Registering Your Address and Other Visits to Authorities
Regardless if you need a visa to come to Germany or not: everyone is required to register their address if they are staying longer than three months. You must register with the local Residents' Registration Office within two weeks after moving into your new home. Depending on the location of your new home, you have to contact one of the following offices:
- For residents of the City of Aachen and residents of the Aachen districts Haaren, Richterich, Brand, Eilendorf, Kornelimünster/Walheim, and Laurensberg: The Citizens' Services Office of the City of Aachen located at the central train station and at the Katschof are responsible. Residents of the Aachen districts above can also go to the relevant district office.
- Residents of the cities and communities belonging to the so-called "StädteRegion Aachen" should refer to the relevant Citizen's Service Office or Residents' Registration Office.
Your current address is registered with the Citizens' Service or Residents' Registration Office. To register, you need a Wohnungsgeberbestätigung, with which your landlord confirms that you moved in. When you register for the first time after coming from abroad, all family members must be present.
You must bring the following documents with you to register:
- Identification card or passport for each individual to be registered
- If your children do not yet have a passport, you must provide their birth certificate – you can the original certificate with a translation for births that occurred abroad
- Married individuals must provide a marriage certificate – the original certificate with an official German translation
After registering your address a registration certificate will be issued and handed out to you. Such a document is required, for example, to apply for the residence permit and to open a bank account.
Please note that it is very important to be registered without interruption in Germany. You may not cancel the registration if you are leaving Germany for a short time, for example for a short term study or research stay in a foreign country or for a short term return journey home. Such an interruption automatically involves the expiration of the residence permit.
If you are not a national of a member state of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, the Citizens' Service Office / Residents' Registration Office will forward your documents to the Immigration Office, where you then can apply for your residence permit.
Basically, you can apply for the residence permit two days after having registered your address. Please note, however, that from the end of August to the beginning of November, a large number of international students and researchers come to Aachen, which results in long queues and waiting times at the above named offices. During these months you should only apply for your residence permit immediately after having registered your address if this is necessary for urgent reasons, for example if you are a researcher and you have to present your residence permit very soon to the Department of Human Resources for completing your employment procedure.
Your visa is generally valid for several weeks when you enter Germany. For this reason, you should take time with applying for your residence permit - you have time to do so until about six weeks before your visa expires.
Please also note that without a valid residence permit for Germany, you are not entitled to travel to any of Germany's neighbouring countries.
If you are a national of a member state of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, you do not need to obtain a residence permit. You only need a valid passport or ID card as well as the registration certificate issued by the Citizens' Services Office.
In Germany the public broadcasting stations ARD, ZDF, and Deutschlandradio charge a broadcasting fee, which is used to finance their programs. The Citizens' Service forwards your address to the fee service and then you receive a registration form. The monthly fee of 17.50 euros is per apartment. If multiple people live together, one person registers and pays the broadcasting fee for the shared apartment. The fee also covers privately used vehicles.
Change of Address
If you move during your stay in Aachen, you must re-register your address with the Citizens' Service Office.
If you are enrolled at RWTH Aachen as a student, or as a student in Bachelor's, Master's, or doctoral program, as an exchange student, or as a freemover, you should change your address in your RWTHonline account, so that important documents about your studies, such as materials to re-enroll, can be successfully sent to you.
Please remember to deregister at the Citizens' Service Office after you have completed your program and before you leave Germany.