Moving into a new flat or apartment in Germany? Find out how you can use this FREE mail forwarding service from Deutsche Post to redirect mail to your new address in Germany in less than 5 minutes!
So you’ve just overcome the incredibly challenging task of renting an apartment in Berlin (or any other city in Germany). And just as you start feeling that sense of relief that the hardest part is finally over. You realize that you need to notify multiple banks, insurance companies, electricity and other service providers that you’ve moved and have a new address!
Whilst this may be quite an easy thing to do in your home country. It’s a little bit more… complicated in Germany.
Just ask any expat or local living here and they’ll tell you about the endless paperwork and complex bureaucratic hurdles you’re required to jump over for the simplest of things.
But don’t worry! As fellow expats living in Berlin, we’ve figured out how you can easily notify almost all of the essential service providers in Germany that your address has changed.
And the cherry on top? You can do it all online in less than 5 minutes and it’s completely FREE of charge!
Find out how you can make use of this free mail forwarding service in Germany to redirect your mail and why it’s important in this step-by-step guide.
Bonus Tip: Still struggling to find your dream apartment in Germany? Read our Tips For Renting Apartments in Germany guide to improve your chances! And if you’re moving to Berlin, we’ve got a dedicated Renting Flats or Apartments in Berlin guide that will help you.
Why Mail Forwarding is Important in Germany?
It’s easy to assume that the country, Germany, is run on cutting-edge technology. After all, it’s where world-famous brands like Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Bosch were created.
But in reality, Germany is still pretty old school. And if you haven’t realized this by now, snail mail (i.e. post) and fax machines are still pretty much essential if you’re living in Germany.
Yup! Especially if it’s for anything ‘official’. Like opening a German bank account, getting your tax numbers (‘Steuernummer’), signing up with an electricity provider in Germany, getting your driver’s license, SCHUFA documents, signing up for German health insurance, to getting your benefits like child support (‘Kindergeld’) or unemployment benefits. The list goes on!
Hence why it’s pretty important that you make sure you redirect mail to your new address when moving into a new flat in Germany.
And if you’re a seasoned expat, you’ll know that chances are high that you’ll be moving into a new apartment or ‘WG’ (Wohngemeinschaft or flat-share) within the first 2 years of moving to Germany.
We know this all too well from personal experience! So we thought it would be useful to share this ‘hack’ with you. Not only will it save you time, but also money.
Say ‘hello’ to mail forwarding in Germany!
Bonus Tip: Need some help getting on top of your admin living in Germany? Make sure to check out our other Moving to Germany guides. We’ve share helpful tips like how to file your tax return in Germany for free, everything you need to know about paying ‘Rundfunkbeitrag’ or TV tax in Germany and whether you’re exempt from paying, to how you can convert a foreign driver’s license in Germany.
Registering Your Address in Germany
Before we jump into how this free mail forwarding service works in Germany. Let’s make one thing clear.
Re-directing your mail does NOT mean that you can avoid getting your ‘Anmeldung’ done. If you’ve moved into a new flat or house in Germany, you have to register your new address with your local Bürgeramt (citizens’ office) regardless.
Unfortunately, you can’t do your ‘Anmeldung’ or register the change of your address online. But our How To Get Anmeldung and Register Your Address in Germany guide will help you get this done in 3 easy steps!
Bonus Tip: Need to open a German bank account, but don’t have ‘Anmeldung’ yet? Don’t worry! Our How To Open a German bank account without Anmeldung guide will solve your problem.
How Does Mail Forwarding in Germany Work?
Okay, so now that you know that snail mail trumps e-mails (and other forms of digitalization) and why it’s super important to redirect your mail to your new address when moving into a new home in Germany. Let’s explain how this free mail forwarding service works.
Basically, instead of notifying each and every service provider that you have a new address in Germany AND show proof that you actually do live there. You’ll notify the German national post office, Deutsche Post, that your address in Germany has changed.
By doing so, you’ll be addressing the problem at its source and solve multiple administrative headaches in one single swoop! Nifty, right?
And what makes this ‘hack’ even more awesome is that Deutsche Post provides this mail forwarding service in Germany for FREE!
This means that sour landlords, spiteful flatmates, or exes will no longer get in the way between you and your all-important letters.
What About My Privacy and Data Protection?
We know what you’re thinking… What about your privacy and data protection? Does everyone (including that creepy stalker) get access to your new address in Germany?
Don’t worry! This free mail forwarding service offered by Deutsche Post only allows essential companies (i.e. banks, insurance companies, etc.) to retrieve your new address. These companies also have to prove that they’ve already been in contact with you to get this information.
Private individuals and other non-essential companies who are not registered contract partners of Deutsche Post, will NOT be able to access your new address in Germany.
That’s the good news! But the bad news is that this also means that you won’t be able to redirect ALL your mail to your new address in Germany. This free mail forwarding service only ensures that you’ll receive all your essential posts and letters in Germany.
Save Me For Later
How Do I Forward All My Mail in Germany?
If you want to forward ALL your mail (whether it’s essential or not) to your new address in Germany, there’s another way to do that.
This mail forwarding service is NOT free though. But definitely worth it if you want to redirect your mail to an address abroad, for company or business relocations, or forward mail when someone has passed (i.e. deaths).
It’s also the service to go for if you really, REALLY take your privacy seriously and don’t want any companies (whether they’re Deutsche Post contract partners or not) to know your new address. So if you’re all about that James Bond life, this is the one to go for!
This service offered by Deutsche Post is called a mail forwarding order. And it’s super easy to set up.
Setting Up A Mail Forwarding Order in Germany
To set up the paid mail forwarding order, simply go to the Deutsche Post Forwarding Service and fill in your personal details.
We haven’t personally tried this service., so we won’t go into too much detail here. But the cost for the mail forwarding order starts from €23.90 for private individuals and €39.90 for companies and businesses. And you can set it up to redirect your mail for a 6 or 12-month period.
How To Set-Up The Free Mail Forwarding Service in Germany
Now for the one we’ve tried!
Head to the Deutsche Post notification of change of address page. The website is in German, so use Chrome and the Google Translate feature if you’re German language skills aren’t that great yet.
Fill in your details like your title (i.e. Mr or Mrs), name, surname, e-mail, and birth date. Below that, you’ll be given the option to add more people to the mail forwarding list. This is super useful if you live with a partner, roommate, sibling, parents, grandparents, or kids and want to include them so their mail gets redirected as well.
Then simply fill in your old address and your new address. You’ll then be asked to check a ‘Yes’ or ‘Ja’ box. This box just asks you to confirm whether the new address is OR will be your registered address (i.e. whether you have or will do ‘Anmeldung’ and register this new address in Germany).
Check the box and fill in your move-in date. Then click the ‘Nächster Schritt’ or ‘Next page’ blue button.
The final but most important step – check your e-mail. You should receive one from Deutsche Post. Open the e-mail and click ‘activate’ or ‘aktivieren’ to confirm. And VOILA! You’ve just set up your very first mail forwarding service in Germany!
Bonus Tip: Want to know how to improve your German language skills FAST? We personally use Lingoda to learn German. Find out all the pros and cons in our detailed Lingoda Review.
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