Asylum seekers waiting to file their application / © DW
Asylum seekers waiting to file their application / © DW

In Germany, a migrant seeking asylum needs to formally apply at the Federal Office of Migration and Refugees (BAMF). This can be quite a long process and needs to be started as soon as possible after the asylum seeker enters the country.

Sometimes, the BAMF is unable to process or even accept asylum applications. In this situation, the office issues a temporary permit that identifies the migrant as a person who has applied for asylum. This document is called the "Bescheinigung über die Meldung als Asylsuchender" (BÜMA).

When filing for asylum, officials will take your pictures and fingerprints. They may also ask you questions about your personal life, your last place of residence in your home town, your parents and grandparents and about your journey to Europe. These questions may also be asked at a later stage, when you appear for a personal interview with the authorities.

After the asylum application is registered, you get a document called an "Aufenthaltsgestattung" or a permit to stay in Germany. This serves as your identity card and you need to keep it with you at all times.

The asylum process

While looking at an applicant's request for asylum, officials look at two things:

  1. Is Germany responsible for processing the asylum application? According to the Dublin regulation, a refugee's asylum application is to be processed in country which served as his point of entry into the European Union. If your application is not rejected because of the Dublin regulation, you will be called for an interview according to the asylum law, also known in German as "Anhörung gemäß §25 Asylverfahrensgesetz."

  2. Officials investigate questions like whether you were persecuted in your home country and what you would have to face if you were to go back. They also check whether you could be in danger in your home country because of your skin color, your sexual orientation and political and religious leanings.

The interview

The interview is one of the most important steps in an asylum application and is decisive for the success of your application. The interview with asylum officials should ideally take place some days after you file your application. However, the real process takes months to complete.

The BAMF could also schedule another interview to ask you whether you have applied for asylum in another country. This appointment is for the "Dublin regulation." In case of doubt, you can always contact a counselling organization like ProAsyl or Caritas for help.

You will have to notify the BAMF if you cannot attend the interview on the given date. If you cannot attend for health reasons, you will have to get a document from your doctor.

You can also ask for an interpreter while applying for asylum. If you want a female interpreter, you can communicate your wish to the BAMF authorities. You can also take a "person of trust" with you to accompany you during the interview.

At the end of the interview, officials summarize their answers and your questions in a document. These are recorded in writing or through a voice recorder. The summary is then read out to you and you have the option of correcting the statement. Finally, you will asked to sign the document.

The BAMF's decision

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees sends its decision on your asylum application through a letter. This is known as the "Bescheid." The decision can also be sent to your lawyer, if you so wish.

If your asylum application is rejected, you can appeal at a court against the decision. However, you need to register your appeal as soon as possible. Usually the first page of the decision tells you how much time you have to file an appeal at the courts. In most cases, the applicant has two weeks to file an application.

However, in cases where an asylum is rejected because the reasons given by the applicant are considered unjustified, the applicant only has a week's time to appeal against the decision. In many instances, the application is not entertained at all, because the BAMF has found that another EU member state is responsible for the asylum application. In this case too, you have a week's time to appeal against the court's decision.

In all cases, you need to contact your lawyer as soon as possible to appeal against the rejection.

Source: Informationsverband Asyl und Migration


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