Registering as a war refugee: rights and obligations arising from temporary protection status

Ukrainische Pässe

Ukrainian refugees who have fled Ukraine since 24 February 2022 can obtain war-refugee status throughout the EU. This is also known as temporary protection status.

Firstly, we review whether you will stay in Berlin or be assigned to another federal state. If you have relatives or close friends in Berlin, please inform us at the Arrival Centre. As a rule, you can stay in Berlin if you have relatives here.

The following persons receive temporary protection status:
  • Ukrainian nationals and their close family members who have fled Ukraine since 24 February 2022
  • Non-Ukrainian nationals, stateless persons and their close family members who are recognised as refugees in Ukraine or possess international protection status
  • Non-Ukrainian nationals who cannot return safely to their country of origin

Registration in the Arrival Centre or online application: assistance with your decision

You are not required to register or apply for a residence permit until the end of 31 August 2022. Until then, you can stay in Germany legally without a visa. However, if you wish to work or claim social benefits, you must register. Depending on your situation, you must first report to the Arrival Centre in Berlin-Tegel or you can make your online application for a residence permit right away.

Registering as a war refugee and the allocation decision

If you have no accommodation or your own accommodation arrangements are just temporary, you can only apply for your residence permit after registration. To apply for a residence permit, go to the Arrival Centre at Tegel Airport. You can use the free shuttle buses from the main railway station, from the General-Ganeval-Brücke bus stop and from the P3 car park at Tegel Airport.

First, however, we assess whether you can stay in Berlin or will be assigned to another federal state in Germany. The allocation takes place according to the Königstein distribution scale, by which about 5 percent of all refugees can stay in Berlin. If another federal state is responsible for your accommodation and supplying your basic needs, you can travel there free of charge and apply for a residence permit on arrival. If you have relatives in Berlin you can usually remain in Berlin. This applies regardless of whether your relatives have lived in Berlin for some time or whether they also fled from the war and already have a right of residence in Berlin. During your allocation process, you should make sure to say where your relatives (if any) are.

If you are able to stay in Berlin, you will also be registered at the Arrival Centre in Tegel.

Registration usually takes 20 to 60 minutes. To make sure the appointment goes as smoothly as possible, please bring the following documents with you:

  • Ukrainian identity documents or residence permit in Ukraine
  • If available: residents’ registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung), lease or your current address if you have made your own accommodation arrangements with friends or family.

Your registration will entitle you to claim social benefits. However, you are not yet allowed to work and do not yet have a residence permit. To receive a residence permit you have to apply online.

Applying for a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis)

If you are registered in Berlin or have found permanent accommodation in Berlin, you can apply for a residence permit. An online procedure is available for this. You can access the online application here. If you complete the online application even though you do not yet have a definite place to stay, you will receive an email with an appointment for registration.

The temporary residence permit will be issued for an initial period of two years; depending on how the situation develops, it may be possible to extend this to three years. It may take some time to process your application due to the very high number of refugees. All rights and obligations arising from the temporary residence permit will already apply to you through the confirmation (“Certificate of an application for refugees from Ukraine for temporary protection under §24 Residence Act”) you will receive after completing the online application.

Rights: You are entitled to these benefits as a war refugee

If you have submitted an online application for a residence permit or have been registered in Berlin, you are entitled to claim social benefits and standard health care.

After submitting your online application for a residence permit, you will receive a PDF document (known as a “Fiktionsbescheinigung” or initial permit) as confirmation. This certificate or the confirmation of registration in Berlin allows you to apply for social benefits – for instance a health card or accommodation costs. You apply for these at the social services (Sozialamt) office responsible for you, which belongs to the district you are living in. An overview of the social services offices in Berlin is available here. In order for the costs of your accommodation to be paid, some requirements must be met. You need a tenancy or subtenancy agreement. In addition, the rent must not exceed certain maximum limits and the accommodation must comply with certain minimum sizes, depending on the number of residents. You can find more information here.

The certificate of your online application also allows you to work.

Obligations for war refugees

As a matter of principle, you must follow the laws and regulations applicable in Germany and Berlin.

Children aged six or older are required to attend school. Refugee children must also attend school after arriving in Germany. Further information is available here.

Rules for non-Ukrainian refugees

As things currently stand, people who were staying in Ukraine with temporary residence status – such as students – can usually apply for temporary protection status. With a Schengen visa you are allowed to stay in Germany for up to 90 days but are not allowed to work. Once the 90 days are over, you must leave Germany or apply to extend your Schengen visa. It is possible that temporary protection status will be extended to international students, but this has not been decided yet. You can only apply for war-refugee status if it is not possible to return to your home country.

Persons undergoing an asylum procedure in Ukraine or whose asylum application was rejected in Ukraine will also not be granted temporary protection status. They can apply for asylum in Germany but should urgently seek advice before doing so.

Further information


Applying for social benefits

Information on applying for social benefits: downloading the form, the required documents and the contact details of the relevant office. Applying for social benefits