First steps for refugees arriving in Hamburg

You have taken in refugees in your home. What now? A registration process awaits you – and it can seem confusing and quite complicated. To help you get through it as smoothly as possible, here’s a clear step-by-step guide to help your guests settle in.

1. registration and residence permit

Refugees from Ukraine are generally allowed to stay in Germany without a visa for 90 days. However, in order to be allowed to work or receive government assistance, they must register within these 90 days of arrival in Hamburg.

If they do not yet have a place to stay in Hamburg and are dependent on municipal accommodation, they can turn to the Central Initial Reception Facility – the Arrival Center – at Bargkoppelweg 66a in Rahlstedt.

If the refugees are accommodated privately, the Office for Migration in Wandsbek is responsible for registration. This is how you can support your guests: Book an appointment online here. Each person who is to be registered requires a separate appointment. Together with your guests, print and fill out this sign-up sheet for each person. The appointment will take place on site at Hammer Straße 30-34, 22041 Hamburg. You can accompany your guests there or organize the ride for them. The Office of Migration is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., including weekends.

Note: Refugees from Ukraine are initially allowed to travel free of charge on public transport (i.e. buses, trains and ferries) operated by the Hamburg Transport Association (HVV) until April 30, 2022 with their valid identity documents.

2. medical care

Upon registration, refugees from Ukraine have access to medical care. In Hamburg, they receive a provisional certificate from the health insurance company AOK Bremen/Bremerhaven. In urgent medical emergencies, treatment may take place prior to registration.

The AOK doctor search function can be used to find nearby practices online, and the Techniker Krankenkasse doctor guide can be used to find doctors’ practices with Ukrainian or Russian language skills in particular. On the platform Jameda you can also search for doctors who treat Ukrainian refugees in your area free of charge (in Ukrainian).

If your guests take up a job in Germany, immediate health insurance is possible. If they have a family member who already has health insurance in Germany, they can be insured free of charge through the so-called family insurance. You can find more information about this at the AOK.

3. opening a bank account

For many matters you need a bank account. Refugees can easily open a basic account at any bank. A basic account basically offers the same options as a checking account for participating in payment transactions. Such an application for a bank account may be refused by banks only for good reason (e.g. if necessary identification documents are missing).


In addition, Hamburger Sparkasse (Haspa) offers the opening of a current account especially for refugees from Ukraine in seven selected branches in different parts of the city. The account is free for six months, bank card and online banking are included.

Simply make an appointment to open an account at one of the Haspa branches near you. The branches are located in the city center, Fuhlsbüttel, Rahlstedt, Wandsbek, Bergedorf/Lohbrügge, Harburg and Lurup. Your guests will need an identification document (passport or ID card) and proof of their registration. Further information as well as information sheets in Ukrainian and Russian can be found here at Haspa.

4. application for financial support

After your registration, your guests can apply for financial assistance from the state. Applications are processed for all refugees at the Central Initial Reception Center (Ankunftszentrum) in Rahlstedt.

This is how you proceed: Book an appointment online here. In this case, one appointment per family is sufficient. The appointment will take place at the Central Initial Reception Facility (ZEA).

Subsequently, your guests must contact the payment office of the district office responsible for your district. When doing so, they should take the document they received at the ZEA (the benefit approval) as well as your registration. After the initial approval of the benefit and for ongoing case management, the Basic Security Office is responsible, based on your address.

5. free SIM card

Telekom provides refugees from Ukraine with free SIM cards for unlimited telephony and data usage. If your guests have not yet received a SIM card, you can obtain one together with them at a Telekom issuing office. All they need is your valid Ukrainian identity documents for legitimation.

Find a issuing office nearyou here.

6. job search

After registration, people who have fled Ukraine are allowed to work in Germany. The Hamburg Welcome Center in Süderstraße offers, among other topics, detailed information and advice on everything to do with work: on finding a job or training, on working conditions, on the recognition of foreign qualifications and on learning German. If necessary, your guests can consult there without an appointment. However, you can also book an appointment in advance.

Anyone who wants to help refugees find jobs should look around the area and ask around to see if there are any local organizations posting relevant openings or offers. The following links also provide online portals that advertise jobs specifically for Ukrainian refugees: