Residency in Berlin
Overview of actual regulations for the stay in Berlin
Entry and application for a residence permit:
Before the war outbreak, people from Ukraine who wanted to come to Berlin to study needed an entry visa and a residence permit for studying or preparing for studies. This has changed due to the EU Council decision of March 4th, 2022, the subsequent Ukraine Transitional Residence Ordinance and the circular of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Homeland (BMI) of March 14, 2022. All people who stayed in Ukraine shortly before or on February 24, 2022 can now enter Germany without a visa until May 31, 2023 and stay in Germany for a period of 90 days after the first entry. You must apply for a residence permit within these 90 days if you wish to stay longer. You can find information on the procedure here.
Residence permit for temporary protection according to Section 24 of the Residence Act
People who had to flee Ukraine because of the war are granted a humanitarian residence permit for temporary protection under Section 24 of the Residence Act (AufenthG).
Refugees who are permanently accommodated in Berlin can now apply for this residence permit online at the State Office for Immigration (LEA).
Who is beneficiary?
The basis for the regulation on temporary protection is the decision of the Council of the European Union of March 4th, 2022. However, students from third countries other than Ukraine were not covered by this. In Germany, this group of people has also been included in the scope of protection of Section 24 of the Residence Act through circulars from the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The following are now covered by the decision of the Council of the European Union of March 4th, 2022:
- Ukrainian nationals who had their permanent residence in Ukraine before February 24, 2022
- Stateless persons and nationals of other third countries who where under international protection in Ukraine or possessed equivalent national protection status before February 24, 2022
- Family members (spouse, partner, mother or father of a Ukrainian child as well as holders of unlimited residence permit in Ukraine) as well as
- Stateless persons and nationals of other third countries who can prove that they were legally residing in Ukraine before February 24, 2022 on the basis of a residence permit (temporary and permanent) issued under Ukrainian law and who are unable to return to their country or region of origin permanently and safely.
Berlin special regulations for students
The Senate has made the following regulations for students in Berlin:
1) Case 1: students who are covered by the scope of application of the implementation decision (EU) 2022/382 March 4th, 2022 (see above: "Who is beneficiary") can receive a residence permit according to § 24 AufenthG.
Ukrainian nationals who came to Berlin as students with a residence permit to study before the war can, under certain circumstances, apply for a residence permit for refugees if their residence permit to study expires and they no longer receive an extension because the requirements of Section 16b of the Residence Act are no longer met, or if the requirements of this section no longer apply while the residence permit to study is still valid. This is possible, for example, if the studies are terminated or discontinued or the livelihood for the studies is no longer secured.
It does not matter when they entered Germany, whether before or after 24 February 2022. More infos is to be found here (in German).
2) Case 2: in cases in which the State Office for Immigration (LEA) involves the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in the examination procedure of Section 24 Residence Act, the LEA issues a fictional certificate (Fiktionsbescheinigung) in accordance with Section of the 24 Residence Act for an initial period of twelve months.
These are cases in which third-country nationals claim they cannot safely return to their country of origin on a permanent basis. These individuals are first given a two-month period for consideration and consultation by the LEA and then given another appointment. At this appointment, the LEA examines whether reasons have been given for not being able to return safely. These stated reasons are then usually forwarded to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees to verify whether the reasons are valid. The third-country national is issued a fictitious certificate for twelve months after a so-called identification service. The decision as to whether there is a safe and permanent possibility of return to the country of origin is the sole responsibility of the LEA.
Should the reasons presented by the third-country national prove to be insufficient, the 12 months should be used to create the conditions for the issuance of another residence title, such as residence for the purpose of studying or preparing for studies, see below.
3) Case 3: Students who meet all the requirements for being granted a residence permit other than § 24 AufenthG can receive this residence permit upon application and therefore do not require any special support regarding residence law.
4) Case 4: Students who do not fall under any of the aforementioned case groups will receive a fictional certificate in accordance with Section 24 of the Residence Act for a period of six months if they can credibly demonstrate that they were and have studied in Ukraine at the time the full-scale war broke out (February 24, 2022).
News: On 14.03.23, the Berlin Senate decided on an extension of the fictitious certificates for third-country nationals. This concerns people who belong to case group 4 and whose fiction certificates would have expired these days. These people receive a 6-month extension of their fiction certificate in order to fulfil the requirements for a student or work visa. See TAZ newspaper from 17th March 2023.
Residence according to § 24 AufenthG:
With a residence title according to § 24 AufenthG you have the following possibilities:
- Studying allowed
- Unlimited employment permitted
- Right to receive social benefits such as BAföG or citizen's allowance if the other requirements are met
- There is usually a residency requirement
- Valid until 03/04/2024 if the regulation is not extended
Other residence permits for students:
If you do not meet the requirements for obtaining a residence permit for temporary protection or cannot provide evidence of this, another residence permit may be an option for you, for example a residence permit in accordance with § 16b AufenthG.
This has the following requirements:
- Valid passport
- Proof of being able to secure a living in Germany from your own means (around €11,000 for one year)
- Adequate health insurance
- Certificate of enrollment or conditional admission from the university to a full-time course
- Proof of your main place of residence in Berlin or rental contract and confirmation of moving in from the landlord
With the residence permit according to § 16b AufenthG you can:
- Complete a subject-specific degree
- Work 120 full days or 240 half days per year of stay as an employee. A special regulation applies to university-related activities
- Apart from a few exceptions, it is not possible to apply for social benefits
- There is no residency requirement here (you don’t have to live in the same place)
- Valid for at least 1 year, at most 2 years. Will be extended after re-examination if all requirements are still met.
You can find more information and advice on your stay here:
International offices of state universities and universities of applied science:
Information from LEA:
Information from Berlin Senate:
Glossary Residence and Social Law for International Students in german and english
Disclaimer: The advice and assistance provided by the Center for Student Refugees is subject to careful examination of the content. However, we do not assume any liability for the content. All advice and assistance are of a general nature and cannot cover every individual case in a binding manner. If you have any further questions, we will be happy to help you during our consultation appointments.