Can I receive financial support?

In general, REAG/GARP applies to you if you cannot personally finance your trip out of Germany and you belong to one of the following groups:

Please note that to leave Germany voluntarily for another country, you need a valid travel document (e.g. a passport or a surrogate-passport like the Laissez Passer) for the respective state and a Border Crossing Certificate ("Grenzübertrittsbescheinigung" or GÜB) from German authorities. The Border Crossing Certificate you can obtain from the Immigration Service ("Ausländerbehörde"). You have to submit this document at the border to be able to leave. For resettlement in a third country, you will need an immigration visa that entitles you to permanent residence or a long-term residence permit of at least one year, valid from the date of your departure.

Who is not eligible for support?

EU Nationals cannot benefit from the REAG/GARP programme – except those who are victims of forced prostitution or human trafficking. If you come from a third country and can benefit from visa-free travel to Germany, your travel costs will be covered, but you won’t receive further financial support. This regulation applies, e.g. to people from the West Balkan countries.

Where do I file my application?

Specialised counselling centers are the only places where you can apply for voluntary return. Their non-binding and independent counselling sessions can help you make an informed decision on whether to return or not. The experts at these counselling centres give you all the information about the different support programs available in your particular case and pass your application on to IOM. You can find specialised counselling centers at various charities and other organisations as well as the Social Welfare Office and Immigration Service. You can also file your application at specialised counselling services, central repatriation advisory offices ("zentralen Rückkehrberatungsstelle") and the UNHCR. Seek help from a repatriation advisory offices nearby.

Which costs will be covered by REAG/GARP?

If you cannot afford the costs of your voluntary return, the REAG/GARP program will support you financially and will also help you organise your departure. Whether you will receive financial support and the amount of aid you receive, depends on different criteria, including your nationality. The following benefits are possible:

Which costs do I have to cover?

If your travel documents need to be renewed, you will have to cover the costs. You will also need to cover the costs of your trip to the airport or train station from which you will leave Germany. If you are planning to migrate to a third country instead of returning home (“Weiterwanderung”), you will have to cover the costs of a valid entry visa yourself.

What is a starter grant (“Starthilfe”)?

As the primary program for voluntary return, REAG / GARP can financially support your new start in your country of origin. This kind of financial support is called starter grant ("Starthilfe"). The sum of money you can receive depends on your nationality.

Find more details about the REAG / GARP-program on returningfromgermany.de.

For which countries is voluntary return not currently supported?

Due to the continuing difficult security circumstances, IOM does not support people who want to return to Syria, Yemen and Libya with REAG / GARP at the time. Only if you have a visa or a long-term residence permit from a third country, you can benefit REAG / GARP to leave Germany and resettle there. Some federal states, however, allow a voluntary return to Syria but under programs other than REAG / GARP. Ask your refugee council to learn if your federal state supports the voluntary return to Syria.

Can I return to Germany after my voluntary departure?

Yes. If you leave voluntarily, it is usually possible to legally travel back to Germany. Voluntary repatriation, unlike deportation, spares you a re-entry ban. If you get deported, you are not allowed to return to Germany for a few years.

If you re-enter Germany after voluntarily leaving with IOM's support, you will not be entitled to more support for voluntary return. If you return to Germany permanently after returning voluntarily, you must repay the financial aid you have received while leaving.

Will I receive support if I can personally finance the trip?

If you can finance your departure yourself, or in case you have already received aid under REAG / GARP once, it will not be possible for you to apply again. However, IOM may be able to help you with travel expenses through the Special Migrants Assistance Program (SMAP) and offer you and one of your companions discounted airline tickets. In addition, migrant workers, students and other migrants can also benefit from the SMAP. Flight costs should be covered before departure by the individual or by another body, such as the Social Welfare Office or a Welfare Association. In some cases, the Social Welfare Office also assists you with your onward journey to a third country which allows your resettlement.

Will I keep receiving aid after my return?

Depending on the country you want to return to, there are different reintegration programs to support your new start in your country of origin. You may be supported with regard to your reintegration into the labour market, training or receive allowance in-kind to enable your long-term, sustainable reintegration. Reintegration programs only exist in certain countries of origin. On returningfromgermany.de you can check whether your country of origin is also on the list.

The Federal Government also supports various IOM activities which facilitate ​​reintegration, for example in Afghanistan and Iraq. The IOM also implements multiple reintegration projects in 26 countries, namely for returnees in the Sahel and Lake Chad, North Africa and Horn of Africa under the joint EU-IOM Initiative for the Protection and Reintegration of Migrants. For more information, seek advice at a counselling centre nearby.