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How to get out of "Teufelskreis" when relocating to Berlin

Updated: May 16, 2021

Teufelskreis (Ger.) = vicious circle (Eng.) a situation in which effort to solve a given problem results in aggravation of the problem or the creation of a worse problem. (

… no flat - no Anmeldung - no visa - no work - no flat ...

You may find this situation familiar if you need to get your German residence permit and start working, and also need an apartment with Anmeldung. But nobody rents you out an apartment because you don’t have a job. Sounds like Catch 22. To break this vicious circle, I have one easy move for you.

This all originates from the German immigration law requirements. The requirements for any residence permit - registration in the city, that is Anmeldung. It’s mandatory when you apply for a work permit or a freelance work permit. If you’re applying from abroad, you’re puzzled right now and asking yourself: How can I get registered, if I’m not in Berlin?

Let us explore two popular scenarios of moving to Berlin:

  • Blue Card/work permit and

  • “Freelance Visa”

Blue Card and work permit

When you claim a Blue Card or a simple work permit, your employer must support you at the first stage, submitting their willingness to hire you at the German Agency of Employment (Agentur für Arbeit), which in its turn will say yes or no.

After you got approved by the German Agency of Employment (Agentur für Arbeit), you apply for the German residence permit from your home country (in most cases).

Let’s say your application is successful, and you got an entry visa from your local German embassy, with which you come to Germany. Upon arrival, you will need to convert the entry visa into a residence permit at Foreigners’ Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde). At this appointment, you will be requested to provide your Anmeldung and your lease contract. Anmeldung is also the first thing your employer will ask you about. That means you need to arrive in Germany already having some dwelling solution. Hotels and hostels mostly do not count, as they don’t register residents.


You will need to convert your entry visa into a residence permit at the Foreigners’ Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde).


Residence permit for the purpose of self-employment aka “Freelance Visa”

Citizens of some countries are allowed to apply for this permit being on their visa-free 90-day stay. The others apply for the freelance visa from their home countries. Those applying in Germany need to provide their Anmeldung and flat contract right away at the interview, whereas the applicants from abroad show only the flat contract.

It’s clear that in all cases a person needs an apartment in Berlin and a registration to start working. But how to find an apartment if you are not in the country? How to get an apartment without showing a steady income in Germany? The solution is as uncomplicated as convenient


Rent a temporary apartment


Some reliable websites are providing temporary apartments with the opportunity of city registration. These websites act as a medium between a tenant and landlord, taking care of the details such as the rental agreement, its translation into English, initial communication with the landlord, and a viewing if you have a contact person in the city. They perform all the communication in English. It’s really simple to handle the rental process from abroad and make your relocation to Berlin as smooth as possible.

(Attention: unpaid advertising due to the brand listing. Unbezahlte Werbung wegen Markennennung)

The websites I had a good experience with as a relocation consultant are coming-home, wunderflats, thehomelike

On the stage of requesting an apartment always ask for a registration option!

This must be the only reason you rent it, right? With this, you’ll break the vicious circle.

Two-three month rent with the opportunity to extend

I’ll recommend renting a temporary apartment for 2-3 months It’s enough time to find a permanent flat. The option to extend the lease is a brilliant saver in case you see your search has been taking longer than expected.

Rent start date

Remember, landlords don’t like vacancies. Their desired dates to start the contract are the 1st and the 15th of the month. That’s why you should be flexible and agree to their terms. Let us say, you found a cheap flight for August 3 and want to start your rental agreement from this date. Likely you won’t be accepted by the landlord. He would want you to sign the contract from August 1. Don’t negotiate, just accept it and pay those 2 vacant days, in the end, you’ve got an apartment for two more months!


Don’t use touristic stays and b&bs or hotels

Just don’t waste your time. Most of them don’t do city registration (Anmeldung) and provide too short stay. But you do need enough time to find a permanent apartment, don’t you? Otherwise, you’ll be moving from place to place and looking for Anmeldung appointments.

Never transfer money before signing the contract!

There are many scammers out there. They notice your activity on socials or b&b websites and send you “flat offers” but first to "secure" "the flat" you need to pay them the deposit. It’s a very popular fraud here because many foreigners are unaware that there are no pre-payments in Germany.


Don’t use tourist stays and b&bs or hotels. Never transfer money before signing the contract.


If you’d like to check the site you’re dealing with on its reliability and trustworthiness, drop me a line here in the contact form or on socials, I’ll be happy to chat with you.

With this easy move - renting a temporary apartment - you break the circle. Now you can register in the city, provide your address to your employer, start working if you’re here for employment, open a bank account and change your entry visa to a residency permit. If you’re applying for the residency as a freelancer, with the lease agreement and Anmeldung, and other paperwork, you show your commitment to living and working as a self-employed in Germany.

Infographic about steps to take when relocating to Berlin
How to start living in Berlin


Need relocation assistance searching for a temporary or a permanent apartment? I’m here for you! I’ve been working as a relocation consultant in Berlin since 2016. Get your quote on


Disclaimer: the article containing brand names is not sponsored. I’m not affiliated with these companies by any means. You’re free to choose your rental provider on your own will and responsibility. The article is not legal nor tax advice. It’s solely based on my own experience.

Design and graphics: created by me (Maria Lupandina) on (not affiliated). First image - background photo taken by me (Maria Lupandina) in Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

#relocationtoberlin #bluecardinberlin #anmeldunginberlin #registrationinberlin #residencepermitgermany #freelancevisaberlin #freelancevisainberlin

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