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Resettling in Germany
We hope this information is helpful to you as you attempt to resettle in a new country, either temporarily or permanently. 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.
No quarantine is required when entering the Federal Republic of Germany.
From 3 March 2022, every person over the age of 12 is obligated to carry proof of their COVID‑19 status when entering Germany. See the three options for proof of COVID-19 status noted below. Persons over the age of 12 must have a negative test result or proof of recovery or vaccination when entering Germany. COVID‑19 test results (antigen or PCR tests) must not be more than 48 hours old at the time of the (planned) entry. However, if entering Germany with a carrier (e.g. an airline), PCR tests may be taken a maximum of 48 hours before the (scheduled) start of the journey (e.g. departure time). But antigen tests must not be taken more than 48 hours before the (scheduled) time of arrival in Germany even if travelers are being transported by a carrier.
- Proof of a negative test result: A negative test result obtained using nucleic acid amplification technology (e.g., PCR, PoC- PCR) in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish. The test must have been carried out no more than 72 hours prior to entry (time of swabbing). Alternatively, a negative antigen rapid test result in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish.
- Proof of vaccination: Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish in digital or paper form (e.g. EU Digital COVID certificate; WHO vaccination booklet). Note that a photo of a proof in paper form is not sufficient. The vaccination must have taken place with one or different vaccines approved by the European Union with at least two doses. In countries outside the European Union equivalent vaccines may be used. The proof of vaccination must contain:
- personal data of the person vaccinated (at least surname, first name(s) and birth date or number of passport / ID
- date and number of vaccinations
- name of the vaccine used
- name of the illness against which the person was vaccinated
- characteristics that allow to identify the person of institution that was responsible for the vaccination or the issuance of the certificate, such as an official seal Symbol or name
- where necessary: details on booster vaccinations and the corresponding date
- Proof of recovery: a positive PCR test result carried out at least 28 days but no more than 90 days previously.
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:
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.
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.
TRAVELING TO AND WITHIN GERMANY
If you are in Poland and would like to travel to Germany, free Flixbus buses are available from the border towns Przemyśl, Rzeszów, Suceava and Tulcea. This offer is valid for all refugees from Ukraine, regardless of citizenship and you can get a free ticket online on flixbus.com.
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). Find more information following this link: https://www.bahn.de/info/helpukraine
Furthermore, all other public transport is available to you free of charge. In Germany, these are all S-Bahn, regional trains, regional express trains, as well as all subways, trams, city trains and buses. You do not need a ticket for all public transport in Germany. You can easily continue traveling with your Ukrainian passport.
- Baden-Württemberg: Durlacher Allee 100, 76137 Karlsruhe Erstaufnahmeeinrichtungen Karlsruhe, Durlacher Allee 100, 76137 Karlsruhe or LEA Sigmaringen, Binger Straße 28, 72488 Sigmaringen or Flüchtlingsaufnahme - Müllheimer Straße 7 79115 Freiburg or LEA Ellwangen - Georg-Elser-Straße 2 73479 Ellwangen
- Bavaria: Ankunfstzentrum Maria-Probst-Straße 14, 80939 München, Deutschland
- Berlin: Oranienburger Straße 285, 13437 Berlin-Reinickendorf
- Brandenburg: DRK Flüchtlingshilfe Brandenburg gGmbH Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung Wünsdorf, Hauptallee 116, 15806 Zossen OT Wünsdorf
- Bremen; Zentrale Aufnahmestelle für Flüchtlinge im Lande Bremen (ZASt), Lindenstraße 110, 28755 Bremen
- Hamburg; Zentrale Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung (Zea) Bargkoppelweg 66a, 22145 Hamburg, Deutschland - Go with public transport
- Hessen: Hessen support in Ankunftszentrum Gießen, Stolzenmorgen 36, 35394 Gießen, Deutschland
- Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: Zentrale Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung: Nostorfer Str. 1,19258 Nostorf-Horst or MW Malteser Werke, Wilhelm-Külz-Platz 1, 18055 Rostock or MW Malteser Werke, Stern Buchholz 16, 19061 Schwerin
- Flüchtlingsrat Niedersachsen in Röpkestraße 12, 30173 Hannover, Deutschland
- North Rheine-Westphalia: Düsseldorf Welcome in Heinz-Schmöle-Straße 7, 40227 Düsseldorf
- Sachsen-Anhalt: Sachsen-Anhalt - Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge
- Sachsen: Erstaufnahmestelle Sachsen, Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e. V. Landesverband Sachsen or MW Malteser Werke gemeinnützige GmbH
- Austria: Vienna: https://start.wien.gv.at/ukraine/de
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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