According to Article 16a of the Basic Law, asylum is granted to individuals who are politically persecuted in their home country by the state or a state-related organisation. Political persecution refers to the situation in which a person is at risk or imprisoned because of his/her "race," religion, nationality, political belief, or association with a particular social group. However, recognition as being entitled to asylum is only possible if you have not entered Germany via a safe third country. Since Germany is surrounded by European countries (i.e. safe third states), recognition is only possible if you directly travel to Germany by plane.
Recognised asylum seekers are issued residence permits which are valid for three years. If the situation in their home country does not improve, the residence permit will be extended for another three years. You can read more about the topic in the section "How can I extend my residence permit?". After three years (at the earliest), under certain conditions, you can apply for and obtain a permanent residence permit ("unbefristete Aufenthaltserlaubnis" or "Niederlassungserlaubnis"). For more information read the chapter "Permanent Residence Permit".
Recognised asylum seekers are entitled to a "Refugee Travel Document" ("GFK-pass"). You can use this passport to travel abroad. You are not permitted to go to your home country, however, as you may lose your German residence permit.
As a person entitled to asylum, you also have the following rights:
- You can bring your spouse and minor children to Germany. As an unmarried minor, you can bring your parents to Germany. (Family Reunification)
- You are allowed to work. If you do not have a job, you will receive unemployment benefit II or social assistance. The Jobcentre helps you to find a job.
- You are entitled to child and parental allowance.
- You are allowed to attend an integration course.
- You can study or take part in vocational training programmes.
You will not be recognised as being entitled to asylum if there is another region in your homeland you can reach legally and live in safety.
People who have committed war crimes or severe non-political offences (outside of Germany) which violate the objectives and principles of the United Nations, may not be granted asylum. The same applies to people who have been sentenced to imprisonment for non-political crimes if they are perceived as a threat to Germany or the general public.