Paragraph 24 for refugees: eligibility for a residence permit for asylum seekers in Germany

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Paragraph 24 for refugees: eligibility for a residence permit for asylum seekers in Germany

Upon arrival in Germany, refugees from Ukraine must apply for temporary protection. This process is regulated by § 24 of the German Foreigners' Legal Status Act. It is on the basis of this section that refugees receive a temporary residence permit "Aufenthaltstitel". Find out how to obtain a temporary residence permit in Germany and the cost

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Refugee status or paragraph 24? Ukrainians can receive several types of protection in Germany. Which one is better to choose? And who needs to obtain a permit? 

Read more about the specifics of obtaining a residence permit in Germany below.

What is Paragraph 24 in Germany?

Ukrainians have the right to enter Germany without a visa. However, you can stay in the country without a residence permit for up to 90 days. Those who plan to stay in Germany for a longer period of time need to obtain a residence permit. 

Paragraph 24 of the Law on the Legal Status of Foreign Nationals in Germany regulates the stay of foreigners in the country, as well as the subsequent procedure for their integration. 

Based on this paragraph, Ukrainian refugees receive a temporary residence permit "Aufenthaltstitel" in Germany, which allows them to legally live and work in Germany. 

The first time temporary protection is issued for one year, but it can be extended for up to three years.  

Who can obtain temporary protection status in Germany?

The following categories of citizens who were forced to leave Ukraine as a result of Russia's military invasion can apply for temporary protection in Germany:

● Citizens of Ukraine who resided in Ukraine before February 24, 2022.

● Stateless persons and citizens of other countries who were in Ukraine before February 24, 2022 under international protection or equivalent national protection.

● Family members (spouses, civil union partners, minor children and close relatives) of the first two groups of persons, even if they are not citizens of Ukraine.

● Citizens of Ukraine who already reside in Germany and have a residence permit that is about to expire, regardless of when they entered Germany.

● Ukrainians who left Ukraine shortly before February 24, 2022, or were in the European Union (e.g., on vacation or on a business trip) and cannot return to Ukraine due to the armed conflict. 

What is the difference between paragraph 24 and refugee status?

Many Ukrainians who apply for protection under Paragraph 24 in Germany believe that they have been granted refugee status. However, being a refugee in Germany and having temporary protection are different concepts, but they have common features.

Temporary protection is a kind of legalization of the status of Ukrainians residing in Germany. Moreover, it is easy and quick to apply for temporary asylum.

Refugee status is an individual right to receive protection. A person can apply for this status if he or she is persecuted in his or her country. Nowadays, the reasons for obtaining refugee status are war and its consequences, as well as persecution on the basis of race or membership in a particular social group, religious or political views, and other reasons.

Main differences:

● Temporary protection can be obtained in any EU country, while refugee status is granted only in the country whose border a person first crossed.

● Employment for Ukrainians who have applied for temporary protection is possible from the moment they apply for it, while those who have applied for refugee status cannot work for 6 months from the date of application.

● Once granted temporary protection, Ukrainians can return to Ukraine at any time and travel to the EU for 90 days. A person who has applied for refugee status is prohibited from crossing the border of the host state for 6 months while his or her application is being considered.

When applying for refugee status, a Ukrainian will need to surrender his or her passport. When applying for temporary protection, the passport is not confiscated.

● Those who apply for temporary protection have the right to choose housing at their own discretion. However, when applying for refugee status, you are obliged to live in a refugee center, which accommodates refugees not only from Ukraine but from all over the world. Many citizens of Syria, Afghanistan, and Senegal are granted refugee status in Germany. 

What does paragraph 24 mean in Germany?

A Ukrainian who is granted temporary protection status in Germany under Paragraph 24 will have the following benefits:

● a residence permit for the period of protection (this can be for a year or longer or until the war in Ukraine ends)

● the right to work

The right to education and the opportunity to attend language courses free of charge;

● The right to housing (this may include refugee camps);

● social benefits from the Jobcenter;

● access to medical care;

● the possibility of obtaining refugee status in the future;

● the ability to return to your home country at any time.

How do I obtain a residence permit in Germany on the basis of paragraph 24?

If you decide to obtain temporary protection status in Germany, you should keep in mind that not all federal states of Germany currently accept refugees from Ukraine. 

You can receive assistance in the following regions of Germany:

- Bavaria: Ergolding - Schindlerstraße 19, 84030 Ergolding

- Baden-Württemberg: Messe Sindelfingen - Mahdentalstraße 116, 71065 Sindelfingen

- Hesse: Gießen - Rödgener Straße 91, 35394 Gießen

- Saxony: Meerane - Seiferetziger Schulweg 10, 08393 Meerane

- Thuringia: Suhl - Weidbergstraße 24-26, 98527 Suhl

- Saarland: Lebach - Pommernstraße 1, 66822 Lebach

In order to apply for a temporary residence permit "Aufenthaltstitel", you need to apply for a simplified procedure for obtaining a respective temporary residence, protection and employment permit at the nearest Ausländerbehörde office.

1. Gather all the necessary documents (passport or birth certificate for children, registration or address of your temporary residence in Germany)

2. Visit the BAMF office and go through the biometric registration procedure in the first-come, first-served line.

3. After completing the procedure, you will be issued a residence permit in Germany. 

The procedure for obtaining temporary protection status in Germany has certain peculiarities, because, as we noted earlier, not all German states accept refugees from Ukraine anymore. Consult a highly qualified lawyer to choose the right region and get protection right away.

How much time and money does it take to apply for Paragraph 24?

Igor Usyk, Head of Legal at VisitWorld:

"After completing the biometric registration, you will be issued a Fiktionsbescheinigung (internal temporary document), which confirms that you have applied for and are waiting for an Aufenthaltstitel. 

The Aufenthaltstitel is printed at the Federal Printing Office in Berlin and this process can take several weeks.

From the moment you receive the Fiktionsbescheinigung, your stay in Germany becomes legal.

It is free to apply for temporary protection status in Germany. My team of international lawyers will be able to help you with obtaining the Paragraph 24."

Ukrainians who plan to stay in Germany after the war will need to obtain a German residence permit. It is also called an Aufenthaltstitel, but it is issued on the basis of a different purpose of staying in the country. Valid reasons include study or work. 

However, those who will be studying need to have financial support for the entire period of study, about €930 per month. Ukrainians wishing to apply for residence on the basis of a work contract should take into account that the job must be relevant to your education. There are also alternative options. To find out more, please consult a lawyer.

Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

How to get a residence permit in Germany - step-by-step instructions.

Read here how to find a job for English-speaking foreigners in Germany.

Temporary protection status in Germany: benefits and legal advice - more details here.

Jobs in Germany: the most popular vacancies for expats - find here.

The Jobcenter for refugees in Germany: what help Ukrainians can get - read here.

Treatment abroad: do Ukrainians need health insurance in Europe?

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Germany;

Legal advice on business in Germany;

Travel insurance for foreigners in Germany;

Medical insurance all over the world;

Legal advice on immigration in Germany;

Insurance for foreign students in Germany.

We monitor the accuracy and relevance of our information. Therefore, if you see any error or discrepancy, please write to our hotline.

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