Assistance in Ukraine
After the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the German missions based in Ukraine were closed. Visa applications can therefore neither be accepted nor (further) processed from there. Ukraine’s borders with the EU remain open until further notice, whereas Ukraine’s border with Belarus is closed. The airspace over Ukraine is currently closed. Evacuation of German, Ukrainian or nationals of other countries by German authorities is currently neither planned nor possible.
Possibilities to Leave Ukraine
Ukrainian and all other third-country nationals residing in Ukraine may leave the country for Ukraine’s EU neighbouring countries, provided that Ukraine permits this. Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports may continue to enter Germany and stay in Germany without a visa for 90 days within a 180-day period.
Ukrainian citizens without biometric passports and all other third-country nationals must first apply for a visa in Ukraine’s EU neighbouring countries. Small teams of the German missions abroad in Warsaw, Krakow, Chisinau, Bratislava, Bucharest and Budapest are currently on standby in the neighbouring Ukrainian countries and offer consular assistance. Under certain circumstances, a visa can be issued directly at the border.
Entry to Germany: Covid-19 Regulations
A PCR test for entry into Germany is currently not required. There is currently no quarantine and entry registration requirement. Among other things, voluntary tests are offered at the border upon entry. In the case of covid-19 symptoms, medical professionals are called in.
Claiming Asylum in Germany
Although it is possible to apply for asylum, it is currently not recommended without prior legal advice. The German government and the European Union are working on a solution with which an asylum application might not be necessary. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to wait for the decision.
The Council of Europe adopted the decision to take in displaced persons under Article 5 (1) of Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection. Due to this decision, § 24 German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz), on granting residence for temporary protection, applies immediately to those displaced persons from Ukraine and they can now apply for a temporary residence permit in Germany. Additionally, an ordinance passed by the German Ministry of the Interior and Community will soon enter into force which will allow those displaced Ukrainian nationals and other third-country nationals to enter and stay in Germany legally for reasons related to the armed conflict. This ordinance will also provide for legal residence status until they receive temporary residence permits under § 24 German Residence Act.
Therefore, it is not advisable for Ukrainian nationals to apply for asylum in Germany, and they do not need to go through the asylum procedure. Always consult with legal advice before making such as application.
Right of Residence in Germany
The Ukrainian passport allows a stay of 90 days in Germany from the date of crossing the border into Germany. If you receive a visa, you can stay until the visa expires. Working in Germany is not permitted during this time.
If Ukrainian citizens and other third-country nationals residing in Ukraine cannot leave Germany again before the expiry of the 90 days or the validity of the issued visa due to the war, the following applies:
Registration with the Immigration Authority (Foreigners’ Office) and extension of the 90 days:
All persons must register with the Immigration Authority (Foreigners’ Office) in good time before the expiry of the permitted visa-free stay or the validity of the issued visa. The correct foreigners’ authority is the authority in the city where the person is staying.
There, an extension of the permitted stay for another 90 days must be applied for. At present, a maximum of another 90 days’ stay can be applied for by visa holders.
It can be assumed that the applications will generally be approved. Working in Germany is also prohibited here.
Automatic extension of the permitted stay:
The federal states can also provide for an automatic extension of the 90-day permitted stay using so-called general decrees. Berlin has already used this, according to which Ukrainian citizens currently have a permitted stay until 31.05.2022. Here, too, working in Germany is prohibited.
– Alternatively, a residence permit for a longer-term stay in Germany can be applied for without first applying for the corresponding visa. Due to the war, a visa that would otherwise be required is currently to be waived as an exception.
Reasons for a long-term visa can be:
- Job offer as a skilled worker, if they can prove their university degree,
- Family reunification, if one person in the family already holds a residence title in Germany.
Long-Term Perspective of Staying in Germany
It is currently unclear how the situation under residence law will be structured after the expiry of the requested extension of the permitted visa-free 90 days or the validity of the issued visa.
The competent authorities are currently working on a solution. Among other things, the Council of the EU is expected to adopt a decision by qualified majority in the next few days per the “Mass influx-EU Directive”, according to which displaced Ukrainian citizens would be granted temporary protection for an initial period of one year. They could then apply to the foreigners’ authorities for a residence permit for temporary protection.
However, the exercise of employment would still require an additional permit from the authorities. However, it can be assumed that the permit for employment would then be granted.
Accommodation in Germany
Accommodation is currently available WITHOUT having to apply for asylum first. Among other things, it is possible to find temporary accommodation through https://unterkunft-ukraine.de/.
Furthermore, Ukrainian citizens can contact the first reception centres for refugees in the federal states. The federal states are preparing for the arriving refugees. The capacities in the initial reception facilities are currently being increased, and the renting of hotels is also being discussed to create the necessary places.
Transport to Germany from Ukraine
Deutsche Bahn, among others, offers information on free travel options at https://www.bahn.de/info/helpukraine.
Social Benefits within Germany
In the first 3 months after arrival in Germany, there is only a claim to so-called “bridging benefits” based on § 23 SGB XII, which only cover urgent needs or necessary medical care. Basically, only food, clothing, accommodation costs, emergency medical care, and assistance during pregnancy and maternity are guaranteed here. In principle, these benefits are only provided for one month. However, due to the outbreak of war in Ukraine, a case of hardship is to be assumed, according to which these benefits must be guaranteed for longer (§ 23 para. 3 p. 5 SGB XII). It will be challenging to obtain these benefits from the social welfare office in practice. Therefore, one should seek support from an association or lawyers for this purpose.
After the first three months of residence in Germany, you are entitled to regular social benefits. The question here is which is the correct benefit system if the visa-free stay has been extended or the extension has been applied for. This must be clarified in each individual case.