German Administration

Information about the national and local administrative centres of Germany - where to go for residency papers, vehicle registration papers, driving licences and more...

Germany has an extensive list of national and regional authorities. For foreigners living in the country, the most important requirements are the proof of residence permit and the working visa. These documents are required for a number of reasons, including being to work legally and to open a bank account.

These two documents can be obtained from regional branches of the following offices:

  • Landeseinwohnermeldeamt (LEA): Residence permit authority
  • Ausländerbehörde: Foreigners registration office (Citizens from the EU Member States no longer have to register as a foreigner in Germany).

Everyone living in Germany has to register at the nearest registration office (Meldeamt) to get their official registration document (Meldebestätigung). Citizens moving address within Germany must re-register with the new local office which will automatically inform the previous one. When leaving Germany, citizens and residents need to deregister (Abmeldung).

Principal Offices and Authorities

All other major offices and authorities required by foreign residents and visitors to the country along with a description of the main services offered can be summed up as follows:

Office English What it does
Amtsgericht Local court Deals with court cases and legal disputes, such as non-payment of flat deposit, motoring accidents and so on
Arbeitsagentur/ Arbeitsamt Employment office Assistance and support in the workplace for the unemployed and freelancers
Bezirksamt District authority Day-to-day administration for each local district
Bürgeramt Citizens Office Provides services for citizens which include person and flat registration as well as car registration. The residence permit and foreigners registration office can often be found within the same building
Finanzamt Inland Revenue office For all revenue and tax questions (district specific, depending on residential address)
Gesundheitsamt Health authority Assistance for the disabled, mentally ill and senior citizens as well as pest control and other potential health hazards
Standesamt Registry office For weddings and divorces
Umweltamt Environmental authority Local and national environmental problems, including emissions. Car emissions have to follow the Umweltamt's vehicle roadworthiness guidelines
Wohnungsamt Housing office Organises social contributions for rent and housing

Further Information