Explanations to common abbreviations and the useful vocabulary you need to know in Germany.

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ABH – s. Ausländerbehörde

Abmeldung – deregistration of your residence in Germany

ab sofort – as of now, anytime

ALG – Unemployment benefit. There are ALG I and ALG II. Unemployment benefit II (basic security for job-seekers). Various benefits should support recipients in finding a job so that they can begin to make a living from their own efforts as soon as possible. Source.

Anmeldung, amtliche Anmeldung - is a process of registering a residence in the Residents’ Registration Office (Anwohnermeldeamt)

Anwohnermeldeamt – Authority responsible for the registration and deregistration of persons³ You as a foreigner can take care of the following formalities: Residence registration, driving licence applications, registration certificates, Police clearance certificate (Polizeiliche Führungszeugnis). Anwohnermeldeamt is often located within the Bürgeramt.

Arbeitsagentur - also Bundesagentur für Arbeit – German Federal Employment Agency

Arbeitslosenversicherung – Unemployment insurance contributions

Aufenthaltserlaubnis, Aufenthaltstitel – residence permit

Aufenthaltsgesetz short: AufenthG - Residence Act, full title: Act on the Residence, Economic Activity and Integration of Foreigners in the Federal Territory

Aufhebungsvertrag – termination agreement, cancellation agreement

Abwicklungsvertrag – winding-up agreement

Ausländer – a foreigner. A foreigner is anyone who in accordance with the Basic Law (Article 116, paragraph 1) is not German. Source.

Ausländerbehörde, ABH (also Ausländeramt) – foreigner registration office / Immigration authority

Ausgaben – s. Betriebsausgaben

Ausländeramt – s. Ausländerbehörde

BAMF - Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, which is is responsible for the areas of asylum, migration, integration, repatriation and Jewish immigrants. It functions as a centre of expertise for migration and integration.

Befristed – limited, fixed-term (usually about contracts)

Betriebsausgaben – business expences

BIS, Business Immigration Service – an immigration authority in Berlin;

Blue Card, official name: EU Blue Card (Section 19a of Residence Act) - a temporar residence permit for skilled immigrants from non-EU countries.

Brutto / Netto (usually about salary) – the payroll after / befor deductions (tax, insurance etc.)

Bundesagentur für Arbeit – s. Arbeitsagentur

Bundesweit – all over Germany

Bürgeramt, also Bürgerbüro, Bürgerdienst, Bürgerservice – registration authority (source: DAAD) is an institution in which several services for citizens are combined in one place

CEF or CEFR, Common European Framework of Reference for Languages – The CEFR is a system which makes it possible to describe and measure (foreign) language communication skills.

Deutschkenntnisse – German language skills (i.e. gute Java-Kenntnisse – good Java skills)

Drittstaat Third country - as defined by the German Residence Act are generally all countries, except Germany, other members of European Union (EU), the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway;

Drittstaatsangehörige - Third-country citizens are people who are not nationals of a Member State of the European Union. Source.

EDV, Elektronische Daten Verarbeitung – IT, computing

Einnhahmen – revenue

Einkommen – (business) income

Eintrittstermin – starting date

Entwickler, Entwicklung – developer, development

Einwohnermeldeamt – resident registration office²

Einzelunternehmen – sole proprietorship (by far the most common legal form in Germany)*

Einzelunternehmer – sole proprietor

Erklärung zur Beschäftigungsverhältnis – "Declaration of Employment" (German Consulate in USA: This document will be filled by employer.

Ertragsvorschau - revenue forecast. Source.

EÜR, Einnahmen-Überschussrechnung – income surplus accounting

Fachhochschule, FH, University of Applied Sciences (UAS) - a German tertiary education institution, specializing in topical areas (e.g. engineering, technology or business).

Fachkraft - skilled professional

Familiennachzug - subsequent immigration of family members

Finanzamt – tax office

Freiberufler – freelancer

Freibetrag – tax allowance

GbR, Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts – partnership constituted under civil law (one of company’s legal forms)*

GER, Gemeinsamer Europäischer Referenzrahmen für SprachenThe GER, Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. S. also CEFR

Gesamteinkommen – the total income, income without deductions and tax

Gesetz – law

Gesetzliche Versicherung – compulsory insurance. Also known as statutory insurance, social insurance. S. also: Pflichtversicherung

Gewerbe – trade

Gewerbeamt – trade office / commerce office* (sometimes belongs to Ordnungsamt)

Gewerbeanmeldung – trade registration. Will be done in Gewerbeamt.

Gewerbefreiheit – freedom of trade, free access to trade – one of the German rights. Right to run a business, unless there are legal exceptions or restrictions

Gewerbesteuerhebesatz – trade tax multiplier

Gewerbetreibender – trader*

Gewinn – profit

Girokonto – current bank account (for private purpose). There is also Geschäftskonto – a bank account for the business purpose

Gründer – founder of a company

Handelsregister – the commercial register

Handelsregisterantrag – the commercial register entry. This is a mandatory for some legal forms. You as IT-freelancer don’t need it

Hauptmieter – main tenant

Hausverwaltung, also Wohnungsverwaltung – house management company

Hebesatz – s. Gewerbesteuerhebesatz

IdNr., ID-Nr – s. Steuer-ID or read this article

IHK, Industrie- und Handelskammer – CCI, Chamber of Commerce and Industry / Chamber of Industry and Commerce .*

Immatrikulationsbescheinigung, also called I-Bescheinigung or Immatrikulation – matriculation certificate, i.e. the certificate of your enrollment at the university

Impressum - Inprint. Background of the imprint obligation in Germany is that the users of the site should be right to know who is responsible for that website.

Informatik – Computer Science

Informatiker – in colloquial German it is a collective word for “IT-people”

inkl. MwSt (from inklusive Mehrwertsteuer) – the price already includes VAT (value-added tax)

Kaltmiete – basic rent, without electricity, hot water etc.

Kaution – security deposit, used mostly in according with renting a flat

Kindergeld – state supplement for child (children) in the family

Kleingewerbe – small business*

Kleinunternehmer – small business owner

Kleinunternehmerregelung – small Business regulation*

Konto – an account (e.g. in a bank or in an internet service: Paypal-Konto, Google-Konto) s. Girokonto

LABO – the name of Ausländerbehörde in Berlin;

LEA Landesamt für Einwanderung – also known as Berlin Immigration Office

Lebenspartnerschaft eingetragene L. – civil union (Source: Antrag auf Erteilung eines nationalen Visums - Application for a national visa vom Auswärtiges Amt);

Leiharbeitnehmer – an employee in a temporary employment company (Zeitarbeitsunternehmen)

Lohnsteuerbescheinigung – Wage tax certificate. A certificate of tax deductions from an employee’s wage. The employee receives the Lohnsteuerbescheinigung from his employer

Mangelberuf(e) – high-demand ocupation(s). However, the Federal Ministry for Migration (BAMF) prefers the other formulations: “shortage occupations” or “occupations which are regarded as jobs where there is a shortage of applicants”.

Meldebescheinigung – registration certificate, certificate confirming one’s permanent registration¹;

Meldebestätigung, also amtliche Meldebestätigung – the same as Meldebescheinigung

Mehr anzeigen – show more (weniger anzeigen – to hide)

Miete – rent, usually for accomodation

Mitwirkungspflicht – obligation to cooperate (with German federal structures, like for example German Federal Employment Agency)

MwSt – s. inkl. MwSt

Nachmieter – subsequent tenants

Nebenerwerb – subsequent tenants

Netto – s. Brutto

Niederlassungserlaubnis – settlement permit

OHG, Offene Handelsgesellschaft – general commercial partnership (one of company’s legal forms)*

Ordnungsamt – s. Gewerbeamt

Pflichtversicherung – compulsory insurance. In Germany there is a health insurance obligation. If you are an employee, most likely your will get a compulsory (statutory) health insurance. If you are selfemplyed / freelancer, most likely your will get a privat insurance;

PLZ (from Postleitzahl) – postal index, or ZIP code is mandatory while filling documents or entering any postal addresses

Polizeiliche Anmeldung – the same as amtliche Anmeldung

Probezeit – probation period in a company. Usually six months

Programmierer – programmer (instead of this term, in Germany they usually say Informatiker)

Regelbesteuerung – regular taxation – the most common form of taxation in Germany. In simple words "it is when your invoice includes 19% VAT"

Reiseversicherung – travel insurance. You (and your family members if they are travelling with you) must cover the time between entry in Germany and the actual start of your work / study / promotion / internship etc.

SCHUFA – credit Report. Schufa can be requested by the landlord to ensure your freedom from debt**

Schulamt – education authority (;

Selbstständigkeit – self-employment, freelance

Sozialversicherungspflichtige Erwerbstätigkeit / Beschäftigung – employment / occupation with the social package / with employment benefits package (Federal Employment Agency)

Scheinselbständigkeit – fictitious self-employment, quasi-self-employment, pseudo self-employment

sozialversicherungspflichtig(e Tätigkeit) – employment with benefits package, the most common form of regular employment in Germany

Stellenbeschreibung - a job description; you will need it among other documents while applying for the national visa and for issuing residence title e.g. Bluecard etc.

Steuer(n) – tax(es); German taxes every entrepreneur should know:

  • Einkommensteuer – income tax
  • Gewerbesteuer – trade tax
  • Körperschaftsteuer – corporation tax [Br.]; corporate tax [Am.]
  • Lohnsteuer – wage and salary tax; wage tax; payroll tax
  • Mehrwertsteuer (MWSt) – value-added tax, VAT
  • Umsatzsteuer – turnover tax
  • Vorsteuer – input tax (VAT paid as input tax)

Steuerberater – tax advisor; tax practitioner [Br.]; tax preparer [Am.]

Steuerbescheid – notice of (tax) assessment

Steuererklärung – tax declaration

Steuer-ID, also: Steueridentifikationsnummer – is a nationwide and permanent identification number of persons registered in Germany for tax purposes. The Steuer-ID is also implemented in other European countries as TIN (Tax Identification Number).

Steuermessbetrag – tax basis, basis for the assessment of land and trade taxes

Steuermesszahl – tax indicator

Steuernummer – tax number

Steuervorauszahlung – advance tax payment; prepayment of taxes on estimate basis; tax prepayment;

Studienvorbereitung - study preparation. Visum zu Studienvorbereitung – The visa for "study preparation" is needed for the participation in a preparatory course for the DSH or the Studienkolleg.

Studienzwecken - study purposes. Visum zu Studienzwecken – You need the visa for "study purposes" if you intend to study at a university.

Teilzeit – part-time

Termin – 1: an appointment on fixed day (and time); 2: the meeting for an appointment;

Ummeldung – re-registration of your residence in Germany

Umsatz – turnover, (gross) sales

Umsatzsteuer – s. Steuer(n)

Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldung – advance VAT return (the form which will be sent to the tax office monthly or once a quarter)

unbefristed – with unlimited duration (usually about contracts or residence titles)

Unterkonto – subaccount. It’s an “account within your bank account”. It is a very convenient and free option – there you can put money for a specific purpose (such as future tax prepayments, business expenses, tax consultant fees, etc.)

Untermieter – subtenant, roomer, lodger

Unternehmen – company, business, enterprise, corporation, organisation

Unternehmer – trader (as a status for taxation); entrepreneur. About the difference to freelance s. FREELANCER vs TRADER

Veröffentlichung – publication, date of publication

Vollzeit – full-time

Vorrangprüfung - If a non-EU foreigner applies for a job, in some cases there is a procedure that requires a request to the Federal Employment Agency whether another person is eligible to occupy the particular job. (Legal basis: § 2 Abs. 3 BeschV

Warmmiete – s. Kaltmiete

Werbung – advertisment

Wohnungsverwaltung – s. Hausverwaltung

Zeitarbeitsunternehmen – temporary employment business / company

Zwischenmieter – intermediate tenant

zzgl. MwSt (zuzüglich Mehrwehrtsteuer) – you have to add VAT (value-added tax, usually 19%) to the given price

08.09.21 ©️ Jaroslav Plotnikov (All articles)