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FAQ: Assistance leaving Afghanistan

02.02.2022 - 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. Moreover, since the end of the military operation, several thousand more people for whom Germany bears a special responsibility have been able, with our help, to leave Afghanistan overland or on civilian flights. We are continuing these support efforts.

We are currently receiving lots of enquiries asking what specifically the German Government is doing to help people leave Afghanistan. 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 as being 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 working to improve the processing of visa applications for Afghan family members.

In addition, the coalition agreement provides for a further‑reaching German Government humanitarian admission programme for Afghans. This is currently being drawn up.

FAQ

FAQ

German nationals, local employees who worked for German governmental organisations from 2013 and Afghans who have been identified by the German Government as being at particular individual risk and so have been granted approval for admission to Germany.

Whom can I contact?

FAQ

German nationals who are still in Afghanistan are urged to register on afg.diplo.de. This platform will be used for all basic communication between the Federal Foreign Office 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 can offer organised ways out of the country, German nationals will be actively contacted.

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)

For communication with former local employees who have submitted hazard applications, the Federal Foreign Office is working with an external service provider who uses the domain @threatno.org. Part of the service provider’s job is to request and compile the necessary data

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. We are working with an external service provider to communicate with Afghans at particular risk. This includes preparations and support for departure from Afghanistan and entry into Germany. Communication with the service provider is via the email address info@vaoffice.org. When the service provider phones people at risk, only Dari or Pashto will be used. The service provider’s phone calls can come from various numbers in several countries. If it is not clear whether a phone call really is being made by the service provider, then it is possible to give an email address. Then you will see whether the ensuing contact is made from the  info@vaoffice.org address.

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. Please also be aware of the entry regulations for the specific country; currently it is only possible to enter the neighbouring countries with a passport and visa.

In general, whether it is worth risking the journey by land to the border is something applicants must decide for themselves depending on their 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 by an external service provider on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office and informed (from the email address with the domain @vaoffice.org) about their approval for admission and the next steps. 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. Persons who intend to leave for a neighbouring country should inform the service provider 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 to a German mission there to apply for visas. Please note that it is currently difficult or impossible to leave Afghanistan for a neighbouring country, and that the situation is in flux. Please also be aware of the entry regulations for the specific country; currently it is only possible to enter the neighbouring countries with a passport and visa. In general, whether it is worth risking the journey by land to the border is something applicants must decide for themselves depending on their individual circumstances.

Can I leave Afghanistan by air?

FAQ

There are currently irregular civilian flights, e.g. to Kabul and Mazar‑e‑Sharif. We have also implemented first charter flights out of Afghanistan. However, the possibilities for doing so are very limited. 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.

As soon as specific opportunities for an evacuation flight out of Afghanistan emerge, either on a German charter flight or on a flight organised 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

Once German nationals, local employees or individuals at particular risk, as well as members of their immediate families, have arrived in a neighbouring country, the German mission there can provide assistance. This covers assistance with their onward journey and, if necessary, the issuance of documents that they need to enter Germany, as well as informing the Länder, in order to ensure that they are assigned to a reception centre. It is necessary, however, for local employees and those at particular risk, as well as the family members leaving with them, 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 at particular risk, this is carried out by an external service provider on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office.

Our missions in the neighbouring states and the region provide further information on this on their Websites:

Iran

Tajikistan

Uzbekistan

Pakistan

India

Qatar

As a general rule, local employees and persons at particular risk who have approval for admission to Germany can apply for a visa at any German Mission.

Other issues and questions

FAQ

Local employees remain the responsibility of their former or current 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. For communication with former local employees who have submitted hazard applications, the Federal Foreign Office is working with an external service provider who uses the domain @threatno.org. One of the tasks of this external service provider is to request the necessary data.

Afghans active in civil society, the media, culture or academia, for example, who have received approval for admission to Germany from the German Government because they are at particular individual risk will be actively contacted by the Federal Foreign Office (via an email from an external service provider using an email address with the domain name @vaoffice.org) and informed that they have been granted approval for admission. This initial contact, announcing approval for admission, is the basis for further communication with the service provider, using the email address info@vaoffice.org.

Please do not write to these email addresses yourself. You will be contacted when your approval for admission has been granted.

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. For communication with former local employees who have submitted hazard applications, the Federal Foreign Office is working with an external service provider who uses the domain @threatno.org.

Afghans active in civil society, the media, culture or academia, for example, who have been identified as being at particular risk and for whom the Federal Ministry of the Interior has granted approval for admission, are currently being actively contacted by the Federal Foreign Office (via an external service provider using the domain @vaoffice.org) and informed about their approval for admission as well as the next steps.

Those Afghans the German Government is in principle ready to admit to Germany are contacted by the Federal Foreign Office via an external service provider and informed about this by email (and, in some cases, also by phone). This service provider uses the domain @vaoffice.org. Partly for data protection reasons, these emails are not personalised. However, they do include a reference number which allows the individual to be identified, for instance when applying for a visa.

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.

Applications for national visa for family reunion for Afghan nationals residing in Afghanistan may be submitted in Islamabad or Tehran.

Starting April 20th, 2022, the application procedure for a visa for family reunion in Tehran will be outsourced to the external service provider Visametric. All applicants who are already registered for an appointment to apply for a visa for family reunion with preferred application in New Delhi will be contacted by Visametric in due course and invited to an appointment in Tehran. If you have not yet registered, you can do so here. Applicants who have registered for an appointment in Islamabad will be invited to an appointment in due course.

Filing of applications at the embassy in New Delhi, which has also been responsible up to now, is not possible as long as the current problems for Afghan nationals when entering India persist.

The website of the German mission in Kabul contains 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.

Individuals must leave the country to collect a visa themselves. 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.

As soon as you have managed to leave Afghanistan, please contact the local German mission wherever you are, with your passport and the notification that your visa is ready to be collected. The mission will help you get the visa that is waiting for you, or will inform you about the further procedure.

If you are a local employee, your former or current employer remains your point of contact. Members of your immediate family – i.e. minor, unmarried children – can be admitted. Only in exceptional cases can adult children who are unmarried and who live in their parents’ household be admitted under the resettlement programme for former local employees.

As a general rule, only members of the immediate family can be considered for travel to Germany. In very specific exceptional cases, it is possible to examine whether there is a particular case of hardship allowing other family members to be considered. This examination would always look in detail at the individual circumstances of the case, taking account of the narrow scope for interpretation of the relevant German legislation.

 Afghan nationals who already have a valid residence permit can enter Germany on this document. Afghan nationals wishing to enter neighbouring states or third countries must take note of the relevant entry regulations for these countries. If your residence permit is due to expire soon, please contact the foreigners authority that is responsible for you without delay.

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.

A humanitarian admission programme as envisaged in the coalition agreement is currently being drawn up.

Current support for individuals wishing to travel to Germany is restricted to very specific groups: German nationals, local employees working for German authorities from 2013 as well as Afghans who are at particular risk who have been granted approval for admission. We are also assisting these individuals’ immediate families who have also been granted approval for admission.

A humanitarian admission programme as envisaged in the coalition agreement is currently being drawn up. It is not yet clear who will be considered under this programme, or under what circumstances.

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.

More information on Afghanistan

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