Entry: Arriving in Germany, entry rules, onward journey

Willkommen am Hauptbahnhof

Visa-free entry for all war refugees from Ukraine

All those people who were in Ukraine shortly before or on 24 February 2022 may enter Germany without a visa and stay in the country for a period of 90 days after their initial entry. Within these 90 days, you must apply for a residence permit if you wish to stay longer. If you want to apply for a residence permit in Berlin you must be registered there. Until your application is approved or rejected, you are allowed to work and you may apply for social benefits. You do not need a biometric passport or Schengen visa to come to Germany and Berlin. Visa-free entry is possible for all people, regardless of their nationality, if they were in Ukraine shortly before or on 24 February.

The Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community issued a ruling to this effect. If you enter Germany before 04 March 2024 without a visa and without biometric identity papers, you are still in Germany legally and can claim support. For Ukrainian citizens and people with refugee status in Ukraine, the following also applies: You are allowed to stay in Germany legally even if you were not in Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

Entry by train and car

Many refugees are entering Germany and Berlin by train. There are train connections from Gdynia, Poznań, Warszawa, Przemyśl, Kraków and Wrocław in Poland, from Budapest in Hungary and from Prague in the Czech Republic. Most trains from Poland travel to Berlin, but some also travel to Frankfurt (Oder), Cottbus and Hanover. From Budapest you can travel to Munich, Nuremberg or Passau via Vienna and from Prague to Dresden. There are rumours circulating that arrival and registration are only possible in Berlin. This is false. You can register and receive assistance in all German towns and cities.

Travelling by train is free of charge for refugees.

If you are not being picked up by friends or family at the Berlin Main Station, please follow the signs to the containers. All further help and assistance will be coordinated from there. A German Red Cross (DRK) team will greet you with marked vests and in your native language to give you advice depending on your needs. Here you can also find contact persons for unaccompanied refugee children and youth.

Take the S-Bahn or U-Bahn to the station Jungfernheide. From there, shuttle bus number 410 will take you to the Ukraine Arrival Centre at the former Berlin-Tegel airport. This bus also stops at the U-Bahn station Jakob-Kaiser-Platz and at the General-Ganeval-Brücke. You cannot reach the airport by foot! The shuttle bus is free of charge and a bus comes every 10 minutes starting on 1 May 2023. The shuttle bus will also take you from the Ukraine Arrival Centre back to the Jungfernheide station.

Alternatively, you can take bus number 109 from the stations Zoo or Charlottenburg and transfer to the shuttle bus 410 at General-Ganeval-Brücke. Please note: You must pay the regular BVG fare to take bus 109.

Until December 31, 2023, refugees may use public transportation within the VBB free of charge for a short period. The “Emergency Ticket” or the “Help Ukraine Ticket” is valid on the day of issue and the following day. These are distributed free of charge in the trains. In addition, the regulation to recognize the free ticket for one week (6 days plus the day of issue) within the Berlin AB fare zone (only BVG, S-Bahn and DBRegio) is also to be continued until December 31, 2023.

You can also enter Germany in your own car. In Germany, third-party liability insurance is mandatory.

Information on safety and security

Please note that criminals may be active at Berlin Main Station trying to take advantage of the situation war refugees are in. The police have increased their presence at the main station to ensure your safety and security. Please first go to the arrival tent “Welcome Hall Land Berlin” on Washingtonplatz in front of the main station if you require assistance or are looking for accommodation. All further assistance will be coordinated from there.

Please approach a police officer immediately and ask bystanders for help if you feel unsafe, you are being harassed or you are being offered money for accommodation. Unaccompanied children and young people are never placed directly in private accommodation, they are first registered at an initial reception centre. A mobile child protection/youth welfare team has been set up: You can identify the members by their red waistcoats with the logo “mobile child protection/youth welfare team”.

Onward travel to another federal state or EU country

If you do not wish to stay in Berlin, you can travel to another federal state free of charge. Buses are available for this purpose, for instance. You can also continue your journey by train. You can get a free “helpukraine” ticket at the DB Reisezentrum (German Rail Travel Centre). This allows you to travel to any destination in Germany and to numerous destinations abroad. It is possible to travel to Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and South Tyrol. Please note that if you register as a war refugee, you may be assigned to another federal state so that war refugees are not only hosted and provided for in the state of Berlin.

Further information


Your first days in Berlin: accommodation and support

If staying with friends or relatives in Berlin is a possibility for you, the following applies: Since you are residing in Germany legally, you do not have to register with the authorities initially. More information

Brandenburger Tor

Arrival: Important information for refugees from Ukraine

Berlin welcomes you! Below you will find the most important information on entering Germany, residence status and assistance available to you. More information

Regenbogenflagge in Berlin

Contact points for LGBTI refugees

Berlin is rainbow city and supports LGBTI refugees along with many projects and institutions. LGBTI refugees can get support at at lot of contact points in the city. More information