Important information on entry and residence for people fleeing Ukraine
The Russian invasion of Ukraine forces many people to flee Ukraine. Here you will find information on the situation at the borders and on entering/staying in Germany for Ukrainian citizens and people of other nationalities who have lived in Ukraine. Ukrainians already in Germany can also find reliable and up-to-date information here.
We are striving to provide answers to all questions. As soon as we have news, we will inform you immediately here and on Facebook.
All the information is also available in German, Ukrainian and Russian language.
What do I need to know?
According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child has the right to access education and schooling. Children are entitled to attend school, even though refugees from Ukraine do not have to register as war refugees for the first 90 days of their stay in Germany.
It follows that your child must go to school. You can read more about this in our "School" chapter. Your child will first learn German at school. After that, he or she will be placed in the appropriate class.
Important: Your child has to attend a school in Germany, even if they attend a Ukrainian school online. That means mandatory schooling still applies to them.
If you have questions or need advice or support, you can contact the Youth Migration Service (Jugendmigrationsdienst) in your area or the Parent Hotline (Elternhotline). The staff there speak different languages and will help you free of charge.
If you live in Thuringia, you can also get help from the hotline for families with school-age children. The hotline staff will answer your questions about school in Russian. You can reach them on: 0172 2385758. The consultation is free. However, you will pay standard phone call charges.
The school system in Germany differs from state to state. First, all the children go to primary school (“Grundschule”). After primary school, they move on to different types of secondary school depending on the performance and development of the child. In principle, before the completion of primary school, you would consult the school and teacher about the best decision. You will be recommended a secondary school that your child can attend in these consultations. The further education of your child depends on the secondary school you choose. You can find more information in our chapter "School". There, you can also learn more about the school system in each specific federal state.
Parents of school-age children can find a guide to the German school system in Ukrainian on the website hilfe-ua.de. Here you will find more information about the duties and rights of parents, school attendance for children with disabilities and the grading system. You will also find out what further training opportunities your child has after graduation from school.
Some federal states have also published brochures to introduce their school system:
Lower Saxony: In the brochure of the Lower Saxony Ministry for Science and Culture, you will find general information about the transition from primary school to secondary school in Ukrainian.
Berlin: You can find the “New in Germany” brochure in Ukrainian, English and German on berlin.de. There you will find useful information about the school system in Berlin, your rights and obligations and various offers for school children.
Hamburg: On hamburg.de you will find the most important information about attending school in Ukrainian.
You can learn more about the skills children are expected to have when they start school in Ukrainian at numo.mon.gov.ua. On the same website, you will also find interesting exercises and games that can help your child develop necessary skills.
You should directly register your child at a school in your area. On the website bildungsserver.de you can search for schools nearby. To do so, you need to select your federal state first. You will then be redirected to another website where all schools and school types in your region are listed.
If your child does not speak German, before registering them at a school, you must fill out the school registration form for students who speak languages other than German. You can find an example of the registration form at mbjs.brandenburg.de.
The following documents are required for registration:
- Residence permit (if not yet available, then “Fiktionsbescheinigung” )
- Police Registration certificate („Meldebescheinigung“).
- School-entry medical examination
- Certificates from the country of origin (if available).
Important: Before your child is allowed to go to school, they must take part in a school medical examination. This is carried out by the Health Office responsible. During the school medical examination, your child's physical-motor and mental development status as well as language development will be checked. You can find the Health Office responsible at tools.rki.de. To do so, you must enter your postal code in the search field.
As part of your child's admission to the school, a personal interview will take place between the school administration, parents/guardians and the child. After the interview, the school administration will decide which grade your child should attend.
Please note: If you do not yet speak German, you should arrange for an interpreter to accompany you during the interview.
As a rule, students from Ukraine attend normal classes, where all subjects are taught in German. In some schools, there are so-called welcome classes, in which the students from Ukraine first learn the German language. They are then gradually integrated into normal classes. At some schools, there is a mixed system, i.e., the students attend regular and welcome classes at the same time.
No. Russian is not a compulsory subject in Germany. However, in some schools, your child can choose which additional languages he or she wants to learn. Sometimes Russian is also available as a choice.
The so-called “education and participation package” (BuT) is available for families with low income. Recieving this package means your child can receive financial support for their personal school needs (e.g. notebooks, pens, school bag). Under certain circumstances, costs for tuition, lunch and excursions with the school are also covered. If your child comes to school by bus or train, you can also apply for travel expenses to be covered.
You will only be entitled to the education and participation package if you or your child receive one of the following state benefits:
- Housing Benefit (“Wohngeld”)
- Asylum Seekers Benefits
In order to receive benefits from the education and participation package, you must submit an application to the authority responsible. You can search for the office responsible for you on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
You can find detailed information in our “Educational package” chapter.
The non-profit project Labdoo offers refugee school-age children from Ukraine laptops to rent for a one-off fee of €10. School children, students or trainees can apply for a laptop at Labdoo. To find out more how you can borrow a laptop, visit the platform.labdoo.org. The website is also available in Ukrainian, German, English and Russian.
You can find many educational resources for your child in Ukrainian on obr.education.
You can find numerous Ukrainian textbooks for different grades on mundo.schule and lib.imzo.gov.ua.
For preschool children, you can find an online kindergarten at numo.mon.gov.ua. There are many informative videos available on the website, each with a specific theme. In these videos, your children learn the letters, carry out various experiments and get familiarised with subjects such as anatomy, biology and mathematics through games.
At blinde-kuh.de you will find videos, dictionaries, and learning aids for your child.
You will also find numerous children's programs in Ukrainian on ardmediathek.de. There is also a program there called "Deutsch lernen für Socke". This is a program that helps children learn German while playing.
At planet-schule.de, children can learn German or improve their German in a fun way. The exercises offered can help your child with listening comprehension, reading and writing.
At op.europa.eu, you will find a brochure with important phrases in German and Ukrainian. Each phrase comes with an image which should make it easier to understand. You can download this brochure free of charge.
In the free e-book "Verständigungshilfe für den Start in der (Grund-) Schule", you will find important sentences in German and Ukrainian that can help your child when they start school.
At geest-verlag.de, you can download free Ukrainian textbooks for learning German. The books "Deutsch als Fremdsprache" are suitable for students from the 1st to the 10th grade. In addition to the books, you can also download an audio guide which helps you with the exercises.
At Lern-fair, Ukrainian students from grades 1 to 11 can register for German courses at various levels. You can choose between conversation courses and practice courses. You can look up and pick a course on uk.lern-fair.de and register for it. All courses take place online. Before registration, students can take a free test. This way, you can find out which course is the right one. In order to take part, your child must already be familiar with the Latin alphabet.
There are many offers from Ukrainian online schools on mon-gov-ua, which your child can usually attend for free. You can also find online courses for your child on lms.-e-school.net.ua.
All-Ukrainian Online School offers free online lessons at mmf.univie.ac.at. All main subjects are available for all grades. There you will also find videos for every school subject from the 5th grade. You must register in advance.
On New Ukrainian School Hub, you will find an overview of websites, apps, e-books and learning platforms for your child. There you can choose which subjects and languages your child should learn and see offers relevant for your child.
Yes, all children in Germany can go to kindergarten, but some requirements must be considered.
You can get information about kindergartens in our "Childcare" chapter. If you need advice or support, you can contact the Youth Migration Service (Jugendmigrationsdienst) in your area or the Parent Hotline (Elternhotline). The staff there speak different languages and will help you free of charge.
Important: Your child must be vaccinated against measles before going to daycare.
On kebik.de, you will find detailed information about kindergartens in Germany in Russian and German. You will also learn how to find a kindergarten and what to do if there is no free place.
You can also inform yourself further on the subject of childcare at fruehe-chancen.de in Ukrainian, German and Russian. There you will learn how to register your child at a daycare centre and find general information about attending a daycare centre.
The Froebel-Gruppe can help you find a kindergarten place for your child. You can contact the organization at email@example.com in Ukrainian, German, English or Russian. In the email, you must indicate the age of the child and the preferred location of the kindergarten.
If you live in Berlin: The association „Notmütterdienst Familien- und Seniorenhilfe e.V.“ supports Ukrainian families in Berlin with childcare. The staff speak Ukrainian and can also help you in everyday life and accompany you to administrative offices or doctors’ practices. You can contact the association directly under the telephone number: +493084711636. You can also write them an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your child can also go to a so-called daycare group (“Kindertagespflege-Gruppe”). There, children are cared for in a small group by a childminder. You can find more information (in German, English and Russian) on the website of the Federal Association for Day Care. Further information on daycare in Ukrainian is available in the flyer published by the Federal Association for Child Daycare.
You can find more information in our chapter “Childcare”.
Important: Your child must be vaccinated against measles before going to day care.
A child born in Germany is granted German citizenship at birth only if at least one parent has German citizenship at the time of birth or has been legally residing in Germany for at least eight years and has a permanent residence permit (“Niederlassungserlaubnis”).
If neither parent meets these requirements, the child will not be granted German citizenship. That means your child will have Ukrainian citizenship like you. However, you must register the child as a Ukrainian citizen at one of the Ukrainian representations in Germany (Embassy or Consulate). You can find an overview of Ukrainian representations in Germany and their addresses on google.com/maps. On the website of the Consulate General of Ukraine in Hamburg, you will find a list of the documents that you need to register your child as a Ukrainian citizen in Ukrainian.
Please note: If your child was born in Germany, you must apply for a birth certificate for them. You can apply for a birth certificate for your child at the registry office in your place of residence.
You can find more information in Ukrainian about the registration of children born in Germany on the website of the Consulate General of Ukraine in Hamburg. You can also find helpful information about the rights of children born in Germany into immigrant/refugee families in our chapter "Born in Germany."
From June 1st, 2022, people with a residence permit according to §24 Residence Act can receive child benefit (“Kindergeld”), parental benefit (“Elterngeld”), and maintenance advance (“Unterhaltsvorschuss”). Keep in mind that you need to have a residence permit according to §24 Residence Act to qualify- a “Fiktionsbescheinigung” is not sufficient. On the website of the Federal Employment Agency, you will find further information on child benefits in Ukrainian, German, English, and Russian.
Please note: If you apply for asylum, you cannot receive child benefits during your asylum procedure.
You can learn more about child benefits in our “Child benefit” chapter. To learn more about parental benefits in Germany, visit our Parental Benefits chapter. For more information about maintenance rights, check out the chapter Child Maintenance.
Yes, people with a residence permit according to §24 Residence Act can also receive a Child Bonus and Immediate Child Supplement.
Child Bonus (“Kinderbonus”)
Child Bonus is a one-time payment of €100 per child to the parents. The prerequisite is that you have received child benefits for your child at least once in 2022. You do not have to submit an application to receive the Child Bonus – you will receive it automatically. The Family Benefits Office responsible for you is in charge of the payment.
Important: The transfer of the Child Bonus has been ongoing since July 2022. By the end of 2022, all beneficiaries should have received it. If you have not yet, you should urgently contact the Family Benefits Office responsible for you.
Please note: The Child Bonus is not considered “income” for recipients of unemployment benefit II (Hartz IV), housing benefit, child benefit and maintenance advance. This means that you can get the full amount of €100 without having to pay a tax on it.
Immediate Child Allowance (“Kindersofortzuschlag”)
The Immediate Child Supplement is often known as “Kinderzuschlag” or “Kindersofortzuschlag. Recipients of unemployment benefit II (Hartz IV), housing benefits or benefits under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act have received this state aid since July 2022. The sum is €20 per month. Important: You do not have to submit an application to receive the Immediate Child Supplement. The payment is made automatically. For example, if you receive unemployment benefit II, you will receive the Immediate Child Supplement from the responsible Jobcenter responsible.
You can find more information on Immediate Child Supplement and other forms of state aid for families in our chapter "Help with rising prices" and in the section "Family".
The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth has a Family Portal with information in German and English about government support for families.
The illustrated book "Schön, dass du da bist" provides information in Ukrainian, English, and Russian to parents about child and youth services in Germany. It can give you an overview of various agencies and places (Youth Welfare Office, daycare, after-school care, etc.) and your rights.
At bibliothekarisch.de, you will find many free children's books in Ukrainian to download.
On zitronenbande.de, you can find children’s stories in Ukrainian. New stories are regularly added to the website.
You can also find numerous children's books to read aloud in Ukrainian on osvitoria.media website. The books are arranged by topic and can all be downloaded for free. You will find bedtime stories, soothing stories for children 3+, beautiful stories about animals, books that encourage critical thinking in children, and fun and adventure stories for children 6+, among others.
Visit pottermorepublishing.com for seven books by J. K. Rowling about Harry Potter's adventures in the Ukrainian language. You can download the books for free.
You can also read Ukrainian children's books for free on lesido.de. To do so, you must register using your email address or a Google account.
At ardmediathek.de, you will also find numerous children's programs in Ukrainian.
The world is presented in Ukrainian in an accessible way to children on the show "Die Sendung mit der Maus".
The entertaining children's program "Sesame Street" is also available in Ukrainian in the ARD media library.
The TV station Nickelodeon is also showing the cartoon “Avatar” in Ukrainian.
On the soundcloud page, you can find audiobooks for children in Ukrainian and Russian.
The University Hospital Ulm has developed a guide with tips on how to talk to children affected by war. There you will find information about the possible effects of the war on children and learn how to start a conversation with children and explain the events to them in a child-friendly way.
On elternratgeber-fluechtlinge.de, you will find helpful tips from the Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists on how to deal properly with children who have experienced war in Ukrainian, German, English and Russian. Here you can learn how to talk to your child about the war and what you should pay attention to during the conversation.
See the “Mental Health” section for more information.