As soon as you have arrived in Germany you have to inform the authorities (for example the immigration office or the police) that you want to apply for asylum. Then you get assigned to one of the initial reception facilities for asylum seekers in Thuringia. This is where you will live for the next weeks. After a while you will be transferred to one of the rural or urban districts in Thuringia. This should take no more than six months although applicants from so-called safe states of origin might have to wait longer.
In the preliminary reception centre you will be informed where and when you can apply for asylum. Before you apply for asylum you should receive an identification document, the so-called BÜMA (registration document for asylum-seekers).
You have to apply for asylum personally at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). In Thuringia you can do this at one of the three branches of the BAMF, in Hermsdorf, Suhl and Mühlhausen. Usually, you will have two appointments at the BAMF (refugees from some countries may only have one appointment as they might have a written hearing of their application).
At the first appointment you will have to fill out a questionnaire with the help of an interpreter. Your personal data will be collected, finger prints will be taken, and you will be photographed (please bring all your documents). At the second appointment you will be questioned by an employee of the BAMF about your reasons for leaving your home country and for applying for asylum. An interpreter will help you with the interview. It is very important that you give a detailed account of why you were being persecuted. If possible, you should provide means of evidence. If you are ill you need to present medical certificates to the BAMF. You may also bring a legal adviser or counsellor to the hearing.
If you have poor prospects to remain in Germany and you will likely not receive a residence permit, your asylum procedure may differ from this description. This may be the case i.e. for individuals from “safe countries of origin” (currently Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Senegal and Serbia; planned are additionally Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia).
The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) will send you a written decision about your asylum application. The decision can take a few days or even months or years. It is important to regularly check if you have any letters so you do not miss anything, for example the deadline for an appeal. Then, if your asylum is not granted, you can take legal action.
While you wait for the decision you are allowed to stay in Germany and cannot be deported. During this time you have a so-called Aufenthaltsgestattung (the permission to remain in Germany). The decision of the BAMF may state that you are either entitled to asylum, that you are granted subsidiary protection, or that your deportation is prohibited (principle of non-refoulement).
The BAMF could also decide that Germany is not responsible for your asylum application. You would then have to return to another member state of the EU and apply for Asylum there (Dublin Prodecure). Usually, you return to the country where you first entered the European Union.
If the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) partly or fully rejects your application or if it deems another EU country responsible you can take legal action through the administrative courts. In this case, you should seek help at a counselling centre or enlist the services of a lawyer. Please note that there will be certain deadlines for the appeal. The written decision of the BAMF also informs you about those deadlines. If you miss the deadlines you will loose the opportunity to appeal against your rejected application.
In Thuringia you can also contact the Commission on Hardship Cases (Thuringian HFK). In case of urgent humanitarian or personal circumstances, the Thuringian HFK examines if you can obtain a residence permit. Only members of the Thuringian HFK can bring such cases before the board which is why you have to appeal to one of the members. The Thuringian Ministry of Migration, Justice and Consumer Protection (BIMF(at)tmmjv.thueringen.de) can help you find information on how to contact the HFK members and on other things you have to consider.
If you are entitled to asylum or if you are a recognised refugee you will receive a residence permit which is time-limited to three years. You can also be granted subsidiary protection. This happens if you are at risk of serious injury in your country of origin, for example because of torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. A third option is the prohibition of deportation – you may not be deported as you could face a concrete or an extreme danger on return (principle of non-refoulement). If you have subsidiary protection or if your deportation is prohibited you will receive a residence permit which is valid for one year, and can be extended.
In the event that your application is rejected you will have to leave Germany. If it is impossible for you to return to your home country you receive a temporary suspension of removal, the so-called “Duldung”. For example, you may not be deported to a country where your life or liberty is under threat on account of your race, religion, nationality, membership of a certain social group or political convictions.