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The register of residents is a government database containing information on the current residence of persons. In countries where the resident registration is compulsory, the current place of residence must be reported to the Resident Registration Office or the police within a few days after establishing a residence. In some countries, residence information can be obtained indirectly from voter registers or the registers of driver identification cards. The permanent place of residence is a common criterion for taxation including the assessment of a person's income tax.
- 1 Africa
- 2 Americas
- 3 Europe
- 3.1 European Union
- 3.2 United Kingdom
- 3.3 France
- 3.4 Germany
- 3.5 Austria
- 3.6 Switzerland and Liechtenstein
- 3.7 Luxembourg
- 3.8 Italy
- 3.9 Netherlands
- 3.10 Norway
- 3.11 Denmark
- 3.12 Sweden
- 3.13 Finland
- 3.14 Hungary
- 3.15 Iceland
- 3.16 Portugal
- 3.17 Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia
- 3.18 Russian Federation
- 4 Other countries
- 5 See also
- 6 References
South Africa introduced the Population Registration Act in 1950 which provided for a national population register, and also required the classification of residents based on race, and the issuing of identity cards. It played a key role in the pass laws, one of the dominant features of the Apartheid, after the Native Laws Amendment Act and the Abolition of Passes and Co-ordination of Documents Act of 1952 regularized their use.
Neither the federal government of the United States nor any U.S. state has formal resident registration systems as such. Refusing or neglecting to answer questions for the United States Census, such as current address, is punishable by fines of $100, for a property or business agent to fail to provide correct names for the census is punishable by fines of $500, and for a business agent to provide false answers for the census is punishable by fines of $10,000. Registrants in the Selective Service System (conscription in the United States) must notify Selective Service within 10 days of any changes to any of the information he provided on his registration card, like a change of address. In California, anyone with a driver's license must notify DMV of a change of address within 10 days or face a typical fine of $214, and anyone who has applied for or received a vehicle registration must notify DMV of a change of address within 10 days or face a typical fine of $178.
Voter registration has a residency requirement, and is used for jury assignments and other government tasks.
A person's current address is often registered for state-issued identification cards and driver licenses. In some jurisdictions a "non-driver's license" or "non-driver photo identification card" is issued as a document containing residence details. However, there is usually no requirement to keep these documents up-to-date and a person may hold multiple driver's licenses from different states.
Likewise there is no resident registration system for short-term foreign visitors. Foreign visitors are generally required to stay in the United States for a maximum of 90 days if traveling on the Visa Waiver Program, or 180 days if traveling on a visa. The status of visitor may be renewed for a maximum of one year. Once it has expired, foreigners are subject to the restrictions of the US permanent residence regulations, otherwise known as the green card. This includes an identification card (which was colored green in the first versions) that must be carried at all times. Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) can apply for an employment visa (H1-B) and after a number of years permanent residents can apply to be naturalized as proper US citizens. This forms the immigration process to the United States; however, permanent resident registration does not require an application for US citizenship, as commuters living in Canada or Mexico often retain their citizenship. The corresponding resident registration office is the federal United States Citizenship and Immigration Services bureau, part of the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Within the Europe Union a regulation for the European-wide census was agreed that allows for a register-based census that may use the continuously updated information from the national resident registers with a statistical correction drawn from a sample census performed at another magnitude of the census poll. The first register census was performed in 1981 in Denmark, joined later by other Nordic countries. Germany, Austria and Switzerland intend to use a register-based census model for the EU Census scheduled for 2011. Given the financial benefit it is expected that more countries will switch to a register census model.
There is no resident registration in the United Kingdom as such. The head of household is required to register eligible voters in his household, although mandatory individual registration pursuant to the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 is planned; registration is mandatory pursuant to section 23 of the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 (No. 341). Completion of the Census is mandatory pursuant to section 8 of the Census Act 1920.
Completion The Identity Cards Act 2006 brought about British ID cards which were to be linked to a resident registration, which would also contain any information deemed necessary by the government; however, following the 2010 General Election this scheme was abolished by the Identity Documents Act 2010.
France utilizes a national identity card (carte nationale d’identité sécurisée or CNIS), an official non-compulsory identity document. The address information on the card is merely derived from other documents like electricity bills. There is no requirement to notify change of address, which leads to the situation that the current address is often verified by showing bills relating to the current home.
There are plans to introduce a new identity card (carte d'identité nationale électronique sécurisée or INES) that was to be implemented starting in 2007, but they are still in the legislative process. The scheme bears many similarities to the British ID card.
The resident registration is a task of the community which do often create a separate resident registration offices to run the resident register (Einwohnermelderegister or Melderegister). The resident register is a public register in Germany — within the limits of resident privacy (Meldegeheimnis) laws and regulations. Since 2007 the registration office will electronically de-register at the registration office of the old residency. The concept of the registered primary residence (Hauptwohnsitz) has special legal ramifications, primarily involving tax.
Although Germany (similarly to Austria and Switzerland) has a strict registration system for centuries, there had been a strong opposition towards a single identification number. All registration numbers were local to the Registration Office — even split within a single community to the office for civil register, tax office, etc. In 2008 a new system was introduced with a national tax payer number. It is still debated how much more information will be attached to the national identification number when the federal resident register is activated.
Unlike common belief there is no central administration — except for foreigners (see Central Register of Foreign Nationals (Germany)) — the resident registration is run by 5283 local offices throughout Germany. The legal requirements on resident registration were part of the legislation of each state of Germany until 2009, which were allowed to have a different timeframe requirements to register a change of address (usually 1 week; the state laws specify immediate registration in RP, within 1 week in BW, BY, HH, HE, MV, NI, NW, SL, ST, TH, and within two weeks in BE, BB, HB, SH, SN). Each state would define their own laws and regulations about how to access the personal information in the register and the fees for a residency document (Melderegisterauskunft or Auskunft) about oneself or a third person.
The "Federalism Reform" as effective on 1 September 2006 has moved the legislation for resident registration to the federal level. The Federal Ministry of the Interior was preparing a federal law to replace the state laws on resident registration which scheduled to get effective by 2010. The new law would assign that a Federal Resident Register (Bundesmelderegister) shall be created to be run in parallel with the local resident registers. The nationwide register shall assemble a number of personal identifying information drawing from multiple sources including resident registers, civil registers and taxation offices. During a scandal with list brokers obtaining large amounts of addresses from catalog selling company databases in 2008, the coalition split up over the question — Brigitte Zypries (SPD) opposed the plans of the ministry of interior led by Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU). She proposed that the current local registration offices should be networked instead. In the new government of CDU and FDP the plans are blocked as well — the FDP has a political focus to further data privacy which a central database is in clear opposition to.
The residence reporting requirement (Meldepflicht) requires a change of address to be registered and deregistered within 3 days. The current place of residence is reported by means of a registration form (Meldezettel) sent to the local administrative authority (Gemeindeamt or Magistratisches Bezirksamt in cities).
On 1 March 2002 the regional resident registers were centrally stored on the newly established Zentrales Melderegister (ZMR). Some larger cities continue to run their own local resident registers (Lokales Melderegister or LMR), which are synchronized with the central database. A residence document from the database is called Meldeauskunft, and includes information about third persons unless those have filed to restrict public access (Auskunftsperre). As of 2006 the ZMR was extended to include additional personal details from the civil registers; It is envisaged to include records from even more government databases.
Permanent access to the ZMR is granted to some profession that require regular residence checks like lawyers, banks, professional associations and collection agencies.
Switzerland and Liechtenstein
The compulsory resident registration is called 'Einwohnerkontrolle (residents' registration) in Liechtenstein and the German-speaking parts of Switzerland. The residents' registers are subject to the local authority named Einwohneramt (residency office), Einwohnerkontrolle (residents registry office) or Personenmeldeamt (persons' registration office). Foreign residents are subject to the federal residents' register run by the immigration office. Each relocation must be declared to the residents' register including notice of departure when moving abroad.
A new residency must be declared within three days.
In Italy the registration of residence is compulsory and the records are kept on a decentralized system. Unlike other countries a reported place of residence is physically checked by government officials as well as the de-registration of a previous residence. Hence, the official confirmation may take up to four months. Residents moving to a new place of residence abroad are recorded as expatriates on the „Anagrafe degli Italiani Residenti all'Estero“ database (AIRE). When they return to Italy the are de-registered from AIRE and their new residence is registered by the local administrative authority.
The compulsory resident register was run by the Bureau Vestigings Register in The Hague until 1994.
Since 1994 the Municipal Basic Administration of Personal Information (Gemeentelijke Basisadministratie Persoonsgegevens or GBA) is used. This is a central database fed into by all Dutch municipalities. All residents of the Netherlands (citizens and non-citizens alike) are required to register with their municipality.
The register of residents, called folkeregisteret, is compulsory. Foreigners need to register only when they intend to stay longer than for 3 months.
The compulsory resident register is run by the folkeregister which hands out a CPR-Number (Central Person Register number). Foreigners need to register when intending to stay longer than six months.
The mandatory Swedish population register (folkbokföringsregister) is administered by the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket), which also administers the Swedish personal identity number (personnummer), the national identification number.
Almost all companies have registered for direct access to the resident register like telephone companies, electricity companies and so on. This leads to the situation that upon relocation one does only need to declare the new address to the resident register and all bills will be rerouted automatically to the new location. Although this makes it easier to handle the administrative tasks of taking a new home it has also been criticized for its lack of personal data privacy.
The compulsory resident register is run by the federal office Väestörekisterikeskus that also hands out the person id—that national identification number consists of eleven characters: six digits for the birth date, one character for the birth century, three additional digits and a checksum character. Many companies and societies have registered for direct access to the resident register. Upon relocation, one only needs to declare the new address to the resident register and these companies will update their address registers accordingly. Although this makes it easier to handle the administrative tasks of taking a new home it has also been criticized for its lack of personal data privacy.
The compulsory resident register is run by Központi Adatfeldolgozó, Nyilvántartó és Választási Hivatal, Igazgatási és Felügyeleti Föösztály in Budapest. Hungarian citizens will declare their residency to the local administration while foreigners will register in the immigration office.
Iceland has a central register of residents. Registration is compulsory.
There is no resident register in Portugal.
Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia
The compulsory resident register was handled separately by the regional offices even before the Yugoslavia was split into sovereign states.
Residence registration is compulsory in Russian Federation. There are separate registers for Russian citizens and foreign citizens or stateless persons, both administered by the Federal Migration Service. Anyone may request address information for a specific person from these registers, but a consent for the address disclosure from the latter is obligatory and will be checked by the register operator. In many cases government offices will refuse to provide services to people who are not registered in districts where these offices are located, although the law does not allow to do so to people who are not registered at all.
Russian citizens must register their permanent residence within 7 days, temporary residence must be registered after staying in the same place for more than 90 days.
Foreign citizens and stateless persons who have residence permits are obliged to register their permanent residence within 7 days. Temporary residence of foreign citizens and stateless persons is registered on an application from their host (including an employer, hotel administration, etc.). Such an application should be filed within 7 days.
Applications are delivered to FMS offices by communal services companies, by applicants themselves, by post or by means of electronic government.
Russian citizens who fail to register in time can be fined 2000-2500 rubles ($70–$80). Russian hosts who fail to register their foreign guests in time can be fined 2000-500000 rubles ($70–$17000). Foreign citizens who fail to register in time can be fined 2000-5000 rubles ($70–$170).
Australia does not have compulsory registration of residence.
In Japan the koseki system is used to record Japanese families and the juminhyo system is used to record individual residents. Foreigners need to register within 90 days under the premises of the laws for alien registration in Japan that creates a separate database for alien residents.
The Residents Basic Registry Network or "Juki Net“ was introduced in 2003. This is introduced to increase government efficiency with 264 government tasks to be attached to the new system. In the new system a person identification number is handed out consisting of eleven digits that can be used as a replacement for other identification documents.
The resident registration number in South Korea consist of 13 digits that is also shown on the ID cards. Foreigners will receive a replacement number on their alien registration cards. The usage of the registration number is abundant including one third of the national internet websites require sign-up with the registration number and another third being unable to accept the alien registration card number.
In China the Hukou system is used for resident registration and civil registration. This system was inherited from imperial times and there is an interest to reform the legislation about it.
In Pakistan the NADRA system is used to record Pakistani families and the District Council system is used to record individual residents. Foreigners need to register within 90 days under the premises of the laws for alien registration in Pakistan that creates a separate database for alien residents.
- Clark & Worger 2004, pp. 46-47.
- 13 U.S.C. § 221-224
- Proof of Registration & Change of Address, Selective Service System.
- 32 C.F.R. 1621.1
- California Vehicle Code § 14600
- Sacramento County Grand Jury 2009-2010 Final Report, pp. 171-173
- California Vehicle Code § 4159
- Statistische Monatshefte Baden-Württemberg, issue 06/2006 (german)
- "Individual voter ID plan brought forward to 2014". BBC News. 15 September 2010.
- Glaister, Dan (27 January 2012). "120 people convicted for not filling in census form". BBC News.
- BMI:Bundesmelderegister auf Deutschland-Online
- Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Fortentwicklung des Meldewesens
- ZMR Meldepflicht, Bundesministerium des Innern
- Pressekonferenz Zentrales Melderegister. BM.I, 2002-02-27
- § 18 Meldegesetz
- "Customers updating address information from the Population Information System". Retrieved September 29, 2012.
- "Korean Websites Try Patience of Foreigners", Park Hae-hyun, published in Chosun Ilbo, Jan. 19, 2010