10:10 is the best time to look for a Bürgeramt appointment

When you move anywhere in Germany, you must register your address. It's an important step, because you need a registered address for many other things.

In Berlin, you need an appointment to do that. Those appointments are scarce, and often far in the future. That's a pretty big issue for recent immigrants, because they can't get paid properly until they register their address.

"If you struggle to find an appointment", people say, "you have to look at around 7AM. That's when they release new appointments." This advice is confidently repeated whenever someone struggles to find an appointment. In my 6 years as a Berliner, I have never seen any proof that it works, so I decided to check it out.

I wrote a script that looks for free appointments every 2 minutes. I let it run for a month, then looked at the results.

This advice, it turns out, is rubbish. You are more likely to find a Bürgeramt appointment at almost any other point during the work day.

Your best bet is to look at exactly 10:10 on a weekday. This gives you a 90% chance of finding a free appointment. In general, if you refresh the page every few minutes at any time during working hours, you will find an appointment quickly.

On average, you have a 13% chance of finding an appointment on the first try, irrespective of time. Not bad eh? But what if you can't wait 60 days to register your address? What if you just moved here, and you need a registration certificate and tax ID to get your papers sorted?

...then your chances would indeed be a bit higher early in the morning.

As the data clearly shows, appointments are not released at a specific time, but sporadically through the day. There is trickle of new appointments on evenings and weekends, but those might be from people who cancel their appointments.

I put the data and the scripts I used on GitHub. It's also on Google Sheets, along with more graphs.

This post was featured on RBB24 and Tagesspiegel.