Important information on entry and residence for people fleeing Ukraine
The Russian invasion of Ukraine forces many people to flee Ukraine. Here you will find information on the situation at the borders and on entering/staying in Germany for Ukrainian citizens and people of other nationalities who have lived in Ukraine. Ukrainians already in Germany can also find reliable and up-to-date information here.
We are striving to provide answers to all questions. As soon as we have news, we will inform you immediately here and on Facebook.
If you have further questions on the topics of residence, finding accommodation, dealing with authorities, government financial aid, medical care and psychological support, daycare, school or work, register on our community platform “Together in Germany” and ask them anonymously and free of charge. There you will receive reliable and verified answers to all your questions from our moderators, experts or other members of the community.
What do I need to know?
1. If you already have a residence permit according to Section 24 of the Residence Act or a respective “Fiktionsbescheinigung” and are registered at the “Ausländerzentralregister”, you are entitled to financial support from the state in accordance with the Social Code II and XII (SGB). The same applies to people whose application for a residence permit according to Section 24 is still being examined and have received a “Fiktionsbescheinigung” for the waiting period- regardless of how good your chances of obtaining a residence permit are. The financial support includes accommodation or money for covering the flat rent, utilities and heating costs, as well as costs of food, clothing, etc. and health insurance.
Important: Registration in the Central Register of Foreign Nationals is carried out by the Immigration Office. The registration takes place automatically when you apply for a residence permit at the Immigration Office, but currently, there are delays in the procedure. Unfortunately, you have no influence on whether you are already registered in the Central Register of Foreign Citizens or not.
Important: A new ordinance has been passed to regulate the continued validity of residence permits under Section 24 Residence Act for persons from Ukraine who are temporarily in need of protection. This regulation means that residence permits that are valid until 1 February 2024 will be automatically extended. So from March 2024, many Ukrainians in Germany will have a residence permit that looks as if it has expired. If you have one of these, rest assured– because this will not prevent you from continuing to receive financial support from the state. You can continue to travel, work and exercise your rights and obligations under Section 24 Residence Act.
You can find all the information you need about the Jobcenter in the "Jobcenter" section.
Please note: To get help from the Jobcenter you must be able to work. If you are already of retirement age or ill and cannot work, the social welfare offices remain responsible for you. The office responsible for you is the social welfare office at the place where you are staying. On sozialaemter.com you will find a list of all social welfare offices in the respective federal states.
2. If you are already registered but do not yet have a residence permit according to §24 Residence Act or a corresponding “Fiktionsbescheinigung” + registration in the Central Register of Foreign Nationals (AZR), you are entitled to financial support from the state. You can receive support on the basis of the so-called “Asylum Seeker Benefits Act”. This includes accommodation and money for food, clothing, etc. You will also receive a small amount of pocket money. If you move into your own flat, you can also receive additional financial support for furnishing the place. You need to apply for such assistance at the Social Welfare Office responsible for you. The office responsible for you is the Social Welfare Office at the place where you are staying. On sozialaemter.com, you will find a list of all Social Welfare Offices in the respective federal states.
3. If you apply for asylum, you will be accommodated in an initial reception center and provided with the essentials there. You will also receive a small amount of pocket money. You must apply for financial support at the Social Welfare Office responsible for you. The office responsible for you is the Social Welfare Office at the place where you are staying. On sozialaemter.com, you will find a list of all Social Welfare Offices in the respective federal states.
Important: Applying for asylum is only advisable for very few of those who flee Ukraine. See the "Residence" section to learn more about your options.
4. Persons who are currently staying in Germany without a visa and who cannot obtain a residence permit can, according to Section 24, receive so-called “bridging benefits” (“Überbrückungsleistungen”) according to Section 23 (3) SGB XII for the first three months of their stay. The prerequisite for this is that you do not have any money of your own. You can get money for food, clothing, shelter, emergency medical care. If you are pregnant or have young children, you will receive additional support. You must apply for financial support at the Social Welfare Office responsible for you. The office responsible for you is the Social Welfare Office at the place where you are staying. On sozialaemter.com, you will find a list of all Social Welfare Offices in the respective federal states.
After the first three months, you can, under certain conditions, receive financial support for living expenses, in the event of illness, pregnancy and maternity as well as help with care according to Section 23 Para. 1 SGB XII.
The Federal Foundation for Mother and Child (Bundesstiftung Mutter und Kind) also provides financial support for pregnant women in need. To get help, you must submit an application to the local pregnancy counseling centre. You can find more information in Ukrainian, English and Russian in the flyer published by the Ministry of Family Affairs.
Please note: You are always entitled to support when it comes to the necessities (accommodation, food, medical care). If you have problems with the authorities, you can contact an advice center (“Beratungsstelle”). The staff there will help you free of charge. See the “Further Assistance” section for more information.
No, refugees from Ukraine who have already reached retirement age in Ukraine cannot receive a pension in Germany for the time being.
Refugees from Ukraine are subject to the same pension requirements as German nationals: 1. You have reached retirement age, which is between 63 and 67 years in Germany. 2. You must have contributed to the pension fund (“Rentenkasse”) for five years.
You can find more information on the subject of pension in our chapter “Retiring in Germany”.
Since June 1st, 2022, refugees from Ukraine who have reached their retirement age are entitled to the so-called “basic security in old age” or “Grundsicherung im Alter” - you can receive this financial help from the Social Welfare Office. The office responsible for you is the Social Welfare Office at the place where you are staying. On sozialaemter.com, you will find a list of all social welfare offices in the respective federal states.
You can learn about eligibility conditions’ for receiving state aid in the section “Can I get financial support?”.
Refugees from Ukraine may stay legally in Germany without a visa until 04.03.2025. However, your visa-free stay is limited to 90 days (within 180 days) from the time of your first entry into the Federal Republic of Germany. You must apply for a residence permit within these 90 days.
Even if your application is rejected, if you are in need, you can receive financial support under SGB XII. You can find more information on this under “3. Persons who are currently staying in Germany without a visa" in the section "Can I get financial support?".
With a residence permit according to Section 24, you can register as a jobseeker at the employment agency (Agentur für Arbeit). The employees there will then help you find a job. The Employment Agency will also support you financially with various measures, such as the recognition of your degree. You can find the employment agency responsible for you at arbeitsagentur.de by entering the postcode of your place of residence. You can learn more in the section “Work”.
As soon as you are registered with the Jobcenter, you will also be supported in your search for a job. You can learn whether and how you can register at the Jobcenter in the section "Jobcenter".