Residency and accommodation during the asylum process

Paar - eine Person legt der anderen den Arm um die Schulter

Once you have filed the asylum application you will be granted temporary permission to stay. This is limited to the district in which your reception facility is located (“residence obligation”). If you wish to leave this area, you will need permission from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The “residence obligation” ceases to apply after three months. Then the permission to reside will be extended to the whole of Germany. If the immigration authority (Ausländerbehörde”) does not drop the residency obligation on their own, you should apply for this change in order to avoid trouble in the case of an inspection.

You are obliged to live in the initial reception facility for the first six weeks after filing of the asylum application. You may be accommodated there for no more than six months.

After this period, asylum seekers are generally accommodated in collective accommodation (hostels). In a few German states and some cities, it is also possible to be accommodated in a flat.

If you come from one of the “secure countries of origin” (EU countries, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Senegal, Serbia), you will have to live in the initial reception facility for the entire duration of the asylum proceedings.

If you have a severe illness, you can apply to move into a flat.

In some towns and cities there are special accommodation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans refugees. The local migration counseling centers will provide information on this. Further information can be found here.

If family members or your civil partner already live in Germany, you can apply for permission to relocate. The family members or the civil partner can also apply for relocation.

The authority responsible for such applications differs greatly, too. It’s best to get support from a counseling service for asylum seekers.