Ukraine

Ukraine
Update 27.09.2022

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 GermanUkrainian and Russian language. 

Looking for counselling by phone? Then call the Particip.ai hotline. The staff speak Ukrainian, Russian and English and will provide you with all the essential information free of charge. You can reach the hotline Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on 0800 5052400. The call is free.

Additional information

What do I need to know?

I do not have Ukrainian citizenship, but have lived in Ukraine. Can I come to Germany?

Currently, the following people can enter Germany without a visa:

  • All people who were living in Ukraine up to February 24th, 2022 and entered or will enter Germany after this date. This applies to everyone, regardless of their citizenship or whether they have a biometric passport. It also applies to non-Ukrainians were living in Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian citizens and refugees recognized in Ukraine as well as people who have been granted international or national protection in Ukraine, who were temporarily not in Ukraine on February 24th, 2022, but resided there until then.

Do not worry if you cannot obtain a passport – those mentioned above do not need a passport to enter Germany. However, you must be able to prove that you lived in Ukraine.

Important: This regulation applies retrospectively from February 24th, 2022 and until November 30, 2022. From September 1st, 2022, you may only stay in Germany for 90 days (within 180 days) without a visa. The 90 days begin when you enter Germany for the first time. Within these 90 days, you have to apply for a residence permit in Germany.

Please note: If your application for a residence permit has been rejected, your stay in Germany is no longer permitted. If that is the case, seek legal advice immediately. You can find out where to seek legal advice in the section “Where can I seek advice and support?”.

You can find out more about your options concerning residence permits in the “Residence” section.

I do not have Ukrainian citizenship, but have lived in Ukraine. What options do I have for a long-term stay in Germany?

The possibilities mentioned in the section "Residence" also apply to people without Ukrainian citizenship. Make sure to check whether you meet the requirements for a residence permit according to Section 24 of the Residence Act – you can learn more about the requirements in the section "Can I obtain a residence permit according to Section 24 of the Residence Act?".

If not, see whether you meet the requirements to obtain a residence permit, for example, for skilled workers or studying or an apprenticeship in Germany. For such residence permits, however, one has to meet plenty of requirements - you can learn more about them in our National Visa chapter.

If you do not meet the requirements for a Section 24 or any other type of residence permit, you should definitely seek advice as soon as possible. You can find out where to seek legal advice in the section “Where can I seek advice and support?”.

Important: Starting 01.09.2022, your stay in Germany is currently permitted until November 30, 2022. You are allowed to stay in Germany without a visa for 90 days (within 180 days) from the time you enter the country for the first time. Your stay in Germany will be deemed illegal if you do not apply for a residence permit or asylum within these 90 days. Read more in the section “Residence”.

I studied in Ukraine, but I don't have Ukrainian citizenship. Can I stay in Germany?

That depends on where (in Germany) you are planning to stay.

Berlin: As of August 16, 2022, there will be a special regulation in Berlin for non-Ukrainian citizens who had a long-term residence permit in Ukraine and were studying at a university there when the war broke out. Students from Ukraine who do not have Ukrainian citizenship and want to continue their studies in Berlin can get a “Fiktionsbescheinigung” in Berlin for a period of 6 months. You can apply for it at the State Office for Refugee Affairs (“Landesamt für Flüchtlingsangelegenheiten”) by August 31, 2022. But first you have to prove that you studied in Ukraine until February 24th, 2022. The “Fiktionsbescheinigung” which is available for 6 months is intended to give you time, e.g., to find a place to study in Germany. Please note: This regulation does not apply to trainees.

Hamburg: Refugee students who come from Ukraine but do not have Ukrainian citizenship can also receive a “Fiktionsbescheinigung” for a period of 6 months in Hamburg. You can find out more in German at hamburg.de.

Bremen: In Bremen, too, students without Ukrainian citizenship who have fled Ukraine and want to continue their studies in Germany can obtain a so-called “Fiktionsbescheinigung” for a period of 6 months. You can find more information in German and Ukrainian at bildung.bremen.de.

In general: Please read the section “I do not have Ukrainian citizenship, but I lived in Ukraine. What options do I have for a long-term stay in Germany?”.

Important: If you cannot obtain a residence permit according to §24, you can try to get a visa, for instance, for vocational training or a student visa. You can find out more about these visas in our “Vocational Training Visa” and “Student Visa” chapters.

Please note: Your visa-free stay is limited to 90 days (within 180 days) from your first entry into Germany. This means that you must apply for a residence permit within 90 days of entering Germany for the first time. If you don’t, after these 90 days, your stay will no longer be permitted. If your application for a residence permit is rejected, your stay is no longer allowed. If that is the case, seek legal advice immediately.

Can I obtain a residence permit according to the Section 24 of the Residence Act?

People without Ukrainian citizenship can also apply for and obtain a residence permit according to §24, if they are in one of the following groups:

  • Persons who were recognized as refugees in Ukraine or had another international or national protection status and left Ukraine since February 24th, 2022. As proof, it is sufficient to present a Ukrainian travel document for refugees or a travel document based on complementary protection ("Travel Document for Person Granted Complentary Protection"). No check is carried out for these individuals as to whether they can safely return to their country of origin.
  • The nuclear family of Ukrainian citizens or people who were recognized as refugees in Ukraine or had another international or national protection status and left Ukraine since February 24th, 2022. The nuclear family includes spouses and minor children or stepchildren or parents of unmarried minor children. The family members must have lived together in Ukraine, but the citizenship of the family member does not matter. If another family member has lived with you in Ukraine and is dependent on you (e.g. because they are in need of care or financially dependent), they can also apply for a residence permit according to Section 24. Unmarried partners living in a permanent relationship are also considered nuclear families. No check is carried out for these individuals as to whether they can safely return to their country of origin.
  • Persons who had a permanent residence permit in Ukraine and are unable to safely return to their country of origin.
  • People who had a temporary residence permit in Ukraine and are not able to return safely to their country of origin. However, this does not apply to people who were in Ukraine with short-term stay permits. The prerequisite is that your residence permit was valid for more than 90 days. So tourists or business travellers are not included. However, students or people who have worked in Ukraine can obtain a residence permit according to Section 24 of the Residence Act if they cannot return to their home country.
  • People with Ukrainian permanent residence permits who were already in Germany before February 24th, 2022, with another residence permit (e.g., as a student, skilled worker, etc.), if their original residence permit cannot be extended. This also applies to Ukrainian citizens who were in Germany as tourists up to 90 days before February 24th, 2022.

Please note: Your visa-free stay is limited to 90 days (within 180 days) from your first entry into Germany. This means that you must apply for a residence permit within 90 days of entering Germany for the first time. If you do not apply for a residence permit or apply for asylum within these 90 days, your stay will no longer be deemed legal. If that is the case, seek legal advice immediately.

Please note: A residence permit according to §24 Residence Act will be granted if you meet certain requirements. The Immigration Office checks every single case to see whether the individual in question meets these requirements. Make sure to submit an application for a residence permit according to §24 Residence Act. The Immigration Office is obliged to examine your application. Until they decide on your application, you are entitled to obtain a so-called “Fiktionsbescheinigung”. It gives you the right to work and attend an integration course. You can seek free legal advice if you need help. You can find out where you can seek help in the section “Where can I find legal advice?”.

Who decides whether I can safely return to my country of origin?

Whether you can return to your country of origin is decided by the Immigration Office. A safe return is not going to be possible, for example, if there is a war going on in your country, or you do not have a passport, or you are not able to travel due to health reasons or there is no flight connection to your home country at all. The length of your stay in Ukraine and whether you have or had family there also plays a role.

If you come from Afghanistan, Eritrea or Syria, the Immigration Office automatically assumes that you cannot safely return to your country of origin. All other cases are checked individually by the immigration authorities.

What rights do I have during the safe return assessment?

While the Immigration office is examining your possibility of returning to your home country safely, your stay in Germany remains permitted. You, therefore, also have the right to apply for a “Fiktionsbescheinigung or a residence permit in accordance with Section 24 of the Residence Act. Furthermore, while you are waiting for the Immigration Office to decide on your residence status, you are entitled to financial support from the state, i.e., you can seek financial support based on the so-called “Asylum Seeker Benefits Act”. You must apply for this type of aid at the Social Welfare Office responsible for you. The office responsible for you is the Social Welfare Office at the place where you are staying. On sozialaemter.com, you will find a list of all Social Welfare offices in the respective federal states. Check out the State Aid section for more information. 

Please note: If you have applied for a residence permit in accordance with §24 Residence Act and have already received a so-called “Fiktionsbescheinigung”, you have the right to work and attend an integration course.

Where and how can I apply for the residence permit according to Section 24 of the Residence Act?

You can apply for the residence permit at the responsible Immigration Office, i.e., the Immigration Office in the area you live or have been registered. You can find the address on bamf.navi.

Please note: The immigration authorities must receive and examine your application. The staff cannot simply send you away. You have a right to submit the application even if you do not have a passport.

Make sure to apply for the residence permit in due time, i.e., before November 30, 2022, and not later than 90 days (within 180 days) after entering Germany for the first time. Because your visa-free stay is only valid until November 30, 2022. You can learn more in the section “Residence”.

After submitting the application, you will receive a so-called „Fiktionsbescheinigung“ which gives you all the rights you will have with the residence permit: You are allowed to work, for example, or take part in an integration course. You can find out more about your rights and obligations with a residence permit according to Section 24 of the Residence Act in the „Residence" section.

Important: You do not have to pay for the residence permit according to §24 Residence Act.

What rights do I have with a residence permit according to Section 24 of the Residence Act?
My application for a residence permit according to §24 Residence Act was rejected. What should I do?

If your application for a residence permit according to §24 Residence Act was rejected, your stay in Germany is no longer allowed.

But you can appeal to the court against the rejection. Be sure to seek advice on your legal residence options beforehand. A good point of contact is the Refugee Law Clinics. There are available multiple larger cities in Germany, and can provide you with cost-free help. On rlc-deutschland.de, you will find the contact details of the Refugee Law Clinic in your area. You can also find out where you can seek free legal advice in the “Where can I find legal counselling?” section.

You can also try to obtain another residence permit. For example, you can apply for a residence permit to study or go through vocational training or work as a skilled worker. To do so, however, you must meet a number of requirements. You can find out more in our chapters “Vocational Training Visa” and “Student Visa”.

Please Note: If your application has been rejected, you are not entitled to state support from the Jobcenter. However, if you need financial help, you can receive support from the Social Welfare Office under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. The Social Welfare Office responsible for you is the office at the place where you are staying. On sozialaemter.com, you will find a list of all Social Welfare Offices in the respective federal states.

Please note: From September 1st, 2022, you can only stay in Germany for 90 days if you don’t have a visa or residence permit. After 90 days, your stay in Germany will no longer be permitted. It is therefore essential that you do your best to apply for a residence permit before the 90 days have expired.

My application for a residence permit according to §24 Residence Act was rejected. Can I get another residence permit?

Non-Ukrainian citizens can also try to obtain other residence permits in Germany. For example, you can apply for a residence permit for vocational training or university studies. However, you must meet certain (stricter) requirements. For instance, you must have a passport and be able to support yourself financially. You can learn more about these options in our sections: “Vocational training Visa” and “Student Visa”.

Please note: From September 1st, 2022, you can only stay in Germany for 90 days without a visa. After that, your stay in Germany will no longer deemed legal. So, do your best to apply for a residence permit before the 90 days have expired.

Where can I seek advice and support?

You can seek advice on residence law from the Refugee Law Clinics. They are active in several larger cities in Germany, and their service is free. On rlc-deutschland.de, you will find the contact details of the Refugee Law Clinic in your area.

On our "Local Information" page, you will also find an overview of counselling and support services throughout Germany. There you will find a search engine with which you can search for counselling services in larger cities. Furthermore, on asyl.net, there is a search engine where you can look up other local offers. You can filter offers by language in both search engines.

You can also contact our community platform, “Together in Germany”, online. There you will get reliable and verified answers to all your questions from our moderators. They will also help you find local support. The platform is free and available in German, Ukrainian, Arabic, Farsi/Dari, English, Turkish, French and Russian.

Africans from Ukraine can also find help at “Help for Africans from Ukraine in Germany”. You can call the hotline in your federal state directly.

The African Network of Germany (TANG) operates nationwide. The employees support people from the African community, among other things, find work, learn German and find accommodation. If you need help, you can find the contact details of TANG in various federal states on tang-ev.de. All you have to do is click on your state’s name.

The organisation tubman.network in Berlin helps everyone who has fled Ukraine and does not have Ukrainian citizenship. The organisation offers, e.g., legal advice, support with childcare and flat hunting. They can also provide you with free hygiene articles, clothes and baby food. You can reach them on the number: +49 171 2150554.

Each One Teach One (EOTO) e.V. in Berlin offers advice for people who face discrimination. The association also supports you with other challenges, such as job hunting, questions about residence law, debts or family problems. You can reach the staff on + 49 177 1589381. The employees speak German.

CommUnities Support for BIPoC Refugees from Ukraine (CUSBU) in Berlin supports you in finding accommodation, dealing with authorities or sorting out documents and searching for legal advice and psychological counselling. To get help, you can contact the BIPoC Infopoint at the main train station from Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The staff speak English.

Partner-Logos EN

A Project by:
Funded by: