Abschiebung (Deportation): Rejected applicants are asked in writing to leave the country. If the applicant fails to do this voluntarily within the specified period, s/he will be deported -- a forced exit from the country, possibly under police escort. Deportation also bars the applicant from re-entry for a limited period of time. Attempting to re-enter within this period is subject to prosecution.

ABH: Abbreviation for Ausländerbehörde (immigration authority), see entry for Immigration Authority.

Asylum: Asylum is the protection guaranteed by the state to people suffering persecution. Persecuted refugees who apply for asylum are asking for permanent reception into the host country and protection of their lives. They must submit an asylum application to be eligible for this. The authorities review each individual case and decide whether they will offer protection to a refugee and, if so, what kind. If they receive asylum in Germany, they will receive a residence permit.

Aufenthaltsgesetz (Residence Act): In Germany, immigration is regulated by the Residence Act. This act also defines the legal conditions for entry and exit, residence, settlement, and employment. Integration measures are also governed by this act.

Aufenthaltstitel (Residence permit): Immigrants who wish to remain in Germany require a residence permit, such as a residence permit or a settlement permit. The residence permit is only valid for a certain period of time (temporary residence). The settlement permit is permanent, allowing immigrants to live and work anywhere in Germany.

Ausländerbehörde (Immigration Authority or Foreign Affairs Office): The Immigration Authority (Ausländerbehörde) is the agency responsible for immigrants. Branches are located around the country. Immigration authorities are the first point of contact for all questions concerning residence in Germany. The agency makes decisions regarding residence titles and permission to reside, regulates removal and deportation of rejected applicants, and issues deportation stays and visas.


Blaue Karte EU (EU Blue Card): The EU Blue Card for Germany is a residence permit issued to highly-qualified skilled workers. The Card allows them to enter and reside in Germany. To be eligible for the EU Blue Card, immigrants must have a/an

The Immigration can provide you additional information regarding EU Blue Card.

BAMF, Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (Federal Office for Migration and Refugees): The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees is responsible for asylum processing and protecting refugees. It provides information on asylum and migration and offers relevant advice. It also runs courses and projects to promote integration.

Bundesland (federal state): The Federal Republic of Germany is divided into 16 federal states, each with its own government. Certain political matters are state concerns, which means they are decided in the various states and are handled differently state by state. This includes, for example, education and culture. Federal states also implement national law and have a large degree of freedom in how they do so. As a result, even laws governing asylum – a national concern -- are subject to significant regional differences.


Daueraufenthalt (Permanent residence): EU permanent residence is possible for non-EU immigrants after five years of legal residence in a member state of the European Union. This title allows immigrants to remain in an EU state indefinitely or migrate to another member state.

Dublin-Verfahren (Dublin Procedure): The Dublin Procedure is part of European Union law. The Dublin III Regulation defines which EU member state handles an asylum application filed within the EU. The state first entered by the applicant must carry out the asylum procedure, pursuant to one of the regulation's provisions and subject to certain, humanitarian-based exceptions. Only minors have the right to movement as a means of being reconnected with family elsewhere.

Duldung (temporary suspension of deportation status): suspension of deportation temporarily suspends a deportation order, meaning the application has been rejected, and the applicant will not receive a residence permit, but s/he will not be immediately deported. This could be for various reasons: The applicant is severely ill and unable to travel, has no passport that would allow return, or the situation in the homeland does not permit return. The immigrant may remain in Germany as long as the stay of deportation is valid.

The immigrant receives a temporary suspension of deportation status document as a means of identification. This is not a residence title, but only certifies that the immigrant is not liable to prosecution for staying in Germany, even though s/he is otherwise obliged to leave. A residence permit is possible if the temporary suspension of deportation status remains in effect for a period of years, due to humanitarian considerations.


EAE, Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung (initial reception facility or Initial accommodation facility): These facilities are the first point of contact for newcomers, offering accommodation to newcomers for up to the first three months in Germany.

EASY: The BAMF IT system that distributes newcomers across Germany's 16 federal states.

Einbürgerung (naturalization): Naturalization denotes the conferral of German citizenship. You are then a German citizen with all rights and responsibilities. You can apply for German citizenship after eight years of residence, provided you don't have a criminal record, are proficient in German, and are financially independent. Since 2000, children born in Germany to non-German parents generally receive dual citizenship.

Ergänzungspfleger (supplementary curator): A court-appointed person who handles part of the parental care of a minor. This person can represent a minor in legal matters concerning asylum.


Flüchtlingsstatus (refugee status): The Geneva Convention on Refugee requires states to guarantee protection to refugees if their life or liberty is threatened in their country of origin. Threats based on race, religion, citizenship, or political opinion as well as membership of a particular social group are grounds for refugee protection. In Germany, refugee status is obtained by being recognized by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) as a person entitled to asylum or as a refugee as set forth in the Geneva Convention on Refugees.

Folgeantrag (follow-up application): A follow-up application is a new application for asylum that the applicant may file if the first application is rejected or withdrawn. A second application is only possible if new reasons exist for asylum to be considered – for example, if the applicant can now present evidence to convince authorities of renewed cause for application approval, or the situation in the country of origin has fundamentally deteriorated. A follow-up application will not lead to a right to reside unless and until the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has confirmed to the Immigration Authority that new reasons exist.


Identitätsnachweis (proof of identity): Proof of identity, such as a personal identification card or travel document, serves to verify the identity of a person. To establish one's identity, responsible authorities may photograph you and take fingerprints. They will document personal information such as name, date of birth, and national origin.

Integrationskurs (integration course): Integration courses are meant to help the transition into life in Germany. Knowledge of the German language is essential in securing one's livelihood in Germany: German speakers find work sooner and get to know people faster. In addition to language instruction, integration courses teach the country's history, legal system and culture, and about its inhabitants.


Königsteiner Schlüssel (Königstein Key): The Königstein Key is an agreement defining how many people a federal state is to absorb, based on the state's tax base and population.


Niederlassungserlaubnis (settlement permit): The settlement permit, along with the residence permit, is one of two residence titles that a person can receive after being successfully admitted to reside in Germany. In contrast to the residence permit, the settlement permit has no time limit. It allows immigrants to reside, work, and earn money in Germany permanently. Recognized refugees receive a settlement permit after three years from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), provided the status has not been revoked.

Persons entitled to subsidiary protection or other foreign nationals can receive a settlement permit if they have had a residence permit for five years, speak German well, have no previous convictions, and have been working for for the entirety of that period. Highly qualified immigrants can be issued a settlement permit even sooner.


Politisch Verfolgte (victims of political persecution): German Basic Law (Grundgesetz) stipulates that people who are persecuted in their homeland have a right to asylum. Right to refugee status has been largely replaced by EU law (Geneva Convention on Refugees) and only 1-2 percent of asylum seekers obtain status in Germany based on German Basic Law.


Sichere Herkunftsstaaten (safe countries of origin): Many countries are presumed to be free of political persecution, and classified as such under German law. This classification is not uniform throughout the EU. Those applying for refugee status from these countries are often quickly processed and denied. Rejected applicants have one week to appeal and can be deported within four weeks. This list of safe countries of origin include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, Macedonia, Senegal, and Serbia.

Subsidiärer Schutz (subsidiary protection): If you are neither considered at risk of political persecution nor meet the requirements for refugee protection, s/he can still receive a residence permit in Germany if granted subsidiary protection, pursuant to the European Convention on Human Rights. This type of protection is provided by the state when the immigrant is at risk of suffering serious harm in the country of origin due to torture, the death penalty, or armed conflict, among other causes. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) decides this during the application process.


VG, Verwaltungsgericht (administrative court). If an applicant has been rejected, the applicant may file suit against the decision at this court.

Visum (visa): A visa is used by a state to confirm an immigrant's legal right to enter, travel through, or stay in the country. The visa is usually inserted as a document in the passport and is only valid for a certain period of time.