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I want to exchange my foreign driving licence (a US state with a full reciprocity agreement) with a German driving licence. I emailed my local Bürgeramt/Fahrerlaubnisbehörde (citizens bureau / department of motor vehicles) here in Bavaria and I was told they could not locate my Anmeldung (residency registration).

I do not have an Anmeldung as I am not resident in Germany, I am only visiting but I am a German citizen and do have access to a permanent address in Germany.

As I am not seeking residence, can I still get an Anmeldung? It is different to the residence permit so I am not sure if non-residents can obtain an Anmeldung. I could not find any sources which explain any eligibility requirements for the Anmeldung.

PS: I’m sure I will get many questions about why I want to obtain a German driving licence during a visit when my US licence allows me to drive in Germany without any restrictions. I am aware it is unnecessary but I would still like to obtain the German driving licence.

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    If you are not resident in Germany I doubt you can get an Anmeldung since it is an official record of your residence in Germany (e.g. linked to tax records and requirements to pay the TV license, etc.) and you are not resident. Comparably, the same situation would apply for a German living in France, Austria, Czechia, etc. Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 21:36
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    @NeilTarrant So this is where I would like to get an authoritative list of the eligibility requirements as perhaps I would be allowed to consider an address in Germany a second home, and simultaneously be resident in the US and Germany?
    – Sbx
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 21:49
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    You don't appear to have your regular residence in Germany. My understanding is that you can't get a German driving license in this case. Relevant: gesetze-im-internet.de/fev_2010/__7.html You don't only need an address in Germany, you actually have to reside there for some time each year.
    – Roland
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 9:25
  • I think the situation is: You can't get an "Anmeldung" which is basically registering that you are a resident, and because you are not a resident, you can't get a German license and don't need a German license.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 10:11
  • As a german citizen who live abroad with no "Wohnsitz" in Germany, the german ambassy in the country you live is your partner for passports and other documents. But I do not know, if they do driver licenses there. Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 23:09

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A German Anmeldung (registration) notifies the authorities that you are living in some place. The rules for this are codified in the Bundesmeldegesetz (BMG) (German text, English translation).

Anyone living in Germany is required to do the Anmeldung within two weeks of moving in to their residence (flat/dwelling/house). This applies regardless of residency status, though there are special rules for staying in hotels and for certain persons such as sailors or asylum seekers. An Anmeldung is necessary at the latest after staying 6 months in Germany.

If you live in multiple places, you'd have to register in all of them (but careful: some places tax non-primary residences with the Zweitwohnungsteuer). From the Anmeldung perspective, at least one German place would be your primary residence, even if Germany is not your center of life – this is somewhat unrelated to taxation concerns.

Note that the Anmeldung is a duty of the person living in Germany – not a right of that person or a duty placed on authorities. You cannot obtain an Anmeldung just because you want one.

Moving forward, consider whether you have moved in (or will move in) to a residence in Germany.

  • Consider whether you are living in Germany, with the exception of short visits. Did you “move in” to some residence?
  • Consider whether you can register in your residence. If you own it, you can. If you rent it, you need a Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung from the landlord to confirm that you do in fact live there.
    • Services that offer a Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung without you living there are illegal. Similarly, friends or family can't give this Bescheinigung unless you actually live there. The maximum fine for this misdemeanour is EUR 50000.
    • If the landlord illegally refuses this Bescheinigung, you can make the Anmeldung regardless but the matter will be investigated.
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    My understanding is that Anmeldung is not sufficient, you need to have stayed at the residence for at least 185 days to have it become your ordentlicher Wohnsitz. The Anmeldung is apparently used to check this.
    – Roland
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 9:30
  • @Roland Very good point that an Anmeldung is not sufficient for the purposes of the Fahrerlaubnisverordnung. My answer addresses the specific question OP asked, but you're correct to point out that they're barking up the wrong tree – please consider writing an answer to that effect.
    – amon
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 10:04

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