After you’ve arrived in Hamburg, the initial reception centre (Zentrale Erstaufnahme) at Harburger Poststraße 1 should be your first place to go. Your personal data will be recorded, and you will receive a temporary residence permit. Depending on several criteria, you will either be transferred to a temporary shelter in Hamburg or to a reception centre in a different Federal State within Germany.
Initial reception centres
The initial reception centre (Zentrale Erstaufnahme) at Harburger Poststraße 1 and several other locations around Hamburg provide temporary shelter and basic care for newly arrived refugees. See the city map for their locations and phone numbers. The centres are operated by the Ministry for Internal Affair and Sports. You may spend several months living at one of these reception centres while your asylum application is being processed by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).
Apply for asylum
You can apply for asylum at the Aliens' Department (Zentrale Ausländerbehörde) at Amsinckstraße 28 in Hamburg, where your application will be handled by The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). Applicants must appear in person, so that personal data, fingerprints and photographs can be recorded, to ensure that no previous application has been made in Germany or another EU-Member State. Children under the age of 14 do not need to have their fingerprints or photos taken.
You will be invited to an interview, in which you’ll have to give an account of your persecution. The interview forms the basis for the decision as to whether asylum can be granted. Interpreters will be available at the office to translate between you and the officers. It is of upmost importance that you fully understand the questions asked, so make sure you and your interpreter understand each other well.
There are many criteria that determine the outcome of your application, check out the BAMF website for more information. You’ll receive a temporary residence title for specific purposes while the asylum process is pending. The decision on the asylum application is delivered in writing.
German integration course
If your application has been, or is likely to be approved, you will have to participate in an integration course (Integrationskurs), where you’ll learn the German language and get lessons about German politics and history.
You have the right to medical treatment whilst you are in Germany. All refugees are checked for contagious illnesses and potentially receive vaccination at the main reception centre at Poststraße 1 in Harburg. Later the doctors at the other reception centres will help you. After your interview has been taken by the BAMF, you’ll receive a special German health insurance card, which allows you to choose a doctor yourself.