You can take legal actions against the BAMF's decision. Then, a court decides whether you are entitled to asylum, refugee status, subsidiary protection or a residence permit due to a ban on deportation. A counselling centre or lawyer can tell you if taking legal action makes sense in your case and what steps it entails. You can search for a lawyer or counselling centre, for instance, on the www.rechtsberaterkonferenz.de or at ProAsyl.
Refugees who receive a "simple" rejection ("enifachen Ablehung") have 30 days to file a lawsuit. The deadline runs from the time you receive BAMF's rejection notice in your mailbox. The delivery date of this letter counts as the start of your deadline, so remember to keep the envelope safe to be able to prove the date of receipt later. If your application is rejected as "inadmissible" ("unzulässig") or "obviously unfounded" („offensichtlich unbegründet“), you have one week to submit the lawsuit to the competent administrative court and file an "urgent appeal" ("Eilantrag"). If the court accepts the urgent appeal, you can stay in Germany during the legal proceedings. Otherwise, you may be deported, even though your complaint is still in process.
Attention: If you submit an urgent appeal while your application has been rejected as "inadmissible" ("unzulässig") under the Dublin regulation, your six-month transfer period will start over. Make sure to seek advice from a lawyer in advance.
If there is no time to talk to a counselling centre or a lawyer, you can personally go to the competent administrative court and file your complaint in writing or orally. You can find complaint sample forms here (for a simple rejection), here (for rejection as "inadmissible"), and here (for rejection as "obviously unfounded"). The relevant administrative court is specified in the rejection notice you receive from the BAMF. At each administrative court, there is a legal expert ("Rechtsantragstelle") who can help you with the complaint. Keep in mind that despite filing the claim, you still need to go to a lawyer. You now have two weeks to explain to the court why BAMF's decision is incorrect, and you require the assistant of a lawyer to do so.
In the case of "simple" rejection or when your urgent appeal has been accepted, you must not be deported during the court proceedings. Before the court concludes your case, you may keep your temporary residence permit ("Aufenthaltsgestattung") and continue to receive asylum seeker benefits. It often takes a long time before the court decides. You may have to wait for a year or more.
After you file the complaint, the Administrative Court examine your reasons for flight and the decision of the BAMF once again, i.e. the judges will read the minutes of your hearing, review your evidence, and then, usually invite you to a court hearing, in which you will be interviewed again. After all that, the court decides about your asylum application:
- If the judge concludes that you meet the requirements for asylum rights, refugee status, subsidiary protection or a national ban on deportation, the BAMF's rejection will be revoked and you will be granted a residence permit.
- If the judges confirm the BAMF's decision and do not recognise you as being entitled to any forms of protection, your complaint will be dismissed, and your obligation to leave Germany remains valid.
When the administrative court comes to a decision, the asylum procedure is often considered to be concluded. If the judge confirms the BAMF's decision, your lawyer can also apply for approval for submitting an appeal ("Zulassung der Berufung"). If the Higher Administrative Court ("Oberwaltungsgericht") accepts your lawyer's request, your asylum application will be examined again-but keep in mind that the Higher Administrative Court rarely approves such appeal requests. Appeal requests are accepted when, for instance, crucial questions (e.g. about your reasons for flight) have remained unanswered, or in cases which the judges hold very different viewpoints on an issue.