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).
The European single market, the common market of the EU member states, offers many freedoms to people across Europe. These include the free exchange of goods and services and free transfer of payments as well as travel and residence rights. The EU single market affects many different areas of life and business situations. National laws specify the principles established by EU law for the respective member states.
Everyone in Europe should be aware of the opportunities provided by the common market. The “Information on rights and duties” illustrates the opportunities offered by the EU single market and the resulting obligations. The Federal Portal provides “Information on rights and duties” under the different headings that are displayed when you press the buttons “Personal” or “Business Matters”. All rights and duties related to the EU single market are also listed on the EU website “Your Europe” which is available in all EU languages.
The “Your Europe” website informs citizens of the European Union about their rights in the EU single market. It is also being expanded to provide a common user interface for public services offered by all the EU member states. The website provides individuals and businesses with information about rights and regulations in the EU. It also offers access to a network of national websites which provide information on how EU regulations have been implemented in the various member states.
The "Your Europe" website also provides access to the help and support services of the EU. In particular, “Your Europe” aims to assist EU citizens wishing to travel or move to other European countries. The website is also for businesses wishing to establish operations in other EU member states.
Searching the Federal Portal
The Federal Portal provides access to government services offered at federal, state and municipal level.
To find the service you are looking for, you can either use the keyword search function or the “All Personal Matters” and the “All Business Matters” buttons.
To carry out a keyword search, enter your search term in the field marked “What are you looking for?”. A list of the results will be displayed for you. There are two filters that you can use to refine your search:
If you enter your place of residence or your postal code in the location filter, a list of municipalities will be displayed. Click on the place where you live and the government services for your place of residence will be displayed.
In addition, you can filter the search results by category. If you enter the search term “parental leave”, you will find entries in different categories such as “industrial safety” and “health insurance”. Select the category that is relevant in your case and click the “Apply filter” button to view only results under that category.
All Business Matters and All Personal Matters:
Alternatively, you can check which administrative services are offered for specific topics. This can be helpful if you do not know the exact designation of the government service that you are looking for.
The system distinguishes between “All Personal Matters” for private individuals and “All Business Matters” for organisations and businesses. 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
BundID offers private individuals a central account they can use to identify themselves online. You can create the account on the BundID website.
To create a BundID account, you first have to register with a user name and password. There are various ways to identify yourself online. You may do so with
- your eID card or
- your ELSTER certificate.
In order to identify yourself using your eID card, you will need an identity document with an online ID function such as the German identity card. EU citizens can use the online ID function of their electronic ID card; nationals of other countries may be able to use the online ID function of their electronic residence title.
Alternatively, you can identify yourself using an ELSTER certificate. ELSTER stands for “elektronische Steuererklärung” (electronic tax return). Many people already use this platform to exchange data with the tax office.
Businesses, associations and other organisations can also identify themselves online by using the ELSTER business account .
If you visit an agency in person to use a service, you normally have to identify yourself (for example with your national ID card). The same applies when you use government services online. The eIDAS Regulation governs the electronic identification of individuals and businesses in the European Union. It distinguishes between different assurance or security levels.
The eIDAS Regulation stipulates that the electronic identification you use should be based on the assurance level required for a particular government service. Identification with a high level of security (such as an ID card with online function) should be used for government services requiring a high assurance level. For government services requiring a lower assurance level, the security requirements for identification are lower.
The eIDAS Regulation distinguishes between three assurance levels of electronic identification:
In order to use government services on the Federal Portal, you do not need to know which assurance level applies for the government service you are looking for. If you have found the service you are looking for, the system will tell you how you to identify yourself. You may be asked to use your ID card with online function or an ELSTER certificate that you may have already used to submit your electronic tax return.
Information about the documents required, as well as other advice, can be found under the description of the relevant service. The description can be found by entering a keyword in the “What are you looking for?” field. Enter your request (e.g. “fishing licence”). Now, the relevant services will be displayed so that you can filter them by postal code or location. If the service you are looking for is displayed, clicking on the link will take you to the relevant website.
Alternatively, you can also find the individual services by searching the topic areas “All Personal Matters” for private individuals and “All Business Matters” for organisations and businesses. You will find these buttons on the homepage.
When filling in certain online applications, you may be asked to submit specific documents. For example, in order to obtain a fishing licence, you may be asked to prove that you have passed the sport fishing exam.
In many cases, you can upload the required documents online. Instructions on how this works will be displayed when you call up the application form. These instructions also include information about the acceptable formats and file sizes. In some cases, you can also view a form preview which you can call up without logging in. The form preview also indicates the acceptable file formats and sizes for the documents that you are asked to submit.
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.
It is not necessary to sign an online application form. If proof of your identity is required, please use online services such as BundID or ELSTER.
The Federal Portal is provided by the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (BMI). It complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union which aims to ensure the protection of personal data. The BMI has outsourced the hosting of the Federal Portal to Bundesdruckerei GmbH. The data centres of the Bundesdruckerei are located in Germany.
Data are sent between your web browser and the Federal Portal servers using an encrypted https connection. Https is a secure version of the http communication protocol which is used to prevent unauthorised persons from accessing user data. A high encryption standard with a key length of 256 bits is used to encrypt the web browser data.
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.