Russian-Ukraine War

Arriving and Working in Berlin

The dramatic events in Ukraine are causing great concern in Germany too. The over 145,000 Ukrainians that currently live in Germany are especially worried about their friends and family. Below we have summarised the current questions regarding the legal situation as well as possibilities for working in Germany. We will update these regularly.

Can Ukrainians enter Germany without a visa?

Generally Ukrainians may enter Germany with a biometric passport for a temporary stay (max. 90 days within a time period of 180 days) without a visa. The Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (BMI) informed the foreigners’ offices in a decree on 24 February 2022 that the visa-free stay for Ukrainian citizens can be extended by a further 90 days according to Section 40 of the Ordinance Governing Residence. The Berlin State Immigration Office has implemented these guidelines in a  general ruling . Pursuant to this, the visa-free stay will be automatically extended until 31 May 2022. The published general ruling exclusively applies to Ukrainian nationals with a valid passport or alternative identification and travel document who are actually staying in Berlin at the time that the validity period of the visa-free stay expires and who will also be staying in Berlin until they leave the country.
Since the BMI currently considers compensating for the visa requirement unreasonable, Ukrainians that entered without a visa can apply for a long-term residence permit (for the purpose of employment, education, family reunification etc.) in Germany at the local responsible foreigners’ offices, provided that they meet the relevant requirements. What foreigners’ office is responsible depends on the actual or planned place of residence in Germany. 

How does the EU Resolution from 4 March affect the reception of war refugees from Ukraine?

On 4 March 2022, the European Council adopted the so-called  Temporary Protection Directive which entered into force on the same day. 
For war refugees that have been forced to leave the country since 24 February 2022 as a result of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine there is an immediate grant of residence for temporary protection and thus the option of applying for a corresponding residence permit (Section 24, Paragraph 1 Residence Act, AufenthG). An asylum process is not necessary. 

Is registration necessary?

There is no obligation to register. Registration is initially only carried out if refugees request protection, in particular, if they would like to claim social services (financial support, medical care or accommodation). The State Office for Refugee Affairs (LAF) is responsible for the registration in Berlin. More information on the registration process available on the website of the Berlin Senate Chancellery
In this context it must be noted that registering may entail being moved to another federal state. A right to remain in Berlin does not exist. The “decision on allocation” takes place before actual registration. Usually Ukrainian refugees can stay with relatives in Berlin. But there is no guarantee of this.
People who entered visa-free and who do not need state support, are only registered when they apply for a residence permit for the temporary protection for refugees from Ukraine. In Berlin, residence permits are granted pursuant to Section 24 Paragraph 1 AufenthG by the Immigration Office (LEA). For this purpose LEA has introduced a digital application process.
Important: In Berlin, this residence permit can only be granted if the LAF has issued a decision on allocation to Berlin or the person seeking protection has already found permanent living quarters in Berlin. A registration confirmation from a Berlin citizens’ centre, a permanent rental agreement for living quarters in Berlin, or a form from LEA confirming the permanent accommodation for Ukrainian refugees can all be evidence of permanent living quarters.

Can I work in Germany with a residence permit for temporary protection?

The applicant receives a generated PDF document as soon as the online application for temporary protection for refugees from Ukraine is submitted. This application confirmation certifies not only the permitted residence in Germany but also the right to take up employment of any kind. LEA is thus facilitating an uncomplicated and unbureaucratic way for the refugees to quickly find work. The certification is only valid in combination with a valid passport or alternative identification and travel document as well as evidence of permanent living quarters in Berlin.
More questions and answers from BMI on entry from Ukraine, employment and residence  here

More information on the topic

  • Information for refugees from Ukraine
  • The “Network Companies Integrate Refugees” from the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) publishes up-to-date information and guides on this topic. A webinar recording (in German) from 11 March on the “legal situation of refugees from Ukraine” can be found here.
  • The Gemeinnützige Gesellschaft zur Unterstützung Asylsuchender e. V.A provides an excellent overview on residence rights and social services.
  • Pro Asyl has published information for Ukrainians on entering and staying in Germany.
  • The Flüchtlingsrat Niedersachsen has also published information on entry and asylum applications.
  • BAMF has created a FAQ page where up-to-date information is collected in German and Ukrainian.

Background information on people of Ukrainian origin in Germany

On 24 February, the Migration Media Service (Mediendienst Integration, MDI) carried out a press interview with experts regarding the effects of the war on people in Germany with “post-Soviet migration backgrounds”. The MDI has also compiled up-to-date figures on people of Ukrainian origin in Germany.