Stand: 01.06.2016 08:10 Uhr

Hamburg-Guide for Refugees

Hamburg-Kompass für Flüchtlinge (deutsche Version)

About Hamburg
Blick von der Terrasse der Jugendherberge "Am Stintfang" in Hamburg über Landungsbrücken, Elbe und Hafen. © NDR Foto: Oliver Diedrich

Hamburg - Gateway to the World

Welcome to Hamburg! Lern more about this famous city. Hamburg has a large port and is known to be liberal and multicultural: Every third citizen has foreign roots. mehr

Where do I submit my application for asylum?

When you are seeking asylum in Hamburg, register with the initial reception center at Bargkoppelweg 66a first. Here your personal data will be recorded. You will then be brought to a reception center somewhere in Hamburg or relocated to another federal state. In Rahlstedt you can also apply for asylum. A department of the Federal Office for Migration and refugees (German abbrevation: BAMF) is located there.

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 get approved 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), the Diakonie oder the Caritas to find the Kleiderkammer nearest 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?

All refugees in Hamburg get medical treatment at the main reception center in Harburg. The doctors will check for contagious illnesses and see who needs vaccination. Also there are doctors at the reception centers that you can go and see during consultation hours. Later you will receive an insurance card for refugees (in German: Gesundheitskarte) so you can go to any doctor you chose. Children and young adults with psychological problems can find help in the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE).

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.

Other relatives such as parents, grandparents, siblings and grandchildren can be invited to Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein through a declaration of commitment. Relatives will be granted a residence for two years including a work permit. ProAsyl summarizes existing programs from all federal states on their website.

In this declaration of commitment a German citizen or Syrian has to declare that he or she is able to cover all costs of the respective relative for the next five years. The German state only covers health expenses for asylum seekers as defined by the social welfare law (Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz). A single person without children should earn around 2.100 Euro after taxes in order to invite one person. A lower income can be accepted if he/she can provide housing for the relatives (at least 12 sq per person). The rules leave some headroom - therefore a lower income might be accepted by the authorities as well. The authority in charge is the Ausländerbehörde. The NGO "Herberge für Menschen auf der Flucht" helps Syrians to bring their families to Germany by providing commitment declarations from volunteers.

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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Eine Frau und ein Junge sitzen an einem Tisch © NDR/Jann Wilken Foto: Jann Wilken

"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


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