Entry, Residence and Return
If you are in Germany due to the war in Ukraine and decide to obtain a long-term right of residence in Germany or to receive social support or to work in the short term, you can submit an application for a residence permit. This application can now be submitted quickly and conveniently to the Foreigners’ Authority via Germany4Ukraine.
Apply for a residence permit now
People who are not citizens of the European Union or have the Icelandic, Liechtenstein, Norwegian, or Swiss nationality, normally need a permit to stay in Germany legally for a longer period of time. This permit is called a “residence permit”. In many cases, this permit must normally be obtained in advance before entry. A residence permit that has been issued before entry by an embassy or consulate general as a sticker in the passport, is called a “visa”. The residence permits must be applied for. They are not issued without an application by the person concerned. See Section 2 for more information regarding the terms.
Because of the special situation in Ukraine, an exception to these rules has been made. The Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) has issued an ordinance for this purpose, temporarily exempting war refugees from Ukraine in the Federal territory from the requirement of a residence permit. It entered into force on March 9, 2022 and is retroactively applicable as of February 24, 2022.
The ordinance facilitates the entry and residence of the persons concerned and to give the refugees the possibility and the necessary time to obtain a residence permit in the Federal territory and thus to protect them from sliding into an unauthorized stay.
So for the time being, war refugees from Ukraine do not need a residence permit. However, this does not apply forever; the regulation is initially limited until August 31, 2022. Thereafter, war refugees will certainly need a residence permit. However, since the persons concerned have no influence on how long it will take the authorities to process an application, it is sufficient to submit an application within the period of time during which the applicant is legally residing in Germany without a residence permit. The application must therefore - according to the current status - be submitted to the local immigration authority by August 31, 2022 at the latest. Find out in time on the website of the city and/or the immigration authority whether you need to make an appointment for this purpose or whether you can submit the application for the residence permit online before the deadline. Once the application has been submitted, the status of “permitted residence” remains in effect until a decision is made on the application - even after August 31, 2022. A so-called fictional certificate is issued.
The rule that a visa must first be required before entering the country for long-term residence, does not apply to war refugees from Ukraine according to the aforementioned ordinance.
This means that within the period until - according to the current status - August 31, 2022, an application must be made to the competent immigration authority for the granting of a residence permit according to Section 24 of the German Residence Act.
Important: The initial registration, the assignment, registering at the registration authority, and the application for a residence permit are separate processes. Sometimes they are processed together, but this ultimately depends on the local organization. In case of doubt, please ask.
For further information on the procedure in Germany and applying for a residence permit, please read Section 5 and the related terms in Section 2.
We currently have no information about closed border crossings. You have to decide for yourself which border you want to cross to leave. Please note: Be prepared for long waiting lines. Make sure to bring enough water and food.
Information about transport possibilities from the borders: Information from the Polish rail operator PKP Intercity (), the Czech rail operator České dráhy () and the German rail operator Deutsche Bahn (), which are currently transporting Ukrainian citizens free of charge.
Currently, Ukrainian citizens can travel free of charge on many buses and trains in the Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB) (), in Hamburg (), Munich () and Hanover (). Other cities may already have this option. When you arrive in a city, ask the helpers at the train or bus station about your options.
With Flixbus, you can travel free of charge from the Polish border towns of Przemyśl and Rzeszów to Germany. This offer is valid for all refugees from Ukraine regardless of nationality. You can get a free ticket on . There you have to click on the chat at the bottom right. Enter your last name, first name, and email address there and select the category "Gutschein" (voucher). The subcategory does not matter. A staff member will then help you online to get a free ticket. Or you can send an email to with a request for a free ticket and your name and email address. However, according to Flixbus, the website is faster.
As air traffic from Ukraine has currently been suspended, Ukrainian nationals are currently unable to enter the Federal Republic of Germany directly. How to enter the Schengen Area via a Member State of the European Union bordering on Ukraine is in general governed by EU law. However, the details are up to the Member State concerned.
Since 2017, Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports have been able to enter the EU without a visa for short-term stays in accordance with EU law. Ukrainian citizens with a non-biometric passport generally need a visa that is affixed to the passport before entry - before entering the country. However, a Member State may allow exceptions for entering its territory for specific reasons.
Germany has done this by way of an ordinance that also exempts Ukrainian nationals who do not possess a biometric passport from the requirement of a residence permit for entering and staying in the territory of Germany.
Is the Ukrainian ID card (2015 model) recognized as a substitute passport document for crossing the border and staying in Germany?
With the general decree of March 17, 2022, the Ukrainian ID card (model 2015) is recognized retrospectively as of February 24, 2022, for a limited period until February 23, 2023, as a substitute passport document for crossing the border and staying in Germany.
With a biometric passport, Ukrainian nationals can continue to travel inside the Schengen Area without a visa and stay there for a total of 90 days within 180 days.
The same applies if you have already been granted a residence permit, e.g., for temporary protection, even if you do not have a biometric passport. In such a case, you do not need a separate visa.
If you wish to continue traveling in order to apply for temporary protection in another EU member state, this is at this moment usually possible without a visa. In case of doubt, please ask about the entry procedures in the country to which you wish to travel. There is currently no European assignment procedure for persons wishing to apply for temporary protection. You then apply for the residence permit for temporary protection on site in the new member state.
According to the Corona Virus Entry Ordinance, there is a general obligation to provide proof (vaccinated, recovered, tested) before entering Germany, but there is no longer a quarantine and registration requirement, since Ukraine is no longer classified as a high-risk country as of February 27, 2022. Irrespective of this, the requirements of the Corona Entry Regulation must always be observed.
However, in the case of war refugees and displaced persons, the situation is dealt with pragmatically. Among other things, voluntary tests are offered at the border upon entry. In the case of Covid symptoms, medical professionals are consulted.
The airspace over Ukraine is currently closed.
There are currently no plans for German authorities to evacuate German nationals or Ukrainian nationals.
German nationals in Ukraine are advised to leave the country immediately by a safe route and, if this is not possible, to remain in a sheltered place. The Federal Foreign Office has set up a crisis hotline at +49 30 5000 3000. Further information can be found at the Federal Foreign Office.
In Germany, please contact the nearest youth welfare office in your place of residence, which will handle all further steps.
For late repatriates from Ukraine, the Federal Office of Administration (BVA) has set up a special hotline which can be reached from Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. and Friday until 3 p.m., and at weekends from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 0049 22899358-20255. For more information, please visit the BVA website:
Many people from Ukraine do not need a visa and a residence permit for Germany from today until August 31, 2022. So you can stay in Germany until August 31, 2022 anyway, also if you do not have a visa and residence permit.
During this time, you can decide if you want to stay in Germany for a longer period of time and which options you would like to use for this:
- Apply for a residence permit according to Section 24 of the German Residence Act. This provision specifically regulates the situation as a war refugee from Ukraine on the basis of the EU decision to accept war refugees. See question 4 for who is eligible and see question 5 for the procedure.
- You can apply for a residence permit for a different purpose, e.g., to study at a university or to work. This may be more beneficial to you. You can get advice from the authorities once you have an appointment, or you learn more in advance on the homepage: .
- Or you can apply for asylum. However, this option is not recommended, because it leads to less favorable legal consequences, such as a limited right to work and the obligation to live in a first reception center.
What exactly do the terms visa, residence document, residence permit, proof of arrival, registration, fictional certificate, third-country nationals, and Schengen countries mean?
These terms will come up again and again in these questions and answers, so we will explain them briefly here.
A visa is issued by diplomatic missions abroad, i.e., embassies and consulates general outside of Germany. It's a sticker in a passport. It allows entry for a specific purpose and also permits staying for a specific period of time. Not all foreigners need a visa to enter the country. For example, Ukrainians are exempt from the visa requirement in Germany until at least August 31, 2022. But even before the exemption, if they had a biometric passport, they did not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days (within 180 days) in the Schengen district.
A residence document is not a visa, but a permit that third-country nationals generally need if they want to stay in Germany and no longer have a valid visa. It is a plastic card the size of a credit card; in some cases also a sticker in the passport. Visas for entry for a longer stay are usually only valid for a few months. A residence document must be applied for before it expires. People who do not need a visa for a longer stay, such as current Ukrainian nationals, can – and must – also apply for a residence document if they do not have a visa but want to stay in Germany for a longer period of time.
With a residence document, you can also travel to other Schengen countries for up to 90 days.
A residence permit is a type of residence document. It is only valid for a limited period of time, but can be extended. It is issued for a specific reason, such as escaping war, studying at a university, or for a specific job.
Proof of arrival is a document with which an authority certifies that it is known that a newly arrived person is staying in Germany. Not all newly arrived persons receive this proof of arrival; it is only issued in special situations. Before issuing the proof of arrival, biometric data – fingerprints and photograph – are registered. This is to prevent that the same person will register more than once. A registration is a confirmation that someone has notified the city or municipality that he or she has moved into an apartment. All people who move into an apartment have to register in Germany, including Germans. With a confirmation of registration, you can prove that you are currently still registered at an address. This is sometimes required prior to signing contracts.
The fictional certificate is given to a person who has applied for a residence permit and who has already been registered. The stay is permitted to the same extent as before, until the decision has been made and also a residence permit is issued. The fictional certificate confirms this. It is an important document because it proves the legality of further residence. In the fictional certificate, the authority can also permit gainful employment.
Third-country nationals are all people who are not citizens of the Union and do not have Norwegian, Icelandic, or Liechtenstein citizenship, including Ukrainians without dual citizenship with one of these countries.
Schengen countries are countries between which all persons, regardless of their nationality, can in principle travel without border controls, although the duration of legal stay may still be limited. Schengen countries are all countries of the European Union except Bulgaria, Ireland, Croatia, Romania, and Cyprus as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
All government agencies want to avoid an unacceptable overload of the authorities. Therefore, please inquire about the recommendations of the local immigration authorities responsible for you regarding the time and manner of submitting an application. Or you can use the online application option available on this page.
Who will receive protection in the EU after the EU decided on 4th March 2022 to accept war refugees?
The following groups of persons who have been displaced from Ukraine since February 24, 2022 as a result of Russia’s military invasion have a mandatory right to temporary protection under Section 24 of the German Residence Act in accordance with Article 2(1) of the Implementing Decision:
- Ukrainian nationals who had their residence in Ukraine before February 24, 2022,
- Stateless persons and nationals of third countries other than Ukraine who enjoyed international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine before February 24, 2022, and
- Family members of the two groups of persons mentioned above (such as spouses, unmarried partners, minor unmarried children, and close relatives under further conditions), even if they are not Ukrainian citizens.
What happens after I have entered Germany? Where can I register in Germany and where can I get accommodation and food?
The procedure is divided into four consecutive steps: initial registration, assignment to a place of residence (in case of social benefit receipt), registration of the residential address at the place of destination, and application for a residence permit.
Foreigners Third-country nationals, who resided in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and Ukrainian nationals who had a domicile or habitual residence in Ukraine on February 24, 2022 but who were temporarily absent from Ukraine on that date, are exempt from the requirement of a residence document until August, 31 2022.
For the entire EU and thus also for Germany, at least the following regulation applies: Ukrainian citizens can stay freely in the EU or move within the EU with a biometric passport for 90 days (combined for all Schengen countries).
If someone falls under this regulation, his or her initial registration in Germany is initially - until June - not mandatory, after which initial registration should be required before taking any further steps. However. Latest from the moment that war refugees from Ukraine ask for state support in Germany in the form of accommodation, care, or social benefits, registration is required. To be registered and receive government support, contact a reception center in your district.
When you register, if you are claiming social benefits, you will also be told where in Germany you should initially live. This assignment is necessary so that individual cities do not have the whole burden of providing for war refugees.
If you claim social benefits and have not found private and permanent accommodation, you will normally be assigned to a certain place so that not just a few cities and municipalities have to carry the burden. In this case, you should only apply for a residence permit when it is clear to which district you have been assigned. This is because the authorities responsible for this district are then also responsible for social benefits.
If, on the other hand, you can initially provide for yourself because e.g., you are living with friends or relatives, then normally only your data will be recorded during registration. You are then free to choose your accommodation and will not be assigned.
As proof of your registration, you will usually be issued with a so-called proof of arrival, which you can use to contact the local social welfare office responsible for granting benefits.
When you have arrived at your destination, please register at the registration office. If you are moving into a shared accommodation, you will also receive information there regarding the registration procedure.
Registering at a registration office or registering after which a proof of arrival is issued, is not automatically an application for a residence permit. That is the next step. Make sure that such an application is also made. Sometimes this can happen in combination with the previous steps. In case of doubt, please ask. If you have received a document called a “fictional certificate” or a receipt of an online application for a residence permit, you have in any case already submitted an application for a residence permit.
Important: The proof of arrival is not yet a residence permit. You must apply for the residence permit - once it is clear where you will be living for the time being - at the immigration authority responsible for this district. If you claim social benefits, an assignment decision is also necessary. Only then you should apply for the residence permit.
If you do decide to move after you have applied for a residence permit, please inform the immigration authority about your new address. Please inform yourself on the website of the respective immigration authority.
You can find the nearest immigration authority on .
Municipal contact points have also been set up at many train stations, which you can contact if you need assistance.
Unaccompanied minors should contact the nearest youth welfare office, which will take care of all further steps.
No, that is not necessary. The necessary protection will be granted in another faster procedure. Ukrainian nationals are therefore advised not to apply for asylum. However, the right to apply for asylum at a later stage remains.
As a result of the decision of the European Union to admit war refugees a residence permit pursuant to Section 24 of the German Residence Act (AufenthG - Granting Residence for Temporary Protection) will be granted with immediate effect to the eligible group of persons thereof.
Registration upon entry does not constitute an asylum application. The implementation of an asylum procedure requires an application for asylum to be filed at the competent branch office of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.
For these reasons, filing an asylum application is not required to secure a right of residence or to claim social benefits.
Your visa (if you have an entry visa) expires when you apply for asylum. If you are in possession of a biometric passport, your visa-free stay expires when you apply for asylum. Usually, you are then obliged to live in a state reception center for a certain period of time and can no longer freely determine your place of residence.
I am a Russian citizen, am already in Germany and have a residence permit for Germany (e.g. residence permit or settlement permit). Do I have to expect to be expelled from Germany due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine?
No. The situation in Ukraine has no influence on the continuation of your right of residence, unless you are one of the few persons for whom sanction resolutions apply or your residence permit expires for other reasons.
I am staying in Germany for a limited period of time, e.g. as a student. Will my residence permit as a Russian citizen (e.g. visa or residence permit) still be extended?
Yes, provided the conditions are still met. The situation in Ukraine has no influence on the granting or extension of your residence permit. Please contact the competent immigrant authority on site if you have any questions regarding the extension of your stay.
I am not in Germany and would like to apply for a visa as a Russian citizen to work in Germany. Is this possible?
As a rule, the German diplomatic mission in the country in which you have your habitual residence is responsible for visa applications. Therefore, please check the website of the Federal Foreign Office and the competent German diplomatic mission to find out whether there are any restrictions regarding the operation of the mission abroad as well as which special provisions you may have to consider. If you are staying in Russia, you will find the relevant information here:
You have been given protection in the Federal Republic of Germany because of the war in Ukraine.
Please note the following information on registering/deregistering your address in Germany.
If you move into a home for the first time after entering Germany or are staying with friends or relatives here, you do not have to register your address for the first three months. However, you may do so voluntarily. Registering your address in the first three months may make sense especially if you want to place your child in a school or kindergarten or if you need other social assistance benefits or services.
After three months, you and your children are required to register your address. Please register at the registration authority for the area where you are living in Germany. Children up to age 16 are to be registered by the person they are moving in with, that is, their parent(s). Babies newly born in Germany need to be registered only if they live somewhere other than with their parents or mother.
If you have the following documents, please bring them with you to the registration authority or submit them as soon as possible afterwards:
- biometric passport or other identity documents, such as an ID card, for all family members;
- temporary residence permit, provisional residence document (Fiktionsbescheinigung), certificate indicating the nearest reception centre (Anlaufbescheinigung) or arrival certificate (Ankunftsnachweis);
- confirmation of residence from your landlord or the person who is hosting you in their home;
- birth certificate for children, marriage certificate for married couples.
If you do not have any of the documents listed above which show your personal data in Latin script (not Cyrillic script), then before you register your address at the registration authority, you will first have to register at an initial reception centre or foreigners authority.
Your information will be stored in the population register. As proof that you have registered your address, you will be given an official confirmation of registration. Please keep this document in a safe place. You will need to show it to other government authorities as proof of your residence. In particular, you will need to show it to the foreigners authority or initial reception centre.
The confirmation of residence must contain the following information:
- the name and address of the person providing the home and the name of the owner, if this is a different person;
- the date you moved in;
- the address of the home; and
- the names of the people required to register.
You can find forms for this confirmation of residence (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung) on the website of your local government or at the registration authority.
The person providing the home (Wohnungsgeber) is generally your landlord or someone authorised by them, such as a property manager. If you are staying with friends or relatives, they would be the persons providing the home.
If you move out of one home and into a different one, you are required to register your new address with the registration authority within two weeks of moving. You do not have to deregister your previous address.
If you leave Germany and move to another country or return to Ukraine, you do need to deregister your German address with the registration authority. To deregister, go to the registration authority no more than one week before you move or two weeks after you move, or write or send an email to the registration authority informing them that you are leaving Germany.
In connection with the war situation in Ukraine, the procedure was changed in such a way that applicants with and without an acceptance of admission can take further steps to obtain their residence status after entering Germany.
If you already have a residence permit for temporary protection in Germany, it expires when you: You are leaving Germany not only for a temporary reason or when you are not staying in Germany for more than six months. The immigration authorities can extend the six-month period before it expires, not afterward, if you can prove that the longer absence is only temporary.
I am a citizen of a country other than Ukraine. I left Ukraine because of the current situation there and came to Germany. Can I get help to leave Germany voluntarily and return to my country of origin?
Nationals of countries other than Ukraine who fled Ukraine after 24 February 2022 because of the war there, who are officially registered in Germany and who can return safely and permanently to their country of origin or would like to migrate onward to a different country willing to admit them can get help from the following programmes:
 For people willing to leave Germany voluntarily,
The joint federal and state programme REAG/GARP provides financial and organisational assistance to people who are willing to return to their country of origin or to move to another country that is willing to admit them . Possible assistance may include payment for the cost of travel and transport, money for the journey, additional medical expenses and one-time start-up aid, depending on nationality.
Depending on the country of destination, people willing to leave Germany voluntarily may also apply for assistance from the federal programme StarthilfePlus. They may receive additional start-up aid or reintegration support for housing in their country of destination. The same conditions for eligibility apply as for REAG/GARP.
Support from the European Return and Reintegration Network ERRIN is still available until 30 June 2022. The ERRIN programme offers returnees individual reintegration support through a network of local service partners in more than 30 countries of origin. Support may include the following: help upon arrival at the airport, individual advising after arrival, help with housing, vocational training, help in finding a job, help with starting a business or help with social and medical issues. An ERRIN application is submitted to a local authority, state authority or a return counselling centre. You can find out more from the website “Returning from Germany” here: ). This fact sheet from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has more information on voluntary return assistance for non-Ukrainian nationals.
 Programmes and conditions may change as the situation continues to develop.
 The country of destination must confirm that the returnee may reside there for at least 12 months.