Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions


Country Report: Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions Last updated: 30/11/20


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Asylum seekers are entitled to reception conditions from the moment they request asylum (Asylgesuch) in accordance with the Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act (Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz).[1] They do not receive the full benefits, however, until they formally gain the status of an asylum seeker through the issuance of an arrival certificate (Ankunftsnachweis) at the reception centre to which they have been assigned to.[2] In practice, this usually happens within a few days after they have reported to the authorities. [3]

Foreigners remain entitled to these reception conditions, at a minimum, as long as they have the status of an asylum seeker. After a rejection, asylum seekers usually retain their status for the duration of the appeal proceedings. If the asylum application has been rejected as “manifestly unfounded” or “inadmissible”, however, and their request for suspensive effect is rejected, asylum seekers will lose their status and instead be issued a temporary suspension of deportation, also known as “tolerated stay” (Duldung). In spite of its title, the Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act does not only apply to asylum seekers, but also to people with a Duldung and even to certain groups of people who have been granted a temporary residence permit.

However, following the legislative reforms of August 2019, persons who have already been granted international protection in another EU Member State, whose asylum application in Germany has been rejected as inadmissible and whose obligation to leave the territory is enforceable (“vollziehbar ausreisepflichtig”), may be excluded from all social benefits after a transition period of two weeks.[4] This can include persons whose appeal against a return decision is pending, when their emergency appeal was rejected.

As a rule, asylum seekers receive both non-cash and cash financial benefits only in the town or district to which they have been assigned to.[5] Accordingly, they will not be entitled to benefits in other parts of Germany, unless they get permission by the authorities to move there.

Assessment of resources

If asylum seekers have an income or capital at their disposal, they are legally required to use these resources before they can receive benefits under the Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act.[6] This provision does not seem to be applied often in practice, however.

Asylum seekers are asked to hand over any cash they may possess at registration stage, i.e. before the application is formally lodged. They are allowed to keep a maximum of €200 in cash. It is also possible that the police carry out body searches on other occasions (e.g. when reporting to the police as asylum seekers, upon apprehension by the police for other reasons, or for security reasons, in reception centres) if they have reasons to believe that asylum seekers are in possession of documents or other information which might be essential for identification purposes. Cash that is found during such occasions is seized by the authorities, with the exception of the remaining €200 that asylum seekers are allowed to keep.


[1] Section 1 (1a) Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act.

[2] Section 11 (2a) Asylum Seekers’ Benefits Act.

[3] Section 63 (1) Asylum Act

[4] Third law amending the Asylum Seekers‘ Benefits Act, 13 August 2019, Official Gazette I, 1290, further amendments to the Asylum Seekers‘ Benefits Act were included in the „Orderly Return Law“ (Second law to enhance enforcement of the obligation to leave), 20 August 2019, Official Gazette I, 1294.

[5] Section 10 and 10a Asylum Seekers‘ Benefits Act.

[6] Section 7 Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act.


Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation