Kurzlink: www.bra.nrw.de/3056323
Bereich: Integration, Migration > Flüchtlinge in NRW > Information for refugees

Frequently asked questions Gehört zum Bereich Integration, Migration

of the arriving refugees

What should I do once I arrive in Germany?

When you enter Germany as a refugee, the first thing you must do is go to a refugee reception center, available in each state. The federal police or the immigration office can send you there, or you can register at your local police station or city hall. The important thing is to register so that we can assist you and help you to avoid difficulties. At the refugee reception center you will receive food and a place to live which you will share with other refugees.

What happens at the refugee reception center?

Upon your arrival, you will be registered, given a medical exam and X-rayed. You may also be vaccinated. Employees at the reception center will give you all the information you need to facilitate your arrival in Germany. The refugee reception center will register you with the Foreigners’ Registration Office and you will receive a confirmation of your registration as an asylum seeker. In German, this confirmation is called the BüMA (Bescheinigung über die Meldung als Asylsuchender). Usually you will stay at the refugee reception center for only a short time before being sent on either to a central refugee center or, if there is not enough room available, to an emergency shelter.

What does registration entail?

When you register, you must provide your personal information. For this you will need your passport. Please also let us know if you already have relatives in Germany or if you have travelled with other family members. This information will be entered into a computer database that will be used to determine which city or community in Germany you will be sent to. You can see an overview of how registration works here.

Where can I file for asylum?

Once you have filed for asylum at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Außenstelle des Bundesamtes für Migration und Flüchtlinge or BAMF), you will receive temporary permission to stay in Germany legally. After this you will be given an interview date. During this interview, you can explain why you have left your country of origin. The BAMF will evaluate your case and make a decision. As there are so many refugees coming to Germany at this time, there may be quite a long wait before you can file for asylum.

You can see an overview of the process of filing for asylum here:

How long will I stay in the central refugee center?

You will stay in the central refugee center or in an emergency shelter for a maximum period of three months. After this you will be assigned to a municipality within NRW and you will stay there until the BAMF has decided your case.

What is the process like?

You can find an overview of the process here.

Where will I get food, clothing and everyday necessities?

While staying in a shelter, you will be provided with these items. In addition, you will receive a small monthly allowance to cover your personal expenses.

What kinds of medical examinations are carried out?

For the first few weeks or months of their stay in North Rhine Westphalia, refugees share their living quarters with a number of other refugees from different countries in large centers. In order to minimize the risk of sickness, all refugees are checked for contagious diseases. The examination includes X-rays of the lungs to ensure that no one has tuberculosis. Children under the age of 15 and pregnant women will be given a blood test instead of an X-ray. Doctors will check your vaccination certificates and you may receive vaccinations against contagious diseases if so desired.

Films on the German health care system:

Seven easily comprehensible films on seven different topics have been produced in a project sponsored by the Ministry of Health. Their aim consists in providing migrants with easily comprehensible information on the German health care system, medical care and disease prevention.

These films can both be watched on and downloaded from the multilingual website www.drkgesundheitsfilme.de free of charge. All films are available in German, English, Sorani (Kurdish) and Arabic.

They provide information on the following topics:

  • the health care system
  • pregnancy and childbirth
  • protection against infections
  • mental health
  • children’s health
  • healthy teeth
  • cancer prevention

What will be done to ensure my security?

You can feel safe in the accommodation centres. A security service safeguarding the facility is on duty in each centre. Staff of the regional government (German: Bezirksregierung) regularly check whether the security service performs its duties properly.

Where can I find help and advice?

Workers in the shelters will be glad to help you. In addition, there are information desks available at the central refugee centers. You can receive help and advice here if you have questions about daily life in Germany or if you are worried about family members; furthermore, you can inquire here if you have experienced difficulties before, during or after your arrival in Germany. You can also ask questions about your asylum application.

What are my responsibilities?

Please remain in the refugee reception center to which you were assigned. This way we can reach you quickly and you will not run the risk of missing important appointments.

It is always possible that a police or administrative officer may ask you to identify yourself. You do not need to be afraid of this, but please always make sure to have your most current documentation with you so that you can show the officers that you are in Germany legally.

Administrative officers of the BAMF will need to know where you come from, why you had to leave your country of origin and how you came to Germany. Documents from your home country and any other documents you were given along the way will help during the evaluation process.

When will I be assigned a city or municipality?

You and your family should be assigned a city or municipality in NRW after three months at a central or emergency refugee reception center at the very latest.

Before this can happen, you must have been registered, given a medical exam, X-rayed and offered vaccinations.

Can I move to another city?

Once you have been assigned to a particular city or municipality in NRW, you may be able to request a change successfully under certain circumstances. This is called ‘reallocation’ and may be permitted in order to reunite spouses or families with their underage children or in cases of hardship. In order to request reallocation within NRW you will need to file an application with the district council of Arnsberg explaining your reasons clearly and concisely. Please be aware that any foreign language documents you have must also be presented in German translation.

If you are filing an application to move to a state other than NRW in Germany, please apply directly to the office in the state in which you would like to live.

Here you can find more information.

Will my children go to kindergarten or school?

Once you and your family have been assigned a city or municipality and have filed for asylum, your children’s attendance in school is mandatory. You will be notified of this by the city in which you live.

Smaller children under the age of 6 may attend kindergarten.

Can I work?

Whether or not you can work depends on the length of time you have spent here as well as your status. As long as you are living in a central or an emergency refugee reception center you are not permitted to work.

Once you and your family have been assigned a city or municipality and have filed for asylum with the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), you may be granted permission to work after three months.

Those refugees who have officially been granted asylum by the BAMF are allowed to work without restrictions. Refugees are not allowed to work independently. More information on refugee employment is available from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) or your local immigration office.

Can I rent my own apartment?

Usually you will be able to rent your own apartment only once your right of asylum has been officially granted by the BAMF.

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