Residence Law Issues for People from Ukraine in Germany

Residence Law Issues for People from Ukraine in Germany

Updated: 21 July, 2022

Due to the war in Ukraine and the associated migration of people from Ukraine, many questions regarding residence law are currently arising. This document takes up these questions and answers them based on the current legal situation. Some questions have not yet been clarified or the legal situation is being successively adapted by the Federal Government of Germany, the governments of the Federal States (“Länder”) and the competent authorities. The latest information is incorporated into the document, it is a so-called “living document”. This document is no official information from the German government or any other public body. Therefore, you cannot refer to it when contacting German authorities.

Immigration

Can I enter Germany from Ukraine?

All people who want to come from Ukraine to Germany after 24 February 2022, may enter Germany and stay here until 31 August 2022. The regulation also applies to other third-country nationals who have stayed in Ukraine (for example students, persons without papers, tourists, and refugees).

These persons do not need a visa, residence permit nor authorisation for a visa-free stay to enter and stay. They can legally stay in Germany until 31 August 2022.

This results from the regulation of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (Ukraine Transitional Residence Ordinance) which is valid since 9 March 2022. It applies retroactively. This means that all entries of refugees from Ukraine after 24 February1 2022 will thus become legal entries.

As of 1 September 2022, the visa-free stay will be limited to 90 days after first entry. Accordingly, persons who have entered the country before 31 August 2022 must apply for a regular residence permit in Germany within 90 days. If you have already been in Germany for more than 90 days by 31 August 2022 and have not made any efforts to obtain a residence title by that time, your stay will be considered as “unlawful”.

Those who enter Germany after 1 September 2022 must act accordingly within 90 days of arrival (Second Regulation Amending the Ukraine Transitional Ordinance). The regulation is limited until 30 November 2022.

It should be possible for persons at the border to prove their connection to Ukraine. If necessary, the Federal Police will take measures to establish identity at the border. According to section 49 of the Residence Act, such measures include, for example, checking passports and other identity documents, taking fingerprints, or checking whether biometric data (fingerprints and photographs) are already stored in other databases.

Possible documents for such proof are the Ukrainian passport, identity card or residence permit, further documents such as marriage certificates or birth certificates, or, if necessary, further documents such as employment contracts, tenancy agreements or invoices from hospital stays which can prove that the persons have stayed in Ukraine.

The other regulations on entry and residence continue to apply. This basically means that persons who, for example, are subject to an entry and residence ban due to a previous stay in Germany (section 11 of the Residence Act), are still not allowed to enter the country. However, if the conditions for granting residence on humanitarian grounds, such as under section 24 of the Residence Act, are met (see “Specific humanitarian residence title for refugees from Ukraine“), the entry ban is to be lifted (section 11 (4) sentence 2 of the Residence Act).

I live in Ukraine but was abroad when the war broke out. Can I enter Germany?

Yes, until 30 November 2022 it is possible to enter Germany from the state in which you have temporarily resided. However, this only applies to Ukrainian citizens and recognized refugees from Ukraine with protection status under the Geneva Refugee Convention or other international or national protection. They must have had their place of residence or habitual abode in Ukraine and may only have stayed temporarily outside Ukraine (Section 2 (2) UkraineAufenthÜV).

A change of residence abroad is assumed if a person has been abroad for six months or has travelled abroad for a long-term stay (compare Section 51 (1) nos.6 and 7 of the Residence Act). If a person has been outside Ukraine for a short period of time, for example for a vacation or an internship, then the stay is considered temporary.

If you have been living in Ukraine with another residence title (for example for studies) or with a permanent right of residence but were abroad on 24 February 2022, for example for a visit to your country of origin, you cannot enter Germany. This results from the regulation of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community which is valid from 9 March 2022 and which will be amended as of 1 September 2022.

Can I travel on to other states of the European Union and the Schengen Area?

Ukrainian citizens with a biometric passport can travel without a visa in the European Union and the Schengen Area for 90 days within 180 days. You can therefore travel on to other countries of the European Union and the Schengen Area.

In addition, nationals of other states are also entitled to a visa-free stay.

Border controls take place between Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus or Ireland and the states of the Schengen area. Your documents will be checked again there.

People can enter the Schengen states Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein for a visa-free stay. However, the regulations on humanitarian residence permits according to section 24 of the Residence Act do not apply here, as these states are not members of the European Union.

Information from the European Commission on entry, onward travel and residence in other states of the European Union can be found here in English. The extent of other states of the European Union also allowing Ukrainian citizens without biometric passports or other third-country nationals to enter the country for humanitarian reasons, can be found on the websites of the governments or at the embassy of the state. If necessary, you can apply for a visa at the embassy of the state in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary or Romania.

Do I need a visa to enter Germany?

No, if you fall under the regulation of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (Ukraine Residence Transition Regulation) (“Can I enter Germany from Ukraine?), then you do not need a visa. This applies if you are entering Germany from other states of the European Union or the Schengen area, but also if you are entering from other states (for example Georgia or Turkey). However, you should check with your airline beforehand whether they are willing to transport you. Airlines are liable for people who have entered the country without authorization. Therefore, they may not be willing to transport you. In case of problems, contact the German Embassy in the country where you are staying.

In addition, there are persons who do not fall under the regulation of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (Ukraine Residence Transition Regulation) but are entitled to apply for the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act (“Specific humanitarian residence title for refugees from Ukraine according to section 24 of the Residence Act“). This applies, for example, to family members of Ukrainian refugees who were abroad when the war broke out. You can apply for a visa according to section 24 of the Residence Act at the German Embassy in the state where you are currently staying.

Can I also enter and stay in Germany if I do not have a valid passport?

In principle, persons need a recognised and valid passport or passport substitute to enter Germany (section 13 (1) sentence 2 of the Residence Act). However, there are currently exceptions for refugees from Ukraine.

 

For Ukrainian citizens, the Ukrainian ID card (ID Card Model 2015) is temporarily recognized as a passport replacement until 23 February 2023. Holders of such an ID card must not apply for a passport at the Ukrainian embassy for now.

All other persons covered by the Ukraine Transitional Residence Ordinance (see “Can I enter Germany from Ukraine?“) are initially exempt from the legal obligation to have a passport (letter from the German Federal Ministry of the Interiorand Community dated 18 March 2022). The same rules apply to them as to persons who seek help in the event of an accident or disaster (section 14 of the Ordinance on Residence (AufenthV)). The entry without a passport is not punishable for these groups of people. However, the exemption from the obligation to hold a passport only applies as long as the obtainment or application for a passport or passport replacement is unreasonable due to the special circumstances (section 14 sentence 2 of the Ordinance on Residence (AufenthV)). When this is to be assumed is still unclear.  Persons can therefore be requested by the foreigners’ authority to obtain a passport from the embassy of their country of origin after entry (section 48 (3) of the Residence Act). In this case, you should seek advice from a local migration counselling centre (see “Where can I get personal advice on a case-by-case basis?”)

Stay without a visa

I am in Germany now. How long can I stay in Germany?

All persons who travelled from Ukraine to Germany after 24 February 2022, may stay in Germany until 31 August 2022. The regulation also applies to other third-country nationals who have stayed in Ukraine.

As of 1 September 2022, the visa-free stay will be limited to 90 days after first entry. Therefore, persons who have entered the country before 31 August 2022 must apply for a regular residence permit in Germany within 90 days. If you have already been in Germany for more than 90 days by 31 August 2022 and have not made any efforts to obtain a residence title by that time, your stay will be considered as “unlawful”.

Those who enter Germany after 1 September 2022 must act accordingly within 90 days of arrival (Second Regulation Amending the Ukraine Transitional Ordinance). The regulation is limited until 30 November 2022.

Ukrainian nationals with residence or habitual abode in Ukraine who were not in Ukraine on 24 February 2022 but were abroad, for example for a holiday or an internship, may also enter Germany and stay here until 31 August 2022 or, as of 1 September 2022, up to 90 days after first entry. The same applies to refugees recognised in Ukraine with protection status under the Geneva Refugee Convention or other international or national protection.

Ukrainian nationals who have already legally stayed in Germany for a short stay on February 24, 2022 (based on a visa-free stay or with a Schengen visa), can also stay in Germany until 31 August 2022, according to this regulation. As of 1 September 2022, they require a residence title.

This results from the regulation of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, which is valid from 9 March 2022 will be adjusted by the Second Regulation amending the Ukraine Transitional Ordinance as of 1 September 2022

Can I work during my visa-free stay?

No, generally you cannot work until you have been granted a residence permit by the locally responsible foreigners’ authority, which permits dependent employment or if you have received a provisional residence document („Fiktionsbescheinigung“) by the foreigners’ authority after applying for the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act that says „Gainful employment permitted”.

Exceptions to the work ban are possible for Ukrainian citizens who have a biometric passport because they are entitled to visa-free entry. They can work if, for example, they hold management positions in companies or are scientists, researchers, charitable workers, journalists and professional athletes and will work in their respective fields here in Germany (section 17 (2) of the Ordinance on Residence in conjunction with section 30 of the Ordinance on the Employment of Foreigners). Please seek advice from a counselling centre (see “Where can I get personal advice on a case-by-case basis?”).

Can I apply for social benefits during my visa-free stay?

You can apply for social benefits at the social welfare office. Please inform yourself on this at your respective place of residence in Germany.

According to the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community and several federal states (including for example North Rhine-Westphalia, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Hesse), a person is entitled to benefits under the Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act before being granted a residence permit under the Residence Act (section 24) and without having applied  for asylum. The social welfare office must provide subsistence benefits according to the Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act.

Further information on legal entitlements can be found here (Gemeinnützige Gesellschaft zur Unterstützung Asylsuchender e. V.).

There is also support from associations and initiatives in most larger cities in Germany, which may provide money, accommodation, clothing, food and/or hygiene items.

Specific Humanitarian Residence Title for Refugees from Ukraine according to Section 24 of the Residence Act

Will I receive a humanitarian residence title in Germany because of the war?

There is a new residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act, particularly for refugees from Ukraine. According to information from the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and community, the following persons can apply for this residence title if they have lived in Ukraine before 24 February 2022 or left Ukraine shortly before:

  • Ukrainian nationals with their family members 
  • Non-Ukrainian citizens and stateless persons with international or national protection status in Ukraine with their family members

Family members are

  • spouses
  • Unmarried partners (including same-sex partners) who are in a long-term relationship.
  • Minor unmarried children (also children born out of wedlock or adopted)
  • Other close relatives who were living within the family unit as of 24 February 2022 and depend on the family for their livelihood (e.g. unmarried children who have reached the age of majority on the mentioned date).

 

These family members have their own entitlement to the granting of the residence permit in accordance with section 24 of the Residence Act. It is not a condition that they apply for protection in the same state. Later, if desired, a reunification of separated family members can take place.

A non-marital partnership is assumed if the persons live monogamously, are not married to other persons and a further permanent cohabitation is intended.

This is initially assumed after a conclusive presentation by those affected since it will be only for a few people possible to provide the necessary evidence due to the flight (for example, evidence of cohabitation of two years; Sharing of expenses for housing, vehicle, insurance, etc.; shared ownership; common children; joint housekeeping).

Background: With this regulation, the so-called mass influx directive 2001/55/EC is applied for the first time. The Council of the European Union passed the necessary resolution on 4 March 2022. The residence title in Germany is regulated in section 24 of the Residence Act. The persons who fall under the regulation receive a humanitarian residence title without having to go through an asylum procedure. If a person has already applied for asylum and then receives the humanitarian residence title, the asylum procedure is suspended until the humanitarian residence title ends (section 32a of the Asylum Act). After that, the asylum procedure can be resumed upon application.

An overview of the legal framework in German can be found here.

I do not have the Ukrainian citizenship or protection status in Ukraine and have been living in Ukraine with a residence title. Can I get the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act?

In addition, the following persons can also apply for the humanitarian residence permit according to section 24 of the Residence Act:

·         Non-Ukrainian nationals or stateless persons with a permanent right of residence in Ukraine who cannot safely and permanently return to their home country.

·         Non-Ukrainian nationals with a non-permanent legal right of residence in Ukraine who cannot return to their home country safely and permanently. The stay in Ukraine must not have been merely temporary and short-term.

For these groups of people, family reunification is possible if the family members do not have a right of residence in Ukraine themselves (see “Can I fetch my family to join up in Germany?”). A stay is considered temporary and short-term if it was not intended to exceed 90 days in the first place and had a temporary purpose. This is the case for tourists, business travellers or visitors.

Background: With this regulation, the so-called mass influx directive  is applied for the first time. The Council of the European Union passed the necessary resolution on 4 March 2022. The residence title in Germany is regulated in section 24 of the Residence Act. The persons who fall under the regulation receive a humanitarian residence title without having to go through an asylum procedure. If a person has already applied for asylum and then receives the humanitarian residence title, the asylum procedure is suspended until the humanitarian residence title ends (section 32a of the Asylum Act). After that, the asylum procedure can be resumed upon application. An overview of the legal framework of section 24 of the Residence Act can be found here. An overview of the perspectives and opportunities for non-Ukrainian refugees can be found here.

How will it be assessed, whether I can return permanently and safely to my country of origin?

This decision is taken by the foreigners’ authority in charge, if necessary, with the involvement of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). A permanent and safe return is a new concept in migration law. It is therefore still unclear how the authorities will assess the possibility of your return.

In the case of third-country nationals with an unlimited Ukrainian residence title, the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community believes that it should generally be assumed that a return to their country of origin is not possible for them if they have stronger ties to Ukraine than to their country of origin. Only if the foreigners’ authority assumes that the bond to the country of origin is stronger, it should be further examined whether a return to the country of origin is possible. The criteria according to which this bond can be assessed are not mentioned.

In the case of third-country nationals with a permanent Ukrainian residence title who are the parent of a Ukrainian national under the age of 18, it should also be assumed that there is no possibility of return due to the best interests of the child.

For all other third-country nationals with a temporary Ukrainian residence title, priority should be given to examining whether there is a prospect of obtaining another residence title, for example for study purposes in accordance with section 16b of the Residence Act.

Only then should the possibility of return be examined on the basis of the scale of the prohibition of deportation according to section 60 (5) and (7) of the Residence Act. According to the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, a return to Eritrea, Syria and Afghanistan is generally not possible. For other countries of origin, the possibility of return is assessed according to the general situation in the country of origin, but also according to the individual circumstances of the person concerned, if they present them. For this reason, please seek advice at a local counseling center (see “Where can I get personal counseling in individual cases?”) before making an appointment with the foreigners’ authority. Discuss with the advisors which points you want to present and whether other residence titles are possible if the foreigners’ authority refuses to issue the residence title in according to section 24 of the Residence Act.

Note: An overview of the prospects for non-Ukrainian refugees can be found here: Informationsverbund Asyl & Migration – Fragen und Antworten zu Drittstaatsangehörigen, die aus der Ukraine geflüchtet sind.

I have already lived in Germany at the outbreak of the war on 24 February 2022. Can I also apply for the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act?

Ukrainian citizens who have already resided in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany with a residence title can also apply for a residence title under section 24 of the Residence Act. This does not mean that all Ukrainian nationals with a residence title in Germany must now switch to the residence title under section 24 of the Residence Act. The change is an option if the original residence title can no longer be extended or threatens to expire because the requirements are no longer met. It is irrelevant when the entry to Germany took place.

Ukrainian nationals who have been staying in Germany with a toleration permit may also be able to apply for a residence title under section 24 of the Residence Act. Those affected should urgently contact a local counseling center in order to have their residence situation clarified (see “Where can I get personal counseling in individual cases?”).

Can I fetch my family to join up in Germany?

If family members have their own entitlement to a residence permit in accordance with section 24 of the Residence Act (see “Will I receive a humanitarian residence title in Germany because of the war?”), the legal provisions for family reunification do not apply.

If the family members do not have an entitlement to the humanitarian residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act, family reunification is regulated by section 29 (4) of the Residence Act. The provision applies to

  • Spouses
  • Minor unmarried children
  • Minor unmarried children of the spouse.

The prerequisite is that

  • the family relationship in the country of origin has been annulled due to the flight situation (Section 29 (4) no. 1 of the Residence Act) and
  • the family member is taken over from another member state of the European Union or is outside the European Union and is in need of protection.

In accordance with section 24 of the Residence Act, other family members may be granted a residence permit, if this is necessary to avoid exceptional hardship (section 29 (4) sentence 2 of the Residence Act in conjunction with section 36 (2) of the Residence Act).

The German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community determines the need for protection: it is given if these persons were displaced for the same reasons and come from Ukraine as the title holders according to section 24 of the Residence Act (regardless of nationality). The family members who are admitted according to this provision also receive the humanitarian residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act.

Where can I apply for the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act?

The new residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act can be applied for at the locally responsible foreigners’ authorities.  Some foreigners’ authorities offer the possibility to apply for the residence title online as well. When you type in your location or zip code on germany4ukraine.de you can find out if that is possible at the locally responsible foreigners’ authority. Find out about the registration options in the federal state and city where you are staying. You can find information on the websites of the foreigners’ authorities or on the federal states at the Information Network Asylum & Migration.

You can also apply for humanitarian residence under the new regulation in another member state of the European Union. Currently, there is no distribution of refugees among the European states. You can decide for yourself in which state you apply for the residence title. You can also apply for other residence titles in Germany.

Do I have to register in the city where I arrive? Can I stay in the city where I register?

From 16 March 2022, arrivals from Ukraine will be distributed among the federal states (EASY-Procedure) (Letter from the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community from 15.03.2022). The protection seekers will be distributed among the federal states according to quotas. In some federal states that have already taken in a large number of protection seekers (for example Berlin) there will initially be no redistribution. Protection seekers who would like to stay in these federal states anyway, for example because they have relatives there or have found a place to live, should inform themselves locally about the conditions under which they can stay in the federal state of their choice.

Please inform yourself locally at an advice centre (see “Where can I get personal advice on a case-by-case basis?”) as the regulations for registration may differ in the individual federal states and cities. Further information from the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community is awaited.

If I apply for the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act, do I have to hand in my passport?

No, the passport would only be confiscated in an asylum procedure. Only a copy of your passport should be made while registering.

Do I need a passport to apply for the residence title?

In principle, you need a passport or a recognised passport substitute to apply for a residence title. However, a passport is not necessary to apply for the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act if you can provide proof of fulfilling the requirements in another way. For the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act there is an exception of the passport obligation (section 5 (3) sentence 1 of the Residence Act).

Those who want to apply for a residence title for the purpose of education, a job or a family reunification however need a passport or a recognised passport substitute. The passport is usually the travel document of the home state. A recognised passport substitute is for example a travel document for foreigners, that is issued by the foreigners’ authority if the acquisition of a passport in the home state is evidently not possible or unreasonable due to special circumstances.

For Ukrainian nationals: The Ukrainian ID card is exceptionally recognized as a substitute for a passport until 23 February 2023 (general decree of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community from 17 March 2022). Ukrainian nationals can therefore also be granted a residence permit with an ID card.

Check with the Ukrainian Embassy in Berlin to see if they can issue you a passport. Currently, expired Ukrainian passports are extended by handwriting and information of children over 16 years of age is entered by handwriting and the children’s photos are inserted in the parents’ passports. Handwritten additions/renewals with consular seal/stamp will be accepted by German authorities until further notice. At the moment, the Ukrainian missions abroad also issue certificates in the sense of identity clarification with photos.

Ukrainian nationals whose identity is confirmed through this kind of document by the Ukrainian embassy or other another form of recognised document, shall receive travel documents for foreigners issued by the foreigners’ authorities (circular letter from the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community dated 14 March 2022).

Other refugees from Ukraine who do not have Ukrainian citizenship are initially exempt from the obligation to have a passport (circular letter from the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community dated 18 March 2022). The same rules apply to them as to people who seek help in the event of an accident or disaster (section 14 of the Ordinance on Residence (AufenthV)). The exemption from the obligation to have a passport only applies as long as the application for a passport or a passport substitute is unreasonable due to special circumstances (section 14 sentence 2 of the Ordinance on Residence). It is still unclear when this is to be applied. After entering the country, people can thus be asked to obtain a passport from the embassy of their country of origin (Section 48 (3) of the Residence Act). The German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community has urged the foreigners’ authorities to point people towards the diplomatic missions of their home state first (circular letter by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community dated 14 March 2022). In this case, you should seek advice from a local migration counselling center (see “Where can I get personal advice in individual cases?”).

Non-Ukrainian nationals cannot be refused a residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act solely based on not having a passport. Refugees receive at least a substitute ID card from the foreigners’ authorities due to the exception from the passport obligation (section 48 of the Residence Act). However, this is only valid in Germany; you cannot use it to travel to other countries. You will also need further documents with which you can prove that you previously resided in Ukraine or had your residence there (for example, an identity card, Student ID, contract of employment, or rental agreement). The issuance of the residence permit according to section 24 of the Residence Act may not be refused due to the lack of a passport.

Can I get a passport from the foreigners’ authority to travel abroad?

Ukrainian citizens who do not have a valid travel document or do not have one at all can apply for a travel document for foreigners at the foreigners’ authority. According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, Ukrainian nationals should be granted this travel document without further examination of the reasonableness of obtaining a passport (circular letter dated 14 April 2022, p. 15). Generally, Ukrainian nationals should present a certificate of identity from the Ukrainian embassy to the foreigners’ authority. However, identity can also be proven by other documents.

Other third-country nationals without Ukrainian citizenship should first be prompted by the foreigners’ authority to apply for a passport at the diplomatic mission of their country of origin. However, they may receive a travel document for foreigners if obtaining a passport is impossible or unreasonable.

Can I move to another city/town in Germany with the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act?

According to the law, you do not have a right to live in a certain city or place (section 24 (5) of the Residence Act). With the issuance of the residence permit according to section 24 of the Residence Act, the foreigners’ authority issues a so-called residence requirement. This means that the place where you have to live in Germany is decided for you. However, the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community points out the possibility of having the residence requirement lifted by the foreigners’ authority in certain cases.

This is supposed to be the case (analogous to section 12a (1) of the Residence Act) if you, your spouse, your registered partner, or a minor unmarried child with whom you are related and live in a family community,

  • take up or have taken up employment subject to social insurance contributions of at least 15 hours per week and thus earns/ earn at least 785 euros net per month or such a job is available,
  • is/ are starting vocational training or a training place is available,
  • is/are studying or is/are in a training relationship or a training or study place is available.

These include:

  • vocational orientation measures,
  • vocational preparation measures that serve the transition to an apprenticeship,
  • measures for the recognition of foreign professional credentials,
  • language courses to prepare for university studies and
  • attendance at the Studienkolleg (preparatory college).

The residence requirement is also to be lifted if a case of hardship exists. According to the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, a case of hardship exists in particular if

  • according to the assessment of the responsible youth welfare office, services and measures of child and youth welfare according to the Eighth Book of the Social Code with a local connection would be impaired (for example, if a kindergarten is attended) or
  • for other urgent personal reasons, the child has been promised to be taken over by another country or another member state, or
  • you would be subject to comparable unreasonable restrictions for other reasons (analogous to section 12a (5) of the Residence Act).

The personal interest weighs more heavily, for example, the longer someone has already lived in the new place. Thus, it can be an unreasonable restriction if one has to give up an existing apartment and return to a city where no apartment is available.

It is best to seek local advice from a counseling center (see “Where can I get personal advice in individual cases?”). For more information on the residence requirement, see the document of GGUA.

Can I work with the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act?

Yes, the foreigners’ authority must permit employment as an employee when issuing the residence title. Your residence title must state: “Gainful employment permitted” („Erwerbstätigkeit erlaubt“). If this is not the case, you should visit a local counselling centre (see “Where can I get personal advice in individual cases?”) and seek advice.

The approval of the Federal Employment Agency to permit employment is not required (section 4a (2) of the Residence Act in conjunction with section 31 of the Ordinance of the Employment of Foreigners).

You can also work independently with the residence permit and set up a company in Germany. You can find more information – also in Ukrainian and Russian – here (IQ Fachstelle Migrantenökonomie).

When can I start working with the residence permit?

In general, you need the electronic residence permit that is given to you by the foreigners authority. However, the production of this residence title by the Federal Printing Office can take several weeks, especially if, as is currently the case, many people apply for a residence title at the same time. For the time until your electronic residence permit is printed, you will receive a provisional residence document (“Fiktionsbescheinigung”) from the foreigners’ authority (section 81 (3) sentence 1 in conjunction with (5) of the Residence Act). You do not have to pay any fees for this certificate at the foreigners authority. The foreigners’ authority must also include the addition: “Gainful employment permitted” („Erwerbstätigkeit erlaubt“) in the provisional residence document. This means that you are already allowed to take up a job or become self-employed with this document.

If this is not the case, you should ask the foreigners authority or visit a local counseling center (see “Where can I get personal advice in individual cases?”) for advice.

What do I have to pay attention to when I work in Germany?

German labour law applies to you. In case of difficulties or to check your employment contract, you can contact the “Fair Integration” advice centres of the local IQ network. On their website, you will find information on topics such as employment contracts, termination, sick leave, accidents at work, minimum wage and wages, in several languages.

Can I study, do training or go to school with the humanitarian residence title (section 24 of the Residence Act)?

Yes, this is possible.

However, you cannot apply for special financial support under the Federal Training Assistance Act (BAfÖG) for this. If you are undergoing vocational training, however, you are entitled to financial support, so-called “Vocational Training Grants” (“Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe, BAB”). You can also receive financial support from the Federal Employment Agency for a vocational preparation training measure or assisted vocational training. The prerequisite is that you register and apply at your local employment agency.

You can find out about the opportunities you have in Germany to complete an apprenticeship/ vocational training or qualification at your local employment agency or online.

Can I take an integration course?

The integration course consists of a language course in which the language level B1 can be achieved and an orientation course in which information about life in Germany is offered (history, culture and legal system). Initially, it consists of 700 teaching units.

You can apply for admission to an integration course at the competent regional office of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

Can I apply for social benefits with the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act? Do I get health insurance?

As of 1 June 2022, holders of a residence title in accordance with section 24 of the Residence Act will receive unemployment benefit II in accordance with Book II of the Social Code through the Jobcenter or social assistance in accordance with Book XII of the Social Code through the Social Welfare Office. Unemployment benefit II (also known as basic security for job seekers or “Hartz IV”) is paid to persons who are able to work (“erwerbsfähig”). Social assistance is paid to people who are unable to work, for example because they have reached retirement age or are permanently unable to work. To find the Jobcenter responsible for you, you can enter your postal code here.

With the benefits according to Book II or Book XII of the Social Code, there is also an entitlement to the normal statutory health and long-term care insurance. Those entitled to benefits can register with a health insurance fund.

Can I switch from the humanitarian residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act to another residence title?

Yes, it is possible to apply for another residence title at any time if you meet the requirements. It is also possible to hold two residence titles at the same time, for example a residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act and a residence title due to employment as a skilled worker according to section 18a, 18b (1) of the Residence Act or as a apprentice according to section 16a of the Residence Act.

Only residence titles for the purpose of studies (section 16b), study-related internship EU (section 16e), study application (section 17 (2)), research (section 18d), European voluntary service (section 19e) and Blue Card EU (section 18b (2)) are subject to a block according to section 19f (1) no. 2, (2) no. 1 of the Residence Act. However, a Blue Card-EU can be issued via the detour of section 18b (1). It should be possible to change to the other residence titles at least after withdrawing the application or waiving the residence title pursuant to section 24 of the Residence Act or after completion of the procedure.

Am I obliged to apply for the humanitarian residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act? What other possibilities are there?

No one is obliged to apply for the humanitarian residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act. Refugees from Ukraine can also apply for asylum or another residence title in Germany if they meet the requirements.

For this purpose, please visit a local counselling centre (see “Where can I get personal advice in individual cases?”) and seek advice.

Can I travel to another member state of the European Union if I have the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act?

Yes, with a residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act you are entitled to travel to other countries of the European Union and the Schengen countries for 90 days within 180 days.

 

 

 

Can I apply for the humanitarian residence permit in another member state of the European Union?

If you already have the humanitarian residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act in Germany, you cannot apply for another humanitarian residence title for refugees from Ukraine in another state of the European Union.

You can apply to the locally responsible foreigners’ authority if you want to transfer your residence to another member state of the European Union (section 42 of the Ordinance on Residence (AufenthV)). This application will then be forwarded by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees to the other state of the European Union, which must declare its consent. After the other state has given its consent, the foreigners’ authority will inform you of the date of departure and further details (section 43 of the Ordinance on Residence (AufenthV)).

Can I travel back to Ukraine? Can I lose the humanitarian residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act?

Yes, with a residence title according to Section 24 of the Residence Law, you can travel back to Ukraine for a short stay.

If you haven’t received a residence permit yet, please consider the following: a provisional residence document (“Fiktionsbescheinigung”), which refugees from Ukraine receive once they apply for protection, only allows your stay in Germany until a decision is made on the application for a residence permit. The provisional document is no entitlement to re-enter Germany. But: since all refugees from Ukraine can enter Germany without a visa until 31 August 2022, re-entering Germany without having received a residence permit yet, is possible. This is an exceptional situation, related to Section 2 (1) of the Ukraine Transitional Ordinance.

Still, quitting Germany poses a certain risk while your application to a residence permit is still pending and you have only received a preliminary residence document according to Section 81 (3) of the Residence Act. Applicants for a residence permit are obliged to cooperate with the authorities during the application process, to attend appointments, and to submit further documents. Hence, the foreigner’s authority / immigration office must be able to contact you during your travel.

If you are not in Germany for a longer period, you can also lose your residence title again. What is important here is the reason for the departure and the period.

Trips for a vacation, treatment in hospital or a visit to relatives and friends are not problematic. However, you should re-enter Germany after six months at the latest. The purpose and duration of the trip should be verifiable with tickets and receipts in case of an inspection.

If the stay abroad is expected to last longer than six months, an application for an extension of the six-month period can be submitted to the foreigners’ authority. Before doing so, a counseling center should be contacted.

Men who fulfill their compulsory military service in Ukraine do not lose their residence title as long as they re-enter Germany three months after being released from their compulsory military service (section 51 (3) of the Residence Act). However, the residence title may still expire.

Leaving the country for vocational training, studies, work, voluntary military service, humanitarian aid or permanent care of relatives can be problematic. This may be considered leaving the country for a permanent reason, which could cause the residence permit to expire before the six-month period expires. Therefore, contact a counseling center before planning to leave the country for this purpose.

If necessary, in the case of a re-entry of persons from Ukraine or for Ukrainian nationals and recognized refugees also in the case of re-entry from other states, the residence title can be applied for again after its loss.

A new residence title should always be applied for before the old one expires. If it can be proven that the application for renewal was submitted to the foreigners’ authority in good time before expiry, the old residence title continues being valid until a decision has been made on the application (section 81 (4) of the Residence Act). For many foreigners’ authorities it is sufficient to make an appointment in good time before the expiry of the residence title. This is then indicated on the appointment confirmation.

How long can I stay in Germany with the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act?

The residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act is initially to be granted until 04 March 2024. Under the current conditions, an extension for another year would be possible. After two or three years of residence with a residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act, it is currently not possible to apply for an unlimited residence title. It would therefore be necessary to change to another residence title first. However, it remains to be seen whether an additional right of residence will be created for refugees from Ukraine.

Can I travel back to Ukraine? Can I lose the humanitarian residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act?

Yes, with a residence title according to Section 24 of the Residence Law, you can travel back to Ukraine for a short stay.

If you haven’t received a residence permit yet, please consider the following: a provisional residence document (“Fiktionsbescheinigung”), which refugees from Ukraine receive once they apply for protection, only allows your stay in Germany until a decision is made on the application for a residence permit. The provisional document is no entitlement to re-enter Germany. But: until 31 August 2022, there is an exceptional situation and every entry to Germany is permitted for refugees from Ukraine, even without a visa or residence permit (Section 2 (1) of the Ukraine Transitional Ordinance). Still, travelling with a provisional document always poses a risk, since other Schengen countries can prohibit transfer. re-entering Germany without having received a residence permit yet, is possible. This is an exceptional situation,

If you are not in Germany for a longer period, you can also lose your residence title again. What is important here is the reason for the departure and the period.

Trips for a vacation, treatment in hospital or a visit to relatives and friends are not problematic. However, you should re-enter Germany after six months at the latest. The purpose and duration of the trip should be verifiable with tickets and receipts in case of an inspection.

If the stay abroad is expected to last longer than six months, an application for an extension of the six-month period can be submitted to the foreigners’ authority. Before doing so, a counseling center should be contacted.

Men who fulfill their compulsory military service in Ukraine do not lose their residence title as long as they re-enter Germany three months after being released from their compulsory military service (section 51 (3) of the Residence Act). However, the residence title may still expire.

Leaving the country for vocational training, studies, work, voluntary military service, humanitarian aid or permanent care of relatives can be problematic. This may be considered leaving the country for a permanent reason, which could cause the residence permit to expire before the six-month period expires. Therefore, contact a counseling center before planning to leave the country for this purpose.

If necessary, in the case of a re-entry of persons from Ukraine or for Ukrainian nationals and recognized refugees also in the case of re-entry from other states, the residence title can be applied for again after its loss.

A new residence title should always be applied for before the old one expires. If it can be proven that the application for renewal was submitted to the foreigners’ authority in good time before expiry, the old residence title continues being valid until a decision has been made on the application (section 81 (4) of the Residence Act). For many foreigners’ authorities it is sufficient to make an appointment in good time before the expiry of the residence title. This is then indicated on the appointment confirmation.

Asylum, status as a recognised refugee and asylum procedure

Can I apply for asylum in Germany? and what are the consequences of an (asylum) application?

Every person who comes to Germany has the right to apply for asylum. There are special contact points for this in the respective federal states. It is always possible to file an asylum application with the police.

Filing an asylum application in Germany has initially these consequences for you:

  • Asylum applicants are obliged to live in an initial reception centre (Section 47 of the Asylum Act). This means that you may be obliged to move to another city in Germany. You cannot choose which initial reception centre and which city you will live in. You cannot live with relatives, friends or in private accommodation.
  • According to the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act, you receive social benefits, i. e. food, accommodation, heating, clothing, health care, household items as well as other personal needs and free medical care for acute illnesses and pain.
  • As a rule,you cannot apply for another residence title during the procedure, for example due to employment as a skilled worker (Section 10 (1) of the Residence Act). Exceptions exist only in the case of so-called strict legal claims to a residence title (in particular most residence titles for family reasons) and if there is an important interest of the German state in this. However, it is possible to apply for the humanitarian residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act for refugees from Ukraine even during the asylum procedure. For the duration of the humanitarian residence title no decision would then be made on the asylum application.
  • You cannot work during the first three months of stay. After that, employment can be granted by the foreigners authority (Section 4a (4) of the Residence Act in conjunction with Section 32 of the Ordinance on the Employment of Foreigners).
  • The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) will retain your passport until the end of the asylum procedure.

If I apply for asylum in Germany, can Germany later ask me to return to the state (e.g., Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia) where I first entered or where I was registered?

According to the Dublin III Regulation, the German state can declare itself not responsible for conducting the asylum procedure and refer to the responsibility of the state in which you first entered and were registered (so-called Dublin procedure). According to information from the German Ministry of the Interior, Germany will currently not make use of this right for persons who can apply for and receive a humanitarian residence title under Section 24 of the Residence Act.

Germany is not entitled to declare itself not responsible if the persons are entitled to visa-free entry and are applying for asylum in Germany for the first time (Article 14 (2) of the Dublin III Regulation). However, the situation is different for persons who are not entitled to visa-free entry to Germany and for persons who are entitled to visa-free entry but have already applied for asylum in another state of the European Union.

Should I apply for asylum or the humanitarian residence title according to Section 24 of the Residence Act? How do the two options relate to each other?

This question cannot be answered in a general way. Third-country nationals who do not have Ukrainian citizenship should visit a local migration advice centre or a lawyer specialising in asylum law before registering and seek advice. This applies in particular if you want to stay in Germany in the long term. It depends centrally on the individual situation of the person which procedure makes sense in the respective case.

An asylum application does not block the possibility of applying for a residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act.

Anyone who has already applied for asylum in Germany and falls under the groups of people mentioned in question “Will I receive a humanitarian residence title in Germany due to the war?” can still apply for the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act.

For further differences, prerequisites, and consequences, please consider the table below as an overview:

  Appliance for the residence title after section 24 of the Residence Act  Asylum procedure 
During the procedure     
Responsible authority  Locally responsible foreigners‘ authority for the examination of the requirements and the issuance of the residence title  Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) for the examination of the form of protection 

Locally responsible foreigners‘ authority for the examination of the further requirements and the issuance of the residence title 

Examination of the requirements 
  • Displaced person status 
  • If applicable, examination of safe and sustainable return to the respective country of origin (criterion not yet clearly defined) 

See question Will I receive a humanitarian residence title in Germany because of the war?“ 

Depending on the four forms of protection: 

  • Reasonable fear of state or non-state persecution in the country of origin (entitlement to asylum, article 16a of the Basic Law, or refugee protection, section 3 of the Asylum Act) or 
  • Threat of serious harm due to death penalty, torture, treatment, punishment, arbitrary violence or armed conflict in the country of origin (subsidiary protection, section 4 Asylum Act) or 
  • Repatriation violates human rights and fundamental freedoms (prohibition of deportation, section 25 (3) of the Residence Act) or 
  • considerable concrete danger to life, limb or freedom in the country of origin (prohibition of deportation, section 25 (3) of the Residence Act) 

 

See references of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees 

 

Duration of the procedure  If applicable, multiple weeks, depending on the workload of the foreigners’ authority  Multiple months 
Access to the labour market  Already from the issuance of the provisional residence document (“Fiktionsbescheinigung”) unlimited at the time of application  Only from three months after the application, if the foreigners’ authority grants permission, approval of the Federal Employment Agency may be required in the procedure 
Social benefits  With provisional residence document (“Fiktionsbescheinigung”): According to Social Code – Book II at the Jobcenter for those capable of working or according to Social Code – Book XII at the social welfare office (“Sozialamt”) for those incapable of working According to the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act (“AsylbLG”) of the social welfare office 
Change to a different residence title  Possible without restrictions  Generally not possible, except in the case of an entitlement and approval by the highest state authority (section 10 (1) of the Residence Act). Change to the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act possible. The asylum procedure will then not be processed further, and only resumed upon application after expiry of the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act (section 32a of the Asylum Act).  
After successful conclusion of the procedure 
Residence title  Humanitarian residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act  Humanitarian residence title: 

  • For asylum-entitled persons according to section 25 (1) of the Residence Act 
  • For recognised refugees according to section 25 (1) var. 1 of the Residence Act 
  • For beneficiaries of subsidiary protection according to section 25 (2) var. 2 of the Residence Act 

In the case of a ban on deportation in relation to the country of destination according to section 25 (3) of the Residence Act 

Access to the labour market  Not restricted  Not restricted 
Social benefits  According to Social Code – Book II at the Jobcenter for those capable of working or according to Social Code – Book XII at the social welfare office (“Sozialamt”) for those incapable of working. According to Social Code II at the Job Centre for those capable of working or Social Code XII at the social welfare office for those incapable of working (as for German nationals). 
Passport  Not required for the residence title.  Not required for the residence title. 

For residence titles according to 

Section 25 (1) as well as section 25 (2) var. 1 of the Residence Act a travel document for refugees is issued as a substitute for a passport.  

Transition to a permanent residence title  Currently not possible. 

BUT, for example, transition to a residence title for gainful employment is possible, from which you can then change to permanent residence.  

Possible.  

Easier transition for residence titles according to section 25 (1), (2) var. 1 of the Residence Act. 

Acquisition of the German citizenship through naturalisation  Not possible.  Possible. 

In the case of section 25 (3) of the Residence Act, acquisition of the unlimited residence title is required beforehand. 

Change to a different residence title  Possible.  Possible. 
After unsuccessful conclusion of the procedure     
Possibility of issuing another residence title  Possible, as well as transition into the asylum procedure  Generally not possible, but a transition to the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act and other humanitarian residence titles is possible. In addition, the transition to the residence title for family reunification is possible.  

If the application is rejected as “manifestly unfounded”, the transition is even more restricted. 

Gainful employment  Not allowed.  Not allowed. 
Social benefits  According to the Asylum seekers Benefits Act (“AsylbLG”) at the social welfare office, possibly restricted.   According to the Asylum seekers Benefits Act (“AsylbLG”) at the social welfare office, possibly restricted. 

Other residence permits

Can I apply for a residence permit in Germany for another reason?

Yes, Ukrainian nationals and other third-country nationals who have fled from Ukraine to Germany can apply for such a residence permit directly in Germany at the locally responsible foreigners’ authority. This results from the regulation of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, which is valid from 9 March 2022.

This is especially an option for persons who are allowed to stay in Germany until 31 August 2022 or 2022or up to 90 days after first entry as of 1 September 2022, but cannot apply for a humanitarian residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act. They can at least apply for another residence title according to the Residence Act in the period until 30 August 2022 or2022or up to 90 days after first entry as of 1 September, and thus change to another longer-term residence if they fulfil the requirements.

What other residence titles can I apply for in Germany?

In Germany, you can apply for many other residence titles in addition to the humanitarian residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act. You will be granted these residence titles for a specific purpose if you meet the requirements. The requirements for a visa for entry from abroad and a residence permit applied for in Germany at the foreigners’ authority are the same. With other residence titles, you may be able to secure your long-term stay in Germany.

However, you can already work, study, do an apprenticeship and participate in qualification measures with the residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act. With the other residence titles, you can only additionally secure your long-term stay in Germany. This may only be relevant for you in a few years if you want to stay in Germany long-term.

Here is a selection of residence titles for specific purposes that you can apply for in addition if you meet the requirements:

  • Language course
  • Voluntary service
  • Vocational training
  • Study
  • Qualification measures for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications
  • Employment as a skilled worker with a recognized or equivalent professional qualification
  • Employment as a skilled worker with an academic degree / Blue Card-EU
  • Employment independent of the qualification as a skilled worker, if there is a special regulation for the occupational group
  • Spouse or minor child of German nationals or other nationals with a long-term residence title in Germany.

Information on residence titles and in general on the requirements for taking up studies, training or work in Germany can be found on the Federal Government’s information portal “Make it in Germany”. Seek advice from a local counselling centre (see “Where can I get personal advice on a case-by-case basis?“) on whether applying for another residence permit makes sense in your case.

I am of Jewish descent and a Ukrainian citizen or a citizen of another successor state of the former Soviet Union. Can I get a residence status in Germany as a Jewish immigrant?

This group of people can obtain a residence title in accordance with section 23 (2) of the Residence Act after going through an admission procedure and thus a residence title with long-term residence prospects. The residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act can be applied for notwithstanding the above.

You can obtain information from the responsible Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. There you will find information sheets on the admission procedure in German, English, Ukrainianand Russian.

On 18 March 2022 a special admissions procedure for Jewish refugees from Ukraine was introduced. Ukrainian nationals that have resided in Ukraine on 24 February 2022 thus get facilitations in the admissions procedure. This regulation applies to stateless persons and citizens of another successor state of the former Soviet Union with exception of the Baltic states, that had a long-term residence permit in Ukraine. The necessary German language skills on A1-level can be acquired retrospectively up until twelve months after the issuance of the residence permit. The application for admissions must be handed in to the employees of the Jewish communities and will be forwarded to the respective Federal Office for Migration and Refugees by them.

The Zentralrat der Juden, the biggest umbrella organisation of Jewish communities and regional associations in Germany, has installed a hotline which you can call to get information and help.

I am a late repatriate (Spätaussiedler) and part of a German minority in Ukraine. Can I get a residence status in Germany?

This group of persons can directly apply for German citizenship after passing the admission procedure according to the Federal Expellees Act (Bundesvertriebenengesetz).

You can obtain information from the competent Federal Office of Administration, which has prepared a leaflet and set up a hotline (+49 (0) 2899358-20255).

If you are already in Germany, you can apply for a so-called “Härtefallverfahren” (procedure in case of hardship) at the branch office of the Federal Office of Administration in Friedland.

If you do not yet meet the requirements, according to information from the Federal Commissioner for Matters Related to Ethnic German Resettlers and National Minorities, you can also first apply for the humanitarian residence title according to section 24 of the Residence Act and then carry out the admission procedure for late repatriates later.

Profession, qualifications and employment

Can I work in Germany in my trained profession/with my qualifications?

Generally, it is possible to work in Germany in your trained profession. However, some professions are regulated in Germany, which means that your foreign credentials must first be officially recognised before you are allowed to practise your profession here.

You can find out whether you have to go through a so-called recognition procedure, which documents you need and which (other) options are open to you in German, English and Russian on the website of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research Recognition in Germany. Information in Ukrainian is available here.

You can also obtain advice and support free of charge from a counselling centre of the Integration through Qualification funding programme. On the website you will find information on professional recognition for the respective professions in German, English and Russian, for example for pharmacists, engineers, nurses and many more.

Note: Most likely there will be a special regulation for the recognition of Ukrainian professional qualifications, or a general regulation that can be applied to those. That has been implied in the Federal-States-Decision of 07 April 2022, No. 5. Further details are yet to be announced.

Other regulations in the context of the Ukraine war

I am a Russian or Belarusian citizen and now in Germany. Do special regulations apply to me as a result of the outbreak of war?

For Russian and Belarusian nationals who had their residence or habitual abode in Ukraine before 24 February 2022, the new regulations on entry and residence of refugees from Ukraine apply (see above).

Russian and Belarusian nationals who have not previously resided in Ukraine are not initially covered by the new regulations. For them, the general regulations apply. However, travel connections between the states of the European Union, Russia and Belarus are severely restricted. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that repatriations to Russia and Belarus will take place in the current political situation.

Several federal states have issued regulations on the legal residence situation of Russian and Belarusian nationals already residing in Germany.

  • According to this, Schengen visas are to be extended by the foreigners‘authorities in accordance with section 6 (2) of the Residence Act. Accordingly, the persons concerned should initially be allowed to remain in Germany for a longer period of time (up to a maximum of 180 days). The requirements of section 6 (2) sentence 2 of teh Residence Act are considered to be met.
  • In addition, an exception to the visa requirement is to be made in accordance with section 5 (2) sentence 2 of the Residence Act. According to this, it is not reasonable for the group of persons to catch up on the visa procedure. If the persons concerned meet the requirements for a long-term residence title, they can apply for the corresponding residence title in Germany by way of exception in accordance with this regulation.

See the circular of the Ministry of the Interior of Lower Saxony dated 11 March 2022 and the Ministry of Migration of Thuringia dated 12 April 2022. However, these circulars are only binding for the foreigners’ authorities in Lower Saxony and Thuringia. We are not aware of any other regulations issued by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community or the federal states. Nevertheless, it may be helpful to draw the attention of the foreigners’ authorities to these circulars.

I have worked in Russia for a German or international company and would now like to enter Germany to work for the same company here. Are there any special regulations for this as a result of the outbreak of war?

In order to enter Germany, you must apply for an employment visa at the embassy in Russia or in another country where you are currently residing. You must meet the requirements of these residence permits.

However, there are special rules to speed up the procedure.

For most residence titles for employment, the approval of the Federal Employment Agency is required (section 39 of the Residence Act). The Federal Employment Agency granted global consent on 04 April 2022 if the following requirements are met:

  • Residence or habitual residence in Russia at the time of visa application (or relocation of residence abroad as a result of the outbreak of war).
  • Employment at the location or branch in Russia by an internationally operating company that is not sanctioned by the European Union and does not have its headquarters in Russia. (If employment is factually no longer possible as a result of the outbreak of war, the employment relationship must at least not have been terminated).
  • Entry to Germany should be for employment in the same company or group of companies
  • Visa application is directed towards residence titles for
    •  Skilled workers according to sections 18a, 18b oft he Residence Act,
    • employees with company-specific special knowledge according to section 19c (1) of the Residence Act in conjunction with section 3 (3) of the Ordinance on the Employment of Foreigners or
    • IT-employees with distinctive professional practical knowledge according to section 19c(2) oft he Residence Act
  • General or special salary limit is met
    • General: 3,666.- euros gross monthly or 43,992.- gross annually
    • IT employees: 4,230.- euros gross monthly or 50,760.- euros gross annually
    • Over 45-year-old professionals with vocational training: 3,877.50 euros gross monthly or 46,530.- euros gross annually

The global approval is valid until 30 September 2022. An extension is being considered.

The Ministry of the Interior of Schleswig-Holstein has also granted global approval for cases in which approval by the foreigners‘ authority is required, for example in the case of accompanying family members.  We are not aware of any circulars from other federal states on this subject.

More Information

Where can I find more information from the relevant actors?

The Information Network Asylum & Migration has compiled further information and sources compiled by international organisations, the European Union, German ministries, the individual federal states and civil society organisations. Additionally, there is an FAQ on the situation of non-Ukrainian third-country nationals, that have fled Ukraine to Germany.

Official information is available on the information portal of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community: Germany4Ukraine.

Where can I get personal advice on a case-by-case basis?

Our Competence Centre on Immigration does not offer advice in individual cases. Therefore, if you have further questions, please contact the counseling centers in your region.

All counselling services are free of charge. Many counseling centers offer counseling in English, some also in Russian or Ukrainian. It is best to call or email the counseling center in advance to make an appointment. Due to the Corona pandemic, some counseling centers currently offer counseling by appointment only.

Contact:

IQ Fachstelle Einwanderung
fe@minor-kontor.de

Note:

This document contains an overview of legal regulations; it is not intended to and cannot replace legal advice and does not have any binding effect. Despite the care taken in compiling the information, errors, inaccuracies or outdated information cannot be ruled out. The presentation reflects exclusively the legal opinion of the authors.  

For counselling in individual cases, it is best to contact a local counselling centre (see Where can I get personal advice on a case-by-case basis?”).  

The German version is always the most current one. Whether the translations correspond exactly can be seen from the date under the heading. We try to take new regulations into account as up-to-date as possible. However, the translations often cannot be updated on the same day.   

The Competence Centre on Immigration (Fachstelle Einwanderung) is funded by the “Integration through Qualification (IQ)” programme.