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FAQ: Assistance leaving Afghanistan for German nationals and other people entitled to protection

09.09.2021 - 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 had been offered the prospect of leaving the country with the Bundeswehr by the end of the military evacuation operation. The immediate families - normally spouse and minor 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 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 can also ring the Federal Foreign Office emergency hotline (+49 30 5000 1000) or write to the Federal Foreign Office (040-krise19@diplo.de) – but no matter what they decide to do, they should register their details 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. This address has been set up exclusively for colleagues from the Embassy in Kabul and the Consulate General in Mazar‑e‑Sharif. 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 granted approval for admission in advance by their employer, can be issued with documents by the German Embassies in the neighbouring countries that will allow them to enter Germany quickly and simply, subject to a security check.

Afghan nationals active for example in civil society, the media, culture or science, whom the German Government had identified as being at particular risk before the end of the military airlift, and whom we had hoped to evacuate with the Bundeswehr, will also be assisted with their departure for Germany. The Federal Foreign Office will contact you and inform you if you have been granted approval for admission. When this happens, the German missions in the neighbouring countries will be able to 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 post information on such Arrangements in the travel and security advice section for the respective countries. Please note that travel across the border to neighbouring countries is currently restricted or impossible and that the situation can change at short notice.

German nationals who travel to neighbouring countries by land can, once they have arrived, be provided consular assistance by our Embassies. Consular assistance cannot be provided within Afghanistan. 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 travel across the border to neighbouring countries is currently restricted or impossible and that the situation can change at short notice.

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.

Afghan nationals active for example in civil society, the media, culture or science, whom the German Government had identified as being at particular risk before the end of the military airlift, and whom we had hoped to evacuate with the Bundeswehr, will be contacted by the Federal Foreign Office if they have been granted approval for admission. If you have your approval for admission, the German missions in the neighbouring countries will be able to issue you with documents 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 travel across the border to neighbouring countries is currently restricted or impossible and that the situation can change at short notice. 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 the country via Kabul Airport?

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 at a later date. Preparations are underway for the airport to be operational for civilian flights. The first flights, bringing for example humanitarian assistance, have landed.

We are in close contact with our international partners to help German nationals and persons who Germany has offered the prospect of admission to leave the country by air. 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 will inform these people individually about how to proceed.

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

FAQ

Following their arrival in a neighbouring country, the respective German Embassy is in a position to assist German nationals, local employees and individuals in special need of protection, as well as members of their nuclear families. This applies to assisting them with their onward journey and, if necessary, their application for documents that are required to enter Germany.

To this end, local employees and individuals in special need of protection will require advance approval for admission. Local employees will be granted this approval by their employer; individuals in special need of protection will be granted this approval by 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.

Afghan nationals active for example in civil society, the media, culture or science, whom the German Government had identified as being at particular risk before the end of the military airlift, and who had been offered the prospect of leaving the country with the Bundeswehr, will be contacted by the Federal Foreign Office if 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.

As regards those Afghans who were active for example in civil society, the media, culture or science, and who had been identified as being at particular risk and for whom evacuation with the Bundeswehr was envisaged, we are still trying to clarify procedural issues, in particular concerning travel out of Afghanistan. If you are on the list you will be contacted by the Federal Foreign Office and informed if you have been granted approval for admission.

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 offered the prospect of leaving the country with the Bundeswehr by the end of the military evacuation operation. In addition, assistance can be provided to the members of these individuals’ nuclear 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.

Afghan nationals who wish to apply for a family reunification visa, a work visa or a visa for studies may contact the missions abroad in Islamabad and New Delhi. Their websites contain detailed information on the respective procedures.

Afghan nationals who wish to apply for a visa for a period of up to 90 days (a so called Schengen visa)  may also contact 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.

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 get you an appointment at a German mission in the region, as and when available.

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. If you are on the list you will be contacted by the Federal Foreign Office and informed if you have been granted approval for admission. The German Government is not at present planning any further comprehensive admission programmes.

Afghan nationals who already have a valid residence permit can enter Germany on this document. 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 those other Afghans who it considers to be 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.

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