Moving to Berlin can sometimes look like a boot camp, especially because of the numerous administrative steps to take. Having a schufa certificate will make your life easier in only a few steps.
Asking for a Schufa online
You request a Schufa online on the following website: meineSCHUFA.de.
Renting an apartment in Berlin: Schufa or not Schufa?
A very good symbol of German bureaucracy, Schufa is in reality an ever-present credit institute in Germans’ lives. Created in 1927, Schufa (short for Schutzgemeinschaft für allgemeine Kreditversicherung) is storing financial information of 66 millions German citizens and it is using them to guarantee their solvency. An absolute necessity to obtain a loan at the bank, this file is attributing a solvency “score” to each of us, something that all landlords will ask but also banks, mobile operators, etc.
To make your life easier when moving here, you will thus need to obtain a Schufa certificate (SCHUFA-Bonitätsauskunft) as fast as possible. Strictly confidential, this report is printed on special paper and holds 2 main documents:
- The first meant for your future landlord, with your financial information.
- The second for personal use, which sums up all the data Schufa has on you.
Necessary documents to get your SCHUFA-Bonitätsauskunft
You will need the following 3 documents to get a hold of your Schufa certificate:
- A copy of your passport, where your name and birthplace is mentioned
- A proof of residence (Meldebescheinigung) from your local Bürgeramt that you ought to obtain 8 days after your move in date. This document requires you to bring your passport as well as the Anmeledeformular form, signed by your landlord or alternatively with your rental contract. If you are temporarly residing at a friend’s, this friend can fill-in a certificate to prove that you are living there. This document is extremely important, this proof of residence will be needed to open a bank account.
- Bank details, to pay for the SCHUFA-Bonitätsauskunft
How to request the SCHUFA-Bonitätsauskunft
A request for this document can be done online or via post. In both cases, it will cost between 25€ and 30€.
- Online: follow that link and fill in the form with your personal details (identity, adress). On step 3, you will be asked for your banking details to pay for the Schufa. Access to your SCHUFA-Bonitätsauskunft will then be immediate.
- Via post: you can fill in the PDF form « Bestellformular: SCHUFA-Bonitätsauskunft » available here. Print it and don’t forget to fill in your banking details for the bank transfer (25€to 30€). Send these documents with a copy of your passport and your Meldebescheinigung to this address:
SCHUFA Holding AG,
Postfach 61 04 10,
You should receive your SCHUFA-Bonitätsauskunft within 10 days. We do advise you to get help from a German speaking friend. It can be hard to understand.
Free access to data stored by Schufa on you
As per article 34 of the federal law on data protection, you have access once per year and for free on all the information Schufa has stored on you. However, this overview (Datenübersicht) is not a credit worthiness check (SCHUFA-Bonitätsauskunft)!
To obtain this overview, fill in the form « Bestellformular: Datenübersicht nach § 34 Bundesdatenschutzgesetz » available here in English. Only tick the boxes « request for an overview of data according to §34 BDSG » & « current creditworthiness check ». If you tick « Alternative option », you will order a SCHUFA-Bonitätsauskunft and will need to pay 18,50€. Send these documents, a copy of your passport as well as copy of your proof of residence at the adress we mentioned above. You should receive your Datenübersicht within 3 to 6 weeks.
- Make sure to have a copy of your passport, a proof of residence (Meldebescheinigung) and your bank details ready.
- Order your SCHUFA-Bonitätsauskunft as fast as possible.
- In order to keep a positive record, make sure to pay your bills on time.
One of your first experience with German bureaucracy, getting your SCHUFA-Bonitätsauskunft is a preview of your life in Germany; very complex at first glance, but in reality quite simple. This document will make your life much easier: rental contract, bank account, mobile phone plan. Feel free to share your experience with us.
To request a Schufa Record: meineschufa.de.
Image credits and more information in German: meineschufa.de.
Other articles relevant when moving to Berlin
- Getting your proof of residence (Meldebescheinigung)
- Opening a bank account