Leaving Germany - Ultimate Deregistration GuideHow to Deregister in Germany – Ultimate Guide

If you are leaving Germany and moving to another country, then you must deregister. The deregistration (Abmeldung) of your residence can also be done after you have left. Ideally, though, you prepare everything a few weeks before your departure.

There is a lot of confusing information about German deregistration online.

Before we start, here are some words you may find useful:

Abmeldung – deregistration or de-registration;
Abmeldebestätigung – deregistration confirmation, literally ‘certificate of deregistration’
Bürgeramt or Einwohnermeldeamt – Citizen Office or registration office or municipal office
Anmeldung – registration or residence registration

How do I know that I can rely on the answers provided in this guide?

The answers in this guide are based on the experiences of +15.7500 previous users, and personal interviews conducted with German officials in 16 different registration offices all over Germany (last updated in June 2020). We support expats since 2014.

We also have colleagues users feeding us with live information about changes in bureaucratic procedures all the time.

Of course, there is no guarantee for anything when it comes to the German ‘living organ’ called bureaucracy. That’s why we offer you our money-back-guarantee. Please contact us anytime on www.deregistration.de.

Who must deregister (abmelden)?

  • Everyone who is registered in Germany and moves to another country to live there must deregister.
  • This applies to everyone, Germans and non-Germans alike.
  • If you leave Germany to live elsewhere, you must let the authorities know about this.

If you keep on being registered in Germany you may still be liable to pay tax in Germany.

So make sure to deregister once you leave Germany.

For example: You are registered at the German address Berliner Str. 13, 12201 Berlin. But now you move to England. Then you must fill out a deregistration form, indicating that you deregister from the address Berliner Str. 13, 12201 Berlin. If you do not deregister from this address, the German authorities will think that you still live there. So they may still want you to pay tax in Germany.

If you have never registered in Germany (anmelden), then you don’t need to deregister. This is especially the case, if, for example, you lived in a hotel for some time.

Do I need to deregister, if I move WITHIN Germany? See point 15.

When to deregister your residence in Germany?

  • Normally you should deregister before you move away.
  • Ideally, you send off the deregistration form 2 weeks before leaving Germany.
  • official: 7 days before you leave / 14 days after your departure.

Normally, you can not make an appointment at Bürgeramt earlier than 7 days before you leave. If you need to do it earlier, get in touch with your local registration office to enquire about options.

It is recommended to send the deregistration documents up until 14 days after your departure.

If you have forgotten to deregister in the past, better do it now quickly. This is because you may be liable to pay tax in Germany as long as you are officially registered to live in Germany. See point 5. for more information.

How to deregister, if you don’t speak German?

  • No worries, that is exactly why we have created our deregistration service.
  • Using our online form, you do not need to be able to read the German official deregistration form.

To date, there are no official English translations of these forms. If you use our service, we will automatically translate everything for you.

In short:

  1. you fill out the form in English and we will send the German original version to you – with your data on it.
  2. You will also receive instructions and this guide to help you.
  3. On request (see our Managed Service), we can also take care of everything else for you.

In theory, all German officials should have basic English skills. This is not always the case. 

Some tips from previous users include: If you call an information hotline and the official does not speak English, simply call again, hoping someone else  will pick up. You can also ask to be transferred to someone who speaks English (“Könnten Sie mich bitte mit jemandem verbinden, der Englisch spricht?”). Alternatively, ask a friend to call them on your behalf.

You can always go to your local registration office in person to ask for help. However, be aware that there may be long waiting times, if you have not  made an appointment. Make sure to bring all necessary documents (copy of your passport, etc). And, ideally, bring a German-speaking friend.

Why do I need to deregister?

  • First of all, it is required by law that you deregister your residence once you no longer live in Germany.
  • Once you deregister, you receive a document that confirms your deregistration (‘Abmeldebescheinigung‘ or  Abmeldebestätigung‘).

You need this document to cancel running contracts in Germany. It allows you to cancel contracts before they would normally end (for example, if you have a 2-year long gym contract in Germany, you can cancel the contract early and save a lot of money!). You simply have to show them a copy of the deregistration confirmation.

The end of all your contracts will be the day of your departure, which is written on the deregistration confirmation.

I forgot to deregister and I have already left Germany. Is it too late now?

If you have left Germany without deregistering then… don’t panic. Most registration offices require you to send them the deregistration form 14 days after your departure. Nevertheless, most of our users were fine, if they submitted it after 14 days. 

  • You can simply fill out the deregistration form online, indicating the correct move-out date, even if it is in the past. 
  • It is important that you send the deregistration form to the registration office in the German city in which you were originally registered (for example, if you moved to Munich and registered there, you must also deregister in Munich, if you registered in Potsdam, then you must deregister in Potsdam etc).

Note 1: Some registration offices do not send confirmation letters to an address outside of Germany. As such, it may be easier and safer, if you still have friends/relatives in Germany. You can ask them, if it would be alright, to provide their address on the deregistration form, so that your deregistration confirmation will be sent to their address. 

Note 2: You may have trouble deregistering in hindsight, if you were registered in Saarbrücken – we were told that they do not accept documents sent from abroad! It may sound strange, but apparently some small towns in Germany, especially in the South, don’t have a lot of experience deregistering non-Germans, so they are confused when they get letters from an international address. Again, it might be useful to provide a German address from a friend or relative on the letter. 

Note 3. We always recommend getting in touch directly with your registration office, if you are in any kind of doubt. Then you can ask them where to send the deregistration form that you have filled out on our website. 

Can I deregister without using the German deregistration form?

As long as you provide the following points of data on a piece of sheet. On a A4 paper you have to write:

  • Full name
  • Date of Birth
  • Your last address in Germany, where you are still registered
  • You new address (outside of Germany, so they use this address to send the confirmation)
  • Your signature

Sometimes you can. Upon calling a number of registration offices in Germany, we were repeatedly told that you deregister without using the official deregistration form (updated in August 2019).

However: Most German officials in registration offices normally prefer you to use the common deregistration forms to make their work easier. In fact, we have had many users who were unsuccessful trying to deregister by just putting their data onto a simple piece of paper. This is because not all officials are aware that you can deregister this way. Some registration offices in Germany even have their own tailor-made deregistration form. The bottom line is: Always double-check with your local registration office.

What documents do you need for your deregistration in Germany?

To successfully deregister in Germany you need the following documents:

  •  The filled-out deregistration form (Abmeldeformular)
  • Your passport
  • A copy of your passport (black / white is acceptable)

Note: You no longer need a move-out confirmation from your German  landlord. This regulation was changed some years ago.

Step-by-Step: How do I deregister my residence in Germany?

Deregistration is probably the easiest bureaucratic step in Germany. Maybe that’s because Germany wants you to remember the good sides :).

  1. Fill out deregistration form.
  2. Print the form.
  3. Make a copy of your passport.
  4. Send the signed copy of your passport and the completed deregistration letter to your local German registration office. If you use our deregistration service, this address will be printed on the cover letter.

Alternatively, you can deregister at the office in person.

Where should I send the deregistration form and documents?

  • You must send the deregistration letter to the registration office in the city where you initially registered (Anmeldung).
  • One easy way to find out the address of that registration office is by looking at the registration confirmation  (Anmeldebescheinigung) that you should have received when you first moved to Germany.

When there are several registration offices in one city, it typically does not  matter WHICH one you go to. For example, if you are registered in Berlin, you can go to any registration office in any of the districts (Mitte, Kreuzberg, Reinickendorf, etc.) to deregister.

If you use our deregistration form on this website, the address of your responsible German registration office will be printed on the cover letter.

If you want to use our service and want to deregister in Aachen, Aalen, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Celle,  Cologne, Darmstadt, Dortmund, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Essen, Flensburg, Frankfurt a.M., Freilassing, Göttingen, Hamburg, Hannover, Heidelberg, Herzogenaurach, Karlsruhe, Kassel, Kiel, Konstanz, Krefeld, Leipzig, Ludwigshafen, Lübeck, Magdeburg, Mainz, Mannheim, Memmingen, Munich, Mönchengladbach, Neuss, Neustadt an der Donau, Nuremberg, Offenbach, Oldenburg, Osnabrück, Potsdam, Regensburg, Rosenheim, Saarbrücken, Stuttgart, Trier, Ulm, Weimar, Wiesbaden or Wilhelmshaven use our deregistration form.

Where do I deregister? How to find my registration office?

To find out where your nearest registration office is located in your city:
Google ‘your city (+ district) + Bürgeramt’ or ‘your city + district + Einwohnermeldebehörde’.

Bürgeramt and Einwohnermeldebehörde are both two official terms that mean the same thing, namely ‘registration office’ or ‘municipal office’.

Once you google it, the address should immediately appear on Google, or in one of the first few search results.

How do I get my ‘Abmeldebestätigung’ (deregistration confirmation)?

  • Abmeldebestätigung‘ is an official German document that confirms that you have deregistered in Germany.
  • This document is very important because it is written proof that you are no longer resident in Germany.
  • Please note that you do not automatically receive a deregistration confirmation.
  • You must ask for it. If you deregister in person, you can receive the written confirmation on the spot.

You can also ask for the deregistration confirmation in written. After you send off your deregistration documents to the registration office, the confirmation should be sent to your German address after about 1-2 weeks. If you have not received a confirmation within 2 weeks, please call the office directly to follow up. You can find the actual status of your citizen office in our post: Processing times of the citizen’s offices in Germany for deregistration of residence.

Please remember that some German offices do not send deregistration confirmation letters to an international address. So if you no longer live in Germany and you absolutely need the Abmeldebestätigung, you can do is the following: Ask a former employer or a friend in Germany, if it’s okay, if the deregistration confirmation is sent to their address. Once they receive it, they can always post it to you or send it via email.

If you want the deregistration confirmation be sent to a specific address in Germany, you can simply do this as part of our deregistration package. Alternatively, you can simply include a piece of paper with your deregistration documents that says:

Bitte senden Sie die Abmeldebestätigung an folgende Adresse in Deutschland:
Maria Mueller, Amanstr. 21, 12332 Berlin

(English translation, ‘Please send the deregistration confirmation form to this address in Germany: Your address’)

How do I know, if my deregistration was successful?

  • You know that your deregistration was successful, if you receive a deregistration confirmation (Abmeldebestätigung), see above.

If you did not receive a deregistration confirmation (Abmeldebestätigung), then you can call the registration office where you sent the deregistration letter. They can tell you on the phone whether you are ‘listed as deregistered ‘ on their computer.

To find out the telephone number of the registration office, google ‘your city + Bürgeramt Telefon’.

What to do, if the registration office did not receive my documents?

If you sent the deregistration documents to your registration office but it turns out they never arrived, or rather, did not get processed, then what to do? Most likely the letter got lost on the way to the office, or got lost somewhere in the office.

In this case, you will need to print the deregistration form again and resubmit them. Luckily, this does not happen very often.

It is always sensible to make sure your deregistration was successful as soon as possible – make sure to get that piece of paper that confirms your deregistration, or call the office to check if you are deregistered successfully by phone.

Do I have to deregister, if I move to another address within Germany?

  • No. If you move within Germany, then you don’t have to deregister (abmelden) your old German address.
  • You simply have to register the new address.
  • This process is called ‘Ummeldung’, literally ‘re-registration‘.

When you register a new address, your old address is automatically deregistered – unless, of course, it’s a second address and you live at both places. Even if you just move down the street, you still have to register your new residence. There is no way around this. You must be registered at the address where you are actually living.

If you want to be registered at two places at the same time, you must indicate this on your registration form (Anmeldeformular). You can do these kinds of changes on here https://www.sympat.me/solutions/registration-form-anmeldung-germany/.

Can I call the registration office and ask some questions in English?

It’s not 100% guaranteed that you will reach an English-speaking employee if you call the registration office to ask questions. This is particularly the case in rural areas. We have provided contact details from various registration offices all across Germany further below.

Please call: +490115.

Do you have any other questions?

Simply use our contact options below. We are happy to help :)

Please keep in mind that we do our best to provide plausible and up to date information, but, we are not an official advisor (in terms of the Legal Services Act, RDG) on taxes, legal matters and such. Our service does not replace a individual consaltancy by a legal service. We provide you with digital tools and automated workflows to empower you on your deregistration of residence journey.