Travel document issuance for foreigners

If you do not have a passport from your country of origin and it is not possible for you to obtain one in a reasonable way, a travel document for foreigners may be issued to you in exceptional cases.

Every foreigner must have a recognized and valid passport or passport replacement. If you are not in possession of a passport or passport replacement, you must therefore endeavour to obtain such a document from the diplomatic mission of your country of origin.

The travel document for foreigners is a German passport replacement document, which can be issued alternatively in special exceptional cases.

You can apply for a travel document for foreigners if you come from a non-EU country, do not have a passport or passport replacement from your home country and cannot obtain such a document in a reasonable way.

As a rule, the following shall be deemed reasonable:

  • to apply for the reissue or renewal of a passport or passport replacement in good time before the expiry of the validity of your passport in your home country and to participate in the official procedure,
  • the fulfilment of conscription or other civic duties required for the issuance of the national passport, and
  • pay the fees set out in the country of origin.

It would not be reasonable, for example, if you enjoy asylum in Germany as a politically persecuted person and therefore cannot visit the embassy of your country of origin. High costs for obtaining a passport in the country of origin do not make the procurement of passports unreasonable in principle.

When applying for a travel document for foreigners, you should be able to provide evidence of your previous efforts to obtain a passport.

In the case of only temporary passportlessness, the issuance of a travel document for foreigners is only considered if compelling reasons require it.

In addition to the unreasonableness of obtaining a passport, another prerequisite is that

  • Your residence in Germany is lawful, i.e. You are either already in possession of a residence permit (residence permit, settlement permit, permit for permanent residenceEC) or should receive it together with the travel document.
  • They should be able to leave Germany for good time.
  • you are in the asylum procedure and
    • there is an urgent public interest in issuing the travel document, or
    • compelling reasons require the issuance of the travel document, or
    • the refusal of the travel document would constitute an undue hardship

and the implementation of the asylum procedure is not jeopardised.

The Foreigners' Registration Office may stipulate that the travel document should only be valid for certain states or continents.

If the country of origin refuses to issue a passport or passport replacement for reasons that also exist in German passport law, no travel document can be issued.

  • Current biometric photo in passport format (45 x 35 mm)
  • Proof of identity and nationality (e.g. expired travel documents or deeds)
  • Current residence permit, travel document or current residence permit, if available

In individual cases, the Foreigners' Registration Office may require less or more evidence.

Forms available: No

Written form required: Yes

Informal application possible: No

Personal appearance required: Yes

Preconditions

  • You are a national of a non-EU country.
  • You do not have a passport or passport replacement of your country of origin.
  • You can prove that it is not possible for you to obtain a passport or passport replacement from your country of origin with reasonable effort.
  • You meet one of the following requirements:
    • You are either in possession of a residence permit (residence permit, settlement permit, EC permanent residence permit) or should receive it together with the travel document.
    • The travel document is intended to enable them to leave The Federal Territory for good.

You are in the asylum procedure and there is an urgent public interest in the issuance of the travel document, compelling reasons require it or it would mean unreasonable hardship if the travel document is not issued to you, and your asylum procedure is not jeopardized by the issuance of the travel document.

Hints

  • There is no entitlement to the issuance of a travel document for foreigners. It is always a case-by-case decision.
  • Travel documents for foreigners contain the following visible information: issuing authority, date of issue, period of validity, serial number, personal data of the identity card holder (surname and, if applicable, birth name, first name, doctoral degree, day and place of birth, gender, height, color of eyes, place of residence, nationality, photograph and signature).
  • Travel documents for foreigners are usually issued with biometric features, i.e. with an electronic storage and processing medium (exception: temporary travel documents and travel documents for children up to the age of twelve).
  • After the expiry of the validity of travel documents issued with biometric characteristics, a new travel document must be issued. Temporary travel documents can be extended under certain conditions.
  • Processing mediums are not renewable.
  • A travel document can also be obtained by recognised refugees and stateless persons (travel document for refugees or travel document for stateless persons).

An emergency travel document can be issued to nationals of the countries of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) as well as Switzerland.

Related Links

  • § 4 paragraph 1 sentence 1 number 1 Residence Ordinance (AufenthV) - German passport replacement papers for foreigners
  • § 5 Residence Ordinance (AufenthV) - General requirements for the issuance of a travel document for foreigners
  • § 6 Residence Ordinance (AufenthV) - Issuance of the travel document for foreigners in Germany
  • § 8 Residence Ordinance (AufenthV) - Period of validity of the travel document for foreigners
  • § 9 Residence Ordinance (AufenthV) - Territorial scope of the travel document for foreigners
  • § 11 Residence Ordinance (AufenthV) - Procedure for issuing or extending the travel document for foreigners)
  • Find out whether your immigration office makes it possible to apply online or provides a special application form.
  • If the application is only possible in person, make an appointment at the Foreigners' Registration Office. In the case of online applications, the Foreigners' Registration Office will contact you after receipt of your application to make an appointment.
  • During the appointment, your identity and your documents will be checked (please bring your documents, if possible in the original, to the appointment).

When the travel document for foreigners has been completed, you will receive information and can pick up the card at the competent office. If your application is rejected, you will receive a rejection notice.

Responsible for the content
Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior and Sport

Last update or date of publication
07.03.2022