Frequently Asked Questions | FAQ
What is the Federal Portal?
Welcome to the Federal Portal, the federal administrative portal, a service provided by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (BMI)!
From now on, the Federal Portal will provide you with centralised, convenient access to all federal, state and local government administrative services. This is a huge task, and the portal is still under construction. There may therefore still be elements and services that are missing.
A basic version of the Federal Portal is currently available and we will gradually expand and improve it. The initial aim is to demonstrate how you will be able to use the Federal Portal in the future. Our main goal is to constantly improve the user-friendliness of the site.
At the moment, you can use the search function to help you find all of the services provided online by federal, state and local governments.
Find government services
Whether you want to apply for parental allowance, find the right contact person for a new national identity card or receive information on setting up a business, the Federal Portal can find information and contact people at the relevant public authorities for any and every government service, so that you can get everything on your to-do list ticked off.
You can choose between a quick, simple keyword search or a search by topic area.
- If you opt for a keyword search, enter your search term in the “What are you looking for?” field on our site. A list of the results will be displayed for you. You can filter your search results by filling in the “Enter Zipcode or Location” box.
- If you opt to search by topic area, you will find these divided into personal matters on one side of the page and business matters for organisations and companies on the other. You can then look for the topic you want based on your individual situation, and you will find the relevant government services.
We scan the services offered by federal, state and local governments for you to find those that suit, and display the information we have collected. We do not actually compile the information – it comes from the public authority in question. This means that you can access first-hand, accurate information conveniently and directly from a range of different offices, knowing that it comes from serious, trustworthy sources.
As a general rule, the portal only provides a description of services for those services that are listed in the public administration’s catalogue of services. This means that there is as yet no suitable description of services for numerous topics and keywords. We are working on this.
Find invitations to tender and job vacancies
For the public, companies and public administrations, the portal www.service.bund.de is the central point of online access to electronic invitations to tender and job vacancies of federal, state and local administrations, as well as to the authorities and institutions of the federal administration.
The search option and the possibility to limit your search by town and radius mean you can target your search for relevant job vacancies and invitations to tender.
Plans for the future
In the future, we want as many online services of the Federation to be directly available on the Federal Portal as possible. A pilot project is under way.
The federal authorities are invited to integrate their online services into the federal administrative portal. Using the Federal Portal allows federal authorities to focus on the specialised aspects of their procedures and to reduce the technical burden to almost zero. Interested federal authorities should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More existing and new online services are to be integrated progressively into the federal administrative portal. This will then allow you to complete certain administrative tasks completely or partly online. This means in many cases you will no longer have to visit government offices in person to carry out administrative tasks.
What information will I find on the Federal Portal?
The Federal Portal provides helpful, trustworthy and reliable information on services provided across the whole of the German public administration, so that you can get your official paperwork done easily.
To do so, we search through the current catalogue of services (a complete and comprehensive list of all government administrative services at every level) for you and provide the information we find there in an easy-to-read format. This includes a short description of the service, the necessary documents and other prerequisites, contact information for the relevant people, and much more.
The information is not ours – we simply pass it on to you, directly and accurately from a trustworthy source: the public authority responsible for this service.
How does the search function work?
The Federal Portal offers two different search options:
- Keyword search: You can search directly for suitable government services on our website quickly and simply by entering a keyword in the “What are you looking for?” field. A selection of matching services is then shown. You can either select a service description directly from the services listed (by clicking on “To services”) or filter the results by entering location information in the “Enter Zipcode or Location” field.
Topic selection: On the homepage, you can decide whether you need to carry out personal or business tasks either by navigating to the menu point “Government services” or to the “For all your personal and business matters" section.
The section “Personal matters” / “All personal matters” contains personal topic areas grouped by situation.
By navigating to “Business matters” / “All business matters” you will find an overview of categories that could be relevant for your company and you can look through them for a suitable topic.
The sections “Personal matters” and “Business matters” also provide the option to select certain popular topics directly, helping you to find the topic you are interested in more quickly.
In all four cases, a topic overview will be displayed, allowing you to select a relevant topic and limiting your search to services that are of interest to you. Smilarly to the keyword search, a list is displayed of the services found. You can then select services directly, or narrow the results by entering location information.
What help and contact options does the Federal Portal offer?
- Support: Do you need help? If you have a specific question or are unable to find something, please use the Support-link and send us a message using the contact form.
Feedback: Would you like to give us your opinion by sending feedback? Where possible, we want to make all federal, state and local government administrative services available online here. This is a huge task involving all sorts of uncharted digital territory for the many people involved in carrying it out. Our main aims are ensuring reliable and trustworthy results in conjunction with the highest levels of security and user-friendliness. However, we are very much aware that, especially at the beginning, we are likely to run into problems – this is a huge project with a steep learning curve.
We would be happy to read your ideas, criticisms or suggested changes so that we can improve the portal step by step. If you would like to communicate these to us, please complete our survey under Feedback.
What other help options are there?
- Government service number 115 is a telephone number within Germany providing the public, businesses and the administration with a direct line to government authorities where they can obtain clear, reliable information when they have questions.
- Site providing information on assistance and problem-solving services in line with EU Regulation 2017/1724 on the Single Digital Gateway (SDG), such as points of single contact, Product Contact Points, Product Contact Points for Construction, national assistance centres for professional qualifications, the national contact point for cross-border healthcare, the European network of employment services, and online dispute resolution.
- If you have technical problems or questions on how to use the portal, please send us a message. To do so, you can open our Support-form and use it to contact us.
What is the Federal User Account?
Anyone who wants to apply for a service from a public authority must generally identify and authenticate themselves. What does this mean? If you want to make an application in person, you identify yourself by introducing yourself by name and then show your national identity card for authentication.
Online, users can identify themselves using user accounts, and then enter their username and password for authentication. Sometimes PINs or other proof of identity are also required. Many of you will be familiar with this from online shopping, online banking, or submitting your tax return via the ELSTER online site.
In 2019, the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community created a user account for citizens and for organisations as part of basic government services: the Federal User Account.
The first phase of the Federal User Account pilot encompasses the Digital Federal Training Assistance Act (BAföG DIGITAL) service, online applications for the temporary aid scheme for businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic (Corona-Überbrückungshilfe), and online applications for parental allowance. Other services will be added soon. The functions available are to be extended and interoperability is to be ensured. Some federal states still provide the public with state-specific user accounts. The federal and state governments are drawing up joint standards and merging their portals into a Network of Government Portals. User accounts are to be linked to ensure that users can identify themselves using a single user account for the purpose of using all digital government services (interoperability of user accounts in the Network of Government Portals).
Federal authorities can cut costs by using the Federal User Account, as it removes the need for their own identification components. This also ensures that in the future, users will be able to identify themselves to government services not only using the Federal User Account, but also with any interoperable user account in Germany.
In addition, in February 2020 the IT Planning Council decided to develop a standard user account for organisations, in particular for companies, based on ELSTER technology (the system used in Germany for electronic tax returns). Federal User Accounts registered up to that point for organisations will be migrated to the new, standard organisation account in due course.
What is the Network of Government Portals?
The Network of Government Portals is the grouping of all administrative portals at federal, state and local government level. The aim is that in future, citizens and companies will be able to access the service they require directly, quickly and with just a few clicks, and then use this service securely online, regardless of which administrative portal they logged on from.
What are assistance and problem-solving services?
In line with the EU Regulation 2018/1724 on the SDG, EU member states and the European Commission must ensure that citizens and business within the EU have easy online access to the following assistance and problem-solving services that can help them to exercise their rights in the internal market:
points of single contact, Product Contact Points, Product Contact Points for Construction, national assistance centres for professional qualifications, national contact points for cross-border healthcare, the European network of employment services, and online dispute resolution.
The aim is to make assistance and problem-solving services easier to find and more accessible and to ensure that they meet agreed quality criteria, avoiding fragmentation and helping prevent a lack of knowledge of available services.