GERMANY: New Registration Act

The implementation of the Federal Citizen”s Registration Act on 1st November 2015, means that all citizens of Germany, including foreign nationals, are now subject to a uniform registration act. Under this new law, all residents of Germany must provide written confirmation of their moving-in, or moving-out dates, to their local registration authority in the form of a document called a Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung.

Residents in Germany must now register at the local registration authority, within 14 days of entering Germany, or moving to a new residence. Residents are also required to de-register one week before, or two weeks after, moving out if they are leaving Germany, by updating the civil register with the actual move date.

Business travellers and tourists are not subject to registration requirements, as long as they are staying longer than 3 months. However, if a stay is extended to longer than 3 months, they become subject to the new rules and must register within 14 days.

Assignees/visitors who are planning to stay in Germany for more than three months but are staying in temporary accommodation on arrival while sourcing long-term rental accommodation, are now required to obtain a Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung, signed and stamped by the hotel/apartment provider, which confirms residency for a minimum period of three months in order to register.

Visitors should be advised that, firstly, not all hotels are willing to sign the Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung and secondly, some authorities may not allow registration with a hotel address. This will make registration with temporary addresses an issue in certain regions, where registration may only be possible with a permanent address.

Although this law is in name, federal, implementation is expected to vary for each local authority. Therefore, location-specific requirements will need to  be clarified with the competent authority in advance on a case by case basis, and where registration is by appointment only, booking requests must be made at least 3 weeks prior to entry. Some regions may provide a list of hotels who have agreed to sign the Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung. It should be noted that each city has its own version of the Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung form, which is the only valid version for registrations and deregistrations in that city.  It is yet to be seen how cities will cope in practice as many regions, particularly those already struggling under the burden of registering millions of refugees, will not in actuality be able to meet the 14 day rule in the immediate future.

Whilst most EU countries require all migrants, including EU nationals, to register with the local town hall with a specified timescale, this new regulation for Germany is now more onerous than most other countries.

Clients are urged to advise us of definite mobilisation date, at least 2 months in advance to prepare for in-country registration accordingly.

Clients should also bear in mind the following:

  • The new rules may cause delays in completion of the electronic work permit (non-EU nationals), which require proof of registration – this is likely to impact visa waiver nationals more than visa nationals, as entry visa allows 90 days for processes to be completed.

  • The new rules may cause delays in applications for tax ID – consequently the assignee will spend a longer period of time on tax class 6 for salary calculation (only relevant for those on German payroll).

  • Penalties of up to €50,000 can be incurred by the migrant and the landlord for non-compliance.

Should you need any further information on the new German Registration Act, or have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Contact Newland Chase