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I see this requirement in the Germany Residency Permit instructions, however the general situation seems common among multiple European countries:

How to Apply for German Residence Permit?
The steps to applying for a German Residence Permit are as follows:

Register your German address
Whether you are applying from Germany within the first 90 days or from your home country, the first thing you must do is register your new German address with the authorities. Germany has this requirement and you must fulfill it in order to be eligible for a residence permit.

If you don’t register your address, you could get fined and your permit might be denied. After you complete this requirement, you will get a certificate which you can attach to your documents.

How is one to get an address prior to having a residency permit?
Is one expected to enter into a lease which they then abandon if the residency is denied?

  • Source: germany-visa.org/german-residence-permit (You should have mentioned this yourself.) Doesn’t look very trustworthy or reliable. – chirlu Jun 13 '18 at 11:01
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    After seeing this same requirement for multiple countries on multiple websites per country, I do not particularly care where the example text comes from. If the question is not correct, then say so and provide a credible link. Do not just create doubt. – ardave Jun 13 '18 at 11:17
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How is one to get an address prior to having a residency permit?

You'll need a long-term rental contract (i.e. 3 months or more). A place to live may be difficult to find, but once you have signed the contract and received a Wohnungsgeberbestätigung (letter of confirmation) from the landlord, you can go to local Bürgeramt (citizen office) and register at the new address.

Then you can continue with residency application, registration address will be printed on the residence card.

Even if the first place to stay is a hotel or short-term flat, it could be possible to register at the address, if the owner gives the confirmation letter. This will allow official post to come through during first weeks.

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The point is that the residence permit really is for staying long-term but your initial entry doesn't have to be long-term. For example, for many international students in Germany, even if the study might last for 4 semesters, the initial "student visa" will only be valid for three months upon entrance in Germany.

You will have to be able to sign a rental contract and get a residence permit (usually valid for 2 years) within these three months after you first arrive. Later, the German authority will only need to check your passport + residence permit for reentry to Germany. The initial visa will not be particularly relevant.

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