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Niedersachsen-Guide for Refugees

Niedersachsen-Kompass für Flüchtlinge (deutsche Version)

About Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen)

Niedersachsen: From the Mountains to the Sea

Welcome to Niedersachsen! Find out more about this federal state: It lies by the sea, and also has one of the highest mountain ranges in Northern Germany. mehr

Where do I submit my application for asylum?

There are three initial reception centers in Niedersachsen where you can apply for asylum: They are located in the cities of Braunschweig, Friedland and Bramsche. You will be staying there for a few weeks. Then you will be brought to a different reception center somewhere in Niedersachsen or relocated to another federal state. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (German abbreviation: BAMF) is in charge of granting or denying political asylum.

Where do I find advice and assistance in dealing with local authorities?

Reception centers work closely with local volunteers and non-governmental organizations that help refugees to settle in.

Where can I take German classes?

Approved refugees have the right to participate in an integration course (in German: Integrationskurs). The course schedule includes 600 hours of German lessons and 60 hours of German politics and history classes. Refugees whose applications have not been approved yet but are likely to stay can apply at the Foreigners’ Registration Office (in German: Ausländerbehörde) to take part as well.

Where do I get clothes?

Many nonprofit organizations offer donated clothes to refugees (in German: Kleiderkammer). Here you’ll find clothes for either very little money or even for free. Ask at a reception center, the German Red Cross (Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, DRK), Diakonie oder Caritas to find the Kleiderkammer nearest to you.

How do I find work?

There are several web pages where job offers are listed online. Also, many companies have a section on their official homepage where they list the names of persons to contact and specific job offers.

The jobcenter from the Federal Employment Agency is officially in charge of tracking job vacancies. To get assistance on finding a job, ask for an appointment at the jobcenter that is responsible for you. This is usually the one closest to where you live.

The German Chamber of Commerce (in German: Industrie- und Handelskammer, IHK) is the place to get legal recognition of your job training qualification. You will find helpful information on the official web forum "Recognition in Germany" or by calling their head office in Berlin: (030) 18 15 11 11.

Recognition of higher education - like school qualification, university diplomas, and other certificates - is granted by universities and colleges directly. Contact their registrar's office or international student board. 

What to do when I'm feeling ill?

As an asylum seeker, you have the right to medical treatment if you are pregnant, in pain, or suffering from an acute illness. But to see a doctor, you have to apply for a health insurance voucher first at the the welfare department (Sozialamt). Unfortunately, it sometimes can be a problem getting them. Tell the person in charge of your reception center or ask someone from a counselling centre if you're having trouble getting a health care voucher.

How do I find housing?

Apartments and single rooms are mostly listed online. Housing associations offer apartments for those who don't have a lot of money (in German: Baugenossenschaft). If you would like to move to a different city but are getting financial support from a job center, you have to ask for permission to move first.

How do I reunite with my family?

Refugees who hold a three year long visa under the Geneva Convention can apply for family reunification with their husband or wife and children. In order to do so, they have to apply no later than three months after their recognition at the Foreign Office. They need to fill out the ‘timely notification’ as well as the visa application form. Afterwards they have to book an appointment for every relative at their respective embassy, mostly in Lebanon or Turkey. You can do this here. You can start the process here.

Those who are filed as subsidiary protected will have to wait until 16th March 2018 to be allowed to apply for family reunification.

How do I appeal a rejection or subsidiary protection?

More and more Syrians get granted subsidiary protection in Germany: hence their families cannot join them here. Also almost every second asylum application by Afghans gets rejected. Syrians can object to the subsidiary protection within two weeks and mostly have good chances of getting granted a three year long visa afterwards. To that end, they need to hire a lawyer who will cost around 500 Euro. Numerous judges in Schleswig-Holstein have already ruled in favour of Syrians – saying subsidiary protection doesn’t suffice. In case of a rejection you need to appeal within one week.  

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"Moin Moin" and welcome!

You just arrived in Germany and have lots of questions? We have collected important contact information, helpful links, news, and children's programmes to help you get settled. mehr