Skip to content

South Africans in Germany

Home » Leaving Germany

Leaving Germany

When you leave Germany permanently, you need to perform certain administrative tasks.  
By completing these administrative tasks properly, you can avoid any potential issues or complications that may arise after leaving Germany.

List of suggested actions

Please note that the specific tasks and requirements may vary depending on your circumstances and the purpose of your stay in Germany. It’s recommended to consult with the relevant authorities or a relocation expert to ensure a smooth departure.

  1. Abmeldung: This is the process of deregistering from your current address at the local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt). In most cases, you can do this via e-mail or registered post. If you need proof of your deregistration, it is better to do it in person and get the relevant documentation (Abmeldebescheinigung) from them. You might need this document to cancel for example your public health insurance.
  2. Inform the Ausländerbehörde and return your residence permit. The law does not require this, but we still suggest you do it.
  3. If you are on private health insurance, cancel your insurance with them. You will need an Abmeldebescheinigung to cancel your public health insurance.
  4. Close bank accounts: Close your German bank accounts and transfer funds to your new account.
  5. Inform the tax office (Finanzamt) of your departure and provide your new address.
  6. Cancel utilities: Notify your utility providers (electricity, gas, water, internet) of your departure.
  7. Cancel insurance policies: Cancel any insurance policies, such as car or home insurance.
  8. If you’ve contributed to the German pension system, notify the Deutsche Rentenversicherung of your departure and your future address.
  9. It is important to notify your landlord and provide them with a forwarding address to ensure that any future correspondence is sent to the correct location.

Things to keep in mind

  • When you deregister, you lose access to Bürgergeld, Kindergeld and other social services. Those services are only for German residents.
  • It is possible to keep your German bank account, but they will freeze your account if they send you a letter, and it can’t be delivered.
  • If you leave Germany for more than 6 months (12 months in some cases), your residence permit expires.
  • If you already left Germany, you can do your Abmeldung by email or by post. There are no penalties for this
  • If you have worked and paid contributions in Germany for more than 60 months, you will receive a German pension after reaching the official German pensionable age. If you paid for less than 60 months you are entitled to get your contribution paid out to you. Not the company part, and it will be subjected to taxes. 


Homepage of the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Information about the German state pension scheme can be found on their homepage for foreign languages. The German site has a lot more information.

Moving to a new address within Germany

This obligation to register also applies when you move to a new address within Germany. If you move within the same municipality, you must inform the registration office (Bürgeramt) in person. This is called “Ummelden.  If you move to a new municipality you have to de-register (abmelden) at your previous address and register (anmelden) at your new address. You have to do it within two weeks of moving to your new address.

When moving to a new address, you must also inform the following authorities and institutions:

  •  Finanzamt – If the tax office changes as a result of your move, inform the new tax office of your new address and your tax number. If the same tax office remains responsible, it is sufficient if you state the change of address in the next tax return.
  • KFZ Zulassungsstelle (Vehicle Registration office) – As the owner of a motor vehicle, you must ensure that the vehicle registration documents are updated after the move. To do this, contact the responsible vehicle registration office. Don’t forget to inform your vehicle insurance company of the new address as well. You only need the seven-digit insurance confirmation code if you move to another city.
  • Banks, Utility companies, Insurance companies, German Pension Fund

Related content