First steps in Germany

First steps in Germany


The first steps in Germany are very stressful for refugees from Ukraine. In order to support you as a volunteer in a well-informed way, you will learn here about the basics such as registration, residence permits, social benefits, child and parental benefits, opening an account and exchanging cash, medical and psychological care, Corona vaccination and driver's license transfer.


Registration and residence permit

The prerequisite for refugees to be able to go to work is the Registration. Responsible is the Foreigners' Registration Office at the respective place of residence. There Ukrainians receive a residence permit. For third-country nationals, the process can be more complicated.

Refugees have three options for a long-term residence permit:

In any case, the acquired residence title must be accompanied by the note "Gainful employment permitted" in order for Ukrainian refugees to be allowed to work here.

Tip: If possible, apply for an appointment at the registration office immediately after your arrival in Germany, because due to the overload of the offices, you will only get this appointment weeks later.

To apply for a residence permit, Ukrainian refugees do not necessarily need a passport. The ID card is also accepted as a substitute for a passport. If refugees are unable to identify themselves at all, they can apply for a substitute ID card at the Aliens' Registration Office. The Ukrainian embassy in Germany can also issue a certificate of identity.

Where exactly refugees can register varies by city and state. More detailed information can be obtained from the Foreigners' Registration Office.

Refugees from Ukraine can enter Germany without a visa. However, for people who arrived in Germany after September 1, 2022, a new regulation applies (according to § 2): They have 90 days to apply for a visa. They need this to be able to stay in Germany legally. Here you can find information about the residence regulations in Ukrainian.

Refugees can obtain legal advice on the topics of residence permits and registration from the Refugee Law Clinics. In addition, this online tool offers support in the registration process. Through a short digital interview with a lawyer, an application for temporary protection can be created here.

Find accommodation

There are many possibilities regarding temporary accommodation, e.g. with German people or in hotels:

  • Accommodation-Ukraine: Since the beginning of the war 1/3 of temporary refugee accommodation in Germany has been found through this platform (in Ukrainian)
  • MAPAHELP: interactive map for accommodation overview in Europe/worldwide (in Ukrainian/Russian/English)
  • Wunderflats: Platform for apartment search all over Europe (in Ukrainian)
  • Host4Ukraine: interactive map for accommodation in Europe/worldwide. Already has 700 offers in Germany (English only).
  • Ukraine Take Shelter: Platform for finding accommodation throughout Europe (English only)
  • Shelter4Ukraine : Search and offer of accommodation in Europe (in Ukrainian)

Very famous platform in Germany for finding long-term or short-term accommodation in a shared house or apartment:

Resources for finding permanent housing:

If her refugee is looking for a permanent apartment in Germany but is not yet gainfully employed and cannot provide the landlord with the appropriate documentation, a WBS certificate may be a solution. With this certificate, she could rent an apartment for a longer period of time.


Social benefits

As a volunteer, you can support Ukrainians in their efforts to, social benefits apply for social benefits. The prerequisite is that the refugee from Ukraine has registered with the Aliens' Registration Office and obtained a residence permit.t. This means that he/she is entitled to benefits according to the Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act (AsylbLG) as long as for as long as he/she is entitled to benefits for subsistence and medical care., until he/she is able to finance his/her own living expenses, ideally through work. by working. For this purpose, after registration, a certificate of arrival or a start-up certificate is issued, which must be presented to the competent benefit authority. - usually the local social welfare office - can be presented.

Basic security

Refugees from Ukraine have entitled to Hartz IV and the associated employment benefits. For the application refugees need - besides the in addition to the application form - the following things:

  • Residence title according to § 24 of the Residence Act or a fictitious certificate
  • Proof of identity
  • German bank account
  • Membership with a health insurance company
  • Address of current residence and proof of accommodation
  • Mailbox labeled with the name of the person who has fled

In addition, the applicant must be capable of working and in need of assistance. This means that he/she can work at least 3 hours per day, but the income is below the subsistence level and the person cannot support him/herself.

Refugees can obtain further information on how to apply at their local job center. You can find your local job center via the Service center search of the Federal Employment Agency by entering the zip code of the refugee's place of residence in the search field.

More detailed information, explanatory videos and application forms can also be found here and here.

Support with the job search

If the refugee has a residence permit according to §24, he*she can register with the employment agency and be considered as a worksuching. The job center then supports him/her with the worksand also provides financial assistance. - for example, with the recognition of qualifications.

Child benefit or parental allowance

Ukrainians receive these benefits if they have a residence permit according to §24 AufenthG and have a job, receive unemployment benefit I or are on parental leave.

Opening an account

In order to be able to receive social benefits and salary, you should encourage refugees to open an account to open an account. Legally, everyone who is legally resident in the European Union is entitled to conclude a basic account contract. This also applies to people without a permanent address and asylum seekers.

Health benefits

  • According to the Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act (AsylbLG), Ukrainian refugees are entitled to the following free of charge Health services (doctor's visits, maternity care, hospitalization, transport and transfer to other hospitals in the country). This also applies to children and people in need of care and with disabilities. Benefits are provided through the Job Center. Information in Ukrainian can be found here.
  • If the refugee you are supporting is traumatized by the events of war traumatized and needs therapeutic help, psychosocial psychosocial help is available.
  • For problems of any kind you can also offer refugees crisis chats in their own language.
  • Even without health insurance, refugees are entitled to the vaccination against the coronavirus. Vaccinations carried out in Ukraine with Sinovac or Sputnik are not recognized in Germany. For many jobs (nursing, gastro...) vaccination is essential. Free vaccination appointments are available at general practitioners, pharmacies or vaccination centers. Anyone who has already been vaccinated with a vaccine not approved in the EU is advised to wait 28 days between the last vaccination in Ukraine and the first vaccination in Germany. Here you can get information about vaccination in Ukrainian.

Visit doctor

With little language skills, making an appointment with a doctor on your own can be a real challenge. The free Doctolib app offers the possibility to search for doctors and book appointments online in Ukrainian and Russian. With this app, refugees can also find doctors in uour city/area who speak Ukrainian or Russian. Here you can find instructions on how to set up the app in Ukrainian or Russian.

Driving licence

Some professions require a driver's license necessary. The refugee you support is allowed to drive with his/her valid Ukrainian driver's license in the classes for which it is issued. The driver's license must be translated into German and is only valid for the first six months when registering an apartment in Germany. After that, a driver's license issued in Germany is required. For this, refugees must pass the German theoretical and practical driving test.


SIM cards

At present, the main mobile operators (Vodafone, Telekom, O2) do not offer completely free communication for Ukrainians - but cheap tariffs with discounts. Refugees can visit one of the mobile stores of these operators. Using the mobile application Check 24 can be helpful to get various services (mobile connection, internet, electricity, insurance, hotel reservations, etc.) can be ordered and purchased quickly and conveniently. as well as prices for goods and services to compare.

Publicly usable computers

The refugee you accompany can obtain a lot of information via smartphone. However, in order to fill out fill out, scan or print out forms, however, refugees usually need PCs. Almost all public computers are available public libraries (Bib) and Job information centers (BIZ) of the local employment agencies.

Further resources:

Role and tasks of volunteers

Serious business professional discussing report

Job search

Design 2 work4u_4


Design 2 work4u_2




Design 2 work4u (3)

Resume and cover letter