Bürgerämter in Berlin
Probably the most important of all public institutions in Berlin is called Bürgeramt. The first thing you will need to do after moving to Berlin is register your new address there. But the Bürgeramt is also the place to go e.g. if you need a new passport or if you need to register your new car. In theory it sounds very efficient to bundle all different administrational task in one public institution.
But reality is somehow different as all Bürgerämter in Berlin are notoriously understaffed. Right now you can’t even book an appointment online within the next 2 months. Hopefully the situation will get better soon as it can be a real hassle to take care of all these things without an appointment.
Bürgeramt in your neighbourhood
Depending on in which area you live in there is a different Bürgeramt where you can go and take care of your administrational stuff. But as we have found out recently you can also book appointments at any other Bürgeramt as well, e.g. if you only get an appointment during the week during your lunchbreak at work you could go to the Bürgeramt which is closer to your work.
Book appointments online at the Bürgeramt
As we already mentioned before there is the possibility to book an appointment in advance online. Even though we haven’t seen any appointments available within the next 2 months it might make sense to check every once in a while. In order to book an appointment online follow this link to the Terminvereinbarung Bürgeramt.
The other alternative is to show up at your Bürgeramt early in the morning, take a number and claim that your task is very urgently and can’t wait. This way you can e.g. make sure to get stuff done that can’t wait.
Another thing we only discovered recently that there is a Bürgertelefon that you can call and where you get very useful information. Sometimes they can also help you get an appointment at the Bürgeramt for you, though it might be not at the closest Bürgeramt to your place. Just call 115 (without any area code) and you should get somebody on the line quickly.
Most important tasks of the Bürgeramt
- Register your new address
After finding an apartment in Berlin you have 14 days to register this address. As there are currently no appointments available within at least the next 2 months it is also enough if you can prove that you made an appointment early after moving in. Make sure to bring all necessary documents with you. Check their website again to not forget anything, otherwise you will need to come back to finalize the registration.
- Apply for an ID (Personalausweis) or passport
This is one of the tasks that is more interesting for German nationalities. If you are a foreigner and need to get a new passport or ID you are very lucky nevertheless. All embassies are located in Berlin and you simply need to go to the embassy of your country and apply for new legal documents.
- Business registration
If you are planning to start your own business then the Bürgeramt will be the first of many places you need to go and sign up or pay some fees.
- Register your car
If you plan on owning a car, which there is no real need to unless you have kids or need it for work, then you will need to register it at the Bürgeramt. But again, this is only the first step, you will also need to go to the Kfz-Zulassungsbehörde, either in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg or Lichtenberg.
- Official certification
In case you need some of your documents translated then the Bürgeramt is the place to go as well.
Check out all tasks that the Bürgeramt can help you with here. After dealing with the Bürgeramt we recommend to continue reading about the Deutsche Krankenkasse in order to find the best one for you and so you know which mistakes to avoid.