Registration, residence permit and asylum
Many people from Ukraine do not need a visa and a residence permit for Germany from today until November 30, 2022. So you can stay in Germany until November 30, 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 November 30, 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.
Registering in an initial reception centre or an arrival centre
When you register, you will receive an arrival certificate (Ankunftsnachweis), a provisional residence document (Fiktionsbescheinigung) or a certificate indicating the reception facility responsible for you (Anlaufbescheinigung). This document is very important for your next steps in Germany.
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.
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: