abweichende Geburtsnamen) [Lastname, if applicable include your maiden name as well. For example "Smith geb. White"] Vornamen (Rufnamen unterstreichen) [Firstnames, underline the name you go by]
- männl. [male] weibl. [female]
- Religion - say ‘keine’. For more details see Living and Working in Germany, 3rd Edition: A Survival Handbook (Living & Working in Germany). As the book says if you say yes to belonging to a religion “you’ll be automatically registered to pay church tax.”
When you’ve filled the form out the German official will give it a big rubber stamp, hand you a copy and maybe even give you a bag filled with local maps and other goodies!