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Bürgeramt registration in Berlin

Today I got my official 'baptism' in Germany's capital. My first contact with German bureaucracy was an instant success thanks (mostly) to information found on the internat (thanks, TTG forum!). Indeed, in Germany there is a true bureaucracy in that this registration is needed for everything (bank, insurance, internet, etc) whereas in France I got started with a letter from the agency through which I rented. I did register, but much later and by that time I had everything going.

Anyway, since the TTG forum won't let me register (rejects all my email addresses), I will share here the brief experience.

  1. Choosing the Bürgeramt office to register: obviously anyone would want one close to where they live (or on the way to work). However, since most offices now require making an advance appointment (email, phone or Internet), I first considered Bürgeramt 3 (Friedrichshain) at Frankfurter Allee as a possible walk-in solution, as making a reservation online was problematic (not all offices are available for online booking and I don't speak enough German to do it reliable over the phone). But then I discovered that some have an online email form for reservations such as the Tempelhof-Schoneberg office in JFK-Platz. Although the online calendar for Berlin showed all booked two months ahead, after sending the form I got a booking in 3 days!

  2. Going there: Google Maps helped me to be there early and all I had to do was to wait for my number (received by email) to be called. It happened about 10 minutes after the scheduled time (yeah, sometimes appointments last longer). I was greeted by a nice woman who also spoke just enough English to get things done. She only asked for my passport and contract (no form, although I had one done through MyGermanExpert) and started to ask me stuff while she was typing the answer in. It took me a second to figure that she was filling in the same info I had on my form. Then I gave her the form while pointing out that I did not have my name on the mailbox (so she had to add a "c/o" mention to the postal address) and then things moved fast.

  3. Leaving: all in all it took about 10 minutes and I would've been out of there sooner had I walked in (while waiting there at least 10 other people walked in, got a number from the counter and left with their problem solved). Oh well, at least I have my paper so I can go on to the next step: bank account!