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Registration, Permits & Other Documentation

Frankfurt - Registration, Permits & Other Documentation

Obtaining the necessary permits to live and work in Frankfurt can be a confusing and drawn out process; however, you can make the process much easier by exercising due diligence and handling as many of the tasks as possible before you depart your home country.

Generally, Germany issues visas for stays up to 90 days; if you wish to stay longer, then you need to apply for a residence permit. Citizens of the European Union and the United States do not need visas to stay for less than 90 days; however, if you are a United States citizen, you will need to have a visa attached to your passport in order to apply for a residence permit. These can be obtained at the German Consulate in your home country.

Work permits are issued concurrently with residence permits; however, you will need to show that you have secured gainful employment, and will be able to sustain a living income over and above your housing costs.

If you are a resident of the United States, you can apply for and obtain your residence permit before you ever leave for Frankfurt. This must be done in person at the German Consulate in Washington, D.C., or at one of the Consulate's satellite offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, or San Francisco. It typically takes three months to process a residence permit, so make sure you leave adequate time for this before your intended departure date.

In order to obtain a residence permit before arriving in Frankfurt, you will need to provide the following information:

- Two copies of your residence permit application;

- Two passport photographs;

- Evidence of employment or a letter of intent from your employer in Frankfurt;

- Financial documents proving that you have the financial means to live in Frankfurt;

- Proof of health insurance coverage that is valid in Germany;

- The visa application fee; and

- Any other documents required by the German Aliens Office.

If you have already established a residence in Frankfurt, you will also need to register your address with the local Rathaus (city hall), and provide evidence of this registration with your residence permit application. Residents of Frankfurt are required to register their addresses within one week of moving, and must unregister when vacating a residence.

Obtaining a driver license is a simple process for expatriates from most countries. If you move to Frankfurt from a European Union country, then your license is automatically valid – there is no need to exchange it for a German license. If you are from the United States, your driver license is good for six months. After that, Frankfurt will allow you to simply exchange your license from most U.S. states for a German license without taking a written exam or road test.

If you are from South Africa or most other countries, you will be required to take a written and driving exam before you can obtain a driver license in Frankfurt.

You will also be required to register your vehicle and provide proof of third party liability insurance to receive and maintain your German driver license.

Your point of contact for obtaining your driver license and registration is the Ordnungsamt:


Mainzer Landstrasse 321-323

D-60326 Frankfurt am Main

+49 (0)69 212 44422

+49 (0)69 212 44423

If you need to obtain a birth or death certificate, or a marriage license, contact the Standesamt:


Bethmannstrasse 3

60311 Frankfurt am Main

+49 (0)69 212 33560

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners


Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.

AXA - Global Healthcare

As the global healthcare specialists for AXA, the world’s number one insurance brand, we can help you get fast access to expert medical care, whenever and wherever you need it. All our plans include evacuation and repatriation, a second medical opinion service and extra support from a dedicated case manager if you’re diagnosed with cancer. You’ll also have 24/7 support from our caring multilingual team - we’ll always remember you’re a person, not a case number.

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.