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My wife and I are due to visit Germany soon with friends who organized accommodation at a guesthouse in Bavaria (if that matters). Now, a few days before departure, the guesthouse contacted my friends with a request of all the names and birthdays of the people staying at the guesthouse.

I am not particularly keen to provide this information for personal reasons (I am happy that they have my name and confirmation that I'm an adult, but not my birthday), but I will provide it if it otherwise would create a legal hassle for the guesthouse or even endanger the visit. Is this request for personal information a legal requirement and/or normal practice for guesthouses in Germany?

Normally I would contact the guesthouse myself but the arrangements are via my friends and I want to keep my concern about this to myself for now.

Additional information that could be relevant: My wife and I live in the UK and I will travel to Germany as a British citizen, my wife has an EU nationality. Some of the other people staying at the guesthouse are citizens of non European countries and they will enter with a Schengen visa.

To my understanding, the guesthouse is self-catering and I do not think there is going to be a check in process on arrival.

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    – JonathanReez
    Jun 1, 2023 at 22:42

2 Answers 2

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It is required by the German law to obtain such information from guests (source):

Meldescheine

Durch den § 30 kommen die Besonderen Meldescheine für Beherbergungsbetriebe ins Spiel. Diese sind auf Papier gedruckt und enthalten:

  • Datum der Ankunft und der voraussichtlichen Abreise
  • Familiennamen, Vornamen
  • Geburtsdatum, Staatsangehörigkeiten
  • Anschrift
  • Zahl der Mitreisenden (im Falle einer Gruppe, z.B. Familie) Bei ausländischen Gästen kommt die Seriennummer des Passes hinzu, und die >Gastgebenden müssen die o.g. Daten mit den Ausweisdaten vergleichen.

My translation:

Registration Forms

According to section 30, the special registration forms for accommodation businesses are relevant. They are printed on paper and contain:

  • Arrival and expected departure date
  • Surnames, names
  • Birth date and nationality
  • Address
  • number of travellers (in case they are a group, e.g. a family)

For foreigners travellers the passport number is required too. Data on passport must be compared with the aforementioned information.

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  • 16
    I would note that general data protection laws still apply. OP needs to provide their birth date for the reasons mentioned in your answer but the guest house is not free to use that information in any way they please. Essentially they can't use it for anything else but this registration form.
    – quarague
    Jun 1, 2023 at 9:41
  • 1
    Correct. And OP is required to explicitly state their consensus for any use of data different from fulfillment of legal obligation (e.g. marketing, profiling, etc.) Jun 1, 2023 at 9:54
  • 1
    That first translated sentence doesn't make sense -- it should read more along the lines of: Paragraph/section 30 (of the "Federal Registration Act" law, not the form), introduces the special registration forms for accommodation establishments.
    – Dan Mašek
    Jun 1, 2023 at 16:13
  • Germany should really relax with its fascination for paperwork, though
    – njzk2
    Jun 1, 2023 at 20:26
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    It's really not just a German thing. Britain technically requires all of this information to be collected from foreigners at their hotels. Feign Britishness at your own risk. And yes, some places will insist. Jun 1, 2023 at 20:55
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Is this request for personal information a legal requirement and/or normal practice for guesthouses in Germany?

Yes, it is normal after your arrival to fill on a special registration form, that will be kept for 1 year and then destroyed.

  • §30 BMG lists the data that may be generelly collected and how they may be used
  • §31 BMG Restrictions on use: list other cases where the data may be used

the guesthouse is self-catering, I'm not sure if they will meet us on arrival

This may be the reason why they are asking for the information beforehand.


Sources:

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