The entry ban is a sensitive issue, which is often associated with many uncertainties for those affected. What exactly does an entry ban entail in Germany? How long does an German entry ban last? Can a ban be lifted?

Legal basis of the Entry Ban in Germany

The legal basis for imposing an entry ban is §11(1) of the Residence Act, which sets out the following:

‘A foreigner who has been expelled, removed or deported shall be permitted neither to re-enter nor to stay in the federal territory, nor may he be granted a residence title, even if he is entitled thereto under this Act (ban on entry and residence).’

In practice, entry bans are often imposed following a deportation. This is to prevent a foreigner from applying for a residence permit again immediately after a rejected application and while still not fulfilling the necessary requirements. If an entry ban has been imposed, the foreigner concerned may not enter Germany for a given period of time. Under certain circumstances, such a ban can result in prevention from entering the whole Schengen area. Whether this is the case depends, among other things, on whether the ban has been registered in the Schengen Information System. If so, the foreigner will also not be granted a visa in other EU states, while the ban into Germany is still valid.

It must be emphasized that it is not advisable to enter Germany despite being subjected to an entry ban, as this could result in a prison sentence of up to three years or a high fine.

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How long is an entry ban valid?

The extent of the duration of an entry ban is a question of proportionality, whereby the reason for expulsion and the objective pursued are decisive. Generally, an entry ban is issued for two years. In certain cases, however, the duration may be shorter or longer. If a minor is concerned, the period can be reduced to one year. A duration of less than one year is conceivable in situations where the foreigner is legally entitled to a residence permit in Germany, for instance because of a family reunification.

The European Court of Justice ruled in 2013 that the duration of an entry ban is to be limited to five years (C-297/12). This requirement is based on Article 11(2) of Directive 2008/115, which states that the duration of the entry ban must be determined according to the given circumstances of the specific case and may generally not exceed five years. This upper limit may, however, be exceeded in exceptional situations. In accordance with section 11(3) of the Residence Act, a foreigner, who has been expelled on the basis of a criminal conviction or poses a serious threat to public safety and order, may be subjected to an entry ban of more than five years.

The Immigration Authority of the federal state in which the foreigner has his or her habitual residence, or where (s)he was last resident, is responsible for determining the duration of the entry ban. If this was, however, not done, the foreigner concerned may request such a determination retrospectively. For this purpose, it is advisable to consult a lawyer, who will then contact the relevant authority with a corresponding application.

Can an entry ban be revoked?

According to §11(4) of the Residence Act, an entry ban can be shortened or even revoked. A revocation can be issued in order to uphold the legitimate interests of the foreigner. However, this is only the case in exceptional cases, as for instance if the protection of family life justifies this. Since this is particularly demanding to prove, it is advisable to consult a lawyer specialising in immigration law, in order to determine whether this possibility is fruitful in your individual case

Alternatively, a foreigner may also apply for an temporary entry permit. This permit temporarily lifts the entry ban and allows the foreigner to enter Germany for a short period of time. Such an entry permit can also be granted if the duration of the entry ban still has not passed. Generally, however, high requirements must be met, in order to be granted such a permit. The Immigration Authority will only allow it, if overriding circumstances require your presence in Germany, or if a refusal of the permit would be accompanied by undue hardship. This is the case, for instance, if the foreigner needs to visit a very ill family member or if (s) has to attend a court hearing. Nonetheless, it should be emphasised that this entry permit is not accompanied by a right of free movement in Germany.

What do I need to do?

If you have been subjected to an German entry ban, it is advisable to consult an immigration lawyer as soon as possible. Our lawyers will be pleased to let you know what your specific legal rights are in the given situations and what possibilities you have with regard of revoking the ban.

German Immigration Law Centre
Practice Group for German Immigration Law
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