Changing your Residential Address as an International Student in Germany

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Your residential address in Germany is very important especially if you are a new international student. Not only for official reasons but also for your health and leisure life as this highly important yet unique data is not only used by bureaucratic officials in Germany but also used by your favorite food and other delivery companies.

Unlike other countries, the format of the residential addresses in Germany is very specific and the postal departments mostly adhere to this format. The residential addresses usually start with your name followed by the name of sublet owner (c/o or bei optional), street name, street number, house number, followed by your city pincode and that’s all. So you should always follow this format without adding any excess information for all domestic posts except your federal states name and country name as Germany, after your city’s pin code only if someone is sending an article from abroad as every foreign postal department follows different norms as per it’s countries standards.

When you first arrive in Germany as an international student, the first and foremost thing to do is to find an accommodation with either a permanent contract or atleast a sub-contract for the first few months until all of your official tasks are completed. After signing your contract, you will mostly get a letter asking for a proof of residence certificate (“Wohnungsgeberbestätigung” / ”Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung”), from your contractor which you can then use to register your complete address at your local city citizen’s office (“Bürgeramt”). After completing these tasks, you have to paste either a hand written or a printed slip of your address over your letterbox, so that you can start receiving your tax id letter and other letters in your postbox. Your complete address will also be mentioned in your city registration address document which will be further needed for your current account opening procedure, university, health insurance companies and later while applying for your residential permit at the end of your visa period. Your mandatory radio bill account is also linked with your residential address and so you can always expect a letter from the Deutschlandradio/ARD/ZDF office usually after a month or two after your city registration date.

So again whenever you change your residential address even within the same building or same city, make sure that you have to do your city registration again and then inform your bank, university, insurance company and radio bill office at least, either by going to their respective website for address change or by intimating them with an appropriate email.

At last but not the least, accepting and embracing German culture also means eternal love for letters and letterboxes as almost everything happens here with a divine touch of cold yet precious humpty dumpty Letters.

Written by
Anurag Bhattacharjee
Master’s Student OVGU Magdeburg

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