BAMF - Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - Proof of arrival for asylum-seekers

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FAQ: Proof of arrival for asylum-seekers

The proof of arrival (AKN) documents that asylum-seekers have been registered in Germany. At the same time, it entitles its holders to obtain state benefits (accommodation, including medical care, food).

The proof of arrival contains both an identification number as well as the most important personal data and information on the responsible reception facility. Asylum-seekers are identified at the first point of contact, by the police at the border or by staff of the Land authorities in reception facilities and staff of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees at reception/registration centres.

The data are made available to the authorities involved in the asylum procedure via a nationwide data system and immediately compared with the data from the responsible security authorities.

The introduction of the proof of arrival for asylum-seekers provides a new nationwide format, also recording security-related characteristics, for the “Asylum-seeker registration certificate” (BüMA), which previously was formless and the design of which differed from one Federal Land to another.

The proof of arrival is neither an identity card nor a replacement identity card.

Proof of arrival for asylum-seekers – inside:

Proof of arrival for asylum-seekers – inside:1 Personal information on the asylum-seeker; 2 Number of the proof of arrival; 3 Photograph and signature of the asylum-seeker; 4 Information on the issuing authority; 5 Notes on information; 6 Validity date; 7 Extension date; 8 Responsible reception facility; 9 Seal of the authority Source: © BAMF

Proof of arrival for asylum-seekers – outside:

Proof of arrival for asylum-seekers – outside 10 Information on children travelling with the holder; 11 Number in the Central Register of Foreigners (AZR); 12 Type of document; 13 The barcode allows personal data and the Central Register of Foreigners number to be read by machine in the participating authorities. Source: © BAMF

Date 6 May 2016

Who receives a proof of arrival?

A proof of arrival is issued in Germany as a rule to all asylum-seekers once they have been registered by the BAMF branch office or reception facility responsible for them.
Minor-age children and juveniles also receive their own proof of arrival, as well as being entered in their parents’ cards. This prevents the family being separated when they are accommodated.

Social law provides that unaccompanied minors are taken into the care of the youth welfare office. In this procedure, they are registered by the immigration authority without issuing a proof of arrival.

Who registers asylum-seekers?

Asylum-seekers are registered on first contact by the

  • Federal or Länder Police
  • staff of the BAMF at reception/registration centres
  • staff of the Länder in reception facilities, in immigration authorities and at reception/registration centres.

It is however the reception facility to which the individual has been distributed (this is frequently not the agency first registering them) which is responsible for issuing the proof of arrival, unless the BAMF regional office which is assigned to this reception facility carries out fingerprinting and photography of the person or processes their personal data.

How does the proof of arrival benefit asylum-seekers?

The proof of arrival enables the asylum-seeker to use the identity that has been recorded to obtain state benefits such as accommodation, food and medical care. It also makes regional assignment (reception facility/immigration authority/youth welfare office) and a territorial restriction simple.

The proof of arrival is used as visible proof of registration, and makes it easy to verify the concurrence between the holder of the proof of arrival and the data stored in the nationwide data system.

The proof of arrival is neither an identity card nor a replacement identity card.

How does the proof of arrival benefit the authorities involved?

The proof of arrival certifies that the asylum-seeker has registered in Germany. The proof of arrival and the information that is recorded electronically in the nationwide data system facilitates the unambiguous identification of the asylum-seeker. This prevents double registrations.

In accordance with the Act to Improve the Exchange of Data (Datenaustausch­verbesserungsgesetz – DAVG), participating authorities such as the immigration and registration authorities or the Federal Employment Agency receive fast access to the data which are relevant for them (personal data, knowledge of languages, etc.). This for instance facilitates better planning of accommodation for asylum-seekers in the Federal Länder, the asylum procedure at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees and labour market integration measures.

What data are collected in the proof of arrival?

The following are visibly printed onto the proof of arrival:

  • surname and forenames
  • name at birth
  • photograph
  • date of birth
  • place of birth
  • abbreviation of the nationality
  • gender
  • height and colour of eyes
  • responsible reception facility
  • serial number of the certificate (number of the proof of arrival)
  • issuing authority
  • date of issue
  • signature of the holder
  • validity date
  • extension note
  • the reference number of the registration authority (number at the Central Register of Foreigners)
  • note bearing the surname and forenames of accompanying minor-age children
  • note stating that the information is based on the holder’s own submission
  • note stating that this certificate does not constitute a passport or identity card
  • machine-readable zone
  • barcode

The nationwide data system stores additional data supplementing the data that are also printed on the proof of arrival, such as fingerprint data, data on health and data that are needed in connection with integration (such as on past employment and training, on participation in integration activities, knowledge of languages).

How long is the proof of arrival valid?

The proof of arrival can be issued with an initial validity of six months at most. It can be extended if necessary for up to another three months by the responsible reception facility or immigration authority. The maximum possible period of validity is therefore nine months.

As soon as the individual files an asylum application with the Federal Office as a result of which they receive a "permission to reside" certificate (Aufenthaltsgestattung), the proof of arrival becomes invalid and is withdrawn.

Which authority can extend the validity of the proof of arrival?

If accommodation is provided in a reception facility, the latter is responsible for extending the proof of arrival. If accommodation is provided elsewhere, the responsible immigration authority can extend the validity of the proof of arrival.

Is the proof of arrival sufficient in order to open a bank account?

The proof of arrival is neither an identity card nor a replacement identity card. Banks can accept the proof of arrival as an identification document in order to open a payment transaction account.

To whom can changes of address be notified, and how?

The reception facility to which the asylum-seeker has been distributed, and the regional office of the Federal Office to which this reception facility is allocated, are responsible for issuing a certificate, as well as for address changes and extensions.

What happens if the proof of arrival is lost?

The holder of the proof of arrival is obliged to report its loss to the police and to the responsible reception facility. The holder is identified using his/her biometric data and a replacement proof of arrival is issued. The original validity date is retained. If the original proof of arrival is found, it must be presented to the responsible authorities.

Are asylum-seekers obliged to have a proof of arrival?

Yes. Newly-arrived asylum-seekers are obliged to be registered and to have a proof of arrival issued.

Can asylum-seekers with a proof of arrival attend an integration course?

Asylum-seekers are obliged to be registered and to have a proof of arrival issued. Asylum-seekers from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Eritrea who have a proof of arrival can be admitted to attend an integration course if places are available on the course.

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Wichtige Mitteilung


There have been several occasions very recently in which people have pretended to be employees of the Federal Office and asked for an interview at which they questioned asylum applicants intensively. This took place in some cases on the pretext that a second hearing was allegedly needed. Important: The Federal Office does not conduct home visits! These individuals do not work for the Federal Office. The Federal Office has therefore filed criminal charges. If something similar happens to you, or if you observe anything of this nature as a carer, please report this to your local police station.Interviewers from reputable survey institutes who are currently conducting interviews as part of research projects in which data are collected on a voluntary basis clearly state who they are working for. They also give the name of the survey institute and prove this by showing the appropriate documentation. This means that you can make enquiries should you have any doubts.

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