Travelling Abroad for Refugees

Update 13.10.2022

Can I travel outside Germany?

Do you wish to pack your bags and go away for a while? Whether you want to travel for work- or family-related reasons or would like to have a holiday abroad, it is not always clear which countries you are permitted to go to as a refugee. Here, we try to clarify which countries you are allowed to travel to with your residence status and travel document as a refugee.

In principle, Foreign citizens in Germany are required to have a valid passport or a substitute passport. The issuing and renewal of foreign citizens' passports is usually the responsibility of the embassy or consulate of their country of origin. This general rule, however, does not apply to individuals entitled to asylum and the refugees recognised under the Geneva Refugee Convention - the Same is the case for stateless individuals, persons entitled to subsidiary protection or those with a national ban on deportation who have no chance of obtaining a passport from their home country. The mentioned groups are often issued a passport replacement document ("Passersatzpapier") in Germany, which exists in three forms:

  • The travel document for refugees (Known as "Blauer Pass" or "Blue Passport")
  • The travel document for stateless persons
  • The travel document for foreigners

In principle, you will be handed the travel document for refugees together with your residence permit at the Immigration Office. Learn more about the travel document for refugees in our chapter "Blue Passport". As a stateless person or someone who is residing in Germany under subsidiary protection or due to a national ban on deportation, you must apply for the travel document for foreigners and stateless persons ("Grey Passport" or "Grauer Pass") at the relevant Immigration Office. You will need to prove to the authorities that it is not likely or feasible for you to obtain a passport from your home country. You can find the relevant Immigration Office at bamf.de.

IMPORTANT: Due to the corona pandemic, entry restrictions, quarantine obligations and/or travel warnings apply to many destination countries. In our chapter "Coronavirus: Travel & Residences" you can find out more about the current regulations.

Can I travel abroad?

I have a travel document for refugees ("Blue Passport")

You will find all the essential information about the travel document for refugees in our chapter "Blue Passport".

I have a travel document for foreigners or stateless persons ("Grauer Pass")

In principle, you can travel abroad if you hold a travel document for foreigners or stateless persons (the so-called "Gray passport"). For most countries, however, you need a visa, plus, not all countries recognise the "Grey Passport" as a valid travel document. Before planning a trip, you should contact the embassy of the country in question to see whether they recognise your travel document and issue you a visa or not. On the last page of this UNHCR report, you can see a list of countries which recognise the "Gray Passport". Whether you will be issued a visa depends on various factors such as your country of origin, nationality, your situation in Germany and alike, so it is difficult to predict the result of your visa application.

As someone who holds a "Grey Passport", you can go to all the Schengen States without a visa and stay there for up to three months. You can find a list of Schengen states at auswaertiges-amt.de.

Please note: You could lose your residence permit in Germany if you travel to your home country while residing in Germany under subsidiary protection or due to a national ban on deportation. If the Immigration Office learns about your trip, they can initiate a revocation procedure, and you could lose your protection and right of residence in Germany.

I have a passport from my country of origin

If you reside in Germany under subsidiary protection or due to a national ban on deportation and still have a valid passport from your home country, you can use this passport to travel abroad and present your German residence permit to be allowed back into Germany. Whether you need a visa for your destination country depends on your country of origin.

Please note: You could lose your residence permit in Germany if you travel to your home country while residing in Germany under subsidiary protection or due to a national ban on deportation. If the Immigration Office learns about your trip, they can initiate a revocation procedure, and you could lose your protection and right of residence in Germany.

I have a temporary residence permit ("Aufenthaltsgestattung") or a tolerated stay ("Duldung")

You must not travel abroad during your asylum procedure or in case you have been granted a tolerated stay permit ("Duldung") - If you leave Germany, you will lose your temporary residence permit ("Aufenthaltsgestattung") or tolerated stay permit ("Duldung") and cannot return to Germany.

Please note: The Immigration Office can make an exception in the case of school children who want to travel with their class, but you need to contact the relevant Immigration Office and apply for a travel permit beforehand. You can find the relevant Immigration Office at bamf.de.

Important

If you reside in Germany as an asylum-seeker, recognised refugee, or an individual entitled to subsidiary protection or a national ban on deportation, you should not travel to your home country. If the Immigration Office or the BAMF learn about you visiting your country, they can initiate a revocation procedure as a result of which you could lose your right of residence in Germany.

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