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.
Friday 7:30 - 16:00
Wednesday 7:30 - 13:00
Thursday 7:30 - 18:00
Telephone: 0521- 51-0
Monday to Friday 8:00 - 12:00
Thursday 8:00 - 12:00 and 14:30 - 18:00
Telephone: 0521 - 51
Fax: 0521 - 51 6195
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).
It is important that you register within a statutory time period. The law allows you only 14 days to do this. In order to register you need to submit proof of residence signed by your landlords called “Wohnungsgeberbestätigung” which you can find here.
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.
From September 1st, 2011 the electronic residence permit (eAT) is being issued as a separate document in credit-card format incorporating a number of electronic functions. All non-EU nationals will obtain their own card.
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 110.00€, for a prolongation 55.00€. 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 20.00€ and a copy must be given to the employer.
For more information about the electronic residence permit in short as well as in the brochure of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees "All you need to know about the electronic residence permit (eAT)" which will also be handed to you at the foreigners' office. 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 authorised. 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 for more 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 authorising employment.
To apply for a residence permit, you will require:
To apply for a residence permit for marriage partners and unmarried minors who are accompanying you or joining you, you will additionally need:
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.