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DW: German visas for Russians. What is now needed to emigrate to Germany


Russians who oppose Russia's war with Ukraine can now obtain a German national visa and a residence permit in Germany under a simplified procedure. DW - with details.

No one knows exactly how many Russians there are that don’t agree with how the Kremlin's policies have left the country since Russia started its war against Ukraine. Some say the numbers are in the order of 100-200 thousand people, while others put estimates much higher at around one million. Many of the opposition-minded intellectuals, human rights activists, cultural figures and journalists believe that Berlin would once again become the capital of Russian emigration, just like a century ago.

However, the possibility for them to move to Germany has been very limited so far. For more than three months the government of FRG had been conducting interdepartmental coordination to create a simplified procedure for granting Russians with national German visas, residence permits and the right to work in this country. What was the result?

Lawyers, human rights defenders, academics, journalists are at risk

"Russia's increasingly brutal aggression against Ukraine is accompanied by an increasingly violent crackdown inside the country, primarily against the press, human rights defenders and opposition activists," German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said Monday, May 30.

“We offer protection in Germany to Russian women and men, who are harassed and threatened. We will give Russian journalists in particular the opportunity for free and independent reporting from Germany".

As DW reporter spokesman for the German Interior Ministry (Sascha Lawrenz) explained, the persons of high risk category in Russia decided to include lawyers defending the dissidents in court, the extra-parliamentary opposition and their supporters, human rights defenders and employees of human rights organizations and organizations declared undesirable in Russia, individuals, "foreign agents.[a]

In addition, Germany is ready to shelter scientists, cultural figures and journalists who oppose Russia's war in Ukraine. Speaking about journalists, Lavrents specifically noted that the simplified procedure also applies to journalists of the Russian state-run media who were dismissed for reporting events that did not correspond with the official story.

All such persons will be able to move to Germany together with their family - wife or husband and underage children.

Departure is possible not only from Russia itself, but also from any other country that Russians are currently in, e.g. Georgia or Armenia. This is done through the German diplomatic missions in these countries. It is also possible to re-register for a national visa for those Russians who are already in or arriving in Germany on a Schengen visa.

Residence permit for humanitarian reasons

Article 22 of German law governing the residence of foreigners in Germany applies to the above-mentioned categories of persons. According to this article, foreign nationals may be granted a residence permit in Germany in accordance with the provisions of international law, for urgent humanitarian reasons, and if it is in Germany's political interest to do so.

In this case it is not a Schengen visa, which allows stay in Germany only 90 days, and without the right to work, but the national German visa, which is issued for long-term stay in the country. Information on this visa (and in Russian) can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany.

The law does not stipulate the period of stay in Germany with such a visa. The Bundestag academic service only points out that a foreigner with a residence permit under Article 22 of the said law may stay in Germany only as long as the reasons that prompted the German authorities to adopt it persist.

And the reasons are likely to be in Russia for a very long time to come.

Candidates for emigration are selected by the German Foreign Ministry

The Interior Ministry points out that German authorities have already started applying such a procedure for granting visas and residence permits in Germany. Lavrents assured this as being done "quickly and without red tape. "So with the necessary prerequisites in place," he added, "an entry visa and the possibility of long-term stay in Germany can already be granted”.

When asked by DW about these "necessary prerequisites," the Interior Ministry spokesman said that the person "must convincingly show that he is being persecuted”.

Lawrence, however, could not clearly explain how an applicant for a national visa should prove persecution or his/her anti-war stance.

However, according to the interdepartmental agreement, the Interior Ministry's functions in this procedure will be limited to checking Russians for threats to German national security, which mainly involves running them through the databases of German intelligence services.

 as favorably as possible and in the shortest possible time.The candidates themselves will be selected by German diplomats in consultation with the Minister of State for Culture and Media, Claudia Roth. A DW correspondent was assured by the German Foreign Ministry that the statements of Russian opponents of Putin and the war in Ukraine will be considered.


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