Irregular stay and immigration detention


A foreigner that resides illegally in Germany must leave the country immediately or within the set deadline. You are deemed to reside illegally in Germany, if:
• you have entered Germany illegally;
• your visa has been annulled or the date of the visa’s validity has passed;
• you reside in Germany on grounds different from those on which your visa was issued;
• the time during which you are able to reside in Germany on the basis of German law or an international agreement, has passed;
• you do not possess a residence permit or such a permit has expired.

In certain cases, you may face detention:

• As a non-citizen issued with a return decision you may be detained if you cannot be deported immediately and you display a risk of unlawful entry, a previous unlawful stay, entry despite entry ban, conviction for a criminal offence, possession of forged documents, giving false information, and being unwilling to voluntarily leave Germany) or fail to leave the country within the time period ordered in the return decision. As a non-citizen you can also be detained when your identity cannot be established.

• As an asylum seeker, you can be detained to establish identity; in case of a suspicion that you will mislead or abuse the procedures; to prevent threat to other persons’ life or property; or pending transfer to a “safe third country” if there are reasons that you will avoid it. As an asylum applicant subject to Dublin proceedings you may also be detained if you have visa or residence permit of another member state, have unlawfully crossed the border, or have received a decision that German authorities will not consider your application.

• You can also be detained if you have been refused entry into Germany because you did not fulfill the entry conditions and cannot be immediately returned.

You can be detained at the border for maximum 48 hours if you intend to or have already crossed the border and suspicion exists that you have done so unlawfully.

Detention may last up to six months. Detention can be extended for another six months if you have not been deported within the initial period of detention for “objective reasons’’ (if you don’t cooperate in the deportation procedure, there are delays in obtaining the required documents from a third country, or the identification procedures are still in progress).

As an asylum seeker you may be detained for up to three months. If after the lapse of this period, the grounds for detention are still valid, detention may be extended for another month.