Abmeldung: How to deregister in Germany
If you are planning to leave Germany, you will have to deal with a lot of bureaucratic steps. Good planning is therefore vital. Aside from the essential tasks of terminating your lease and organizing your move, you’ll be faced with a variety of paperwork.
Some of the most important things you’ll need to do include officially deregistering your residence (Abmeldung) and terminating various contracts, such as your health insurance, internet, electricity, gas, and mobile phone contracts. You may also want to set up a mail forwarding order, deregister your vehicle and business. Please also keep in mind to stop paying the German broadcasting fees (GEZ) and child benefits.
In this blog post, we aim to provide you with a concise overview of the bureaucratic challenges that await you when you leave Germany. We also give you an insight into which documents you should keep in order to apply for your German pension or receive a pension refund. Having important documents like your deregistration certificate on hand can save you frustration and hassle in the future.
When do I have to end my rental contract?
Quick answer: In general, tenants are subject to a statutory notice period of three months, but it can be shorter if specified in the lease agreement.
The statutory notice period for terminating a lease in Germany is 3 months.
In order to meet the notice period, the notice must be received by the landlord or landlady by the third working day of the month. The termination of a rental agreement is only valid in writing.
In order to terminate an apartment without notice, you must have sufficient and valid reasons. An example is a disproportionate rent increase.
Who needs to deregister?
Quick answer: If you have lived in Germany and registered your home address there, you must deregister when you leave Germany.
Anyone who has registered a place of residence in Germany is required by law to deregister when leaving the country.
So if you’re moving out of an apartment, house, or shared apartment in Germany and not moving to a new residence within the country, you must deregister. You’ll need to fill out a deregistration form, which you can get at the registration office or online.
If you have two or more residences in Germany and you want to give up one of them, you will need to deregister at your local registration office.
How to deregister your German address
Quick answer: Go to your municipal office with your passport and the deregistration form.
Deregistering in Germany is a bureaucratic process that is required when you move to another country and want to end your legal ties to Germany.
4 Steps to deregister your residence:
If you’re not sure, you can check your registration confirmation to find out which office you need to go to. You can also do an Internet search for “deregistration + the city (+county) where you want to deregister”.
Note: It’s mandatory to use the same signature that you used to sign your passport. Some passports can be valid for a long time, and your signature may have changed over the years. In Germany, your signatures on the form and the ID document must match, or the office may not process your deregistration.
Online Deregistration Service
If you’re looking to deregister from Germany, our partner, Deregistration.de, offers a convenient service, that is completely online. Deregistration.de specializes in streamlining the process of deregistering from Germany, offering full assistance without the need for an in-person visit to a local citizen’s office. These services are available to both German and English-speaking individuals, eliminating the need for direct communication with German authorities.
Thanks to this service, you no longer have to worry about how to deregister from Germany. Deregistration.de will take care of the work and make sure that everything goes smoothly.
All you need to do is visit their website and select the package that best suits your needs.
For example, our partner offers a Personal Assistant and a Premium package, both of which are completely digital. If you choose the Premium package, you will have the added benefit of using their online cancellation tool for free, along with the original cancellation certificate sent to your preferred address anywhere in the world.
Of course, you can also deregister in person at a municipal authority in Germany. However, this method can be inconvenient and time-consuming, especially if you do not speak German or have already moved. In addition, many offices have few appointments available on short notice, which can be a significant hurdle in adhering to the stipulated timeframe for the deregistration.
We strongly recommend using this online service, which is not only quick and easy, but also highly reliable.
Deregistering by mail
Deregistration documents can be sent by mail to the Resident Registration Office. You can mail the completed and signed deregistration form and a copy of your identity card or passport.
If applicable, include your visa or residence permit. Do not forget to include the passports of your family members, the birth certificates of your children and any other residence permits. The completed deregistration form must be signed by all family members over the age of 18.
But beware: Most Citizen Service Centers will not send your deregistration confirmation to an address abroad.
Therefore, please include a cover letter stating the German address to which you wish to receive your deregistration confirmation (it is best to use a friend’s address). Enclose a copy of your representative’s passport. If you decide to book the deregistraion.de’s deregistration service, they will act as your German representative.
What documents do I need to deregister?
Quick answer: The completed deregistration form, your ID card
If you’re coming in person, you’ll need to bring your passport (make sure it’s valid), your residence permit (if applicable), and the deregistration form.
In some cases, you’ll need to make an appointment in advance. Please check the citizen’s office’s website to be sure.
You should receive your deregistration confirmation immediately and free of charge.
When you deregister your family members, you’ll need to present their passports. For your children, you’ll need to provide proof of relationship or a declaration of custody.
Birth certificates should show who the legal parents are and be sufficient. Your spouse will need to provide a power of attorney stating that you have the right to act on their behalf.
You must include details of the authorized representative (such as your spouse’s last name, first name, address, date of birth), details of the scope of the power of attorney (general power of attorney or individual power of attorney / what you have permission to do on your spouse’s behalf), details of its validity (until revoked or for a limited time) and your spouse’s signature, with place and date. It can be handwritten, but it must be in German.
It is very important to keep your deregistration certificate
Quick answer: The deregistration certificate not only confirms your status as a non-resident in Germany, but also plays a crucial role in terminating contracts and claiming tax exemptions. It also serves as proof for the social security system, including health and pension insurance, that you are no longer required to pay mandatory contributions.
Be sure to keep the deregistration certificate if you do any of the following from abroad
- Claiming your German Pension
- Applying for a refund of your German pension
- Applying for a German identity card
- Renewing your German passport
In addition to the cases mentioned above, there are several other scenarios in which a deregistration certificate may be required. For example, if you are applying for a visa to enter another country, you may be required to provide proof that you are no longer a resident of Germany.
Ready to unlock your German pension benefits? Contact us today to get started!
Terminating contracts with the deregistration confirmation
Once you have completed your deregistration, you will receive a deregistration certificate.
This document is crucial for exercising your extraordinary cancellation rights and terminating contracts prematurely. It also allows you to cancel your GEZ fees and health insurance contributions.
For many contracts, such as cell phone and Internet contracts, you have a special right of termination if you can prove that you are moving out of Germany.
This is because the provider is unable to provide the services in your new place of residence. This means that you can cancel contracts that normally bind you for 2 years with 1-3 months notice.
A slightly different procedure applies to health insurance. Health insurance is compulsory in Germany, meaning that all residents and employees must have it. Therefore, it can only be cancelled with proof of your departure from Germany. We will explain this procedure in more detail below.
The GEZ fee is also mandatory for all households in Germany and can only be cancelled with valid proof. You can find out how to do this in the next section.
Cancellation of German broadcasting fees
Every household in Germany has to pay the GEZ fees. Therefore, you can only cancel your contributions if you are leaving Germany for good.
The deregistration must be done in writing by mail or by using their online form.
Unfortunately, this process is only available in German. In both cases, you only need to provide proof that you have left Germany.
The deregistration does not have a retroactive effect. Still, it is usually only possible for amounts to be paid in the future. So you won’t get your money back or be relieved of paying if you deregister a few months later.
Cancellation of your health insurance
If you are leaving Germany permanently, you should cancel your health insurance. A deregistration certificate from the registration office is usually sufficient.
Suppose you do not inform your health insurance company. In this case, you will be considered a German resident and will still be required to pay contributions.
If you are not insured or do not pay your insurance, you can expect some consequences: Contribution debts will accumulate. In case of doubt, the customs authorities will collect these debts, for example by seizing your bank account. Insurers will also impose penalties for late payment.
It is therefore important to cancel your health insurance as soon as you receive your deregistration certificate. This is usually done by e-mail.
Cancellation of child benefits in Germany
Entitlement to German child benefit ends when you leave the country. Before leaving the country, the beneficiary must take the initiative and deregister with the relevant family benefits office.
It is not sufficient to deregister at the registration office.
Anyone who lives in a non-European country and knowingly continues to receive child benefit is committing tax evasion. Let’s assume that at some point the family benefits office becomes aware of this (e.g. through a data comparison with the registration office). In this case, the Criminal and Fines Department of the Family Benefits Office can initiate criminal tax proceedings.
The consequence of an investigation can be that the amount wrongly received (since emigration) must be repaid to the Family Benefits Office (with interest) oder so.
Do not forget this. Please make sure you cancel your child benefit in good time.
Documents from Germany that you will need for your pension application or pension refund
Before you leave Germany, it is important to know what documents you should keep in a safe place.
Various documents from Germany will make it easier for you not to lose your German pension contributions.
In most cases, you can either have them paid out as a pension when you retire, or you can have them refunded to you as a one-time payment.
You can check which of these applies to you with our pension check. We’ll show you your options and help you make the most of your German pension contributions.
You should collect these documents and keep them in a safe place:
- Your residence deregistration certificate from Germany
- Any wage tax certificates (you will receive this from your employer at the end of the year)
- Your German social security card/certificate of registration with the social security office
- Proof of the time you spent studying or training in Germany
- Proof of time spent raising your children in Germany
These documents will help you get the pension you are entitled to.
Is it possible to get a pension refund when leaving Germany?
Yes, you can! You have the possibility to reclaim funds from the German pension system, potentially amounting to thousands of Euros, provided you meet certain criteria.
Here’s how it works: If you were employed in Germany and paid into the statutory pension scheme, you can claim a refund under certain conditions.
It’s important to note that this option is only available after two years have passed since your employment ended. More specifically, you must wait 24 months after your last pension contribution before you can apply for a refund.
Your eligibility may also be affected by factors such as your nationality and current country of residence. Check now to see if you qualify for pension refund.
Who qualifies for a pension in Germany?
The German state pension system is designed to be inclusive, offering benefits to a wide range of people.
To qualify for a pension, you must have paid pension contributions for at least five years and have reached retirement age.
If you have worked in Germany (at least part-time), you have automatically paid into the pension scheme. Even if you studied or trained in Germany or raised your children in Germany, these years count as contribution years. You can therefore have them credited.
However, people who have paid contributions for less than five years may still be entitled to a refund of their pension contributions.
Ready to unlock your German pension benefits? Contact us today to get started!