Detention pending deportation (also: “ Abschiebungshaft“) refers to cases in which a foreign citizen is detained in order to prepare for or guarantee deportation.

This differs from detention for a criminal offence: This detention is intended to prevent people who have to leave Germany from going into hiding. Read more in our chapter Deportation


Deportation refers to the compulsory enforcement of the obligation to leave the country.

Anyone who has to leave Germany but does not do so voluntarily can be deported. Read more in our chapter Deportation.


The deportation order informs you that you will be deported if you do not voluntarily leave the country within the set deadline.

The deportation order is usually sent together with the notice of the (negative) decision of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) regarding the asylum application.


In a removal order, an asylum seeker who has come from a safe third country is informed that he/she must leave Germany.

during the asylum procedure, asylum seekers who have entered from a safe third country are sent a removal order. It informs the person that they have to return to the safe third country. If they do not leave voluntarily, they can be deported there.


An obstacle to deportation is an issue that makes deportation impossible.

There are two types of obstacles to deportation: domestic and destination-related. If there is a domestic-related obstacle to deportation, deportation is not possible for practical or legal reasons, e.g. because there is no passport. In case of obstacles to deportation related to the destination country (also known as a "ban on deportation"), the person may not be deported because they will be at risk e.g. of torture, in the destination country.

If deportation is not possible due to domestic obstacles to deportation, the person is entitled to be issued a tolerated stay permit. An obstacle to deportation related to the destination country usually entitles the person to a residence permit due to humanitarian reasons.


A ban on deportation is also referred to as an obstacle to deportation concerning the destination state. Such an obstacle makes deportation impossible.

If a person is not recognised as entitled to the right to asylum, refugee status or subsidiary protection, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) can issue them a national ban on deportation under certain conditions. Read more in the chapter "Residence permit for refugees".


An age assessment process is conducted in the case of unaccompanied minor refugees (umF). It verifies whether the individual is a minor.

Age assessment is carried out either when the child is temporarily taken into care by the Youth Welfare Office or at the beginning of the clearing process. Read more in the chapter "Unaccompanied minor refugees".


The "old-case regulation" is intended to enable foreign citizens who have had "Duldung" or temporary stay permit for many years to obtain secure residence status.

Various requirements must be met for "Altfallregelung" to apply. It only applies to people who came to Germany before 1999 or 2001 (for families with underage children). It has been regulated in Section 104a of the Residence Act since August 28, 2007.


At the hearing, the asylum seeker explains to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) their reasons for fleeing.

The hearing forms the basis for the recognition or rejection of an asylum application. No evidence of persecution is required, but the reasons for the flight must be described in as much detail as possible, credibly and without contradictions. However, if there is evidence, it should be brought to the hearing. Learn more in the “Asylum procedure” chapter.


The proof of arrival (AKN) is a certificate- it confirms that you have asked for asylum at an official body and that you have been registered there.

Proof of arrival is not a residence permit. It is usually issued by the initial reception centre, but sometimes also the police, immigration authorities, etc. can issue this document. A person who has a proof of arrival receives asylum seekers benefits. The proof of arrival replaces the previous certificate of registration as an asylum seeker (BüMA). It is also sometimes referred to as „Flüchtlingsausweis“.

Arbeitslosengeld I

Unemployment benefit I is an unemployment insurance benefit. It is paid upon entry into unemployment.

Unemployment benefit I is only available to people who have had a job subject to social security contributions for at least 12 months in the past 24 months. Unemployment benefits are not paid out automatically but must be applied for at the Employment Agency. The amount of unemployment benefit I depends on the amount of your last salary. The legal basis for the unemployment benefit is the 3rd Social Code (SGB III).

Arbeitslosengeld II

Unemployment benefit II, also known colloquially as Hartz IV, is a state-funded basic subsistence benefit for people out of work.

It is intended to secure people's basic material needs and participation in society. Unemployment benefit II is paid to people who meet the following three criteria:

  • The person does not have special assets or sufficient income from work, Unemployment Benefit I, maintenance payments, rentals and the like AND
  • The person can work at least three hours a day AND
  • The person is at least 15 years old and has not yet reached the regular age for retirement.

Unemployment benefit II is only granted upon application. Jobcentres are responsible for processing applications and looking after recipients. The legal basis for unemployment benefit II is the 2nd Social Code (SGB II).


With an asylum application, a person under persecution asks for protection in another country.

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) receives and decides asylum applications in Germany. An asylum application must be distinguished from "Asylgeuch" or "Asylbegehren". They are often quite imprecisely referred to in public discourse. "Asylgeuch" or "Asylbegehren" refers to a written, oral or otherwise expressed wish to seek protection in Germany. It is usually voiced at the border or to police officers. The next step is the registration and placement of the person in an initial reception centre and the issuing of proof of arrival. Your decision to ask for protection is then forwarded by the authorities to the BAMF, where your asylum application or "Asylantrag" is to be submitted.

The asylum procedure is set in motion with your formal application to the BAMF. After applying, the asylum seeker will have to wait for his hearing and subsequent decision. This process can take months. During this time, the asylum seeker is entitled to social benefits according to the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act (AsylbLG). Read more in the “Asylum procedure” chapter.


People who have been politically persecuted in their home country by state or state-related organisations are recognised as entitled to asylum.

Political persecution is referred to if one is in danger or has been imprisoned because of one's ethnicity /“race”, religion, nationality, political convictions or belonging to a certain social group. However, recognition as a person entitled to asylum is only possible if the person did not enter Germany via a safe third country. Recognition as a person entitled to asylum takes place in accordance with Article 16a of the Basic Law.


An Asylum Application Results is a written notice of decision concerning an asylum application issued by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

The document justifies the BAMF's decision and explains what to do if you do not agree with the result. If the application is rejected, the letter also contains a request to leave the country and a notice of deportation. Read more in the chapters “Asylum Procedure” and “Asylum Application Rejected”.


Asylum seeker is a person whose asylum application is ongoing.

The term is often used as a synonym for the term refugee but is legally different. An asylum seeker is a person still in the asylum procedure. In terms of immigration law, the term refugee only refers to a specific group of recognised refugees with a residence permit in accordance with Section 25 Paragraphs 1 and 2, Clause 1, Alternative 1 of the Residence Act: These are persons entitled to asylum in accordance with Article 16a of the Basic Law and refugees in accordance with the Geneva Refugee Convention.

The term Asylsuchender is often used as a synonym for Asylbewerber or asylum seekers. But these two terms are also legally distinct. An Asylsuchender is a person who has already announced to officials their wish to seek asylum but has not yet submitted their asylum application. Asylbewerber, however, has already applied for asylum and received a temporary permit. The term Asylbegehrender is not a legal term and is used interchangeably: either as a translation for "asylum seeker" or as a substitute for the other two terms Asylbewerber and Asylbegehrender.


The Asylum Seekers Benefits Act regulates support for refugees who are not entitled to receive any benefits under the Social Security Code.

The following people receive asylum seeker benefits:

  • People with a residence permit or proof of arrival.
  • People with a tolerated stay ("Duldung"). Also, people with a border crossing certificate, a “deportation notice” or similar papers are considered to have a tolerated stay ("Dudung").
  • Persons with a residence permit in accordance with Section 25 V of the Residence Act (AufenthG), provided that the decision to suspend their deportation was made less than 18 months ago.
  • Persons with a residence permit due to a war in their home country according to § 23 I Residence Act, provided that “due to the war in their home country” (“wegen des Krieges im Heimatland” ) is noted.
  • Persons with a residence permit according to § 25 IV sentence 1 Residence Act (temporary stay)
  • People who have to leave Germany.
  • Illegalised individuals.
  • People who want to enter via the airport procedure and who are not (yet) permitted to enter.
  • Spouses and minor children of the above-mentioned groups of people.
  • People who have made a follow-up application for asylum ("Asylfolgeantrag").


A follow-up asylum application is the second asylum application that those seeking protection can submit if the first application has been rejected or withdrawn.

A second asylum procedure is possible if there are new reasons for an asylum application. That is the case, for instance, when there is new evidence of persecution in the home country or the situation in the country of origin has fundamentally changed. More on this in the chapter "Asylum application rejected".


The Asylum Act regulates asylum procedures in Germany.

Together with some provisions of the Residence Act (AufenthG), it forms an essential part of refugee law.


In the case of an asylum petition, the petitions committee checks whether the authorities have made serious mistakes during the asylum procedure.

A successful asylum petition can prevent deportation. 


The asylum procedure is regulated by the Asylum Act. The asylum procedure begins with an asylum application and ends with the decision on the application.

Before the asylum procedure begins, refugees must first ask for asylum: This is called an asylgesuch - and it is not part of the asylum procedure. Find out more in our chapter "Asylum Procedure".



A residence permit is a time-limited and purpose-specific permit to reside in Germany.

Most residence permits are issued for 1 to 3 years and can then be extended if the relevant requirements are met. Apart from a few exceptional cases, a residence permit is associated with various rights that foreign nationals without a residence permit do not have. Read more in our chapters "Residence Permit" and "Immigration to Germany."


In Germany, the Residence Act regulates the immigration of foreigners.

The conditions for entry, departure, residence, settlement and employment are also legally stipulated in the Residence Act. Integration measures, too, are anchored in the law.


A temporary residence permit is a stay permit that is issued for a person as soon as they apply for asylum.

The residence permit allows the holder to stay in Germany during the asylum procedure. Persons with a temporary residence permit receive benefits under the Asylum Act. Many special regulations apply to those who hold a temporary residence permit, for instance, in the areas of work, living, education.



Residence papers are not residence permits, but enable you to stay in Germany for a fixed period.

Examples of residence papers include tolerated residence permit, "Duldung," or temporary residence permit. People who have a form of residence paper instead of a proper residence permit are also referred to as "people with uncertain residence status".


In order for foreign nationals from non-EU countries (third-country nationals) to be able to stay in Germany, they need a residence document.

The German Residence Act (AufenthG) recognises a total of five forms of residence documents: visa, residence permit, settlement permit, EU long-term residence permit and the EU Blue Card.

The old term for Aufenthaltstitel used to be Aufenthaltsgenehmigung- but the term has not been used in the Residence Act since 2005.


One speaks of consolidation of the right to stay when a foreign national is granted a settlement permit (unrestricted residence permit).



The Immigration Office (abbreviated: ALB or ABH) has the task of granting or denying residence permits.

It generally regulates residence and passport measures in accordance with the Residence Act. The tasks of the Immigration Office essentially consist of regulating the duration of residence permits and commanding migrants to leave the country, but also the clarification of the identity of foreign nationals. The Immigration Offices belong to the indirect state administration. There is at least one immigration office in every district - and cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants have their own.