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Home / City Hall / Local public services / Immigration / Applying for asylum

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Central Administration Office
(Bürgeramt Mitte)
Bergheimer Str. 69
69115 Heidelberg
Phone +49 6221 58-47980
Fax +49 6221 58-49150

Applicants for asylum during language learning (Photo: Rothe)

Applying for asylum

How it works

Foreign nationals wishing to claim asylum must first go through an application process administered by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. Applicants are generally housed in “reception centers” for the first few weeks of their asylum process. They are then assigned to a local authority within the same Federal state as the reception center. 

Permission to remain

During the asylum process you will be issued with a “permission to remain” (Aufenthaltsgestattung) that will be renewed at regular intervals. Throughout the asylum process, this “permission to remain” will be sufficient to enable you to meet the German legal requirement to carry an identity card. It does not, however, entitle you to cross borders, nor does it count as a “residence title”.
 
During your period of mandatory residence in a reception center, the main body responsible for issuing permission to remain is the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

Once you have been assigned to a local authority, the foreigners’ authority (Ausländerbehörde) for that geographical area is responsible for issuing your permission to remain.


Mandatory place of residence and Residenzpflicht

While you are applying for asylum, you do not have the right to choose the Federal state or location where you will live. Your permission to remain is linked to a specific place of residence and specifies an area within which you are permitted to live (Residenzpflicht). Applicants assigned to the City of Heidelberg must therefore live in communal accommodation within the city limits of Heidelberg.

The geographical limitation of your movement ceases to apply once you have lived in Germany for three continuous months as a holder of a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis), of leave to remain (Duldung) or permission to remain (Aufenthaltsgestattung). After this time your movement is no longer limited and you are free to travel for short periods to anywhere in Germany, for example to visit relatives.


Working during the asylum process

You are not allowed to work for the first three months of your asylum process in Germany. After that time you can take on a job following approval by the Federal Employment Agency, or without approval if it has been legally determined that no approval is required for that particular job.

Similarly, for certain types of internships, no approval is needed from the Federal Employment Agency: Information about internships

Your local foreigners’ authority (Ausländerbehörde) is responsible for receiving applications for the approval of a particular job.


Residence permit

You will be issued a residence permit if:

  • you are incontestably found to be entitled to asylum (Section 25, Para. 1 of the Residence Act)
  • the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees incontestably finds you worthy of refugee status (Section 25, Para. 2, Sentence 1, Alternative 1 of the Residence Act)
  • the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees incontestably finds you worthy of subsidiary protection status (Section 25, Para. 2, Sentence 1, Alternative 2 of the Residence Act)
  • the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees incontestably finds that no prohibitions on deportation apply in your situation (Section 25, Para. 3 of the Residence Act)

In the cases described in Section 25, Para. 1 and Para. 2, Sentence 1, Alternative 1 of the Residence Act, a residence permit is issued for a period of three years. After these three years have passed, a (permanent) right to reside is issued unless the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has initiated a revocation process (Widerrufsverfahren).  

In the cases described in Section 25, Para. 2, Sentence 1, Alternative 2 of the Residence Act (subsidiary protection), a residence permit is issued for one year and, if renewed, is issued for a further two years.
 
Where prohibitions on deportation (Section 25, Para. 3 of the Residence Act) are identified, the residence permit is issued for at least one year and is renewed at regular intervals.

A (permanent) right to reside (Niederlassungserlaubnis) can be issued to foreign nationals who have held a residence permit for a period of five years. 


Leave to remain (Duldung)

If you are unsuccessful in your application for asylum but, for legal or factual reasons, deportation is not possible, you can be issued with a “leave to remain” (Duldung).