People who have fled their home country usually have to apply for asylum in order to stay in Germany.

Current regulations on asylum and refugee protection can be found at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

Residence in Germany

Depending on whether an asylum procedure has been applied for, has progressed or has expired, there are different types of residence documents. These different residence documents have different periods of validity and contain different conditions. The project Handbook Germany provides an overview of the different titles  and the associated entitlements. Only some residence documents allow you to work. It is also possible that the place of residence cannot be freely chosen due to restrictions under aliens law. Under certain conditions, it is possible for refugees to complete internships during their studies – but here, too, there are some questions to consider (for example, what kind of internship it is, whether it is paid, etc.).

If you are not quite sure about your residence status and its possibilities, you should seek advice on residence law in order to plan your next steps.

Termination of studies

Residence documents issued on the basis of an application for asylum are not bound to the completion of studies. Therefore, the successful completion or discontinuation of studies usually does not change the validity of the residence documents. However, it should be noted that the completion of studies may have an impact on the way in which your livelihood is financed (for example, in the case of financial support according to BAföG). You can also obtain more information from the general student advisory services (allgemeine Studienberatungen) at the universities in Berlin, Brandenburg, Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.

You want to change your field of study or start an apprenticeship?

If you are not sure whether the study program you have chosen is the right one for you, you can find out about alternatives. There are various forms of study in Germany. Many subjects at universities involve mainly theoretical learning. However, there are also dual courses of study that are application-oriented and often include professional practice phases. Advice on study programs is also offered by the general student advisory services (allgemeine Studienberatungen) at universities.

Advice on degree programs is also offered by the general student advisory services of the universities in Berlin, Brandenburg, Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.

Vocational Training

In Germany, instead of studying, you can also do an apprenticeship to learn a profession. In doing so, you get to know the profession theoretically and usually also practically. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research offers information about the German training system in English.

A differentiation is made between school-based and dual in-company training. In dual in-company training, you learn the occupation directly in a company. This is why you can only do dual in-company training if you are also allowed to work. You can find out under which conditions training can be started and which state subsidies are available since the passing of the Skilled Immigration Act (Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz) in the overviews and handouts of the GGU Flüchtlingshilfe e.V. In any case, you should seek counselling.

You can find more information on the different types of training at Vocational Training and more on the website of the Federal Employment Agency.

The Welcome Centers in Berlin, Brandenburg, Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt provide helpful information and advice on access to training. The local Chambers of Industry and Commerce and the Chambers of Crafts will also be happy to advise you.

The IQ network has compiled up-to-date information on the recognition of existing professional qualifications and counselling services for refugees from Ukraine in Ukrainian.

Get advice!

Residence law issues are complex and often depend on details. The information presented here only serves as an informative overview and does not constitute legally binding information. We recommend that you always seek advice from a qualified body if you have questions about your legal status.