There are advice centres that help with asylum procedure. Several of them can be found below on this page. You should absolutely make use of these options! This page does not replace any legal advice, but gives only an initial orientation. The employees of the advice centres may also recommend lawyers to you, if required, who can answer more specific questions and support you further. 

Ankunftszentrum Rahlstedt (Rahlstedt arrival centre)

Arrival in Hamburg

First, you need to report to the reception centre Rahlstedt (Bargkoppelweg 66a).

You will be registered there. The reception centre will first create your Ankunftsnachweis (proof of arrival), which is a requirement for an asylum application. During the registration process, the centre will record your personal information, such as your name and birthday, take a photo and get a copy of your fingerprints. Next, the centre will decide in which German federal state your asylum process will take place. You will be informed of this decision immediately.

Generally, you do not have any influence on the decision. There are exceptions, however, such as severe illness or a disability. For this reason, be sure to include this information.

Initial registration

Asylum procedure outside of Hamburg

If your asylum procedure is to take place in a different German federal state, you will immediately be informed of that. You will also receive a Anlaufbescheinigung (notice of place to go) with an address. This is where you will be able to apply for asylum. You will receive a train ticket to get there.

If you are only able to travel to your destination on the next day, you will be accommodated in the reception centre for the night. You will only receive an Ankunftsnachweis once you reach the destination stated on the Anlaufbescheinigung.

Asylum procedure in Hamburg

If your asylum process is to take place in Hamburg, you will receive a proof of arrival immediately. Ensure that your name and date of birth on the Ankunftsnachweis are correct!

Now you are officially registered as an asylum seeker in Germany. You have not yet applied for asylum, however.

The Ankunftsnachweis is valid for 1 week. If you do not apply for asylum within 1 week or appear personally at the BAMF (Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, Sachsenstraße 12-14, 20097 Hamburg) for the scheduled appointment, the Ankunftsnachweis is no longer valid. You then have to extend it by 6 months at the Ausländerbehörde, Hammer Straße 30-34.

As soon as you receive the Ankunftsnachweis, you have the right to accommodations, meals and medical care. Always carry your Ankunftsnachweis and cheque card ID with you!

Initial examination

Subsequent to your registration, you will undergo an initial medical examination in Bargkoppelstieg 10-14. This includes a Röntgenuntersuchung (X-ray examination), a blood sample and a brief physical exam. The examination is important in order to detect and treat communicable diseases, for example. You can also get vaccinated.

Women may request a female doctor.

Official asylum application and hearing

You submit your official asylum application to an employee of the Federal Office for Migrants and Refugees (BAMF) and obtain a Aufenthaltsgestattung (residence authorisation). Always carry this with you!


If you were already registered in another country, you will be asked about this. You were registered there if your fingerprints were recorded, for example. A common European system allows the German authorities to find out about an earlier registration in another European country. You may have to go through your asylum process in that other country. You will be taken back to that country to do so. If necessary, seek help from a counselling centre.

The hearing is critical to the asylum application process. Here you explain why you left your country. Since this hearing is especially important, you should prepare in advance.

You can find more information about the hearing here:
– Film on the hearing process from
– Pamphlet on the hearing process from Informationsverbund Asyl und Migration e.V.:

The decision-maker and an interpreter attend the hearing. You may bring someone with you, if you please. However, this person must be registered with the BAMF in advance and may not participate in the asylum process. Lawyers or guardians do not require prior registration.

Please inform the BAMF if you are not ready to talk about stressful experiences.

Women can have a female interviewer and interpreter on request.


Asylum: If a positive decision is made regarding your application for asylum, you receive an elektronischen Aufenthaltstitel (eAT) (electronic residence permit). This entitles you to an integration course and you can start working.

Refugee status is a requirement to apply for family reunification. Within 3 months of receiving refugee status, provide a timely reminder to your embassy in order to facilitate your family’s move. You can submit your application online at: or For more information on when family members are able to come to Germany, get advice from a counselling centre.

Note: family reunification is suspended for one-year residence permits (subsidiary protection) until end of July 2018. For this reason, you should apply for appointments at the respective embassies as soon as possible. In addition, you should go to a consultation as soon as possible after receiving status, so you do not miss any deadlines.

No asylum: If your asylum application is denied, you can contest the refusal. Depending on the type of rejection, the time limit to contest is only 1 or 2 weeks. For inadmissible or clearly unfounded claims, the limit is 1 week. For this reason, check your mail regularly. In the event of a refusal, you should contact a counselling centre as soon as possible. Otherwise you are promptly obliged to leave the country. If you do not comply with this obligation to leave, you may face deportation (i.e. forcible return to your home country) and an entry ban.

The countries of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ghana, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Senegal and Serbia are considered safe countries of origin under German asylum law. For this reason, the chances of success for an asylum application are poor. However, the BAMF is obligated to carefully review each asylum application.

Still undecided: if you do not receive an immediate decision on your asylum application, you get a Aufenthaltsgestattung for 6 months. Again, please ensure that your name and date of birth are correct. If your Aufenthaltsgestattung ends after three months, you need to apply for an extension at the Ausländerbehörde, Hammer Straße 30-34.

Voluntary departure: If you would like to return to your home country or must go back due to a refusal, the Flüchtlingszentrum, Adenauerallee 10 can provide consultation and support for the return trip.

6 Expiration or loss of residence title

Due to the corona pandemic it is possible that you cannot go to the Ausländerbehörde in person when your residence title expires. You then should receive a written confirmation that your residence title is still valid. On this letter there is also a date for your appointment at the Ausländerbehörde in person. Always carry this letter with you. In case your residence title is expiring soon and you have not yet received a letter, contact the Ausländerbehörde (, +49 40 428992288, Monday to Thursday 8 am to 2 pm, Friday 8 am to 12 pm)

In case you lose your residence title you should also contact the Ausländerbehörde. You have to get a written confirmation of loss (Verlustbescheinigung) from the Ausländerbehörde (Hammer Straße 30-34) that is valid for up to 14 days and receive an appointment to get your residence title. If your residence title was stolen you can also contact the police.

Advice centres for refugees

In these advice centres you will receive help with your asylum procedure. The advice is free and confidential. The employees in the advice centres speak many different languages!

flucht•punkt: Eifflerstraße 3, +49 40 43250080,, consultation by phone: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 10 am to 2 pm

Flüchtlingszentrum (refugee centre): Adenauerallee 10, +49 40 284079,, only by appointment, by phone: Monday to Friday: 9 am to 1 pm, 2pm to 5pm

Advice centres for refugees

Café Exil: Hammer Straße 10, +49 40 2368216, Monday and Tuesday: 8 am to 2 pm, Thursday: 3:30 pm to 6 pm Friday (women only): 8 am to 1 pm, closed on Wednesday

Refugee Law Clinic: Free legal advice on the Dublin process, family reunions, preparation for the asylum hearing as well as for women, girl and LGBTI refugees

Consultation by video chat: Wednesday 2 pm to 5 pm, Friday 3 pm to 6 pm, register until Tuesday/Thursday 8 pm by mail: (if a translator is needed, please state so); link for the video chat will be received via mail.

Last Updated: 02.03.2018

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