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Moving to Berlin

What do new Berliners have to consider when moving to Berlin? Where do I have to register, how can I apply for a residence permit, where do I find appropriate child care services? An overview.

Registering with the registration office

Service description
The resident registration in Berlin is carried out at the registration offices of the boroughs. The registration period after moving in is usually 14 days. Requirements include proof of identity, confirmation of residence registration, civil status certificates (e.g. marriage certificate, birth certificate) for German citizens, and a landlord's confirmation that you have moved into your home. Appointments with the appropriate authority can be made by phone or online. The application form is available for download.

Service provider
Registration offices of the boroughs

Registering an apartment (in German only)
(Working hours, appointments, application form)

Useful links
Information system of the registration offices of Berlin’s boroughs
(in German only)

Electronic tax card

Service description
In 2013, the tax card has been replaced by the electronic income tax deduction system (ELStAM). The tax authorities of the boroughs are responsible for ELStAM. This electronic tax card stores data for tax deduction of the employee such as tax class, number of child tax credits, tax exemption or church tax deduction feature. When commencing an employment, the employer requires from the employee merely his date of birth, the tax ID number as well as the information whether this is the main job or a side job.

Every employee can retrieve his personal ELStAM information on the ElsterOnline portal. For the free registration, you need the tax ID number.

If a tax ID number is not available anymore, it can be requested at the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt). A separate contact form is available for this purpose.

Furthermore, your tax authority is the point of contact for your personal information stored in ELStAM.

Service provider
Tax authorities of the boroughs, BZSt

Tax authorities in the boroughs (in German only)
Federal Central Tax Office

Useful links
Electronic income tax deduction system (Information, application forms, in German only)
FAQ on the elektronic tax card (in German only)
BZSt - overview of the tax ID number

Registering with gas and electricity suppliers

Electricity suppliers in Berlin
price check for electricity suppliers in Berlin (in German only)
rates by the electricity supplier Vattenfall 

Gas suppliers in Berlin
The general rate in Berlin is GASAG-Komfort by the gas supplier GASAG Berliner Gaswerke AG. The general rate is the rate paid automatically by all those who never changed their gas supplier before.
price check for gas suppliers in Berlin (in German only)
informs on the gas supply in Berlin (in German only)

Public and transport services - sustainability for Berlin

Service description
The Berliner Wasserbetriebe ensures the potable water supply for more than 3.6 million Berliners and treat sewage using state-of-the-art and innovative technologies.

The Berliner Stadtreinigung (BSR) is a municipal company in Berlin. Its task is to dispose of waste safely, efficiently and sustainably and to maintain a clean streetscape. Thus, BSR is responsible for a piece of life quality in Berlin. The high efficiency of the approx. 5,600 employees is acknowledged nationwide. Among all comparable major cities, Berlin charges the lowest fees.

The density and quality of Berlin’s public transportation network are on an internationally high level and even rank among the best due to the all-night subway service.

Service providers:
Berliner Wasserbetriebe (BWB), Berliner Stadtreinigung (BSR), Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG)

Application for child benefit

Service description
Child benefit is granted to all children till the age of 18 – in some cases even longer. This pertains to children with a disability, young people till 25 who are in professional training or unemployed children till 21.

The applications for child benefit are accepted by the responsible institution (Familienkasse) at the Employment Agency. Usually, it is the Familienkasse of the borough you live in. In case your place of residence is abroad and you are employed in Germany, it is the Familienkasse of the borough where the accounting department of your employer is located.

The application for child benefit has to be submitted to the responsible Familienkasse of the Employment Agency in written form and signed. The Familienkasse provides specific forms (in German only) for the application. These have to be transferred to the Familienkasse in written form and signed. Please refer to the application form for information on required documents that have to be enclosed. In case more documents are required, you will be informed by the Familienkasse. The application can also be filed by an attorney with the enclosed written power of attorney.  

Service provider
Familienkasse of the Employment Agency

Service center for all questions related to child benefits:
0800 / 4 5555 30 (toll-free number throughout Germany)

Familienkasse Berlin Mitte
For the residential districts: Mitte, Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain, Lichtenberg-Hohenschönhausen, Tiergarten, Wedding, Marzahn - Hellersdorf
Charlottenstr. 87 - 90
10969 Berlin

more information

Familienkasse Berlin Nord
For the residential districts: Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Spandau, Reinickendorf, Pankow (Prenzlauer Berg, Weißensee)
Storkower Straße 120
10407 Berlin

more information

Familienkasse Berlin Süd
For the residential districts: Neukölln, Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Treptow-Köpenick
Sonnenallee 282
12057 Berlin

more information

Useful links
What has to be considered when applying for child benefit? (in German only)
Overview of key regulations
Child benefit forms (in German only)
Familienkassen in Berlin (in German only)
FAQ child benefits (in German only)
Entitlement to child benefit for foreigners (in German only)

Registering for kindergarten and child care opportunities

Service description: registration for a daycare center
The first step to daycare is applying for a daycare voucher at the Jugendamt (youth office) in your borough. The voucher includes information on the type and extent of the entitlement and can be redeemed in various types of daycare centers. The voucher can be applied for earliest nine months and latest two months before the start of care.

Service description: child care opportunities
Children with a legal entitlement or a recognized need for care are guaranteed a space in a daycare facility. In Berlin, children under the age of three also have access to daycare outside the home if their parents can demonstrate a need for it. Over 90 percent of all daycare offerings include the lunch hour. Parents who work outside the opening hours of daycare and after-school facilities can apply for supplemental child care.

Daycare centers imply nurseries (for children between eight weeks and three years of age) and kindergartens (for children over the age of three until they enter school). Supplemental child care is performed by male or female daycare providers. This type of care is mainly intended for children under three years of age.

Service provider
Jugendamt in the borough of residence

infopunkt - information provided by the Senate for Education, Youth and Family
Marion Meemken
+49 30 90227-5000

infopunkt - personal consulting via phone or e-mail (in German only)

Useful links
Service portal Berlin - applying for a daycare voucher (in German only)
Apply for a daycare voucher online (in German only)
Service portal Berlin - family services (in German only)
Multilingual daycare centers
BerlinFinder – child care (in German only)


Our outline maps will help you find the right daycare center near you:
Outline map kindergartens

School enrollment

Service description
Children are generally obliged to attend school when they turn six and have to be enrolled in the nearest public elementary school. The enrollments take place from late October till early November. The exact time frame is announced in the media. At this time, parents have to enroll their children in the elementary school in the catchment area. This requires the ID cards or passports of the parents as well as the birth certificate of the child.

In case parents wish to enroll their child in a different school or a private school, they still have to file the application with the school in the catchment area first. Additionally, they have to file a motivated application for a school change in writing which illustrates why the child is supposed to attend a different school.

In case parents require a different form of schooling than the one offered in the catchment area school such as a day or half-day school, the child will be admitted in a school within the borough which offers the desired form of schooling. In a half-day school, the children can go to an after school center after class. Bound day schools offer additional care after 4 p.m. The after school center and the additional care are fee-based. Parents who need extra care can apply for it together with the enrollment in the elementary school.  

After enrolling, the children are examined by the school doctor on behalf of the Child and Youth Health Services. The parents usually get the appointment right when enrolling the child in the school.

The school places are assigned by the school board of the borough. In case an application for supplementary promotion and care has been filed, the youth office of the borough decides whether the care need is substantiated.

infopunkt - information provided by the Senate for Education, Youth and Family
Marion Meemken
 +49 30 90227-5000

infopunkt - personal consulting via phone or e-mail (in German only)

Useful links
Enrollment of first graders - information provided by the Senate Department (in German only)
School enrollment forms, support application (in German only)

Our outline maps will help you find the right school or daycare center near you:
Outline map kindergartens
Outline map schools

Assistance for finding a new house or apartment

Service description
You are new in Berlin and ask yourself: How can I find an apartment? Who are the large portfolio holders? Where are the new apartments being built? Here you will get information on Berlin’s real estate market, e.g. the annual Housing Market Report by the Investitionsbank Berlin, the Housing Cost Atlas, tips on possible search options, contact details of providers and portfolio holders as well as the Berlin rent index.

Contact and useful links

Real estate search portals (in German only) 

Portfolio holders housing (in German only)
Municipal housing authority 
Housing associations 
Deutsche Wohnen AG 

Overview of newly built objects and development projects
neubau kompass Berlin (in German only)

Additional information
Housing Market Report of the Investitionsbank Berlin
Housing Market report CBRE
Berlin rent index (in German only)

Assistance for accompanying domestic partners

Service description
Berlin’s labor market is very diverse. It is characterized by many small employers and several global players such as BMW, BASF, Siemens or MAN.

Berlin Partner provides its network in Berlin. This includes information on Berlin’s labor market which is presented on the Talent Portal. The overviews are intended to give orientation on possible employers in the city and the most promising ways to search for a job.

The key element of the Talent Portal is the Job portal. It provides an overview of vacancies in Berlin. Applicants can register and upload their CV. Berlin’s companies with access to the job portal can use the pool for recruitment activities.

In addition, Berlin Partner can refer to specialized recruiters who maintain a network with Berlin’s companies.

The Federal Agency of Employment provides its employment services, particularly with regards to health insurance issues (e.g. in case of voluntary termination) and qualification opportunities.

Berlin Partner also cooperates with Dual Career Services of Berlin’s institutions of higher education in order to be able to use support programs.

Service provider
Dual Career Service Berlin, Federal Agency of Employment, Berlin Partner for Business and Technology

David Kremers
Project Manager Talent Services
Berlin Partner for Business and Technology
Fasanenstraße 85 | 10623 Berlin
+49 30 46302-353

Bundesagentur für Arbeit | Regionaldirektion Berlin-Brandenburg
Friedrichstr. 34 | 10969 Berlin
Postal adress:
Bundesagentur für Arbeit
Regionaldirektion Berlin-Brandenburg | 10958 Berlin
+49 0800 4 5555 00

Mona Fischer
Dual Career Service
Technische Universität Berlin
Room H 1111A
Straße des 17. Juni 135 | 10623 Berlin
+49 30 314-27311 | Fax: +49 30 314-26913
Office hours: Monday-Thursday

Useful links 

First information package for new Berliners - Starter Kit

Service description
The Starter Kit is the haptic version of this online offer. The information from the website is summarized in postcards or handouts either packed in a letter or a branded felt bag. A welcome greeting by Berlin’s Mayor is also included.

Additionally, there is information related to life in Berlin. This includes tourist information (street maps etc.), sector brochures or a current issue of the magazine New in Berlin and Potsdam.

Service provider
The Starter Kits can be ordered from Berlin Partner’s human resources divisions:

Tania Vogel
Berlin Partner for Business and Technology
Fasanenstr. 85 | 10623 Berlin
+49 30 46302-107

Useful links

Relocation coordination

Service description
It is difficult to find the right provider for the relocation to Berlin. Therefore, professional help sure is advantageous. On the website, you will find a relocation guide with valuable information and tips:
Relocation guide (in German only)

Relocation Services
New in Berlin and Potsdam

Care of relatives

Service description
Whether it is care by family members or professional nursing services, the organization of care takes a lot of time. The people concerned and their relatives have many questions, information has to be gathered, applications have to be filed and nursing services or homes have to be visited. According to the Home Care Leave Act, employees with an acute care situation in the family have the opportunity to take a ten day unpaid leave to arrange the care of close relatives.

Assistance through information and consulting is just as important as a range of appropriate nursing services. There are numerous consulting and supporting services for nursing personnel and care recipients in Berlin. More than 30 nursing stations spread out over Berlin’s boroughs give advice on all issues related to care and aging. Furthermore, every borough has a contact point PflegeEngagement which provides support by self-help programs and voluntary work. In addition, the Care Portal of the state of Berlin gives a good overview of Berlin’s infrastructure. The consulting organization KOBRA informs about legal conditions and opportunities of parental leave and care period and provides free consulting for employees of small companies on reconciliation of work and care of relatives.

On the basis of the principles “outpatient before inpatient” and “rehabilitation before nursing”, the state of Berlin supports initiatives for people who are in particular need for care due to their age, a physical, mental or emotional illness or disability. A wide range of services by care and welfare organizations and providers guarantees a well-developed care infrastructure.

Nursing stations Berlin
funded by the state of Berlin and the nursing care and health insurances in Berlin
0800-59 500 59 (toll-free service number)
Nursing stations Berlin
Current locations 
Consulting on services of the nursing care insurance and social law issues

Useful links
Care Portal of the state of Berlin (in German only)
Information related to care and services in Berlin

Care support in Berlin (in German only)
Support and care programs related to domestic care

Care for people in need (in German only)
Consulting for care workers who have reached the limits of their capacity

Portal Hilfelotse Berlin (in German only)
Search for healthcare and social services in Berlin

KOBRA (in German only)
Employment during care

Additional information for EU citizens, citizens from EEA countries and non-EU citizens (third-country nationals)

Assistance in applying for a residence permit

In case the recruitment process requires applications for a residence or a work permit, these applications can be supported with a special service. The Business Immigration Service has been available for this purpose for several years.

This service is comprised of the following:

  • first information on the application procedure
  • assistance in filling out the documents
  • communication and appointment arrangement with the appropriate authorities
  • quick processing by all involved service partners

This service provides support for:

  • Investors supported by Berlin Partner for Business and Technology
  • Companies particularly contributing to the business location Berlin by their commitment
  • Highly qualified personnel
  • Other particularly qualified employees of globally active companies
  • University graduates

Generally, all new coming professionals who are not citizens of the EU, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Israel or South Korea require a work and residence permit.
The IHK Berlin, the Federal Employment Agency and Berlin Partner work closely together with the foreigners' registration office Berlin within the scope of the Business Immigration Service.

Contact details
Burkhard Volbracht
Head of Unit Talent Services
Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH
Fasanenstraße 85 | 10623 Berlin
+49 30 46302-315

Useful links
Business Immigration Service - Information by the Business Location Center
Business Welcome Service - Information by the IHK

Additional information
The registration of a residence, just as the transferring of a foreign driving license, can currently be handled in Berlin’s borough offices without a waiting time. Appointments can be made via the Service-Portal (in German only).

Opening a German current account

Foreigners who have their primary or secondary residence in Germany can open a German current account. This, however, requires some evidence. Often, the banks offer a foreigner a prepaid current account. In this case, it is not possible to get an overdraft line of credit. Foreigners have to show some documents for the bank to process the request. Certain documents are required: a valid passport, confirmation of residence registration, the reason for your stay in Germany, and also, usually, a work permit. This often results in expenses since the issue of certificates is not free of charge. Moreover, most current accounts require a management fee or a monthly minimum deposit. Those who additionally need a credit card, also have to pay a fee. In this case it is always recommended to compare the different offers. The amount of the minimum deposit, the processing and management fees may significantly vary depending on the financial institution.

Foreigners who wish to open a German current account from abroad can do so with an international bank. This bank will then verify the identity of the person by filing a request with the competent authority. Another possibility is to have one’s identity verified by a notary or the embassy and then bring these documents to a financial institution. Usually, opening a German current account is not a problem then, provided the selected financial institution actually offers this option. However, there are sometimes restrictions in the respective countries. Not all of them make it legally possible for their citizens to maintain a German current account.

An online account is another opportunity. Some direct banks offer accounts that can be opened and used entirely via the internet. These accounts have the same benefits as a regular German current account: money transfer, electronic cash and credit cards as well as a possibility of an overdraft. The account holder receives a German account number and bank code. International bank transfers are also possible.


Contact details
Berliner Volksbank eG
Budapester Straße 35
10787 Berlin
+49 30 3063-0

Commerzbank AG
Kurfürstendamm 237
10719 Berlin
+49 30 230853-0

Sparda-Bank Berlin eG
Berlin Charlottenburg
Wilmersdorfer Str. 50 / 51
10627 Berlin
+49 30 27490313

Santander Bank branch
Tauentzienstraße 6
10789 Berlin
+49 30 3982120

HypoVereinsbank UniCredit Bank AG
Leibnizstr. 100
10625 Berlin
+49 30 34004

Deutsche Bank branch
Hardenbergstraße 29d
10623 Berlin
+49 30 3407 0

Berliner Sparkasse
Niederlassung der Landesbank Berlin AG
Alexanderplatz 2
10178 Berlin
+49 30 869-86969

Berliner Bank
Filiale Berlin City
Hardenbergstraße 32
10623 Berlin Partner GmbH
+49 30 31090

Targo Bank Berlin
Wittenbergplatz 1
10789 Berlin
+49 30 21298960

Deutsche Post
Filiale Berlin 312
Kurfürstendamm 142 - 147
10709 Berlin

Deutsche Kreditbank Aktiengesellschaft
Taubenstraße 7-9
10117 Berlin
+49 30 120300-00

Additional information for non-EU citizens (third-country nationals)

Support in transferring the driving license

The documents or examinations that are required depends on the country that issued the licence. Germany has agreed a simplified acceptance process with a number of non-EU countries. A driving school can be consulted for that purpose. The foreign driving license has to be valid and presented in the original when applying for a German driving license. In order to obtain the German driving license, it is necessary to submit the foreign one. In some cases, a translation of the foreign driving license is required. International driving licenses are technically not transferred; a valid national driving license is always required. The borough offices are responsible for the transferring process. The driving license can also be transferred by the driving licensing authority.

In order to get informed about the required documents, fees and competent authorities or to arrange appointments within Berlin, please refer to this link: Transferring a foreign driving license (in German only).

Service providers
Borough offices and driving licensing authority

Borough offices - Contact and arrangement of appointments on the Service-Portal Berlin (in German only)
State Office for Residents' and Regulatory Affairs in Berlin (LABO) - driving licensing authority (in German only)

Your contact

Burkhard Volbracht

Burkhard Volbracht

Head of Unit
Talent Services |
International Services

Find your job in Berlin