What rights and obligations do exist during the asylum procedure?
Basic information on regulations relating to asylum and residence matters, but also on family reunification or on particularly vulnerable refugee groups, can be found on the website of GGUA refugee support:
The following compilation of materials on the rights and obligations during the asylum procedure is useful when it comes to counselling and supporting refugee women:
- Guidebook for refugees in Berlin 2017:
- Work material by Asylnet on residence and asylum law:
- Basic information by Asylnet on asylum procedure, rights and obligations of asylum seekers and Dublin Regulation:
- Work material by German Parity Welfare Association (Der Paritätische): Foundations of the asylum procedure (2016):
- Initial information for asylum seekers by the Refugee Council Lower Saxony (2015):
Obligation to cooperate, especially to obtain a passport
Asylum seekers are under particular obligations during the asylum procedure. This includes in particular the obligation to pursue the procedure. This means that, after unauthorised entry, they are obliged to immediately register as asylum applicants, to immediately report to their assigned reception centre, to personally file their application with a branch office of the BAMF and to attend the personal interview to present their reasons for taking flight. Also, during the entire asylum procedure, they have to be constantly available for the authorities. In the first few months of the procedure, this is ensured through the obligation to take up residence and through the residence obligation. Violations against obligations to cooperate can, in extreme cases, lead to a discontinuation of the procedure, without ever having examined the reasons for flight or the asylum application.
Moreover, asylum seekers are under obligation to provide personal documents to the authorities in order to help determine their identity. When asylum proceedings are pending, however, there is no obligation to obtain a passport. In fact, applying for a passport at the embassy of the country of origin will at this stage of the asylum procedure signal that the person seeks the (diplomatic) protection of the very country it allegedly fled for fear of persecution. This can be seen as contradicting the stated reasons for flight. The only exception is when a passport is required for a marriage, since there is no access to a legal marriage without a passport.
In case a deportation has been suspended, however, there is indeed an obligation to obtain a passport if the person concerned does not hold a passport and if this is also the reason for the suspension of deportation. If this “person whose identity is not verified” cannot provide a passport, they have to prove that, taking into account the particular circumstances of the individual case, they have taken all measures that can reasonably be expected of them in order to obtain a passport or a replacement passport. Among the measures that can be reasonably expected of them is particularly the personal visit to the embassy of their country of origin in order to give all the required details and declarations – sometimes also a declaration of their voluntary departure if issuing a passport is made subject to this condition. They also have to pay the fees determined by their country of origin, as far as it is a reasonable amount.
Violations against this obligation to cooperate in obtaining a passport, on the one hand, may result in the fact that only a “temporary suspension of deportation for persons whose identity is not verified” (the so-called “Duldung light”) according to section 60b of the Residence Act will be issued. This form of suspension involves even more drastic restrictions. On the other hand, already reduced benefit payments can be further cut and a fine of up to 5.000 € can be issued.