What is a "Blue Passport"?
If you are recognised as a “refugee” (“Flüchtling”) or “asylum seeker” (“Asylberechtigte*r”) in Germany, you will be issued a so-called “travel document for refugees” ("Reiseausweis für Flüchtlinge"). The travel document is a replacement for the passport from your country of origin or the country you've fled to come to Germany. The “travel document for refugees” is also known as "Convention Pass" ("Konventionspass ") or "Blue Passport" ("Blauer Pass ").
Please note: As an individual entitled to asylum or recognised as a refugee, you cannot apply for a passport from your country of origin. If you do so or visit the embassy of your home country, in principle, you will lose your entitlement to asylum/refugee status and thus your right of residence in Germany.
What do I need to know?
You can obtain a “travel document for refugees” ("Bluer Pass") if your right to asylum or refugee status has been recognised in Germany. According to Article 28 of the Geneva Convention on Refugees, you are, in principle, entitled to a travel document. Only individuals who, for instance, have been convicted of membership of a terrorist organisation are not entitled to a travel document.
Those entitled to subsidiary protection or a national deportation ban cannot obtain a travel document for refugees. If that is the case, you must ask for a passport at your home country's embassy. If the embassy does not issue you a passport, you can apply for a Travel Permit for Foreigners („Reiseausweis für Ausländer“) at the relevant Immigration Office („Ausländerbehörde”). You can learn more about it in our chapter “Travelling Abroad for refugees”.
Please note: If you have been granted subsidiary protection or have a residence permit due to a national deportation ban and are appealing BAMF's decision, you must not visit your home country's embassy. If you do so, the BAMF assumes that you are not being persecuted in your home country.
The Blue Passport enables you to travel to all the countries which have signed the Geneva Refugee Convention, i.e. more than 100 countries, a list of which you can find on fluechlingskonvention.de. To travel to many of these countries, however, you must apply for a visa in advance. Then the respective country will decide whether you must be issued an entry visa or not.
As someone who holds a Blue Passport, you must not travel to your country of origin under any circumstances. If the Immigration Office or the BAMF finds out that you have visited your home country, your right to asylum or recognition as a refugee will be revoked, and you will lose your right of residence in Germany.
Please note: You do not have any claim to diplomatic or consular protection by Germany outside the German territory.
You can travel to the so-called “Schengen states” if:
- Your stay does not exceed 3 months and
- you do not work there.
You can find a list of current Schengen member states at auswaertiges-amt.de.
In principle, your residence permit expires if you stay abroad for more than six months at a time. However, such a rule does not apply to people with a Blue Passport. That means, as long as your Blue Passport is valid, your residence permit will remain valid. So, you can stay out of Germany for more than 6 months if you wish so. But keep in mind that if you settle permanently in another country or reside there for longer term, that country will be responsible for your residence permit.
The local Immigration Office will issue your passport. In principle, you will receive it along with your residence permit.
You have to pay for your travel document, even if you are receiving social benefits (e.g. from Job Centre). The amount you pay depends on your age and status and can be as high as €100.
You will also need a biometric passport photo (which you can take in a photo booth or photo studio), a proof of residence (registration or „Anmeldung“) and a document acknowledging your asylum rights or refugee status. Usually, the immigration authority takes six to eight weeks to issue your travel ID.
You can find the immigration office responsible for you at bamf.de.
Since November 2007, the travel documents are provided with an electronic chip and are therefore called e-Travel Document or e-Pass. For more security, your data is stored electronically in a chip. That is why the Immigration Office takes your fingerprints before issuing a travel ID. This data can only be read with special devices and by authorities. Your fingerprints, in particular, are protected and can only be accessed by the countries that have received special access rights from Germany. You have the right to see this data on an e-Pass reader in the Immigration Office.
Your Blue Passport is valid as long as your residence permit. So, “Travel Document for Refugees” or “Blue Passport” is valid for about three years. Afterwards, you have to apply for a new travel document.
Apply for a new Blue Passport, preferably two to three months before the expiration of your current passport. Find out more in our chapter "Residence Permit".
In case you lose your passport, you must report this to the police immediately. Check our police chapter to learn how. In case you find your passport again, the police should be informed promptly. You will need to apply for a new passport at the local immigration office. You can find the Immigration Office responsible for you on bamf.de.
If you move within Germany, you must have the new address entered in your documents (residence permit and Blue Passport). You can find out more about this in our chapter Registration.
Important: If you have a so-called "residence restriction" (“Wohnsitzzuweisung”), you may only move with the permission of the immigration authorities. You can learn more about this in our chapter "Looking for a flat" in the section "Can I move to another city or municipality?".
No. From a legal point of view, the EU Blue Card has nothing to do with the protection provided for refugees, and it is not a passport. The EU Blue Card is a residence permit for highly qualified individuals from non-EU countries who wish to work in an EU country and have already secured a position in a workplace. For more information on EU Blue Card, have a look at the chapter “EU Blue Card” or visit the website of BAMF.
After your right to asylum or refugee status has been recognized by BAMF, you will receive a "Blue Passport". After that, you are not permitted to obtain a passport from your country's embassy or travel to your homeland; otherwise, you will lose your protection status and residence rights in Germany.