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If a German citizen lives abroad, would it be illegal for him to keep his German registration (Anmeldung) with local authorities?

Some of my friends have never deregistered from their parents' house in Germany, even though they live abroad. If possible, I'd do the same, but I'm not sure whether it's legal.

An example where it could matter: if a German without registration wants to renew his passport in Berlin, he would be charged €60 on top of the regular price €60 (i.e. €120 overall, they call it a "lack of jurisdiction fee", see here).

  • you might earn 60 EUR on that but what about taxes? You might loose a lot more than that in taxes on income etc so make sure you don’t buy the pig in the sack or whatever the saying is in English – Matt Douhan Dec 16 '19 at 5:19
  • @MattDouhan, It's "a pig in a poke", where "poke" has the same origin as "pocket". One explanation is that unscrupulous market dealers would sell baby pigs already tied up in a burlap sack. When the buyer gets home, he opens it and finds a cat inside ("letting the cat out of the bag"). This is perhaps not the true origin of those expressions, but it's a good way of remembering what they mean. – Ray Butterworth Dec 16 '19 at 14:28
  • @RayButterworth I love learning :) – Matt Douhan Dec 16 '19 at 14:29
  • I think “German citizen” or not doesn’t matter here. – gnasher729 Jan 1 at 21:51
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No it is not legal, you are required to deregister (Abmeldung) at least 2 weeks after moving out

  • a registration (Anmeldung) elsewhere within Germany fulfills this requirement

A Abmeldung will stop all official post (which may contain any deadlines) from being sent.

So if you remained registered with your parents and can react in some form to any official post (i.e. the parents inform you of the post)

  • you can remain registered there

If you sub-let an existing residence while you are abroad

  • a Abmeldung is needed
    • for the tax office you would then remain beschränkt steuerpflichtig (limited taxable) for such an income

There is also a definition of what is considered a residence

  • so you cannot reside within a post office box

Bundesmeldegesetz (BMG)
§ 17 Anmeldung, Abmeldung

(1) Wer eine Wohnung bezieht, hat sich innerhalb von zwei Wochen nach dem Einzug bei der Meldebehörde anzumelden.

(2) Wer aus einer Wohnung auszieht und keine neue Wohnung im Inland bezieht, hat sich innerhalb von zwei Wochen nach dem Auszug bei der Meldebehörde abzumelden. Eine Abmeldung ist frühestens eine Woche vor Auszug möglich; die Fortschreibung des Melderegisters erfolgt zum Datum des Auszugs.
...

Section 17 Registration, deregistration

(1) Anyone who moves into a residence shall register with the registration authorities within two weeks of moving in.

(2) Anyone who moves out of a residence and does not move into another residence in Germany shall deregister with the registration authorities within two weeks of moving out. Deregistration shall be possible no more than one week before moving out; the population register shall be updated as of the moving-out date.
...


Bundesmeldegesetz (BMG)
§ 20 Begriff der Wohnung

Wohnung im Sinne dieses Gesetzes ist jeder umschlossene Raum, der zum Wohnen oder Schlafen benutzt wird. Als Wohnung gilt auch die Unterkunft an Bord eines Schiffes der Marine. Wohnwagen und Wohnschiffe sind nur dann als Wohnungen anzusehen, wenn sie nicht oder nur gelegentlich fortbewegt werden.

Section 20
Definition of residence

A residence as defined in this Act is any closed space used for living or sleeping. Accommodation on board a Navy ship shall also be considered a residence. Caravans and barracks ships shall be regarded as residences only if they are stationary or rarely moved.


Sources:

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If you do not deregister, you will be liable to pay German health insurance and German income tax.

As Mark already said, it's also illegal because you are registered at an address where you don't actually live.

There are only a few exceptions where it's not necessary to deregister:

  • You are temporarily moving out of Germany, but will return to the same address. For example, if you are studying abroad for a semester, you don't need to deregister.
  • You are moving to a new address in Germany. You only need to register your new address, and your old address will be deregistered automatically.

Source

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