Everyone living in Germany and registered in housing is legally required to pay a licence fee to fund public broadcasting. This payment obligation is not dependent upon citizenship, length of stay or any other similar factors, but must be paid by everyone registered in housing in Germany.
Costs: One fee is due per property, regardless of how many people are living in it. The current fee is €17.50 per property per month. However, the fee is not paid monthly, but quarterly instead.
There are two ways of paying the fee:
1. Register with the ARD ZDF Deutschlandradio Beitragsservice (fee collection service of ARD, ZDF and Deutschlandradio) once you have informed the Bürgeramt of your place of residence. You can do this using a form that you either fill out online or post to the address stated on the form.
You can find the form on the Beitragsservice website.
2. Wait until you receive a letter from the Beitragsservice asking you to register. You will receive this letter a few weeks after registering with the Bürgeramt. The letter (in German) will tell you the next steps to take and how much it will cost.
Regardless of whether you register yourself or wait for a letter from the Beitragsservice, the licence fee will be due from the first month in which you register your address in Heilbronn. In other words: The longer you wait to register, the higher the back payment due will be.
When you depart from Germany, you must deregister with the Beitragsservice. You can find the relevant form (called ‘Abmeldung der Wohnung’) on the Beitragsservice website. You may be asked to provide proof that you are moving abroad.