Coronavirus: Information for Refugees & Asylum Seekers
What do I need to know?
The coronavirus pandemic is still a serious concern with widespread implications for public life. Namely, some regulations concerning asylum seekers and refugees have been affected. Here you can find all you need to know about the processing of asylum applications, Dublin procedures, applications for family reunification and alike during the pandemic.
For general information about authorities' working hours/contact information, as well as other topics concerning public life, visit our chapter "Coronavirus - Public Life".
What do I need to know?
Unfortunately, a uniform regulation for shared accommodation facilities do not exist in Germany (yet). Your facility's management will notify you of the way your accommodation centre will continue to run under the current circumstances. If there are significant problems in your accommodation centre, contact and inform the Refugee Council. You can find the responsible Refugee Council on fluechtlingsrat.de.
Yes, you can get vaccinated in vaccination centres and don't need health insurance to do so. You can even get vaccinated at a vaccination centre without an ID card - if so, however, you will not be able to receive proof of vaccination. The vaccination is free.
If you do not have any identification papers but would like to have proof of vaccination, you may be able to, especially in large cities, get vaccinated anonymously and free of charge. Ask at a refugee counselling centre where you can get vaccinated. You can search for a counselling centre in your area here on our local information page.
You can also get vaccinated in your community centre if vaccination campaigns are happening there.
Please note: You must sign and bring the filled form of anamnesis and declaration of consent with you to the vaccination appointment. Here you will find the forms for the Moderna and Biontech vaccines in various languages. And here are the documents for AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Currently, deportations from Germany take place despite the corona pandemic raging worldwide. Whether they take place, however, depends on available flight connections and entry/quarantine restrictions. “Dublin”-related deportations are also resumed and may take place. If you are concerned that you may be affected, contact the Pro Asyl hotline, the proper Refugee Council or your lawyer. You can learn more about the deportation process in our chapter “Deportation”.
During 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Dublin-case deportations to other European countries were suspended for a few months. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) was previously of the opinion that the transfer deadlines will "pause" during the coronavirus pandemic, only to continue afterwards. The idea, however, was legally controversial. Namely, both the European Court of Justice and various other courts have ruled that the transfer deadlines continued to run during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Then, at the beginning of August 2020, the BAMF decided that people whose transfer deadline had expired during 2020 due to pandemic can apply for asylum in Germany if they have not appealed to court against BAMF's decision. In other words, these individuals are not going to be deported to the other EU country.
People who are currently going through legal proceedings against BAMF's decision are not affected by this regulation. You can find out more about the Dublin procedure and your possibilities in our chapter "Dublin procedure".
If you find yourself in a Dublin procedure, make sure to seek advice from a lawyer or counselling centre. Contact the Refugee Council or Proasyl in your state if you need help finding a lawyer/counselling centre.
Yes. You can apply for asylum at the branch office of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees that is responsible for you. In some branch offices, it may not be possible to apply for asylum personally on site. If that is the case, you can submit your asylum application in writing.
As soon as you are registered in an Initial Reception Centre ("Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung"), you will receive proof of arrival ("Ankunftsnachweis ") and an invitation to the branch office responsible for you, or -in case you have to submit your asylum application in writing- an asylum application form.
After you fill out and sign the application form, It will be sent to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) together with a copy of your proof of arrival. The BAMF will then send you a temporary stay permit ("Aufenthaltsgestattung"). You will also be sent an invitation for a hearing session eventually. You can find out more at bamf.de. You can learn more about asylum application and hearing in our chapter “Asylum Procedure”.
When your tolerated stay permit expires, you must apply for an extension. To do so, you need an appointment. Check the website of the Immigration Office responsible for you to see how you can book an appointment – that is often possible online. If your Immigration Office had limited opening hours, check whether there is an online application available on their website. If you cannot find any: Call them or write an e-mail including all necessary personal data (name, date of birth, etc.) and ask for your "Duldung" to be extended. You can find the Immigration Office responsible at webgis.bamf.de.
The Immigration Office will first send you a so-called "Fiktionsbescheinigung" per post, renewing your Duldung for the time being. If you have problems with the "Fiktionsbescheinigung" or you have not received such a document at all, you should definitely seek advice from a refugee counselling centre. You can find counselling centres nearby on our local information page.
For more information, visit our chapter “Tolerated Stay Permit (Duldung)".
Currently, many embassies back to regular opening schedules. Nevertheless, check the website of the proper German embassy regularly to learn about the latest. If the delays can lead to the expiry of a deadline, your family cannot collect the visa, or any other problems arise, contact the staff of the DRK search service or your lawyer.
Please note: The legal deadlines still apply, i.e. you have to meet the legal deadlines despite the Corona crisis. You can find out more about the statutory deadlines in our chapter "Family Reunification". To keep the deadline, you can register at the Immigration Office online at fap.diplo.de. The application which your family must submit to the relevant embassy can be sent per fax- but please make sure to preserve the confirmation notice.
If your family already has a visa (which is still valid), they can come to Germany. You can learn more in our chapter “Coronavirus- Public Life”.
If you suspect that you are infected, contact the Germany-wide patient helpline by dialling 116117. They will let you know about the next steps. Please do not go to the doctor's office before first calling them.