This article contains helpful information for asylum seekers taking the first steps in the asylum procedure. This is the quickest way to start the asylum process . There is no future in Germany without acceptance in the procedure.

Step 1: Report to a Public Authority

As soon as you arrive in Germany, report to a public authority (such as Police).Say that you would like to apply for asylum. Follow the instruction of the staff. They will refer you to accommodation in a nearby reception centre. If you do not report to the authorities, you are totally illegal in Germany and run the risk of being deported.

Step 2: Go to a Reception centre

You will be accommodated initially in the nearest reception centre for asylum seekers.You will be taken care of here and given the information you need. You will be issued with a certificate of registration as an asylum seeker (“Bescheinigung über die Meldung als Asylsuchende”). Then you get a temporary residence permit. This step is necessary. You are required to give information about your identity and your asylum application cannot proceed without it.

Step 3: Await your federal state allocation

You cannot choose which federal state to stay in. You will be allocated accommodation in a federal state. This decision is binding. All asylum seekers need to be divided evenly among the 16 federal states so that requests for protection can be processed quickly. You may therefore be required to travel to a different federal state. Please do not oppose this decision otherwise your asylum application cannot be duly processed and this would jeopardise your legal residence status in Germany. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundes- amt für Migration und Flüchtlinge – BAMF), which decides on your asylum application, has offices in all 16 federal states. The same rules are applied in the asylum procedure everywhere in Germany.
In exceptional cases, personal circumstances may be taken into consideration when deciding on the distribution (such as close family ties).

Step 4: Go straight to the place where you are directed

The reception centre to which you are directed is responsible for your subsistence, accommodation and health care. You will also be given information there about the next steps in the procedure and you will be told which BAMF office is dealing with your case. It is usually close to the reception centre. Only in this reception centre are you guaranteed a means of subsistence.

Step 5: Submit the asylum application

You are required to submit your asylum application in person at the BAMF office. The office will keep a record of your personal data. You will be photographed and your fingerprints will be taken. This is a requirement for the issue of the residence permit.

  • Bring all personal documents
  • Bring all travel documents
  • Give your fingerprints

This document is proof of your status as an asylum seeker for the public authorities and shows that you are a legal resident in Germany. If you cannot furnish this proof, you may be forced to leave Germany.

Step 6: Await for the decision on Dublin Regulation

The BAMF office will check if Germany or a different country is responsible for your asylum application. This check is based on the Dublin Regulation and is applicable in the countries of the European Union (EU), Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. This check is carried out to avoid duplication and to make sure that each asylum application is processed by just one country within the EU. The BAMF office will therefore ask you when and where you arrived in the EU and will ask you to give reasons against a transfer to the Member State responsible for your application. It is essential for you to register in the country which you enter first.

Step 7: Await for the assessment

You will be interviewed in person by BAMF staff and asked to give your reasons for seeking asylum. Interpreters will be available who are sworn to confidentiality. You can arrange for a lawyer to be present at your hearing. After the hearing, the BAMF office will check whether you are eligible for asylum in Germany based on the reasons you have given.

You will receive written notification from the BAMF office on the decision on your asylum application. If your application is judged to be valid, you will be issued with a temporary residence permit. After three years you will be issued with a permanent settlement permit if your eligibility criteria still apply.

If the final decision is to refuse your application, you will be required to leave Germany by the date specified. If you fail to leave within the specified period, you will be repatriated by force if necessary.

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The German asylum procedure

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the infographic
The German asylum procedure