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Many people from Ukraine do not need a visa if they enter Germany for the first time before 4 March 2024. They do not need a visa or residence permit to stay in Germany legally for up to 90 days from the date they enter. So the last date on which it is possible to be in Germany legally without a visa or residence permit is 2 June 2024.
During the 90 days in which you can stay in Germany legally without a visa, you can decide whether you would like to stay in Germany longer. If you decide to stay longer, you have the following options:
- Within 90 days of entering Germany for the first time, you can apply for a temporary residence permit under section 24 of the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz, AufenthG). Section 24 deals specifically with the situation of refugees from the war in Ukraine based on the relevant EU decision. You can find out here who is eligible for a temporary residence permit under section 24 of the Residence Act, and you can find out more about the procedure here.
- Within 90 days of entering Germany for the first time, you can apply for a temporary residence permit for a different purpose, such as to study or work in Germany. This may be more advantageous for you. You can make an appointment with the relevant government authorities to ask them for advice. Or you can find out more by visiting the website www.make-it-in-germany.com.
- Or you can apply for asylum. However, we do not recommend this option, because it comes with some disadvantages: your right to take up employment would be subject to restrictions, and you would have to live in an initial reception centre.
Because these terms come up again and again in these FAQs, here are brief explanations:
A visa (Visum) is issued by German embassies and consulates general outside Germany. It is a sticker in a foreigner’s passport. A visa allows the passport holder to enter Germany for a certain purpose and to stay here for a certain length of time. Not all foreigners need a visa to enter Germany. For example, many people fleeing the war in Ukraine do not currently need a visa to enter Germany. See also
Residence title (Aufenthaltstitel) is the general term for various rights to enter and stay in Germany. Visas and residence permits are both residence titles.
A residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) is a temporary residence title which is issued after a foreigner enters Germany. All citizens of countries that do not belong to the EU must have a residence permit to stay in Germany if they no longer have a valid visa. A residence permit may be a sticker in the foreigner’s passport or a plastic card the size of a credit card. Entry visas are usually only valid for a few months. That is why it is necessary to apply for a residence title, such as a residence permit, before the visa expires. Most refugees from the war in Ukraine will apply for a temporary residence permit under section 24 of the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz, AufenthG), or they may apply for a residence permit for a different purpose, such as to study or work in Germany. If you have a residence permit, you can travel to other Schengen countries for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
In some cases, an authority will issue a certificate indicating the reception facility responsible (Anlaufbescheinigung) for a refugee from Ukraine when registering their arrival and collecting their biometric data (photo and fingerprints). This certificate contains the refugee’s registration number and explains which authority to contact next. If the authority does not issue this certificate and is not able to issue a residence permit immediately, it will give the refugee a provisional residence document (Fiktionsbescheinigung). This provisional residence document gives refugees from Ukraine who have applied for a temporary residence permit under section 24 of the Residence Act the same rights as if they already had that permit until their local foreigners authority gives them the actual residence permit in credit-card format.
An arrival certificate (Ankunftsnachweis) is issued to people seeking asylum in Germany who have told the responsible authority but have not yet submitted a formal asylum application. If you are a refugee from the war in Ukraine, we do not recommend applying for asylum, because asylum status comes with some disadvantages: your right to take up employment and to choose where to live would be subject to restrictions.
Registration (Anmeldung) means informing the town or city where you live of your address. Everyone who moves into a home in Germany must register their address, including Germans. When you have registered your address, you will receive a document (Meldebestätigung) confirming that you have done so. This document may be needed for certain business transactions, for example to open a bank account or to sign a contract with a mobile phone provider.
A provisional residence document (Fiktionsbescheinigung) is issued to people whose arrival in Germany has been registered, who have applied for a residence title and who are staying in Germany legally. The provisional residence document allows them to stay in Germany legally until they have received their residence title. The provisional residence document serves to confirm this. It is an important document, because it is proof of the legal right of residence. The relevant authority can also note on the provisional residence document that its holder is allowed to pursue employment in Germany.
Third-country nationals (Drittstaatsangehörige) are citizens of countries that do not belong to the EU. They are also not citizens of Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. This means that Ukrainians who do not also have citizenship of one of these countries are third-country nationals.
Schengen countries (Schengen-Staaten) are those which citizens of any country can travel between without undergoing checks at the border. However, these countries may limit the length of time foreigners may stay. All the countries that belong to the EU are Schengen countries, except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania. Some countries that do not belong to the EU are Schengen countries as well: 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.
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.
A letter PDF, 785 KB, not barrier-free from the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) on the admission procedure contains further eligible groups and details. As it is addressed to German authorities, it is only written in German
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.
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.
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.
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: germania.diplo.de