Moving to and living in Germany comes along with a to-do list to get properly settled in, some of which include abiding by public regulations as well as completing mandatory requirements by official public and governmental institutions. Every new resident to Germany will face situations that may feel like living there is a bit stressful but in the end it can all be made very simple. In the following we want to give you an easy-to-understand overview of the most urgent and important tasks you should consider completing if you will be living in Germany.

City Registration

One of the most important and urgent tasks after your arrival to Germany is the official city registration. By this the German government can keep track of its residents. This registration is mandatory; therefore if you do not register, the government can fine you up to 1000€. To register, you have to go to a registration office (“Einwohnermeldeamt”) or a citizen service center (“Bürgeramt”). To find one of these offices just Google “Einwohnermeldeamt” or “Bürgeramt” +  [name of your city].

For registration you need the following documents:

  • Passport or personal ID
  • Rental contract/tenancy agreement for your accommodation
  • If applicable: visa

For further information and a step-by-step guidance for a quick and easy registration.

Public German TV and Radio Licenses – GEZ

The city registration process in Germany usually is accompanied by a mandatory and monthly fee for public TV and Radio broadcasting, the so called “GEZ” or “Rundfunkbeitrag”. This is nothing more than a TV tax with the intention of offering multiple entertainment systems to the population of German. And as the word tax clarifies, the GEZ is something you have to register for and pay, otherwise you will be in trouble with German authorities. The German government therefore allows the fee collection center (“Gebühreneinzugszentrale”) to collect 17.50€ from every household (apartment/dorm/house).

Get a detailed explanation of how the GEZ works, how you can register for it and what to do when leaving Germany.

Put your name on the doorbell and mailbox

If you live in an apartment or a shared apartment, your name should be put on the doorbell and mailbox of your apartment, (you may need to ask your landlord who is in charge of this, if it is you, them or someone else). This task is  necessary in order to correspond with local and public authorities and also for receiving mail and bills. The only name allowed on the doorbell/mailbox is of the person who is actually living in the apartment; otherwise the landlord is empowered to remove name plates of those not living in the apartment. If you live in a dorm, your landlord will put your name on your doorbell/mailbox.

More information can be found here.

Night rest silence “Nachtruhe”

In Germany there is a nationwide night rest silence between 10 PM and 6 AM. This means in this period of time time, any kind of sounds and noises must be kept at a low volume. This instruction is even kept by law, consequently if you are too loud or noisy over a long period of time and disturb others with this noise, it can cost you up to 5000€ in a worst case scenario.

Better respect the night’s rest silence and use headphones! Click here to know what to do if you are interrupted in your sleep.

Waste separation

The garbage disposal system in Germany is based on an extensive separation of different kinds of waste. That means you can’t throw any kind of trash into one bin.

1. The 4 Bins: Around 80-90 % of your daily waste is going to be disposed through the 4 bins which every household/dorm has

  • Blue/Grey Bin – Paper: In here belongs everything made out of paper or cardboard as long as it is clean like newspapers, junk mail or paper bags and …
  • Yellow Bin – Lightweight packaging: In here belongs Plastic material like food packaging, aluminum cans or empty spray cans and …
  • Brown Bin – Biological waste: In here belongs organic waste, vegetable peels, coffee filters and …
  • Black Bin – Residual waste: In here belongs sweepings, cigarette ends and hygienic waste and …

2. Glass and bottles – with and without deposit

The disposal of glass works separately from the four introduced waste bins and means there is a separate system with separate glass and bottle bins. You will have to distinguish between the types of bottles which you can throw away and the types of bottles for which you can get a deposit back when bringing them to the returning point; therefore, it’s best not to throw them away.

3. Rest garbage: Bulky waste, chemical products and batteries

Certain kinds of trash, for example electronic devices, furniture or hazardous liquids like dyes, are not allowed to be disposed in the regular trash cans for household or glass waste and must be disposed separately. For this you can use public pickups for trash which are organized by the local waste company in your city or you can decide to bring it to waste company yourself if it’s urgent.

To understand which kind of trash does or doesn’t belong into its respective bin, look here where its explained easily and more extensively.

Drinking water

One of the biggest advantages of living in Germany is the quality of tap water. The German Government and its local institutions put a lot of effort into the monitoring and purification of drinking water. This means you can drink the water out of a common tap without having to deal with subsequent health issues in Germany.

Fun fact: The water out of the tap is even cleaner and more monitored than the usual bottled drinking water you can buy at any supermarket.

Find further information about this interesting topic and regulations here.