Aspects of daily life

Residence on humanitarian grounds

A foreigner's residence on humanitarian or political grounds or under international law is primarily possible in the following cases:

  • a foreigner must be granted a residence permit (legal entitlement) if he has been incontestably identified by the Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge as a person entitled to asylum (a person persecuted on political grounds in terms of Article 16a, Para 1 of the Basic Constitutional Law for the Federal Republic of Germany), or a foreign refugee in the sense of the Agreement dated 28th July 1951 concerning the legal status of refugees (also known as a Convention refugee). The foreigner's residence is regarded as allowed until the residence permit is issued. The residence permit entitles the holder to pursue an occupation.
  • a residence permit is to be granted if there is a deportation ban to a specific state which is independent from the claim for asylum (if the person concerned is threatened e.g. by torture, inhuman treatment or the death penalty in the state in which he/she is to be deported).
  • a temporary residence permit can be issued if there are other obstacles to departure. The prerequisite is that it is impossible to leave the country for reasons in fact or in law. It should not be likely that the obstacle to departure will be removed in the foreseeable future. As a general rule, the residence permit may not be issued if the foreigner has brought about the obstacle to deportation himself or herself and could remove this obstacle.
  • even if a foreigner has become the victim of a criminal offence pursuant to §§ 232, 233 or 233a of the Criminal Code (human trafficking) and he/she should testify as a witness, he/she can normally be granted a residence permit for a period of six months, which can be renewed if necessary.
  • well-integrated youths or adolescents can be issued a residence permit if it seems to be ensured that they can become integrated into the German way of life due to their previous training and living conditions.

In addition, in particular cases there are additional reasons if necessary to grant a residence permit on humanitarian or political grounds or under international law.

  • a foreigner may be issued with a residence permit for the purpose of admission from abroad under international law or on urgent humanitarian grounds if the Bundesministerium des Innern or the body designated by the Federal Ministry has declared that the foreigner may be admitted to uphold political interests.
  • furthermore, the supreme Federal State authorities may order a residence permit to be granted to foreigners from certain states or to certain groups of foreigners defined by other means, under international law, humanitarian grounds or to uphold the political interests of the Federal Republic of Germany (also known as the "Bleiberechtsregelungen"). In order to ensure a uniform approach nationwide, this order needs the approval of the Bundesministerium des Innern.
  • if the Hardship Commission (Härtefallkommission) looks into the matter (hardship petition), the supreme Federal State authority may order a residence permit to be issued to a foreigner under final obligation to leave the country. This deviates from the requirements for the issuance and renewal of residence titles set out in this law.

The residence permit based on the above-mentioned reasons can be issued and renewed for up to a maximum of three years, in many cases only up to a maximum of six months, if the foreigner has not yet been legally resident in Germany for at least 18 months.

Under certain circumstances, tolerated persons who are qualified can receive a residence permit, which authorises them to work. More details can be found under "Residence for employment purposes for tolerated persons who are qualified".

Foreigners who have been incontestably recognised as persons entitled to asylum or Convention refugees will be issued with a permanent settlement permit after three years providing that the Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge has previously notified the authority for foreign nationals that the foreigner's original reasons for fleeing their homeland continue to apply. Otherwise, a permanent settlement permit can be issued under certain conditions after seven years if the residence falls under international law, humanitarian or political grounds.

Note: The residence permit may not be renewed if the obstacle to departure or other grounds preventing a termination of residence have ceased to apply.

Generally speaking, the subsequent immigration of dependants is possible for spouses and children, who are minors of a foreigner and who are incontestably recognised as a person entitled to asylum or as a Convention refugee.
Otherwise, the subsequent immigration of dependants under the scope of a residence authorised under international law or on humanitarian or political reasons is only possible in very limited situations.

Release note

The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Innenministerium released it on 19.11.2014. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.
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