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foreigners Authority

Foreigners who want to live and work in Germany must first contact the immigration authorities. This is also known as the immigration office. Each federal state has its own authority. Depending on the country from which you want to enter Germany, a visa is required. This can also be applied for at the Immigration Office.

Find the responsible immigration office

Here is a comprehensive overview of the addresses, contact details, phone numbers and opening hours as well as other helpful information from the immigration authorities responsible for you.

Please select your federal state from the list or enter the search term in the search field on our homepage at the top right.

All information without guarantee and subject to change

In which cities are immigration authorities represented?

The immigration office is after Section 71 Residence Act active. It responsibly regulates all decisions and measures relating to the passport and right of residence of foreigners. The immigration authorities decide whether and how foreigners can live, work and be integrated in the Federal Republic. Each federal state organizes its own authorities in various cities. There is an immigration office in every district or town.

The immigration offices are responsible for ensuring that immigration law is enforced in accordance with the legal situation. In some federal states, towns and cities belonging to districts of a certain size also have their own immigration office. The decision as to which cities have their own immigration authorities depends on the federal states.

What are the tasks of the immigration authorities?

Every foreigner who enters Germany from abroad to live and work there needs one residence permit. The immigration authorities are the first address for foreigners entering the country. She is responsible for whether a residence permit is granted or refused. Furthermore, if necessary, a settlement permit will be issued in accordance with the Residence Act regarding the desired purpose of residence or an expulsion will be initiated. If the instructions of the immigration authorities are not followed, deportation can be initiated. Immigration authorities not only provide residence permit but also replacement passport papers if these are required.

The immigration offices are also responsible for asylum seekers and displaced persons. They decide on residence permits and issue them if the decision is positive. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) is then responsible for conducting the asylum procedure. Likewise for the issuance of travel documents and tolerance for foreigners. The decision as to whether the legal requirements for family reunification are met is also made by the BAMF. The immigration authorities are involved in issuing visas.

The responsibility of the foreigners authority also relates to numerous other tasks. The type and length of the residence permit varies greatly. Some are given a time limit, while others have their residence permit rejected and/or are issued with an exit permit in accordance with the Residence Act. The identities of the person need to be clarified if there is an obligation to leave the country. These and numerous other activities are processed by the Immigration Office. Below you will find an overview of all activities that fall within the scope of the immigration authorities:

  • register
  • asylum procedure
  • refugee aid
  • social care
  • integration courses
  • Organization and approval of entry and stay in Germany
  • benefit entitlement
  • reimbursement and health care
  • civil status
  • commitment declaration
  • accommodation options

How can I make an appointment at the Immigration Office?

As a rule, you can make an appointment by telephone, using the contact form or via the service portal of the respective city. In some cities you can download various online forms to clarify important questions in advance. The address and opening hours can be viewed online. Make sure you have all the necessary documents before visiting the agency.

A notice: For offices and authorities, you usually need the documents or certificates as certified translation*.

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State law regulates the local jurisdiction for foreigners

Federal law does not regulate the local jurisdiction for a foreigner. The supplementary state law is responsible for this.
As a rule, the usual place of residence is responsible for your local jurisdiction.

This is how the decisions in the countries are actually implemented

If the BAMF decides negatively and decisions are made that end the stay, these must be implemented promptly. The immigration authorities are responsible for enforcing these decisions. The legal requirements that are necessary for the deportation of the respective foreigners are also assessed by the immigration authorities. Flights that meet the requirements are then registered by the responsible authorities. The relevant state police then controls the actual execution.

The immigration authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia are an exception. They have the status of a special regulatory authority within the meaning of § 12 OBG. This means that the immigration authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia can carry out arrest measures and deportations with the help of special enforcement officers in accordance with Section 62 of the Residence Act. According to Section 113 of the Criminal Code, they are legitimized and secured in the same way as law enforcement officers and police officers.

If foreigners who want a student, Schengen or visitor visa to travel to Germany, depending on their country of origin, they must apply to the responsible foreigners authority commitment declaration be given. With the declaration of commitment before issuing a visa, the foreigners authority ensures that the visitors or those who invite them are obliged to bear all the costs that they will incur themselves during their stay in Germany.

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