Deportation or expulsion – Reasons for a deportation

Illegal residence can result in a deportation.
Illegal residence can result in a deportation.

FAQ: Deportation

When do you need to consider the possibility of a deportation?

Is an application for asylum denied due to regulations within the asylum law, are the people concerned obligated to leave the country. Don’t the comply with this on a voluntary basis deportation can be used as lawful means.

What are the legal grounds for a deportation?

The most important legal basis is the Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) or Residence Act. Several paragraphs define when asylum seekers or foreigners have to leave the country and when a deportation is justified. More information about the legal grounds can be found here.

Are there means to fight a deportation?

Under certain circumstances it is possible to halt or suspend a deportation. If you leave the country volontarily,  the deportation decree will usually be taken back. Read here which other options might be available.

Deportation: Can that happen in Germany?

Not every person is allowed to move freely from border to border.
Not every person is allowed to move freely from border to border.

Ever since humanity has started settling in certain areas of land, territorial tenures existed. Farming and being tied to a certain place demanded protection of the tilled soil.

For that reason, mankind was subdivided into the people who belonged to the settled community on the one hand and foreign intruders who could destroy their land on the other.

With the beginnings of borders and nations territorial claims further increased. By and by the emergence of human rights in politics prevented an undifferentiated defense of borders. This is why today many people can move freely from border to border – for instance in the countries of the European Union (EU).

Yet, a lot of people cannot enjoy moving freely: Out of consequence, many foreigners have to seek refuge and asylum in Germany in order to receive a residence permit – others, in contrast, are directly expelled or deported.

But what precisely is the difference between an expulsion and a deportation? What is the prevalent procedure of a deportation in Germany? To what kind of laws does the deportation procedure trace back? In this article you can find all relevant information on the topic of deportation, the prevention of it as well as possible consequences.

Expulsion of refugees

A declined application often leads to an eviction order.
A declined application often leads to an eviction order.

Due to several international crises and humanitarian situations a lot of people seek refuge or asylum. Their reasons to do so vary and are very diverse. War or human rights violations as well as natural disasters or immense poverty can bring people to the decision to leave their home and look for shelter elsewhere.

Legal regulation for deportations: The Residence Act

§ 50 AfenthG (Residence Act) regulates the obligation to return for foreigners in Germany:

(1) A foreigner is obligated to leave the country, if he is not / not anymore in the possession of a residence permit and a right to remain cannot be granted according to the association agreement between the EEC and Turkey.

As long as the procedure for granting the right of asylum is ongoing, the applicant owns a temporary residence permit, which grants him the possibility to remain legally on German federal territory. The rejection of the application involves a denial of residence and results in the refugee´s obligation to leave

In addition, paragraph two of the article states:

(2)The foreigner has to leave German territory immediately or depart before the determined deadline for departure has expired.

This deadline cannot exceed a time span of six months after notice of the eviction order has been taken, except for some cases of hardship. If an applicant neglects the obligation to return, a deportation will be arranged.

Off to a neighboring country? What does a departure within the EU entail?

In Europe an eviction order seems to be easily fulfilled: simply by traveling to France, the Netherlands or any other neighboring country. § 50 AufenthG, however, puts a hold to this intention:

(3) By entering a different member state of the European Union or the Schengen area, a foreigner meets his obligation to return only if the country in question explicitly permits the entry and consequential residence. If the necessary requirements can be fulfilled, the foreigner has to resort to the sovereign territory of that country immediately.

In consequence, however, a prohibition from residing in Germany equals a residency prohibition in Europe and the Schengen area respectively.

Removal procedures

§ 50 AufenthG contains some basic regulations about the obligation to return.
§ 50 AufenthG contains some basic regulations about the obligation to return.

In the course of the asylum proceedings an eviction order is decided by the Federal Agency of Migration and Refugees (BAMF). As a general rule an asylum seeker receives the eviction order together with the refusal of the asylum request as well as a deadline for voluntary departure.

Usually, this time span lasts one month. Only after that deadline has expired, a deportation can be demanded. This procedure, however, falls into the remit of the responsible Aliens Department of the particular federal state.

Often federal police force carries out the deportation. If a person obliged to leave the country and fights the resettlement vehemently, he can be escorted to the airplane by a federal police officer.

In some federal states authorities started to withhold information about the specific dates of deportations. This procedure is used only for families without children. In this manner authorities try to prevent people from evading and going into hiding. Human rights specialists condemn this procedure as inhumane.

Airport regulations

A separate and accelerated version of the asylum procedure is the so-called “airport procedure.” It can, of course, only be valid for foreigners entering federal territory by air. Before leaving the transition area of the airport, the passenger has to apply for asylum. This procedure especially applies to foreigners with no or fake documents as well as people, whose country of origin is listed as secure.

In this instance the Federal Border Guard instead of the BAMF has got the final authority. Within two days the Federal Border Guard has to decide whether an application is unsubstantiated or not.

In the former case, a refugee is not entitled to enter the country. However, there is the possibility of consulting a lawyer and handing in an application for legal protection at the Higher Administrative Court within three days.

Deportation after a criminal offence

If an applicant neglects the obligation to return, a deportation will be arranged.
If an applicant neglects the obligation to return, a deportation will be arranged.

Not only denied residence permits are the reason for deportations. Foreigners, who already own a residence permit, can likewise receive an eviction order.

If a foreigner commits a severe crime, a deportation can be authorized according to both the aliens act and the residence act. If a person poses a serious threat for others or the federal state of Germany, a deportation can be enforced with a special form of detention.

Legal foundations responsible for a deportation after criminal offenses

§ 53 AufenthG states:

(1) Foreigners whose stay endangers public safety and order, the free democratic basic order or other significant interests of the Federal Republic of Germany will be expelled if, after weighing the interest in their departure against their individual interest in remaining in the federal territory, taking into account all the circumstances of the particular case, there is an overriding public interest in the foreigners’ departure.

In this very case the eviction order will not be authorized by the BAMF but by the responsible aliens department or a judge. What happens, however, if an asylum seeker, whose status as a refugee has been acknowledged, commits a serious crime?

In this case, risks and benefits of two different legal assets need to be opposed: The right to asylum and the right of public security and protection of the basic democratic order. Usually the right to asylum is estimated higher than the other – except for cases of extreme hardship:

(3a) A foreigner who is recognised as a person entitled to asylum, who has the legal status of a refugee in the federal territory or possesses a travel document issued by an authority of the Federal Republic of Germany under the Convention of 28 July 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees (Federal Law Gazette 1953 II, p. 559), may be expelled only if there are serious grounds for regarding the foreigner as a threat to the security of the Federal Republic of Germany, as a terrorist threat or as a threat to the general public because he or she has been incontestably sentenced to a prison term for a serious crime.

Often the deportation is carried out by federal police force.
Often the deportation is carried out by federal police force.

The final decision here lies within the authority of the aliens department, who can work in close consultation with the BAMF. German legislation demands a deportation when several deliberate crimes or particularly severe crimes have been committed.

Owing to current developments, special attention has lately been given to participations in terroristic groups (§ 54 AufenthG). Before a refugee is sent back to a war region, however, all relevant circumstances of every individual case will be observed by the responsible authorities.

Deportation detention

If there is reasonable ground for suspecting that a foreigner, being the subject of removal orders, is about to go into hiding, a so-called deportation detention can be arranged.

It can last up to 18 months and is supposed to guarantee that the person concerned can be expelled at any time and will not start a life as an illegal citizen. Deportation detention was especially established for asylum seekers who have committed severe crimes. In this case, the state has a strong interest in resettling the criminal.

Return to Germany after a deportation?

If an asylum seeker has been deported from German grounds, the state usually issues a re-entry ban. This ban is absolute and needs to be maintained at all times. Even residing in the transit area or visiting one’s family is not permitted anymore.

Foreigners then have to expect rejection at the border and cannot enter the state. The re-entry ban lasts up to 10 years, but can be extended depending on the case.

Correspondingly, the European Court of Justice decided in 2015 that re-entering a state illegally can be sanctioned by the countries of the EU. A prison sentence might follow even though a re-entry ban has once been issued.

Can a deportation be prevented?

Denied residence permits are a common reason for deportations.
Denied residence permits are a common reason for deportations.

Although there are currently many foreigners living in Germany who are supposed to be resettled, final deportations are hardly ever arranged.

Bureaucratic barriers and overworked authorities lead to residences that last longer than intended.

In the context of the current refugee crisis countries also prefer participation and cooperation rather than removals with the help of police force.

Voluntary departure

Deportations are arranged differently among the federal states. Some push through radical procedures, some insist on cooperation. The so-called “voluntary departure” is an alternative option to an impending deportation and assures a certain level of autonomy and dignity.

Furthermore, refugees and rejected asylum seekers can obtain information at one of the support centers for returnees in order to assess whether a voluntary departure should be preferred to a deportation. In the former case, the state pays for travel expenses and a little starting budget for returnees. This varies between 300 and 750 Euros and facilitates the reintegration.

Exceptional leave to remain as an alternative to deportation

An abandonment of resettlement can be evoked for reasons of the international humanitarian or human rights law as well as political interests of the Federal Republic of Germany (§ 60a AufenthG). Many times, however, urgent personal reasons can stop an impending expulsion. This temporary abandonment of resettlement is then called “exceptional leave to remain.” It does not absolve anyone from the burden of their return, but rather freezes up the process. Yet, this cannot be put on a level with a residence permit.

The asylum law in Germany: Working permit in a time of tolerance?

If a foreigner commits a crime he/she can be deported.
If a foreigner commits a crime he/she can be deported.

Under certain circumstances foreigners will be able to work in Germany, even if their residence is only tolerated. However, finding work may prove difficult due to the impending departure.

The exceptional leave to remain must be updated every six months and, if need be, extended. If a foreigner misses these appointments, a deportation can be carried out with full force. For that reason, employees who only have an exceptional leave to remain, constitute a certain risk for their employer.

So far, not every tolerated person is actually allowed to work in Germany. § 60a AufenthG specifies:

(6) Foreigners whose deportation has been suspended may not be permitted to pursue an economic activity if

1.  they entered the country to obtain benefits under the Act on Benefits for Asylum Applicants,

2.  measures to terminate their stay cannot be carried out for reasons for which they are responsible, or

3.  they are nationals of a safe country of origin according to section 29a of the Asylum Act and an asylum application which they filed after 31 August 2015 has been denied or withdrawn, unless the application was withdrawn based on advising from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees as referred to in section 24 (1) of the Asylum Act, or no asylum application was filed.

Foreigners are in particular responsible for reasons referred to in sentence 1 no. 2 if they themselves have brought about the obstacle to deportation by their own deceit concerning their identity or nationality or by furnishing false information. Sentence 1 no. 3 does not apply to unaccompanied foreign minors whose asylum applications have been withdrawn or for whom no application for asylum was made if the application was withdrawn or no application was made in the best interests of the child.

For these reasons, it is a common fact that most of the people having an exceptional leave to remain will not have an access to the job market. Those who do have a working permission only have limited access to the job market.

Reasons for preventing deportation

How can one explain the fact that, despite the high numbers of foreigners obliged to leave the country, comparatively few deportations and voluntary departures can be recorded?

Before a country can resettle refugees, all legal aspects of the individual deportation or eviction have to be flawlessly inspected. This, however, is not always possible.

Missing proof of identity

If the foreigner is suspected to go into hiding deportation detention can be used.
If the foreigner is suspected to go into hiding deportation detention can be used.

Many asylum seekers do not have a passport. In most cases authorities cannot determine without doubt, what country a person is from or where he can be sent back to. Before a deportation can be carried out, the nationality of the person inflicted has to be clarified – or else the country of destination approves the admission.

Although substitute papers can be ordered, this will take a great amount of time. Often neither the person obligated to leave the country nor his respective country of origin cooperates well with the authorities. The latter sometimes even refuses repeated admittance of the refugee.

Inability to travel

Frequently, deportations are carried out by air. This procedure holds certain dangers. If a doctor confirms a refugee´s incapacity to travel, the process of deportation needs to pause.

Authorities suspect a high number of misusage with respect to medical certificates, because these are frequently shown only when a concrete deadline for deportation has been announced or the police pays a visit. Fraud has to be confirmed – until then the deportation process pauses.

Urgent personal reasons

If a person seeking asylum can produce valid personal reasons (according to § 60a AufenthG), a deportation can be delayed. A justifiable reason might for instance be a surgery that could not be performed in the country of origin.

Also nursing a sick family member or the beginning of an apprenticeship before turning 21 years-old might be valid reasons for preventing a deportation.

Using the help of information centers

The so-called re-entry ban lasts up to ten years.
The so-called re-entry ban lasts up to ten years.

If an application for asylum has finally been rejected, asylum seekers can file a lawsuit at the Higher Administrative Court.

The court then examines again, whether the refugee should be granted asylum or whether the decision of the Federal Agency for Migration and Refugees can be justified.

Depending on what grounds an application was rejected, there are different deadlines for filing a lawsuit at the Administrative Court.

In principle, once there has been a negative notification, one should visit an information center or a lawyer. The deadlines are set narrowly, before a deportation is announced.

  • If an application is rejected as “obviously unsubstantiated”, the deadline is one week.
  • If an application, however, is only rejected as simply “unsubstantiated”, the foreigner has got four weeks to file a suit.

In the former case, a lawyer can – by means of an accelerated procedure – evoke the delay of the deportation till after the court has decided about his case.

In case of the latter, a deportation is per se arranged after the court judgement. An additional application for delay is then unnecessary.

At court the lawyer or the asylum seeker himself can present the case. After detailed investigation of the circumstances, the court passes a sentence. It either confirms the decision of the BAMF (then the plaintiff is forced to leave the country) or the court decides that – even if the asylum seeker will not receive a residence permit – he can receive an exceptional leave to remain.

What is more: The Administrative Court can completely revoke the decision of the BAMF and grant a residence permit.

§ 58a AufenthG states:

(4) After the deportation order has been announced, foreigners are to be given an opportunity to contact a legal adviser of their choice without delay, unless they have secured the services of a lawyer beforehand; foreigners are to be informed of this entitlement, of the legal consequences of the deportation order and the available legal remedies. An application for temporary relief pursuant to the Code of Administrative Court Procedure (Verwaltungsgerichtsordnung) must be filed within seven days of announcement of the deportation order. Deportation may not be enforced until the period referred to in sentence 2 has expired and, if an application for temporary relief is filed in time, until the court has decided on said application.

As a rule the lawsuit is the last possible chance to prevent deportation once the application for asylum has been denied.

One might appeal against this judgement, yet this appeal is hardly ever successful.

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Über den Autor

Autor Image Female
Jennifer A.

Jennifer studierte Rechtswissenschaften an der Universität Bayreuth. Seit 2018 ist sie fester Bestandteil des Redaktionsteams von Sie nutzt ihr breites Wissen über das deutsche Rechtssystem seither für die Erstellung gut verständlicher Texte in Bereichen wie dem Asylrecht, Steuerrecht und Verbraucherrecht.


62 Gedanken zu „Deportation or expulsion – Reasons for a deportation

  1. zain

    Hallo thanks for information today i was auslanderbahorde and talk to him university not accept me due to some reason because i applied the wrong study course i need to apply study course but i need the C2 german level so then talk to him i want to go back spain i want to study there then this women asking me what are you doing now i answer i have german language school already start but i dont go in school because i dont know you give me visa or not then she tell me we already give you appointment next month but you come today so you decide what you want do in germany and come next appointment then i talk her now you can decide but she told me now you come your next appointment and tell me what you want to do germany stay here or go back spain i dint understand why they not tell me today decision what they want why they are saying again and again come next appointment i go 2 time always said come next appointment i have work permanent residence spain valid and german study visa valid this is legal to keep 2 documents same time or illegal for example they dont want to give me visa they send me Bangladesh or spain and how long i can stay in germany language course mean prepare language course ffor university i check on internet there is information maximum 2 year you can prepare the language course for apply in admission in university but not more time 2 year i have already complete my 2 year

  2. zain

    hallo my name is zain you are saying possibility to deportation is possibile my question is before deporation they inform me or send me any letter from deporation or just pick me home and deport


      Hello zain,

      usually you will be informed about your legal status and what you’ll have to do regarding leaving the country. If you stay illegally, a deportation without notice might be possible. Please seek legal advice from a lawyer if you wish further information about the process.

      Your team at

  3. Narinder S.

    Hi im narinder from india .im wrking here frm last 3 years.with füll papers .and i have Bescheinigung für Aussetzung die abschiebung.and they have given letter in that they said i can grant Aufenthalterlaubnis for 25b … and i m here from last 13 years .can i get Aufenthalterlaubnis. Thanks.


      Hello Narinder S.,

      we cannot judge if you fulfill all the requirements for an Aufenthalterlaubnis. You should clear that with the authorities like the Ausländerbehörde. We cannot offer legal advice, so if you need that, please contact a lawyer.

      Your team at

  4. zain

    hi 3 year ago i came in germany exchange study after finished my exchange period i need to go back italy but i did not go i decide to stay germany so i take admission in language course auslanderbahorde give me language visa 6 month and after said me bring the admission letter from university i said i need the b2 german language then i can apply so they give me every time visa and said me bring university admission letter so this year i apply he university admission due to some reason university reject my admission i have appointment next week so my question is if i go for appointment they have right to deport me or they give me letter just say leave the germany


      Hello zain,

      we cannot predict how the Ausländerbehörde will decide in your case. It is possible that you will not get an student visa if you cannot provide the necessary documents. A deportation might be possible in this case as well.

      Your team at

  5. Imtiaz

    Hello. I want to know i was in Germany as a aslyum seeker but my asylum was rejected and thy deported me back to my home country. And i don’t know how long thy put a ban on me. Nd can i re entry if i have a German work permit?? And i haven’t any criminal record in germany please guide me nd tell how i can remove my ban ?

  6. Asenoguan Q.

    I was deported from Germany to Italy last week and I want to go back there because my husband is there so I want to go back to my husband please I don’t know would there be a problem if I go back?


      Hello Asenoguan Q.,

      in a case of deportation there will be ban in place. That means, you will not be allowed to enter Germany for a certain period of time. This time should be mentioned in the documents concerning your deportation. Please contact the responsible authorities if that is not the case. They should be able to tell you for how long you will be prohibited to enter Germany. We are not allowed to offer any legal advice.

      Your team at

  7. Ikukoyi

    Hello please my bf was deported back to Nigeria 2weeks ago and he d father of my daughter he has d paternity recognition and he has been working for 5years in Germany he has his own apartment he doesn’t have any criminal record.please my question is that can they ban him from entering Germany if yes for like how many years please


      Hello Ikukoyi,

      if your boyfrined was deported and didn’t leave the country voluntarily, then the ban should be mentioned in the documents for his case. A ban can last up to ten years. PLease contact the „Ausländerzentralregister“ to ask how long the ban in this case is set to be. We cannot provide any kind of legal advice.

      Your team at

  8. kacie

    hi.i need clarification on my application was inadmissible and i voluntarily decided to be transfered to the Dublin state incharge.after 6months from my asylum application Date i get an appointment to receive a temporary ban on my deportation order otherwise known as Duldung.what could be the reason for this?Is the government now ready to handle my case or what could be the idea behind this?


      Hello kacie,

      usually a Duldung is issued when there is no reason for asylum but a deportation is currently not possible. That means you are tolerated in the country for a certain period of time. During that period you usually cannot be deported. For further legal advice please contact a lawyer as we cannot provide any kind of legal help.

      Your team at

  9. Kevin


    I have doubts about my residence status. I was granted a student visa on October 2017 to study in a university on Germany. However, the student visa only lasted for 6 months and I have to extend my visa into residence permit. I was granted 2 years of residence permit period (until February 2020). The question is that I decided to change my university due to the change of research interest after spending one semester in my formal university, which is around one year ago. I am currently studying in a new university. However, I forgot to report my change of status to the Ausländerbehörde, as it is stated in my Zustazblatt that my residence permit is bounded to my formal university. I only realized it recently and have report this issue to the Ausländerbehörde. The person in charge were quit angry about such issue and they gave me an appointment at May 2019 so that I can bring all the relevant documents. In such case, will I be deported from Germany due to my action failing to report my residence permit status?

    Thank you.



      Hello Kevin,

      unfortunately we cannot predict that outcome of your situation. If possible please see a laywer for help. We can’t provide any legal counseling. It might be possible that your student permit/visa will be revoked but we can’t say for sure.

      Your team at

  10. Amanpreet

    I am a Indian girl and my Husband was deported from German on 26Nov, 2018. Currently I completed my Ielts and my husband had worked in Germany from last 8 years and his case for Permanent resident was going on but suddenly he got refusal and deported to India back with ban of 5 years. Can he enter to Germany back with the spouse visa or not. Or I will also not able to enter with him in the same Country Germany.
    Kindly Help!


      Hello Amanpreet,

      if there is a ban active that person is not allowed to enter germany for that period of time. You can appl fpr a shortening of the ban at the authorities who issued it. But that is onl possible if the ban wasn’t issued due to a criminal record. If the ban has been served and the costs of the deportation have been paid, your husban should be able to apply for a visum again.

      Your team at

  11. Hasanat

    I am a Bangladeshi student. During my application period I applied for national visa. My course was pastime MBA for two years in Germany. So, university arranged German language course for me from A1 to C1 for the whole time and also told me that is the solution to get your visa. I did that and finally embassy suggested me to withdraw my application and again to apply for long term schengen visa. When I did so, they gave me visa. But in Germany I did not get work permit and they told me to depot. I took a lawyer and filed a case. But suddenly they deported me and what should I do now?


      Hello Hasanat,

      we cannot providelegal support. Please contact a laywer and discuss our case with them. We cannot determine why you were deported or for what reason authorities decided this way.

      Your team at

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