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FAQ: Assistance leaving Afghanistan

11.10.2021 - Article

The German Government continues to work hard to find ways to help people for whom Germany bears a special responsibility leave Afghanistan safely. What are the next steps?

Thanks to our military evacuation, more than 5300 people have been flown from Kabul to safety. The end of the military airlift does not however mark the end of our support for the people for whom Germany bears particular responsibility.

We are currently receiving lots of enquiries asking what specifically the German Government is doing to help people leave Afghanistan in this new phase, following the end of the military evacuation. We have therefore drawn up this list of frequently asked questions (FAQ), which will be constantly updated.

Our efforts are targeting German nationals, local employees of German agencies and Afghans who have been identified by the German Government and are particularly at risk, and who have received approval for admission to Germany from the German Government. The immediate families – normally spouse and minor, unmarried children – of these people are also included.

We are also keeping an eye on people who submit visa applications for family reunification at the German missions in New Delhi and Islamabad. The German Government is already doing its utmost to find ways of improving visa processing procedures for Afghan family members.

The German Government is not at present running any additional humanitarian programme for taking in Afghan nationals.

FAQ

FAQ

German nationals, local employees working for German authorities from 2013 as well as Afghans who are particularly at risk and have been identified by the German Government and who have been offered the prospect of leaving the country with the Bundeswehr by the end of the military evacuation operation.

Whom can I contact?

FAQ

German nationals who are still in Afghanistan after the end of the military airlift and who have already registered their details in ELEFAND are urged to register on afg.diplo.de. This platform will be used for all basic communication between the Federal Foreign Office’s Crisis Response Centre and German nationals in Afghanistan. German nationals who travel to neighbouring countries by land can, once they have arrived, be provided with consular assistance by our Embassies. Consular assistance cannot at present be provided within Afghanistan. If the Federal Foreign Office finds a way of offering organised departures, we will contact German nationals with the relevant information.

German nationals may also contact the Federal Foreign Office Help Desk by dialling +49 30 5000 2000 or by using the contact form – they must, however, make sure to register on afg.diplo.de.

Local employees remain the responsibility of their former employer. Local employees who have not yet received a visa or approval for admission should contact their former employer, provided their employment did not end before 2013.

If you are a former employee of the Federal Foreign Office, please contact the Federal Foreign Office by email at okv@kabu.auswaertiges-amt.de.

Other groups of employees, for example in the field of development cooperation or the Bundeswehr, should contact their relevant employers (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Federal Ministry of Defence, etc.), i.a.:

  • BMI (Ministry of the Interior)
  • BMZ (Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development)
  • BMVg (Ministry of Defence)

German Embassies in the neighbouring countries can assist local employees who have been granted approval for admission, or who already have a visa with their onward travel to Germany once they have arrived in the respective country. Until then, your former employer remains your point of contact. Individuals who do not yet have a visa, but who have been informed by their employer that approval for admission has been granted by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, can be provided quickly and simply with documents by the German Embassies in the neighbouring countries that will allow them to enter Germany, subject to a security check.

Afghans active in civil society, the media, culture or academia, for example, who have received approval for admission to Germany from the German Government will also be assisted in leaving the country. The Federal Foreign Office will contact these individuals and inform them about their approval for admission, which includes their immediate family (i.e. their spouse and minor, unmarried children) and inform them about the next steps. We are working with an external service provider to communicate with Afghans in special need of protection. This includes preparations and support for departure from Afghanistan and entry into Germany. The external service provider can be reached at info@vaoffice.org

The German missions in the neighbouring countries can issue the documents that are required to enter Germany quickly and simply, subject to a security check.

Should I make the journey by land to a neighbouring country?

FAQ

Whether it is worth risking the journey by land to the border is something you must decide for yourself depending on your individual circumstances. The German Government is, in particular, endeavouring to make arrangements with Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries in order to guarantee safe entry and onward travel. We will provide information on such arrangements in the travel and security advice section for the respective countries. Please note that it is currently difficult or impossible to leave Afghanistan for a neighbouring country, and that the situation is in flux. Restrictions are also in place in particular for cases in which non-German family members want to cross the border together with German nationals.

German nationals who travel to neighbouring countries by land can, once they have arrived, be provided with consular assistance by our Embassies. Consular assistance to help with travel arrangements within Afghanistan cannot be provided. If the Federal Foreign Office finds a way of providing organised departures, we will contact German nationals with the relevant information.

Local employees who intend to leave for a neighbouring country should inform their former employers of this fact. The German Government is, in particular, endeavouring to make arrangements with Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries in order to guarantee safe entry and onward travel and, if necessary, travel to a German Embassy to apply for the necessary documents. Please note that it is currently difficult or impossible to leave Afghanistan for a neighbouring country, and that the situation is in flux.

In general, whether it is worth risking the journey by land to the border is something you must decide for yourself depending on your individual circumstances.

Afghans active in civil society, the media, culture or academia, for example, who have received approval for admission to Germany from the German Government will be contacted via e-mail (notification@vaoffice.org) by an external service provider on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office and informed about their approval for admission and the next steps. The service provider can be contacted at info@vaoffice.org.

The German missions in the neighbouring countries can issue the documents that are required to enter Germany quickly and simply, subject to a security check.

The German Government is, in particular, endeavouring to make arrangements with Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries in order to guarantee safe entry and onward travel to a German Embassy to apply for the necessary documents. Please note that it is currently difficult or impossible to leave Afghanistan for a neighbouring country, and that the situation is in flux. In general, whether it is worth risking the journey by land to the border is something you must decide for yourself depending on your individual circumstances.

Can I leave Afghanistan by air?

FAQ

We are currently conducting talks on the future civilian operation of Kabul airport, with the aim of ensuring that people can be evacuated on civilian flights. Preparations are underway for the airport to be operational for civilian flights. The first flights, bringing humanitarian assistance and evacuating individuals, for example, have already taken place.

We are in close contact with our international partners to help German nationals and persons whom Germany has offered the prospect of admission to leave the country by air. German nationals and accompanying Afghan family members have thus already been able to leave the country on a number of flights operated by international partners.

As soon as specific opportunities emerge, for example the option of being flown out by our partners, the Federal Foreign Office will, as quickly as possible, contact the people who are eligible to leave the country. We are informing these people individually about how to proceed.

I have arrived in a neighbouring country – what happens next?

FAQ

Once German nationals, local employees or individuals in special need of protection, as well as members of their immediate families, have arrived in a neighbouring country, the German Embassy there can provide assistance. This covers assistance with their onward journey and, if necessary, applying for documents that they need to enter Germany. It is necessary, however, for local employees and those in special need of protection to have been notified in advance by the German Government of their intended admission. In the case of local employees, this is usually done by their former or previous employer; in the case of those in special need of protection, this is carried out by an external service provider on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office.

The German Embassies in the neighbouring countries offer more information on their websites:

Iran

Tajikistan

Uzbekistan

Pakistan

India

Qatar

Other issues and questions

FAQ

Local employees remain the responsibility of their former employer. Local employees who have not yet been notified of intended admission should contact their former employer, provided their employment did not end before 2013.

Afghans active in civil society, the media, culture or academia, for example, who have received approval for admission to Germany from the German Government are currently being actively contacted by the Federal Foreign Office (via an external service provider: notification@vaoffice.org) and informed that they have been granted approval for admission.

In the case of local employees, it is up to the former or current employer. Local employees who have not yet received notification of intended admission should contact their former employer, provided their employment did not end before 2013.

Afghans active in civil society, the media, culture or academia, for example, who had been identified as being at particular risk and for whom evacuation by the Bundeswehr was envisaged, are currently being actively contacted by the Federal Foreign Office (via an external service provider: notification@vaoffice.org) and informed about their approval for admission as well as the next steps.

The German Government and the international community support numerous aid organisations active in Afghanistan. These aid organisations are helping people in need in almost all parts of the country. Depending on where they live, we suggest that they contact the local or international organisations in their vicinity.

No, because current efforts to assist individuals with travel to Germany are targeting specific groups: German nationals, local employees working for German authorities from 2013 as well as Afghans who are particularly at risk and have been identified by the German Government and who have been granted approval for admission. In addition, assistance can be provided to the members of these individuals’ immediate families.

Germany currently has no comprehensive humanitarian programme in place for taking in Afghan nationals. For Afghans who do not belong to these groups, Germany’s provisions governing entry and residence remain in force, including the requirement to apply for a visa.

Since the German Embassy in Kabul is currently closed, other German missions abroad can at present provide assistance in such cases. Visas cannot be issued in Afghanistan itself.

If you do manage to leave Afghanistan, please contact the local German Embassy wherever you are, taking your passport and the notification that your visa is ready to be collected. That Embassy will help you get the visa that is waiting for you.

Whether it is worth risking the journey to a neighbouring country, by land or otherwise, is something you must decide for yourself depending on your individual circumstances.

If you are a local employee, your former or current employer remains your point of contact. Members of your immediate family – including minor children – can be admitted. In exceptional cases, adult children can be admitted under the resettlement programme for former local employees, but only if they are single and still live in their parents’ household.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is continuing to implement the Family Assistance Programme (FAS). It is designed to assist individuals with preparing their applications for family reunification. This also applies for Afghan applicants. Afghan applicants who have not yet applied for family reunification in Germany can contact the IOM by email at info.fap.af@iom.int. The IOM can then provide an appointment at a German mission in the region, as and when available. The websites ot the German missions in Islamabad and New Delhi contain concrete information on the procedure.

Afghan nationals who wish to apply for a visa to work or study in Germany may also contact the missions abroad in Islamabad and New Delhi.

Short-stay visas (Schengen visas) can also be applied for at the German missions in Istanbul and Dubai.

If you have already applied for a visa at the competent mission abroad, we kindly ask for your patience. In view of the difficult current situation and the sharp increase in applications, these procedures can last several months. The visa section will contact you once a decision on your application has been reached, or if additional clarification is required.

Until the end of the military airlift, Afghans who were in danger, for example because of their activities in civil society, the media, culture or science, were identified as being at particular risk and put on the list for evacuation by the Bundeswehr. The process has been concluded. Following a proposal by the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of the Interior has issued approvals for admission for approximately 2600 individuals in particular need of protection as well as members of their immediate family. These individuals are now being actively contacted by the Federal Foreign Office (via an external service provider: notification@vaoffice.org) and informed about their approval for admission as well as the next steps.

The German Government is not at present planning any further comprehensive admission programmes.

Afghans who already have a valid residence permit can enter Germany on this document.

When entering neighbouring or third countries, Afghan nationals must take the respective entry requirements of these countries into account. If the residence permit has expired, Afghan nationals can contact our missions abroad in Islamabad or New Delhi to apply for a re-entry visa.

For local employees of the EU, NATO and other international organisations, their points of contact will remain the respective organisation or third country by which they were employed.

During the military evacuation operation, various partners cooperated closely with a view to evacuating as many local employees and their close family members as possible. We will now continue these efforts, in line with existing arrangements and to the greatest extent possible, in order to assist with the safe departure of local employees who are still in Afghanistan. As it does for its own local employees, Germany will assume its share of responsibility for local employees of the EU, NATO and international organisations.

Project workers should contact their former employers for information on whether they might be covered by the resettlement programme for former local employees.

The German Government has already identified further Afghans who are particularly at risk. That process has been concluded. These people will be contacted individually as soon as admission to Germany has been approved. The German Government is not at present planning any further comprehensive admission programmes.

More information on Afghanistan

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