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1. How do I get a certificate of good conduct?

According to § 30 BZRG, every person who has reached the age of 14 is issued a certificate of good conduct on the contents of the register concerning them (certificate of good conduct) on request. This can be issued for your own purposes (certificate of private conduct) or for submission to a German authority.

The person concerned must apply for the certificate of good conduct personally by presenting their identity card or passport at the local registration authority or via the online portal of the Federal Office of Justice (see question 2). People who are exempt from the obligation to register or who do not have a permanent address can submit their certificate of good conduct application to the registration authority in whose district they usually reside.

If the person concerned is legally represented (e.g. minors), the representative is also entitled to apply. If the person concerned is incapable of doing business, only their legal representative is entitled to apply. The legal representative must prove their power of representation when submitting the application. Authorization to submit an application is not possible.

The certificate of good conduct is issued by the Federal Office of Justice. The Federal Office of Justice only sends a certificate of private conduct to the applicant. A certificate of good conduct for submission to a German authority is sent directly to the authority concerned by the Federal Office of Justice.

In addition to filing a personal application at the registration office, the certificate of good conduct can also be applied for in writing there. In this case, personal data (birthday, maiden name, possibly different family name, first name (s), place of birth, nationality, address) must be given in the informal application letter to the residents' registration office. The signature on the application letter must be officially or publicly certified. Unless already evident from the certification of the signature, the correctness of the data must be proven. It is recommended to contact the competent registration authority before submitting a written application - also about the payment of fees.

The person making the application also has the option of obtaining the certificate of private conduct directly from the Federal Office of Justice. This is done by submitting the original application recorded and handed over to the registration office as well as a photo ID. A handover cannot take place if a European certificate of good conduct is to be issued in accordance with § 30b BZRG, i. In other words, if the applicant - in addition to or instead of the German - has the citizenship of one or more other EU member states.

The address is:

Federal Office of Justice
- Visitor service -
Adenauerallee 99 - 103
53113 Bonn

Opening hours:

Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

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2. Can I apply for a certificate of good conduct online?

Yes. The certificate of good conduct can be requested via the online portal of the Federal Office of Justice. For this you need the new electronic identity card or an electronic residence permit and a card reader. You can find the online portal here.

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3. What does a certificate of good conduct cost?

A certificate of good conduct costs 13.00 EUR.

The fee is to be paid with the application to the competent registration authority.

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4. Is there a fee exemption?

In certain cases, fees for a certificate of good conduct can be waived. The details can be found in the information sheet on the collection of fees for the certificate of good conduct stored here (PDF, 120KB, file is barrier-free / low-barrier).

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5. How long will it take to get the certificate of good conduct?

The processing time of requests for a certificate of good conduct depends on the total number of requests to be processed. It usually takes 1 to 2 weeks.

If you have any questions about the processing status, please use the contact form, subject "Certificate of good conduct".

The issuance of a European Certificate of Good Conduct may require a longer processing time, as the notification must be requested from the register of the home Member State. The underlying European regulations grant the home Member State a period of twenty working days for the transmission.

If you have any questions about the processing status, please use the contact form, subject "Certificate of good conduct with international reference".

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6. Can the certificate of good conduct be sent to an address other than my registered address?

According to Section 30 (4) BZRG, it is not permitted to send the certificate of good conduct to anyone other than the applicant. However, it is possible to send the applicant the certificate of good conduct to an address other than the registered address if this is unavoidable for the applicant (e.g. business trip). It should be noted that the addressee remains the applicant.

Example:

Frank Mustermann (applicant)
c / o Erika Mustermann
Sample path 123
12345 Musterhausen

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7. What is the content of a certificate of good conduct?

The content of a certificate of good conduct is based on § 32 BZRG.

Not all entries contained in the register for a person are then to be included in a certificate of good conduct. Section 32 (2) BZRG determines which entries are excluded from inclusion. For example, youth sentences suspended on probation of no more than two years are not regularly included in a certificate of good conduct (Section 32 (2) No. 3 BZRG). Convictions to a fine of no more than 90 daily rates or a prison sentence of no more than three months are not to be included if no further penalty is entered in the register (Section 32 (2) No. 5 a) and b) BZRG). However, the exceptions in Section 32 (2) BZRG do not apply if a conviction for a sexual offense under Sections 174 to 180 or 182 of the Criminal Code has been issued. A conviction to a fine of not more than 90 daily rates or a prison sentence of not more than three months, which has been committed for such an offense, must therefore be included in a certificate of good conduct even if it is the only conviction entered in the central register ( Section 32 (1) sentence 2 BZRG).

If none of the exceptions mentioned in Section 33 (2) BZRG exist, convictions will no longer be included in a certificate of good conduct after certain deadlines have expired (see also question 15).

In addition to the German certificate of good conduct, the European certificate of good conduct contains the notification of entries in the criminal record of the home member state in the transmitted language, provided that the home member state provides for transmission in accordance with its law. Further information on the European Certificate of Good Conduct can be found under question 14.

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8. How long is a certificate of good conduct valid?

The Federal Central Register Act does not contain any regulation on the duration of the validity of a certificate of good conduct. This is due to the fact that the registry authority could be notified of a conviction shortly after the certificate of good conduct was issued, which could have an impact on the content of a new certificate of good conduct to be issued. A certificate of good conduct that has been issued can therefore only reproduce the contents of the register at the specific point in time when it was issued. It is therefore at the discretion of the respective body to which the certificate of good conduct is to be presented (e.g. employer, authority, association) how long after the date of issue it will be accepted. As a rule, a period of 3 months is stated for this since it was issued.

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9. Will an "old" certificate of good conduct remain valid after the new certificate has been introduced?

In 2019, the appearance of the certificate of good conduct changed. Certificates of good conduct that were issued at an earlier point in time in the old layout are still valid. For this reason, certificates of good conduct will be in circulation in both the old and the new layout within a certain transition period.

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10. Can a certificate of good conduct be issued in a foreign language?

The names of the personal data are printed in German, English and French on the certificate of good conduct. If the certificate of good conduct does not contain an entry, this information is also given in the three languages. In addition, any contribution made by the country of origin for a European certificate of good conduct is recorded in the transmitted language.

In addition, it is not possible to print other information in a foreign language. However, the person concerned is free to have an official translation made in any language.

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11. Can a certificate of good conduct be copied or notarized?

A certificate of good conduct may be copied or authenticated at any time. In principle, all seal-bearing authorities are authorized to certify official documents. However, the Federal Office of Justice does not make certified copies of certificates of good conduct.

However, it is at the discretion of the respective office to which the certificate of good conduct is to be presented to what extent the (certified) copy of a certificate of good conduct is accepted as sufficient.

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12. What is a certificate of good conduct for submission to an authority?

For the content of a certificate of good conduct for submission to an authority, special features apply in accordance with Section 32 (3) and (4) BZRG. According to this, such a certificate of good conduct for submission to a German authority includes not only criminal court decisions but also certain decisions by administrative authorities, e.g. B. the revocation of a gun license or a business license. Furthermore, decisions about a possible incapacity or court-ordered placement in a psychiatric hospital may have to be listed. Finally, a certificate of good conduct can also contain first convictions for a fine of no more than 90 daily rates or a prison sentence of no more than 3 months if the offense punished by the conviction is in connection with the exercise of a trade or the operation of another economic enterprise has been committed and the certificate of good conduct is intended for the decisions referred to in Section 149, Paragraph 2, No. 1 of the Trade Regulations.

If a certificate of good conduct is to be presented to a German authority, this must be specified when submitting the application to the registration authority.

The Federal Office of Justice will send the certificate of good conduct directly to the authority. The authority must allow the applicant to inspect the certificate of good conduct on request (Section 30 (5) BZRG). However, the person making the application can also request that the certificate of good conduct, if it contains entries, is first sent to a district court designated by it so that it can be viewed there. After the inspection, the certificate of good conduct will be forwarded to the authorities or, if the person submitting the application objects, it will be destroyed by the local court.

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13. What is an "extended certificate of good conduct"?

An "extended certificate of good conduct" is issued in accordance with Section 30 a (1) of the BZRG, if this is provided for in statutory provisions, or if the certificate of good conduct is required for the test of personal suitability in accordance with Section 72 a of Book 8 of the Social Code, other professional or voluntary supervision , Care, upbringing or training of minors or an activity that is similarly suitable for making contact with minors.

When submitting the application, a written request must be submitted to the body that requires the "extended certificate of good conduct" and in which it confirms that the requirements of Section 30a (1) BZRG are met for the issue of such a certificate of good conduct. For self-employed persons, the applicant's certificate is sufficient Person out.

The "extended certificate of good conduct" differs from a regular certificate of good conduct with regard to its content. In the interests of rehabilitation of the convicted person, Section 32 (2) BZRG stipulates that in the cases listed there, decisions entered in the register are not included in a certificate of good conduct. Convictions for a sexual offense according to Sections 174 to 180 or Section 182 of the Criminal Code (StGB) are generally excluded from this privilege. Convictions for further sexual offenses (Sections 180 a, 181 a, 183 to 184g StGB) or according to the criminal offenses of Sections 171, 225, 232 to 233 a, 234, 235 or 236 StGB, which are also particularly relevant for the protection of children and young people are not included in a certificate of good conduct if one of the exceptions of Section 32 (2) No. 3 to 9 BZRG is present, unless an "extended certificate of good conduct" is applied for. In this case, convictions for the above-mentioned criminal offenses are to be listed regardless of the exemption provisions of Section 32 (2) BZRG.

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14. What is a European Certificate of Good Conduct?

Persons who - in addition to or instead of German - are citizens of one or more other member states of the European Union must be issued a European clearance certificate in accordance with Section 30b BZRG. In addition to the German certificate of good conduct, this contains the notification of entries in the criminal record of the home member state in the transmitted language, provided that the home member state provides for a transmission according to its law. If the requirements are met, a European certificate of good conduct is issued either as a private certificate of good conduct or as a certificate of good conduct for submission to an authority or as an extended certificate of good conduct, depending on the application.

If a European certificate of good conduct is requested, the Federal Office of Justice asks the home member state to provide information about the contents of the register there so that it can be included in the certificate of good conduct. A translation and a content check of the information provided will not be carried out. The underlying European rules allow the home Member State a period of twenty working days to submit the contribution.

The home Member State only replies to a request for disclosure of the contents of the register there in accordance with its national law. Certain EU member states have not (yet) implemented any corresponding legal regulations that would allow register information to be issued for a European clearance certificate.

This also applies to British nationals from January 1, 2021 due to the provisional application of the trade and cooperation agreement negotiated between the EU and Great Britain.

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15. When do entries no longer appear in the certificate of good conduct?

After a certain period of time, convictions entered in the central register are no longer included in a certificate of good conduct. According to Section 33 (2) BZRG, however, this does not apply to convictions by the

  • has been recognized for life imprisonment if the remainder of the sentence has not been remitted by pardon in accordance with Section 57 a (3) sentence 2 in conjunction with Section 56 g of the Criminal Code,
  • Preventive detention has been ordered or
  • placement in a psychiatric hospital has been ordered if an (extended) certificate of good conduct for authorities (Section 30 (5), Section 31 BZRG) is requested.

The length of the period, after which a conviction is no longer to be included in a certificate of good conduct, is generally based on the sentence imposed and is determined in detail according to Sections 34 et seq.BZRG.

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16. Can I request that an entry not appear in the certificate of good conduct?

According to § 39 BZRG, the registry authority can order the premature non-inclusion of a conviction in a certificate of good conduct, provided that the public interest does not conflict with such an order.

Since a certificate of good conduct often serves to provide potential employers with the information relevant to the decision about entering into an employment relationship, which includes the reliability and unpunished lifestyle of applicants, the order is for the early non-inclusion of an entry in the certificate of good conduct to be considered only in special exceptional cases. Professional difficulties in and of themselves therefore do not justify ordering a register benefit. In principle, the public must be able to rely on the fact that a certificate of good conduct actually contains the entries to be made according to the law.

As a rule, an exceptional case is only given if the further inclusion of the entry would represent undue hardship. This must be credibly demonstrated when submitting the application.

Applications for premature failure to include a conviction in the certificate of good conduct should also contain a comprehensive description of the life situation. The circumstances presented are to be provided by copies of meaningful documents (e.g.Birth certificates of children, notifications of receipt of unemployment benefits or social assistance, letters of termination, job offers, requests to present a certificate of good conduct).

The applications must be signed and sent to the Federal Office of Justice (Section IV 3), stating full personal details (maiden name, surname, all first names, date of birth and place of birth) as well as the home address. For reasons of data protection law, such requests can only be processed if the identity of the requesting party is clearly established. A photocopy of an official identification document (front and back) must therefore be attached to the application. The following data must be evident from the copy: first name, surname (possibly also the maiden name that differs from it), date of birth, place of birth, signature and address. Remaining data can be blackened out on the copy.

Applications that are sent by e-mail must also be signed in addition to the full personal data. The photocopy of an official identification document (front and back) is essential to establish identity. The email should be sent to: [email protected]

A power of attorney must always be submitted when submitting an application by an authorized representative (even if represented by a lawyer). If the power of attorney is also to include the receipt of documents, this must be expressly stated.

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17. What does it mean if a conviction is not (no longer) included in a certificate of good conduct?

If a conviction is not included in a certificate of good conduct, pursuant to Section 53 (1) BZRG, the convicted person may in this respect be described as unpunished and no longer needs to disclose the facts on which the conviction is based.

Of convictions that are not (no longer) to be included in a certificate of good conduct, only the bodies expressly named in § 41 BZRG (including courts, public prosecutors, supreme federal and state authorities, tax authorities for the prosecution of tax offenses, naturalization authorities for naturalization procedures) receive in the framework an unlimited information according to § 41 BZRG knowledge. Insofar as courts and authorities have unlimited access to information, the right under Section 53 (1) BZRG to describe oneself as unpunished and no longer to disclose the facts on which the conviction is based does not exist, if this has been expressly instructed.

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