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.
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 November 30, 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 November 30, 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 November 30, 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 - November 30, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 November 30, 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.
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: