Making and registering the application
Irrespective of special regulations which apply in the border region only, most applications are made by asylum seekers who have already entered the territory. Under these circumstances the law obliges asylum seekers to “immediately” report to a “reception facility” (Aufnahmeeinrichtung). Alternatively, they can report to a police station or to an office of the foreigners’ authorities. Following this first contact with the authorities, the asylum application has to be filed “immediately”. There is no strict definition of an “immediate” application and there are no exclusion rules for applications which are filed at a later date. However, a delay in filing the application may be held against the asylum seeker in the course of the asylum procedure, unless reasonable justification for the delay is brought forward.
Once asylum seekers have reported to the “reception facility” mentioned above, they have to be issued an “arrival certificate” (Ankunftsnachweis). Afterwards, the responsible branch office of the BAMF is determined with the help of distribution system known as Initial Distribution of Asylum Seekers (Erstverteilung der Asylbegehrenden, EASY). This distribution system allocates places according to a quota system known as “Königsteiner Schlüssel” based on the reception capacities of the Federal States. These capacities are determined by taking into account the size and the economic strength of the Federal States. Furthermore, the EASY-system takes into account which branch office of the BAMF deals with the asylum seeker's country of origin (see section on Freedom of Movement). It is possible that the EASY-system assigns a place in the facility to which asylum-seekers have reported. In this case, they are referred to the BAMF office, often located on the same premises or nearby, for the registration of the asylum application. If the EASY-system assigns a facility located in another region, asylum-seekers are transported to this facility or are provided with tickets to travel there on their own.
While the BAMF is responsible for the processing of the asylum application, responsibility for the reception and accommodation of asylum-seekers lies with the Federal States. Therefore, the regional branch offices of the BAMF are usually assigned to an initial reception centre managed by the Federal State. Both branch office and initial reception centre may in turn be parts of an “arrival centre” (Ankunftszentrum) or of an “AnkER-centre” (AnkER-Zentrum). The organisational structure and the denomination of these institutions depends on the way the Federal States have organised the reception system and how they cooperate with the BAMF at the respective location.
Only the BAMF is entitled to register an asylum application. Hence asylum seekers reporting to the police or to another authority will be referred to the BAMF and they do not have the legal status of asylum seekers as long as they have not arrived at the responsible branch office of the BAMF and until their applications have been registered. Asylum seekers are obliged to appear in person without delay or on the date determined by the authorities at the responsible branch office of the BAMF. Asylum seekers who fail to comply with this obligation face the sanction of “failure to pursue” the asylum procedure. The asylum procedure thus can be abandoned before it has begun. Problems with delayed registration of applications for which the authorities were responsible have not been reported in recent years.
Lodging the application
Once they arrive in the responsible branch office of the BAMF, which may be a part of an arrival centre or an AnkER centre, asylum seekers lodge their application with the BAMF. Following the lodging of the application, they are issued a “residence permit for asylum seekers” (Aufenhaltsgestattung). With this document, the arrival certificate ceases to be valid and has to be retracted by the authorities.
 Section 13 Asylum Act.
 Sections 20, 22 and 23 Asylum Act.