Residence (Germany)

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The place of residence is the spatial center of the living conditions of a natural person . In contrast to the mere residence or place of residence , the place of residence presupposes a legal will to justify such a will.

The civil law regulations for the establishment and cancellation of residence can be found in §§ 7 ff. Of the German Civil Code (BGB).

The domicile of natural persons corresponds to the seat or the branch office of legal persons ( § 24 BGB, § 29 HGB , § 4 Abs. 3 GewO ).

Legal meaning

The general place of jurisdiction of a person is determined by the place of residence ( § 13 ZPO). For people who do not have a place of residence, the place of jurisdiction is determined by their place of residence or their last known place of residence ( Section 16 ZPO). In the law of obligations , the place of residence also determines the relevant place of performance and payment ( § 269 , § 270 BGB) or the competent registry office for marriages ( § 12 PStG ). In tax law, someone has their place of residence where they may have an apartment that suggests that they will keep and use the apartment ( Section 8 AO ). The regulations on German social insurance apply - unless they require employment or self-employment - for all persons who have their place of residence or habitual abode in Germany ( Section 3 No. 2 SGB ​​IV ).

Willing and legal residence

  • A person's freely chosen (voluntary) place of residence is where they willingly and permanently settle down ( Section 7 BGB). Who is legally incapacitated or the capacity is limited, so can without the consent of his legal representative a residence not create or cancel ( § 8 para. 1 BGB). It is also permissible to have a double residence in several political communities ( Section 7 (2) BGB) or to give up one residence without justifying a new one ( homelessness ).
  • The legal domicile of underage children is at the domicile of the parents or the parent with custody ( Section 11 sentence 1 BGB), otherwise at the domicile of the person who is entitled to this right, e.g. the guardian ( Section 11 sentence 2 BGB).
  • A professional soldier of legal age or a temporary soldier has his place of residence at the location ( Section 9 BGB).

Main and secondary residence

In Germany, regardless of nationality, every resident is required to report moving in or moving out of his apartment. Only a few exemptions (e.g. for foreign diplomats and their families, Section 26 BMG) and exceptions ( Section 27 BMG) are provided from the general reporting requirement . The data to be reported are stored by the registration authorities in the register of residents ( Section 3 BMG). Anyone who does not register or cancel their registration correctly or not in time is committing an administrative offense ( Section 54 BMG).

The registration system primarily serves to establish the identity and proof of housing for natural persons ( Section 2 (1) BMG). It is therefore not the civil law term of residence that matters , but the actual place of residence, the apartment ( Section 17 BMG). An apartment is any enclosed space that is used for living or sleeping ( § 20 BMG).

Germans who settle permanently abroad do not have to report to the respective German embassy . However, you can have yourself included in a register for crisis prevention purposes ( Section 6 (3 ) of the ConsG ). Anyone who lives abroad but also owns an apartment in Germany and uses it regularly must also be registered in Germany because of the obligation to register. As a rule, this results in unlimited income tax liability , with double taxation agreements being applied.


If a resident has several apartments in Germany, one of these apartments is his main residence. The main residence is the resident's predominantly used residence ( Section 22 BMG). Secondary home is any further home of the resident in Germany. The person required to register must inform the registration authority which other apartments they have in Germany and which apartment is their main residence ( Section 21 BMG). A person's place of residence is usually identical to their main residence.

Legal meaning

  • In public law , the main residence is usually decisive, which is also referred to as “place of residence” in some provisions.
  • Entry in the electoral roll and thus exercising the right to vote is only possible at the place of the main residence ( § 12 BWahlG , § 16 BWO ).
  • The tax office of the main residence is locally responsible for the taxation of natural persons according to income and assets, in particular for the administration of the electronic wage tax deduction features (electronic tax card) ("residence tax office", § 19 para. 1 sentence 2 AO).
  • Identity cards are issued by the identity card authority responsible for the main residence ( Section 8 (1) sentence 1 PAuswG ).
  • Some cities levy a second home tax for having a secondary residence , for example Berlin . For the municipal financial equalization ( key allocation ), however, the main residence is decisive. This resulted in one of the reasons for the introduction of a second home tax.
  • Owner of a secondary residence can from the broadcast contribution be exempted for the home side when they already pay the radio post on primary residence. This also applies if the spouse or registered partner pays the license fee at the main residence.

Discrimination based on the location of residence

Residence as a "hotspot" of an infectious disease

The German Infection Protection Act (IfSG) makes it possible to restrict the freedom of movement of people who are in Germany or who want to cross Germany's external borders. In the event of epidemics and pandemics , residents of apartments and blocks of flats can be prevented from leaving them (unless there are certain officially accepted exceptions). People residing in a (rural) district or an independent city can be prevented from leaving the local authority concerned or asked to leave their place of residence abroad. On the basis of the IfSG, you can be prohibited from staying in facilities, attending events and using certain services in regions outside of the “ hotspot ”.

Drivers from a city or municipality in a “region with increased numbers of infections” are relatively easy to identify in flowing and stationary traffic when they use their own vehicle due to the system of license plates in Germany , which makes possible unauthorized discrimination easier.

Unauthorized discrimination on the basis of (here: geographical) origin within the meaning of Art. 3 GG does not exist in the cases mentioned and in the case of refusal to occupy a booked holiday accommodation if the person living in a "hotspot" cannot produce a current certificate which certifies that it is free from infection.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Residence  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: main residence  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Second home  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Carl Creifelds: Legal dictionary . 21st edition 2014, ISBN 978-3-406-63871-8 .
  2. Keyword: place of residence : place where someone has his home. Examples: Hamburg was entered as the second place of residence on his ID card // change residence // have his place of residence in Berlin, take // he has no permanent address
  3. Federal Foreign Office : Crisis Prevention List (ELEFAND) Accessed April 24, 2016.
  4. The Federal Returning Officer : Active Suffrage ( Memento of the original from September 19, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Status: May 2014 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. District of Osnabrück: Massive Corona outbreak: Strict rules for people from Gütersloh and Warendorf. June 23, 2020, accessed June 29, 2020 .