Your nationality = your right to asylum?

A reception centre for asylum-seekers in Bavaria, Germany @dpa

No. Only people who have suffered or are likely to suffer persecution or serious harm are entitled to protection. Every single case will be examined closely in a detailed procedure. People who do not fulfill the requirements of the Geneva Refugee Convention or of German Asylum Law, will have to leave Germany and go back to their country of origin or country of first entry.

Asylum and refugee policy in Germany

Providing protection to those who need it is enshrined in Germany’s law. German asylum and refugee policy grants victims of persecution as well as people subject to serious harm individual protection and thus the right to remain. However, those who do not have a legal right to remain in the country must leave or will be returned by force at their own cost.

This is what the asylum procedure in Germany looks like in practice:

If you are permitted to enter Germany as an asylum-seeker, you will be transferred to the nearest reception centre of the relevant state (Bundesland). This could be anywhere in Germany. The decision on where you will be accommodated is made according to a formula defined in the German Asylum Procedure Act. Regardless of where you entered the country, you will have no say over where in Germany you will be placed.

Additional information on German asylum and refugee policy, on specific laws and procedures can be found on the website of the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees:

As a next step, your asylum application will be submitted to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The staff there will examine your case and documents and make a decision. If your status as an asylum applicant is approved, you will receive a certificate that entitles you to reside in Germany during your asylum procedure.

A personal interview

BAMF caseworkers will personally question any applicant, with the help of an interpreter, on the reasons for persecution. Remember that protection is only granted under very specific circumstances, mainly to people who are at risk of persecution or serious harm in accordance with the Geneva Refugee Convention.

German visa for asylum applicants ©dpa

The interview will be recorded in writing and translated into your language. A copy of this transcript will also be given to you. If you are a female asylum-seeker, you feel uncomfortable being questioned by a man and your reasons for fleeing your country are specific to your gender, you can ask to be interviewed by a trained female caseworker.

Asylum status and the possibility of forced return

If the asylum application is accepted, those entitled to protection will receive a temporary residence permit. In this case, German language courses as well as other forms of integration assistance will be made available and are mandatory in most cases.

As a rule, asylum-seekers whose applications have been rejected are required to leave the country.
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Last updated: 30.09.2020 Published: 27.07.2017