Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine has been going on for more than three months, and many people have since fled. Tens of thousands of people have also sought and found protection in Saxony in recent weeks. There is always talk of a 90-day period during which arrivals receive protection. In theory, this will be achieved after May 25, depending on entry. What is all this and what happens next? We have collected some information.
What does the 90-day period mean?
Since 2017, people from Ukraine have been able to stay in Germany for 90 days a year without a visa. With the onset of the war, it was no longer necessary to apply for at least the so-called residence permit – that is, to register when entering the country. Instead, a May 23 deadline was set for those who arrived to report to the authorities. Since deadlines are sometimes slow in many municipalities due to the rush, the deadline has now been extended to August 31. This means that for the next 100 days, no one will have to fear expulsion without registering. By the way, this also affects people of other nationalities who previously lived in Ukraine and who now receive the same protection as indigenous Ukrainians.
Should refugees register at all?
“Yes, registration at the arrival center is mandatory and includes both registration in the Citizens Service and the application for a residence permit,” says the Leipzig Administration Department. According to the new deadline from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), this application must be submitted by August 31 at the latest. Even if no other benefits are claimed, residence status is necessary so that you can find protection in Germany afterwards.
How long can people from Ukraine stay in total?
Anyone who has registered can stay for at least a year and, unlike other asylum seekers, can also move freely in the country. “If temporary protection is not terminated, it will be automatically extended for six months at a time, but for a maximum of one year,” said the Leipzig city administration. Depending on their initial registration in Germany, those affected can remain in the country at least until February 2024 – even without applying for asylum. By the way, it is expressly advised not to introduce this before the end of the two years. “However, the right to apply for asylum at a later time still exists independently of this,” says the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).
How often do refugees have to report to the authorities?
It is enough to register once with the authorities at the point of arrival or at one of the primary reception facilities, where the residence permit is automatically renewed within two years. However, those who arrive often first receive a so-called phantom certificate – that is, a temporary residence permit. If this is then approved, the letter should usually be received. So it is usually necessary to make two appointments.
Do I have to apply for benefits over and over again?
No. In principle, it is enough to apply for social benefit once and then pay it monthly. Anyone who has opened an account in a German bank, will receive support automatically. With 2,500 Ukrainian families in Leipzig, this is already the case, they say. At the Trade Fair City Access Center, for example, a savings bank can give on-site advice.
But: anyone who does not have such an account can only receive support in the form of checks – which are issued monthly at the authority. An appointment should also be made if new certificates are needed for a free doctor visit or for a planned relocation. At the Leipzig Arrivals Center there are two color-coded areas for initial registration and re-submission.
In addition, from June 1, it may become necessary for everyone with social benefits to take up their position again. The federal and state governments plan to grant support to Ukrainian refugees not only under the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act, but also in accordance with Basic Security (Hartz IV / SGB II). That’s more than a few euros each month. “A new application is required for this. The City of Leipzig is striving for a solution using largely filled out application forms, for which it will not be necessary to make an appointment in person.” However, the actual specs from Berlin have yet to be awaited.
By Matthias Bobby