BAMF - Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - Entitlement to asylum

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Entitlement to asylum

Accordingly, persons who would be subject to a serious human rights violation should they return to their country of origin are entitled to asylum and deemed to have been persecuted on political grounds because of their

  • race (The term "race" is used in accordance with the wording of the Geneva Refugee Convention.)
  • nationality,
  • political opinion,
  • fundamental religious conviction, or
  • membership of a particular social group (A group may also be regarded as a specific social group on the basis of the joint characteristic of sexual orientation.)

without having an alternative of refuge within the country of origin or other possibility of protection against persecution.

All negative state activity – even if it is related to one of the personal characteristics mentioned above – does not necessarily constitute persecution that is relevant to asylum. Rather, it must firstly constitute a deliberate violation of legal interests whilst, secondly, it must be intended in terms of its intensity to marginalise those concerned from the community. Finally, it must be a measure which is so grievous as to be in breach of human dignity and go beyond what residents of the country in question otherwise have to tolerate.

As a matter of principle, only state persecution is considered, that is persecution emanating from the State. Exceptions apply if non-state persecution can be attributed to the State, or if non-state persecution itself has come to replace the State (quasi-state persecution).

Emergency situations such as poverty, civil wars, natural disasters or a lack of prospects are therefore ruled out as a matter of principle as reasons for granting asylum in accordance with Article 16a of the Basic Law (GG).

Safe third countries

Recognition of entitlement to asylum is ruled out if an individual enters via a safe third country. This also applies if it is impossible to return them to this third country, for instance because the country is not specifically named due to a lack of appropriate information provided by the asylum applicant. The German Asylum Act (Asylgesetz) defines the Member States of the European Union, as well as Norway and Switzerland, as safe third countries.

display as attention: Reasons for not qualifying for protection

An entitlement to protection with regard to the three forms of protection mentioned above – entitlement to asylum, refugee protection and subsidiary protection – cannot be considered if reasons for not qualifying apply. These include:
If an individual has committed a war crime or a serious non-political criminal offence outside of Germany, has breached the goals and principles of the United Nations, is to be regarded as a risk to the security of the Federal Republic of Germany, or constitutes a danger to the public because he/she has been finally sentenced to imprisonment for a felony (Verbrechen) or a particularly serious misdemeanour (Vergehen).

Hervorhebung_Gesetzgebung: Background information

In accordance with Article 16a of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz – GG) of the Federal Republic of Germany, persons persecuted on political grounds have the right of asylum. The right of asylum is not only granted in Germany – as it is in many other countries – on the basis of the international obligation emerging from the Geneva Refugee Convention of 1951, but has constitutional status as a fundamental right. It serves to protect human dignity in a more comprehensive sense, and is the only fundamental right to which only foreigners are entitled.

Hervorhebung_Gesetzgebung: The legal basis and consequences

  • residence permit for three years
  • settlement permit possible after three or five years if other preconditions are met, such as the ability to make a secure living and adequate knowledge of German
  • unrestricted access to the labour market – gainful employment permitted
  • entitled to privileged family reunification

Article 16a para. 1 of the Basic Law

Date 1 October 2016

Additional Information

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