The recognition procedure for asylum seekers is regulated by the Asylum Act (AsylG).
A foreigner who wishes to claim the right of asylum must submit an application for asylum. He can only do this if he is in the Federal Republic of Germany or at least reports to the German border authority. It is not possible to apply for asylum from abroad or at a German mission abroad.
Foreigners who register as asylum-seekers in Germany or those who register as asylum-seekers at the border and are allowed entry into the Federal Republic of Germany by the border authority are forwarded to reception facilities. With the help of a nationwide distribution system, they are distributed to the individual federal states in accordance with a key laid down in the Asylum Act, and the competent reception facility is determined.
The asylum seeker can then apply for asylum at the branch office of the Federal Office which is assigned to the competent initial reception facility. Asylum must always be applied for in person. Only in special cases can the asylum application be made in writing.
The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees collects personal data and carries out the prescribed identification procedure. In this context, it is also checked whether an application for asylum has already been filed in the federal territory or in another member state of the European Union. Whether another member state of the European Union is responsible for conducting the asylum procedure depends on the criteria laid down in the so-called Dublin Regulation (EU Regulation No. 604/2013 (Dublin III).
The asylum seeker receives a residence permit which grants a temporary right of residence for the duration of the asylum procedure (and possibly during the subsequent administrative court review of the Federal Office's decision) (see also "Related topics"- "Residence permit; issuance and extension").
The asylum seeker is personally interviewed by the asylum procedure officer (with the assistance of an interpreter) about his or her travel route and reasons for persecution.
In the asylum procedure, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) must check whether an asylum seeker belongs to one of the following groups of persons:
- Politically persecuted persons are recognized as entitled to asylum in accordance with Article 16 a of the Basic Law (GG) if they are affected by targeted persecution measures by state organs in the entire territory of their country of origin. They are granted a temporary residence permit for their further stay in Germany. Those who enter Germany from a safe third country are not entitled to asylum. Safe third countries are primarily the member states of the European Union as well as other states designated by the Asylum Act (AsylG) in which the application of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Geneva Refugee Convention - GFK) and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (EMRK) is guaranteed. As a rule, therefore, asylum seekers who enter the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany by land cannot be granted asylum.
- Refugee status under the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Geneva Convention) is granted to a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group (including gender) or political opinion, is outside the country of nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country. In German law, this description of refugee status is found in section 3 of the Asylum Act (AsylG) and section 60(1) of the Residence Act (AufenthG). Refugee status may also be granted in cases of non-state persecution if the state or the parties or organisations controlling the territory of the state (or the substantial part thereof), including international organisations, are shown to be unable or unwilling to provide protection from persecution
- International subsidiary protection is granted to persons who are threatened with serious harm within the meaning of Directive 2011/95/EC in their country of origin (section 4 Asylum Act). This includes the imposition or execution of the death penalty, torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or a serious individual threat to life or integrity as a result of indiscriminate violence in the context of an international or internal armed conflict.
- The fourth group concerns foreigners who are not recognised as persons entitled to asylum, refugees or persons entitled to international subsidiary protection, but who are subject to a national ban on deportation pursuant to section 60(5) or (7) of the Residence Act. A ban on deportation is established, for example, if the person concerned faces an individual, considerable and concrete threat to his or her life or health in the country of destination.
On the basis of a positive decision by the Federal Office, persons entitled to protection are granted a temporary residence permit (section 25 (1) to (3) Residence Act). As a rule, persons entitled to asylum and recognised refugees are granted a settlement permit for permanent residence after only three years (section 26 (3) Residence Act). Subsidiary protected persons and persons for whom a ban on deportation has been established can be issued a settlement permit after five years (section 26 (4) Residence Act).
The decision of the Federal Office in the asylum procedure always depends on the individual case of the applicant. The decisive factor here is the hearing as well as additional investigations, which are arranged if necessary.
The Federal Office also obtains the necessary information on the actual situation in the individual countries of origin (e.g. through information from the Federal Foreign Office or the UNHCR). Since this is an individual procedure, the duration of the procedure may vary and the results may also differ for persons of the same origin.
The decision of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees on the asylum application is made in writing, accompanied by instructions on how to appeal.
The foreigners authorities are bound by the (positive and negative) decisions of the Federal Office, which may be reviewed by the independent administrative courts. In the case of a positive decision, they are responsible for issuing the residence permit. In the case of a negative decision, they are responsible for ending the stay of rejected asylum seekers in Germany after they have been allowed to leave voluntarily by means of forced deportation.
Further information on asylum law and the asylum procedure can be found on the website of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (see "Further links").
Attention: With the cabinet reshuffle of 21 March 2018, the Bavarian State Ministry of the Interior has taken over the tasks of integration and asylum social administration. Consequently, the Bavarian State Ministry of the Interior and Integration is now responsible for the reception, the state-wide distribution as well as the accommodation and social care of asylum seekers during the asylum procedure, which provides further information on its website (see "Further links").