Frequently Asked Questions
The Federal Portal provides information on the administrative services offered by Germany’s federal, state and local governments. It also allows you to perform many government transactions online. As part of the implementation of the Online Access Act (Onlinezugangsgesetz, OZG), the number of online administrative services is continually growing.
You can even find services offered by the EU or other national authorities under the section on assistance and problem-solving services.
Your search will provide results for relevant government services. If a service offers the option to submit applications online via the Federal Portal, it will be labelled accordingly.
You can open the online form for your application by clicking on “Open form” at the bottom of the relevant page.
Once you have selected a service, you will find the competent office and the “Contact point” in the service description.
Assistance and problem-solving services, also known as support services, are services aimed at helping citizens and businesses in the EU to secure their rights in various fields. They help users with information requests and enquiries, provide advice and respond to questions regarding online procedures.
These services are offered via a Single Digital Gateway (SDG) in line with EU Regulation 2018/1724. They include:
- 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
- European network of employment services (EURES)
- Online dispute resolution (ODR)
- Office for the Equal Treatment of EU Workers
The Act to Improve Online Access to Administrative Services, also known as the Online Access Act (Onlinezugangsgesetz, OZG), requires the German administration to make all of its services available in digital format. The Act obliges the federal, state and local authorities to make their administrative services available online and to merge their individual administrative portals into a joint network. The aim is to offer individuals and businesses simple, user-friendly and accessible administrative services.
The information on administrative services found on the Federal Portal is provided by the authorities responsible for those services.
Authorities at federal, state and municipal level cooperate under the Federal Information Management system (FIM) to provide descriptions of administrative services. The federal editorial team is responsible for the description of services related to federal law. Its task is to provide information for citizens that is easy to understand. State and municipal authorities may use and adapt these texts.
As well as services related to federal law, services related to state and municipal law are also created according to the rules of the Federal Information Management system.
The service descriptions are created and maintained by editorial teams at federal, state or municipal level, depending on which authorities are responsible for providing a specific service. The Federal Portal shows content which has been added to the network of government portals by the respective editorial teams.
You can find contact details for the editorial teams at federal and state level here: https://fimportal.de/kontakt (in German only).
Searching the Federal Portal
The Federal Portal provides access to administrative services offered at federal, state and municipal level. You can choose between two search methods:
- To carry out a keyword search, enter your search term in the field marked “What are you looking for?”. A list of results and a new field will be displayed. Enter your postal code or location in the new field and click on “Apply filter” to see results only for your region.
- Alternatively, you can check which administrative services are offered for specific topics. Services are categorised under “All Personal Matters” for private individuals and “All Business Matters” for organisations and businesses (see the two buttons on the homepage). There you can look for the topic you want based on your individual situation, and then click on “To results”. You will then be shown relevant administrative services.
You can find descriptions of many administrative services offered at federal, state and municipal level. Each description is provided by the authority responsible for the service in question. This ensures that you receive reliable information directly from the source. Not all administrative services are available online yet – new services are added on a regular basis.
You have the following options:
1. If you have a specific search term in mind, then you can search for keywords related to your situation or problem in the “What are you looking for?” field.
2. If you only want to browse, you can look through our topic areas. If you are searching as an individual, you will find relevant services in the “All Personal Matters” section. If you are searching for business purposes, the services under “All Business Matters” will be of interest to you.
In both sections you will find a selection of administrative services for your situation.
There are a number of possible reasons why you may not be able to find a certain administrative service on the Federal Portal.
- Search term is not specific enough: If your search does not generate any results, check your search term. The search function is set up so that unspecific search terms can also be found.
For example: If you search for “angling permit”, then you will be shown services related to “fishing licence”, as this is the official name for an angling permit. However, not all unspecific search terms will generate relevant results. For this reason, try to search for the official name of the service you are looking for. If you do not know the official name of a service, you can try looking for it under “All Personal Matters” or “All Business Matters” (see the two buttons on the homepage).
- Service is not online: We are still developing the Federal Portal and not all authorities in Germany have made their services available online yet. If you are certain that you have entered the correct search term but have not received relevant results, you may be looking for a service that is currently not available online.
Submitting an application
There are various ways to prove your identity when submitting online applications and forms to authorities.
BundID, previously known as the Federal User Account, provides a secure method of authentication to private individuals.
You can use this method via the online ID function (of your national identity card, electronic residence permit or eID card for EU citizens), an eIDAS-compliant eID from your home country within the EU, an ELSTER certificate, or a username and password.
The ELSTER business account allows organisations such as businesses, associations and government institutions to identify themselves by means of their ELSTER certificates.
The term “assurance level” refers to the trustworthiness of the identification provided by a person or organisation (proof of identity). In line with the eIDAS Regulation (EU) No 910/2014, electronic proof of identity is classified according to three assurance levels:
Depending on the application you are submitting, a higher assurance level may be required. In the Federal Portal, online applications are labelled with the assurance level they require. You will automatically be taken to a page where your proof of identity can be checked.
Applications that can be submitted anonymously are labelled “No login necessary”. If you wish to receive online responses from authorities in such cases and would like to save your details so that future applications are pre-filled automatically, please use the BundID login option “username/password”.
You can find information about the data, identification and documents required, as well as other advice, under the description of the relevant service.
The description can be found by entering a keyword in the “What are you looking for?” field. Alternatively, you can search through our topic areas: “All Personal Matters” for individuals and “All Business Matters” for organisations and businesses.
When completing the form for your online application, you have the option to upload files with copies of the required documents in a separate section within the form.
You can usually send the completed form for your online application directly through the Federal Portal. In some cases, it is possible to print out the form and send it by post.
Support and contact
- If you have questions about the Federal Portal, or are having difficulty finding what you’re looking for, please contact us via the “Support” form.
- To let us know what you think of the Federal Portal, feel free to take part in our survey under “Feedback”. We welcome your ideas, criticisms and suggested changes so that we can gradually improve the Federal Portal.
- Please feel free to call our Federal Portal Service Team. You can reach us on +49 (0)30 2598 - 4402, Monday through Friday from 7:00 to 19:00.
Do you have questions about the Federal Portal?
If you are unsure of something, or you cannot find what you are looking for, please use our contact form titled “Support”. You can also contact our Service Team by telephone. You can reach us on +49 (0)30 2598 - 4402, Monday through Friday from 7:00 to 19:00.
Do you have questions regarding your online application?
Please contact the office which is processing your application. You will find the office’s contact details under “Contact point” in the service description.
Do you have questions about BundID (the Federal User Account)?
If so, please visit the BundID website. The website has a comprehensive support section.
You can also contact the responsible office directly.
Do you have questions about the ELSTER business account?
The “Mein Unternehmenskonto” website has a support section with extensive information on specialist and technical questions as well as contact details.
Do you have questions about general administrative topics?
Please contact the government service telephone number 115 for general questions. This number provides reliable answers to your questions about the public administration and can be reached Monday through Friday from 8:00 to18:00.
Feel free to use our “Feedback” form.
Our main goal is to constantly make the portal more user-friendly.
We look forward to hearing your ideas, criticisms and suggested changes so that we can continue to improve the Federal Portal.
You will find the contact details of the office responsible for your online application under “Contact point” in the service description.
The government service telephone number 115 is a central point of contact for the public administration and your first port of call for general questions. It can provide quick and reliable answers to your questions Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 18:00.