Whether you are returning for just 3 weeks, 6 months or permanently, you need to be clear in advance about the length of your stay in Ukraine, as different rules and regulations apply depending on this.
If you already have a residence title and a corresponding certificate according to Section 24 of the Residence Act, you can travel to Ukraine and return to Germany at any time.
Travels to Ukraine according to the German policy on returns can be classified
into three broad groups, or categories, depending on their duration: 1) short-term trip for up to 3 weeks (21 calendar days) per year; 2) long-term trip for up to 6 months; and 3) return to Ukraine.
The duration of a journey has a direct influence on your residence status in Germany and also on whether you can claim basic security benefits according to the Second Book of the Social Code (Bürgergeld).
If you have temporary protection, you can travel to your home country for a period of up to 3 weeks (21 calendar days) per year - including weekends and public holidays - and then return to Germany. In this case, if the job centre has agreed to your absence, the basic income continues to be paid and your registration in Germany remains valid.
It is important to note that the reason for the short trip should be temporarily valid, otherwise German authorities have a right to cancel a person's residence permit. For example, if one travels in order to start studies or for long-term care of a family member - this can be considered as a non-temporarily valid reason, and lead to a residence permit cancellation. In this case, it is important that you apply to the job centre for approval of the planned absence in good time, ideally 1-2 weeks in advance, by e-mail or at an appointment in person.
The application to the job centre should include the duration of the journey, the expected date of departure and return as well as the destination. This can be done in a free-form letter format. Before leaving to Ukraine, it is also recommended to pay attention to the validity of the residence permit, and, if necessary, apply for its extension (relevant also for long-term trips).
Please note: If the duration of your journey is between three and six weeks, the basic income will only be paid for a period of three weeks.
If your journey lasts longer than six weeks, payment of the basic income will usually be discontinued. You will then need to apply again when you are back in Germany. You also need to inform the job centre about your journey before you leave the country.
Before leaving to Ukraine, it is also recommended to pay attention to the validity of the residence permit, and, if necessary, apply for its extension (this also applies to short-term travel).