Explanation of terms
The public authorities make use of certain terms in order to accurately describe individuals in specific situations and procedural steps.
There are three possible options to obtain protection in Germany.
– Asylum (Asyl)
– Refugee protection (Flüchtlingsschutz) or
– Subsidiary protection (subsidiärer Schutz).
You will receive asylum, if you have to leave your home country due to a fear of governmental persecution for reasons of race, nationality, political opinion, religious affiliation or membership of a particular social group.
You will receive refugee protection, if you have to leave your home country due to a fear of non-governmental persecution for reasons of race, nationality, political opinion, religious affiliation or membership of a particular social group.
You will receive subsidiary protection, if you neither obtain asylum nor refugee protection but are threatened with “serious harm” in your country of origin like e.g. due to civil war.
If your application is rejected, you will be requested by the authorities to leave Germany. This is called expulsion (Ausweisung). Usually, you will have to leave within 30 days. In some cases, you might even be requested to leave within seven days. This is the case, if an application of asylum is rejected due to being “manifestly unfounded”. You have the right to appeal against the decision in court. The deadline to file a lawsuit (Klagefrist) is very short. It is best to immediately get in touch with a legal aid office or a lawyer to help you.
Before you can appeal against the rejection decision of the authorities, opposition proceedings (also called preliminary proceedings) need to take place. During the proceedings, the authorities will review the decision once again. If the results of the opposition proceedings are negative, you can file a lawsuit. Again, you have to meet strict deadlines. It is best to ask a legal aid office or a lawyer for advice.
Court cases and hiring a lawyer cost money. If you cannot bear the costs, you can apply for legal aid which will cover the costs. For legal aid to be granted, chances that you win the lawsuit must be high. In order to receive legal aid, you need to make an application. To do so, you got to fill in the following form: http://www.justiz.de/formulare/zwi_bund/zp1a.pdf
If you have a lawyer or legal aid office help you fill in the form, chances of receiving legal aid are higher since these persons are experienced in completing such applications. The respective court can help you, too.
Suspensive effect is a term used by authorities and at court. You have to apply for suspensive effect in order to stop the proceedings until a decision on your opposition has been made. This means that, for the time being, you do not have to do what the authorities requested as long as you are waiting for a decision in the opposition proceedings.
If you file a lawsuit, there will be an oral hearing. Your case will be discussed. Afterwards, the court will deliver the decision orally (and subsequently confirm it in writing) or the decision will solely be announced in writing. It is also possible that the court will make a decision without oral hearing.
There are specific circumstances under which you do not have to head back to your country of origin even if you received a negative decision. One of these circumstances is severe illness and insufficient medical care conditions in your home country which would cause your disease to worsen drastically or lead to significant danger to your life. In this case, it is best to speak to your lawyer or legal aid office.
Yes, the authorities can revoke your eligibility of asylum or your refugee status if the situation in your country of origin improves. The authorities may also do so if it turns out that you made false statements or kept something secret and this way received refugee or asylum status.
Aliens law deals with the entry and residence of people in Germany who are not German citizens. It controls issues concerning abode, the possibility of working and social assistance.
Asylum law controls the recognition of refugee status and the residence permit associated with it.
Within the category “Important links” we have collected a list of websites providing more detailed information.
After you have submitted your application for asylum, the authorities have a maximum of three months to process the request.
It usually takes quite some time until you receive a response on your application – especially if the local authorities do not have enough personnel. In this case, you can file a lawsuit (action for failure to act, “Untätigkeitsklage“).
You can bring an action against the authorities for their failure to act to the court if no decision has been taken on the asylum application by the authorities after more than three months. The lawsuit has to be filed with the competent administrative court. If the action proves successful, the authorities have to set a date for the hearing and decide on the request much quicker.
It depends on whether you win or lose the case. If you win the action against the authorities for their failure to act, the authorities have to pay the costs. If not, you will be the one who has to pay. That is why it is a good idea to apply for legal aid beforehand. If legal aid is granted, you do not have to pay the costs, even if you lose the case.
The court comes to the conclusion that the authorities have been working too slowly and determines that your asylum application now has to be processed quickly. But still, they cannot make a decision on your application for asylum. That is a task of the authorities. Only when the authorities have come to a decision and did not grant you asylum, you can file a lawsuit in court.
In this situation it is best, if a lawyers helps you to submit an action against the authorities for their failure to act when they have not decided on your application for asylum for more than three months. The lawyer is experienced in such cases and can answer all of your questions.
If you need help, please get in touch with a legal aid office that is going to support you. We have listed some legal aid offices that will be able to help you. You could also ask a lawyer for assistance.
In order to make an appointment at a legal aid office, you can either stop by the office during the opening hours or make an appointment via telephone or e-mail. We have compiled a list for you containing the opening hours of the legal aid offices in Hamburg as well as their e-mail addresses and telephone numbers.
In order to make an appointment at a lawyer, e-mail or call him/her. We have collected all contact details in a list.
Sometimes you got to wait for an appointment, especially if the lawyer is advising many people. When you make the appointment, you will get informed about possible waiting times
If you have your first appointment at the legal aid office or with the lawyer, you will be asked to explain in detail what has happened until now so that you can receive adequate support. Please bring all the documents relating to your question, e.g. contracts, letters, notifications of the authorities or court decisions. Some legal aid offices do only assist you if you have a low income or if your place of residence is Hamburg. In this case, please bring a proof of income or proof of residence.
It is difficult to say in general terms what the costs of a lawyer are. It depends on how complex the case is and how many hours he/she has to work on it. It is best to ask the lawyer about the costs of the initial and the complete consultation as soon as you make the appointment.
Most legal aid offices are free of charge. Some charge a small fee. We have compiled a list of how much the costs for legal advice at a legal aid office are.
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