Germany: Rules for entry and residence. What does a Ukrainian need to know?
Germany has sheltered more than 900,000 refugees since the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine. The majority of Ukrainians chose this country for temporary residence due to its relatively close location and high standard of living.
Now the flow of refugees is much smaller than at the beginning of spring. However, the likelihood of an aggravation of the situation at the front and the prospect of a severe winter may once again force Ukrainians to look for temporary housing. What changes have occurred in German legislation over the past six months? What should you pay attention to when planning a move to Germany? Read further.
Rules of entry
Ukrainians can enter Germany without a visa. However, it is allowed to stay in the country without registration for up to 90 days, then it is necessary to submit an application for the acquisition of temporary protection status.
A biometric passport is also not required for entry. It is enough to have an ID card or passport, for children - a birth certificate.
There are currently no quarantine measures when entering Germany in connection with the Covid-19 epidemic, however, from October 1, the German government plans to introduce certain restrictions on movement through the country.
How to get there?
You can get to Germany for free on a long-distance train from Poland, the Czech Republic or Austria. It is not necessary to buy a ticket, it is enough to show the passport of a citizen of Ukraine (domestic or foreign) during the check.
We recommend arriving at the three main train stations - Hannover, Cottbus and Berlin, because it is here that you can get help quickly and easily. Also, free buses run from these stations to refugee locations and other cities throughout Germany.
Please note that after arriving at your destination, you will no longer be able to use free travel in public transport, as it was canceled on June 1, 2022. Also, since September 1, travel in the country has become more expensive.
The German government warns that upon arrival in the country, you may meet people who will offer you free accommodation or other support and may take advantage of your predicament. Therefore, we advise you to be careful and not to get into cars with strangers and in no case hand over your documents to them. Contact only volunteers at arrival centers and use public transport. In an emergency, call the police or 110.
Where to seek shelter?
Registration in Germany must be started at the arrival center or refugee initial reception center that operates in each federal state. You can also find temporary housing here, get social and medical assistance and food. The center will issue you a certificate of arrival. Registration is not an application for refugee status.
If you need housing, you can get it in the reception centers of the federal states, if there are free places. Private accommodation is also available for Ukrainians, i.e. you can stay with relatives or friends.
We draw your attention to the fact that the quality of life, healthcare and support services in Germany is quite high. It is also the same throughout the country, so there is no difference between living in a city or a village. We recommend that you do not avoid registering in small towns or rural areas, because there is a greater choice of housing and equal conditions for employment and education.
Registration in Germany
In order to obtain the status of protection, social benefits and assistance with housing, a registration procedure is carried out using biometric data. Registration conditions may differ depending on the federal state.
You can find the registration facility nearest to you by index by following the link. Admission is usually on a first-come, first-served basis, in some cities you can register via an online form or by sending an e-mail. Prepare all the necessary documents - usually this is a passport or birth certificate for children, a residence permit, a residence permit or the address of your temporary residence. After processing your application, you will receive a temporary protection status Aufenthaltstitel – it is not refugee status. The residence permit does not have as many restrictions as the refugee status, and what is important, you still have your passport of a citizen of Ukraine.
From June 1, 2022, the employment center will issue financial assistance to Ukrainians in Germany. The regular unemployment benefit payment is €449 per month. If you live as a family, the amount will be slightly less - 404 euros per person. Children under 5 years receive 285 euros, 6-13 years - 311 euros, 14-17 years - 376 euros per month. The country also provides additional assistance for socially vulnerable segments of the population - pregnant women, mothers or fathers who are raising a child on their own. From 2023, the amount of payments will be increased.
If you need to go to Ukraine, we have prepared information for you on how to visit relatives and not lose payments.
Where to look for work?
Before starting work, we recommend that you make sure that you have completed all the documents and have a work permit in Germany. It is best to look for work through local employment services. Before searching, you can provide the specialist with your diplomas and certificates, as well as fill out a questionnaire and provide information about work experience.
To search for a job on the Internet, we recommend using the labor exchange from the federal labor agency.
We talked about the basic rules of employment and the most in-demand professions in Germany earlier.
Children arriving in Germany have the right to attend kindergarten or school for free. To register, we recommend that you contact the youth service or social service in your region of residence within the first few weeks after your arrival.
Ukrainians who have received protection status automatically receive medical insurance, because the employment center pays for it. That is, you can seek help from doctors for free, except for medical services that are not covered by insurance.
Ukrainians who arrived in Germany under the visa-free regime with EU countries do not have medical insurance, so we advise you to take out an insurance policy - this is a guarantee of your safety and peaceful stay outside of Ukraine. In order not to have trouble abroad and to be calm for yourself and your loved ones, Visit Ukraine recommends taking out medical insurance in advance.
For those who travel by their own car
If you plan to come to Germany in your own car, make sure to purchase the appropriate insurance policy - "Green Card".
The Ukrainian driver's license is valid on the territory of Germany, and its owners are exempted from the need to carry its translation.
Number of vacancies for refugees
From the middle of September, information began to appear in the German press that Germany was closing itself to refugees from Ukraine. Currently, 12 of the 16 federal states of Germany have restricted or introduced a moratorium on the reception of new refugees from Ukraine. The country has already accepted about 1,000,000 Ukrainians, so a number of regions consider their resources exhausted. Exceptions include only those people who have close relatives living in closed regions.
Unfortunately, the German mass media do not provide a detailed list of the countries where the moratorium has started, but it is known that there are difficulties in the following regions: Saxony, Mecklenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Brandenburg.
However, this does not mean that Germany completely refuses to accept Ukrainians, because the imposed restrictions are not permanent, but are aimed solely at giving the regions time to register refugees, conduct an analysis of affordable housing and reduce the burden in general.
We also recommend that those who are planning a trip to Germany or already live in the country familiarize themselves with some of the rules for which you can receive a fine in the country. We promise, some points may even surprise you.
All the necessary information about life in Germany is collected in the information guide.
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The simultaneous stay of visitors in the hotel lobby not more than one person per 10 square meters of serviceable area is allowed.
Persons can visit hotels and stay there (outside hotel room) only if they wear respirator or face mask (including homemade mask), so that the nose and mouth are covered.
Hotel guests are obliged to keep the 1.5 meters distance.
Online check-in making in advance is recommended to avoid queues at check-in to hotel.
Meals in hotels are provided through meals delivery service to rooms upon prior order or at hotel restaurants situated inside or in open areas, provided the distance of at least 1.5 meters between seats at adjacent tables.
Not more than 4 clients are allowed to stay at the table (excluding children under 14 years old). Unless these tables are separated by a special partition;
Self-serve is not allowed.