EU Citizens Moving to Germany

Understand the residency rules for European Union citizens moving to Germany to live, work, study or retire...

All EU citizens plus those of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland can legally live and work in Germany, and may enter the country with a valid passport or photo identity card. No visa or work permit is required.

EU nationals: right of residency

On the basis of the EC Treaty, residence permits are not required for EU citizens who wish to move from one EU member state to another; however, they may be required to register their presence with the local authorities. The following purposes of stay are regarded as residence:

  • Employment (including job-seeking)
  • Study
  • Economically non-active
  • Staying as a family member of a citizen of the Union
  • Pensioners

The non-EU spouse or legal partner and family (dependent children, grandchildren, and parents) of an EU citizen have the same rights as any EU citizen in Europe. However, they will need a visa if they come from a country that has visa requirements for the EU. For unmarried couples, the definition of legal partner may vary depending on the country. 

Obligatory police registration

On moving to Germay, all residents must register with the local Bürgeramt. Registration must be done at the local residency office (Einwohnermeldeamt or Bürgeramt), usually found in the town hall, within one or two weeks, depending on the state, of finding permanent accommodation. A certificate of registration (Meldebestätigung) will then be issued.

The following documents are required when registering:

  • Valid EU passport or national identity card
  • A completed registration form (Anmeldeformular)
  • A copy of the lease or rental agreement (Mietvertrag) as proof of accommodation or a signature from the landlord on the registration form

The registration form can be obtained free from the local registration office (Meldeamt or Meldestelle)

Note that any change of address must be re-registered with the registration office.

Further Information

  • Headed to Berlin? Read the Berlin file to get an inside understanding of each district in this eclectic city