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Resettling in Germany

As a company with more than 14,000 Ukrainian team members, EPAM understands the challenges faced by millions of people across Ukraine, including the many who have been forced to leave the country. Our teams on the ground and around the world have been doing everything possible to support our Ukrainian colleagues and their families. Their safety is our top priority.  

In supporting our colleagues, we have collected a vast amount of information about arriving and resettling in a new country, either temporarily or permanently. We are now sharing it here in the hope it could be valuable to you or someone you know. 

Please note that the information is subject to change at any given time due to rapidly changing circumstances. 

 

ENTERING THE COUNTRY

UKRAINIAN NATIONALS MAY ENTER GERMANY WITH:   

  • A biometric passport 
  • If you do not have a biometric passport, you can apply for an entry visa at a German embassy and consulate in the neighboring countries of Ukraine. This also applies to non-Ukrainian, third-country nationals residing in Ukraine. Here is a list of active embassies:  https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/service/-/2513190
  • Border waiting times tend to be long so make sure to bring enough water and food.

 

ASYLUM, TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS AND REFUGEE STATUS 

As of 5 March 2022, refugees from Ukraine are granted temporary protection in the EU for one year, extendable up to three years. Those that qualify for temporary protection include Ukrainian nationals and their family members, non-Ukrainian citizens, and stateless persons with international or national protection status in Ukraine with their family members, and non-Ukrainian citizens and stateless persons with permanent right of residence in Ukraine who cannot return to their home country. Ukrainian citizens who are currently in Germany with a visa or a temporary residence permit will receive extensions of their status. 

Those that qualify for temporary protection are granted access to health and social services, local labor markets, education and schools, and accommodation support.

If you have an accommodation or place to stay, you do not have to register or apply for asylum during the first 90 days. An asylum request would also mean a number of restrictions for you: you would initially not be able to work, would be distributed across Germany according to an acceptance quota, and accordingly would not be able to freely choose your place of residence.

To be able to work and decide for yourself where you want to live, you would need to apply for refugee status, not asylum.

REGISTRATION

Ukrainians entering Germany need to register within the first 90 days after arrival.  To take part in the program of reception of refugees and receive temporary protection under § 24 of the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens you need to apply to the relevant foreigner’s authority (Ausländerbehörde). To find your relevant foreigners’ authority please follow this link: BAMF-Navi-Behörden

You can stay in Germany without a visa until 23 May 2022. After that, or if you would like to start working in Germany, you will need a residence permit. 

If you need accommodation or financial or medical assistance, you should register immediately. Where you need to register depends on the city you are in. Important: If you have family in a particular city and would like to live there, you should make sure to tell the competent authority when you register. The authorities will then try to ensure that you can stay near your family. Here you can find registration information for the following cities: 

 

The following applies to all other cities:  

CONTACTING POLICE

You can contact the foreigners’ authority or the police everywhere. The staff will give you the address to contact. You can find the police at every major train station. 

RIGHTS AND DUTIES IN CASE OF TEMPORARY PROTECTION

If you have received or applied for temporary protection in the Federal Republic of Germany because of your displacement from Ukraine, your principal rights and duties associated with your protection are listed here in various languages including Ukrainian: https://handbookgermany.de/. This information does not replace comprehensive information on all aspects which are important for new immigrants in Germany. Your rights and duties include:

YOUR RIGHT OF RESIDENCE 

You may stay in Germany without any restrictions, at least until the end of May 2022. Please go to the foreigners’ authority responsible for your place of residence if you have not already done so. After applying to the local foreigners’ authority, presenting your identity documents, and registering your personal details, you will receive a provisional certificate of your right of residence in Germany. Furthermore, the issuance of a card certifying your right of residence in a uniform European Union format will be prepared.

With the provisional certificate, and later with the card, you can prove your right of residence in Germany. These documents also show you how long the protection lasts. The protection may also be extended beyond that if necessary.

If you meet the requirements for a residence title for another reason, you can apply for this residence title at any time during your stay. The residence title for temporary protection does not prevent application for another residence title.

PASSPORT AND TRAVEL DOCUMENT

If you do not have a valid passport, but your identity has been clarified, you will possibly receive a “travel document for foreigners,” which replaces your passport. 

GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT

As soon as you have received a document with the words “Erwebstätigkeit erlaubt” (gainful employment permitted) you are allowed to pursue any gainful activity (self-employment or dependent employment) in Germany. However, before receiving such a document, this is not allowed. Please inform yourself about your related tax and social security obligations.

You may also engage in self-employment. Please inform yourself as to which further permits or notifications you need to obtain from the relevant authorities (e.g., trade authority, tax office). For this, you can contact a suitable advice center, such as a chamber of commerce and industry.

There are also other types of residence permit that allow their holders to work, such as residence permits for skilled workers or for family reunification. You can ask about these at the foreigner’s authority. Citizens of the EU, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland are allowed to take up paid employment without such residence permits.

SPECIAL NATURE OF A RESIDENCE ALLOCATION AND ITS CANCELLATION OR AMENDMENT 

People who are permitted to stay in Germany, like you, can fundamentally move freely within Germany. However, if you are still receiving social benefits to secure your livelihood, you may be required to live in a certain place. This is so that the costs of securing livelihoods are distributed equally throughout the country. You will be informed if you are subject to such a requirement. If you find employment or must change residence to find employment, then you may choose to live where you like in the country. This may also happen for humanitarian reasons, for example to reunite a family that has been separated. The same applies if you intend to start training or studying and must change your place of residence for this.

You can also apply for a transfer of residence to another Member State of the European Union. If this application is granted, you will receive a “certificate of transfer of residence.” This certificate then also specifies where you must register - with this certificate - in the other Member State to clarify all further matters. Please contact the foreigners’ authority with any questions regarding the residence requirement and the transfer of residence, not the registration office.

TRAVEL WITHIN THE SCHENGEN AREA

Once you have received the card certifying your residence title (not the provisional certificate), you may also use it - together with a valid passport or travel document for foreigners - to travel to other Schengen states for a period of up to 90 days within a period of 180 days if you can finance this journey. However, except for typical business travel activities (for example, visiting trade fairs or conducting business negotiations for your German employer), you may not work there without the permission of the other state.

EXPIRY OF THE RESIDENCE STATUS AND ITS PREVENTION

If you remain outside of Germany for longer than six months, your residence status will expire if the foreigners’ authority has not previously granted you a longer period of absence. Therefore, if you wish to stay outside of Germany for longer than six months and only for a temporary purpose, such as a long visit to relatives abroad or a professional secondment, have this period extended beforehand at the foreigners’ authority.

 

TRANSPORTATION

TRAVELING TO AND WITHIN GERMANY 

If you arrived from Ukraine at a train station in Germany and want to continue your journey you have several options to get to your destination. At all arrival stations you will be greeted by helpers who will explain the next steps of your arrival and are available to answer your questions.

The quickest way to get to another big city is to take a long-distance train from Deutsche Bahn. Such trains are marked with EC, ICE or IC. You can read the current connections on the information board at the respective train station with all current departures or ask the corresponding helpers at the arrival stations. For onward travel in long-distance traffic, you will receive a free “helpukraine” ticket from the DB travel center. It will be issued to your desired destination (also abroad) until October 31st 2022. Find more information following this link: https://www.bahn.de/info/helpukraine

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION 

Germany’s larger cities have a well-equipped public transportation system.

CAR RENTALS AND SHARING 

At Mietwagen Check you can find a complete overview of all  car rental providers. The most common car rentals are Sixt,  Europcar,  Avis,  and Hertz.

Information about carpooling  can be found at Blablacar (no driving license required).

Car sharing information is available at Car2Go.

TAXIS

Taxis are expensive and, given the excellent public transport systems, not recommended unless you are in a real hurry. They can actually be slower than trains or trams during times of high traffic. 

Taxis are metered and charged at a base rate (flag fall) plus a per-kilometer fee. These charges are fixed but vary from city to city. Some drivers charge extra for bulky luggage or rides at night.

It can be difficult to flag down a taxi. It is best to order a taxi by phone (look up Taxiruf in the phone book) or board at a taxi rank. If you are at a hotel or restaurant, you can ask the staff to call one for you. Taxis also often wait outside theatres or performance venues.

Uber Germany currently only operates in Berlin and Munich.

BICYCLES

Bike rental providers like Call a bike or Byke are an option for those do not want to purchase their own bike. Many cities have dedicated bicycle lanes, which must be used unless obstructed.

There are no helmet laws not even for children, although using one is recommended, for your protection.

Bicycles must be equipped with a white light at the front, a red light on the back and yellow reflectors on the wheels and pedals.

ARRIVAL CENTERS 

 

ACCOMMODATIONS

After arrival at a train station in Germany, border guards will direct you to the nearest state refugee reception centers, where you will be provided with accommodation, food, medical, and psychological care.

Moreover, there are private accommodation offers available under: https://warmes-bett.de/ & www.unterkunft-ukraine.de.

Websites for furnished apartments are: https://wunderflats.com/en, https://www.das-zeitwohnportal.de/, https://housinganywhere.com/, airbnb.de and https://www.thehomelike.com/.

 

WORK OPPORTUNITIES

You can check out these websites to find job opportunities: https://www.jobaidukraine.com/ and https://www.jobs4ukraine.eu

 

SCHOOLS

Education is compulsory for all children six years to 15 years old who reside in Germany. However, education generally lasts until the age of 18 years. The majority of schools in Germany are run by the state and are free. Parents can also opt for one of the fee-paying private schools or international schools. Although general education policy in Germany is set by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), each Federal state (Bundesland) has its own Ministry of Education which sets its own education program, schools, and standards. This means that the school system and what students learn vary across the country: there may be different types of schools available, and students may learn different subjects and use different textbooks in each region. 

Grundschule 

From grades 1 through 4, children attend elementary/primary school (Grundschule), where the subjects taught are the same for all. (In the States of Berlin and Bradenburg, Grundschule extends through grade 6.) After the 4th grade there are two years of an orientation or a testing phase in which students are separated according to their academic ability or the wishes of their families. Children then go on to attend one of three different kinds of secondary schools: Hauptschule, Realschule or Gymnasium. Grundschule teachers recommend their students to a particular school based on such things as academic achievement, self-confidence and ability to work independently. (In all states except Berlin and Brandenburg, this orientation phase is part of the program of secondary schools.) However, in most states, parents have the final say as to which school their child attends following the fourth (or sixth) grade. 

Hauptschule 

The Hauptschule (grades 5-9) teaches the same subjects as the Realschule and Gymnasium, but at a slower pace and with some vocational-oriented courses. It leads to part-time enrollment in a vocational school combined with apprenticeship training until the age of 18. 

Realschule 

The Realschule (grades 5-10 in most states) leads to part-time vocational schools and higher vocational schools. It is now possible for students with high academic achievement at the Realschule to switch to a Gymnasium on graduation. 

Gymnasium 

The Gymnasium leads to a diploma called the Abitur and prepares students for university study or for a dual academic and vocational credential. Curricula differ from school to school, but generally include German, mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, art (as well as crafts and design), music, history, philosophy, civics, social studies, and several foreign languages. In recent years many States have changed the curriculum so students can get the "Abi" at the end of the 12th grade. Other States are making the transition but may still require a 13th grade. 

Gesamtschule 

The Gesamtschule, or comprehensive school, is only found in some of the states. It takes the place of both the Hauptschule and Realschule. It enrolls students of all ability levels in the 5th through the 10th grades. Students who satisfactorily complete the Gesamtschule through the 9th grade receive the Hauptschule certificate, while those who satisfactorily complete schooling through the 10th grade receive the Realschule certificate. 

Berufsschule 

Beyond the Hauptschule and Realschule lies the Berufsschule, combining part-time academic study and apprenticeship. The successful completion of an apprenticeship program leads to certification in a particular trade or field of work. These schools differ from the other ones mentioned in that control rests not with the local and regional school authorities, but with the federal government, industry and the trade unions. 

No matter what kind of school a student attends, he/she must complete at least nine years of education. A student dropping out of a Gymnasium, for example, must enroll in a Realschule or Hauptschule until nine years have been completed. Students are required to study at minimum one foreign language for at least five years. A second foreign language is required in Gymnasium. 

The Grading System 

The progress of pupils in the German secondary schools is evaluated upon a 6-mark grading system as follows: 

  1. (very good) 
  2. (good) 
  3. (satisfactory) 
  4. (adequate) 
  5. (poor) 
  6. (very poor) 

Very poor grades could result in students having to repeat an entire year or even having to switch schools. 

 

HEALTHCARE

HEALTH INSURANCE AND GENERAL ACCESS

Arrival centers offer you medical and psychological care. Generally, everyone has the right to primary medical care in Germany. However, the extent of healthcare services and medical treatment to which you are entitled depend on your residence status and the duration of your stay in Germany. Refugees who have a residence permit usually join a health insurance scheme and are therefore entitled to all regular services their health insurance company provides.

Asylum seekers and individuals with "Duldung" who have been in Germany for less than 18 months are only entitled to emergency healthcare. This means that they are only medically treated in cases of acute illnesses. The costs of treatment for chronic diseases are often not taken over by the state.

Pregnant women are given access to all medical services necessary during pregnancy and childbirth in Germany. In addition, everyone, including asylum seekers, has the possibility to get vaccinated in Germany.

If you have been in Germany for less than 18 months, you will usually need to apply for a voucher ("Krankenschein") from the appropriate authority before each visit to a doctor. This means that you either receive a few vouchers from your initial reception center (or the staff member responsible for you at the Social Welfare Office) every three months, or each time you need to see a doctor, you must first pick up a voucher from them. Please keep in mind that these vouchers are only valid for three months. At the end of these three months, you will have to obtain new vouchers to visit a doctor.

Instead of "Krankenschein" (which can be bureaucratically complicated to issue) some federal states and cities distribute Health Cards for asylum seekers and individuals with a "Duldung" (i.e. "Gesundheitkarten an Asylbewerber un Geduldete"). Holding such a card means you can go directly to the doctor without first stopping by the authorities. You are only entitled to emergency treatments. The main advantage of the Health Card is that it decreases the amount of bureaucratic work necessary. 

DOCTORS IN PRIVATE PRACTICES

In general, illnesses are diagnosed and treatment is prescribed by doctors working in individual or group practices (niedergelassene Ärztinnen und Ärzte). These doctors also issue prescriptions for medication and can refer their patients for admission to a hospital for further treatment.

Doctors in private practice may bill the social services office (Sozialamt) or a statutory health insurance provider (Krankenkasse) for their services, or patients can pay for their treatment at the doctor’s office themselves. If you do pay yourself, you cannot be reimbursed afterwards.

Important: Most doctors see patients by appointment. You should therefore make an appointment, preferably by telephone. Make sure you keep to the agreed date and time! Patients without an appointment can usually expect waiting times.

Doctors must keep medical confidentiality. They are not permitted to disclose the information they are entrusted with to third parties. Certain infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, must be reported to the public health authority. This is the only way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. This notification does not affect the processing of an asylum claim.

Important: Many doctors speak English or another language in addition to German. Please ask about this. If you do not speak German well, it is a good idea to take a person you trust and who speaks German to the doctor with you.

HOSPITALS

You will be treated in a hospital only if treatment at a doctor’s office is not sufficient. A stay in hospital (Krankenhaus) must be approved in advance. Only go to a hospital without first going to the doctor’s office if it is an emergency.

PHARMACIES

In Germany, many medicines may only be dispensed to patients by pharmacies (Apotheke). You can get certain medications (verschreibungspflichtige Arzneimittel) from a pharmacist only if you present a doctor’s prescription. There are also many medications that can be bought freely without a prescription. The costs of these will not be reimbursed. The pharmacist will inform you about how to take the medication. At least one pharmacy near you will be on duty at all times of the day and night.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON MEDICAL SUPPORT PLEASE USE THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

 

BANKING

If you have or want to apply for a residence permit in accordance with § 24 of the Residence Act, you are entitled to financial support from the state. Therefore, it is recommended to acquire a basic bank account (Basiskonto) with a debit card (EC-Card). Online banks with zero fees and free VISA debit cards are recommended: n26, INGDiBa and DKB (Deutsche Kreditbank)

If you apply online or for an online bank account, you will need to verify your identity.

There are several ways you can verify your identity, such as through a video call or a photo. Many online banks have partnerships with post offices for verification purposes. You need to visit a post office branch in Germany and the postal employee will check your ID and fill out a PostIdent card, which you need to sign. This card is then sent to the bank by post and your identity is verified within 1 or 2 days. This process is free of charge.

You can also choose one of the many other banks (such as Deutsche Bank, Sparkasse, Commerzbank, Postbank, etc.) and go to the nearest branch with the following necessary documents:

  • The application form (completely filled in).
  • Valid passport, current German residence permit, or visa.
  • Proof of registration / certificate of residence.
  • Proof of status (whether you are employed or a student).
  • Initial deposit (depending on the bank's minimum amount).
 

PHONE SERVICES

Use this link to get an overview of different SIM Cards available and rates of the providers. In most cases you will have to purchase the SIM Card, but get the amount credited on your phone.

You can also get a free SIM card at a Telekom shop when showing your Ukrainian passport.

Helping Ukrainian IT Professionals Find Work Opportunities with EPAM in Germany

As a company with more than 14,000 Ukrainian team members, EPAM understands the challenges faced by millions of Ukrainians, and the hurdles ahead. If looking for your next work opportunity is one of them, we are ready to support you.

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LEGAL STATEMENT

All information provided on this website directly by EPAM or its affiliates or employees is deemed reliable at the time of posting but is not guaranteed to be accurate. None of the information provided on this website by third-parties is verified for accuracy. None of the information provided on this website constitutes legal advice, medical advice, or immigration advice and is provided solely for your information and to assist you to locate resources where you can obtain such advice. EPAM is not responsible for the content provided by third parties, the security of third-party websites or links to those websites, or any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints. Some third-party websites linked to from this website are not secure and any information transmitted by you to the third party website can be intercepted and read. You should use such third-party websites with caution and should not provide any information, including credentials or login information, to unsecure websites. All information is subject to change and EPAM is under no obligation to update information if it changes. Information is provided for personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any other purpose.