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Registration Procedures: General Remarks

Basically any international visitor who intends to stay in Germany for more than 3 months has to register at two offices upon arrival: first the residents' registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) and then the foreigners' registration office (Ausländeramt). The only non-German exempt from this rule are citizens of the member states of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland. They only have to register at their local Einwohnermeldeamt. There they will be given certification of their right of residence, the so-called Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung (freedom of movement certificate).

In Bielefeld, you will find the residents' registration office as well as the foreigners' registration office in the building of the New Townhall.

Certified translations of important documents (e.g. your diploma or school certificates of your children) you can get in your home country or in Germany. You can find a list of authorized translators ->here.

+Registration Office

In Germany everybody (including all Germans) is obliged to register. This means that everybody living in the country has to register at the Einwohnermeldeamt and report where she or he is living. Failure to do this may result in a fine.

In order to register, you need a place of residence or an address where you can be contacted and registered. All you have to do is to bring your valid passport or identity card. The same applies to family members travelling with you (spouses, children).

Please consider:

It is important that you register within a statutory time period. The law allows you only 7 days to do this.
If you move within Bielefeld, you have to report this to the Einwohnermeldeamt. If you move within Germany, you have to go to the Einwohnermeldeamt of your new place of residence and register your new address.
Keep in mind that you have to unregister when you are leaving Germany in the end of your stay.
If you will be employed at Bielefeld University, the Registration Office is also the place to apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct. The fee amounts 13€ and will be sent directly to the human resources office of Bielefeld University within 3-4 weeks after the request.

+Residence Permit

In Germany all non−EU nationals, who stay longer than three months will get the electronic residence permit (eAT) which is issued as a separate document in credit-card format incorporating a number of electronic functions.

This means an extension of the period of time between the application and the receipt of the residence permit − it might take up to seven weeks. There is also an increase of costs: the fee for the residence permit is now 100€, for a prolongation 93€. Everybody who has to travel to another country in the meantime and/or will be employed can ask for a so−called "Fiktionsbescheinigung" at the foreigners−office to bridge the waiting period. The fee is 49€ and a copy must be given to the employer.

In the brochure of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees "All you need to know about the electronic residence permit (eAT)" you will find more information about the electronic residence permit. ->Here you can download the brochure in many other languages in PDF-format.

For foreigners, who have to enter on a visa, any stay exceeding the period validated by the visa must be authorized. In order to do this you need to obtain a residence permit. This also applies to foreigners who are eligible to enter the country without a visa for stays of one to three months.

If you want to stay longer than three months, you must register at the Residents Registration Office within the first week after your arrival. Subsequently your visa, which is only valid for entering the country, will be replaced by a residence permit. Foreigners who wish to pursue employment in Germany usually require a residence permit authorizing employment.

To apply for a residence permit, you will require:

  • Proof of funding (e.g. work contract, fellowship or blocked account)
  • The filled application form obtained from the foreigners-office or the Welcome Centre
  • A valid passport
  • A recent, biometric photograph
  • A proof of financial means (scholarship, work contract, a alike)
  • The proof of residence (Meldebescheinigung) from the Residence Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt)
  • A proof of health insurance (Krankenversicherungsnachweis)

To apply for a residence permit for marriage partners and unmarried minors who are accompanying you or joining you, you will additionally need:

  • For the marriage partner: the original or a legally endorsed copy of the marriage certificate with the authorized German translation if it is not an international certificate
  • For the children: the original or a legally endorsed copy of the birth certificate with the authorized German translation if it is not an international certificate

If applications are not made jointly, you will also need to provide your family members with a copy of your valid passport, a copy of your valid residence permit and a proof of health insurance.


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