Political asylum

Mann mit Mütze

Under the German constitution (“Grundgesetz”), people are entitled to asylum if they are subject to personal political persecution by the government.

Persecution is political if it is directed at certain characteristics: at the political opinion, nationality, “race”, religion or a membership in a certain social group. This also includes persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity – which means because you are lesbian, gay or bisexual and/or trans* (LGBT).

Persecution by the government on the basis of your sexual orientation is usually a question of your homosexuality being persecuted by laws that could lead to a prison sentence. It is also important that such laws are applied. Should private citizens persecute you on account of your sexual orientation, it is a question of whether the government authorities provide you with protection (further information here).

In order to be entitled to asylum under the German constitution, you must:

  • Not have entered Germany via what is referred to as secure third countries (EU countries, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein).
  • If you come from what is known as a secure country of origin (EU countries, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Senegal, Serbia), the German authorities will assume that you are not actually persecuted. In such cases, you will have to prove that you are indeed persecuted.

In order to be granted political asylum, you will have to file an asylum application.

Because refugees have to substantiate that they did not travel to Germany via what is referred to as a secure third country, asylum as a protection status is hardly ever granted in practice.