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

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

A lot of confusing information about German deregistration can be found online.

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

Abmeldung – deregistration or de-registration;
Abmeldebestätigung – confirmation of deregistration
Bürgeramt or Einwohnermeldeamt – citizen’s office or registration office or municipal office
Anmeldung – registration or registration of residence

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

The answers in this guide are based on the experience of +15,750 previous users and personal interviews conducted with German officials in 16 different citizen’s offices all over Germany (last updated in June 2020). We successfully support expats since 2014.

We also have a broad network of colleagues who provide us with up-to-date information about changes in the bureaucratic procedures or local differences frequently.

Of course, there is little guarantee for anything when it comes to the ‘living organ’ called German bureaucracy. That’s why we offer 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 anyone, German citizens and foreign citizens alike.
  • If you leave Germany to live elsewhere, you must inform the authorities.

If you remain registered in Germany you may still be liable to pay tax in Germany and other costs may occur.

So make sure to deregister once you leave Germany.

For example: You are registered at the German address Berliner Str. 13, 12201 Berlin but will now 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 at some point claim tax from you.

If you have never registered your residence in Germany (anmelden), then you don’t need to deregister. This is for example the case, if  you only stayed 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 your move.
  • officially: 7 days before you leave / 14 days after your departure.
  • Ideally, you send off the deregistration form before leaving Germany within the above timeframe and plan in some time for mailing as well.

Normally, you can not make an appointment at the citizen’s office for a deregistration any earlier than 7 days before you leave. If you need to do it earlier, get in touch with your local citizen’s office to find out if they have any other options.

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

If you have forgotten to deregister yourself, it’s best to take care of it as soon as possible. You may be liable to pay tax in Germany as long as you are officially a registered resident 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 understand the official German 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 version to you – with your data already filled in.
  2. You will also receive further instructions and have this guide to help you.
  3. On request (see our Managed Services), we can also take care of the whole process for you.

Theoretically, most civil servants in Germany should have basic English skills but you can’t rely on that. 

Some tips from our previous users are: If you call an information hotline and the official does not speak English, simply call again, to see if someone else will pick up who speaks English. 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 German-speaking friend to call the citizen’s office on your behalf.

You can also go to your local citizen’s office personally to ask for help. Be aware that there may be long waiting times, if you have not booked an appointment. Make sure to bring all necessary documents (copy of your passport, etc) and, ideally, have a German-speaking friend accompany you.

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 terminate contracts before they end (for example, if you have a 2-year contract duration for a gym membership 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 termination date of 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 left Germany without deregistering,… don’t panic! Most citizen’s offices demand that you send them the filled out deregistration form within 14 days after your departure. Nevertheless, most of our users were fine, if they submitted their documents later then those 14 days after their departure. 

  • You can fill out the deregistration form online and put in the correct date that you left Germany, even when that was in the past. 
  • It is important that you send the deregistration form to the citizen’s office in the German city you were last registered in (for example, if you lived in Munich and were registered there, you must also deregister in Munich. Were you registered in Potsdam? Then you must deregister in Potsdam).

Note 1: Some citizen’s offices do not send confirmation letters to an address outside of Germany. So it may be easier and safer, to ask friends/relatives in Germany to provide their address on the deregistration form, so that your deregistration confirmation will be sent to their address. 

Note 2: You may have difficulties deregistering from abroad, if you were last registered in Saarbrücken – we were told that they do not accept documents sent from abroad! It may be odd, but some smaller towns in Germany are inexperienced with deregistering expats or internationals. 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 with your responsible citizen’s office directly if you have any doubts. 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?

You need to provide the following information. On an DIN A4 paper you have to write:

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

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

However: Most German officials in registration offices prefer you to use the common deregistration forms to make their work easier. In fact, we have had many users who were unsuccessful in trying to deregister by just putting their data on a piece of paper. This is because not all officials are aware that you can deregister this way. Some citizen’s 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 and white copy is sufficient)

Note: You no longer need a moving-out confirmation from your German  landlord. This rule 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 citizen’s office in the city where you were last registered (Anmeldung).
  • One easy way to find out the address of that citizen’s office is by looking at the registration confirmation  (Anmeldebescheinigung) that you should have received when you registered there.

In case there are multiple citizen’s offices in one city, it usually does not  matter WHICH one you go to. For example, if you are registered in Berlin, you can go to any citizen’s 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 citizen’s office will be printed on the cover letter automatically.

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 responsible citizen’s office?

To find out where your responsible citizen’s 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, ‘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 the ‘Abmeldebestätigung’ (deregistration confirmation)?

  • Abmeldebestätigung‘ is an official German document that confirms you have deregistered from your German adress.
  • This document is very important because it is written proof that you are no longer a 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 written deregistration confirmation. After you send off your deregistration documents to the citizen’s office, the confirmation should be sent to your German address within 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 current status of your citizen’s 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 address abroad. So if you no longer live in Germany and absolutely need the Abmeldebestätigung, you can do is the following: Ask a former employer or a friend in Germany, if it’s okay, when the deregistration confirmation is sent to their address. Once they receive it, they can always post it to you or send a scan via email.

If you want the deregistration confirmation to be sent to a specific address in Germany, you can simply do this as part of our deregistration package. Alternatively, you can add a piece of paper to 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 citizen’s office you sent the deregistration letter to. 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 if the citizen’s office did not receive my documents?

If you sent the deregistration documents to your citizen’s office but it turns out they never arrived, or rather, did not get processed, then what can you 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 submit them again. 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 register your residence with 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 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 citizen’s office and ask questions in English?

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