Special Legislation for Female Migrants

There are means and ways to free you from a violent relationship, irrespective of your residence status. However, please note a few regulations that apply to female migrants:

  • Under section 31 of the Residence Act, women normally acquire the permanent right of residence, independently from their husbands, after two years of cohabitation.
    In cases of special hardship (physical and emotional violence against women, violence against children, exposure to danger in the country of origin, etc.), the woman may file for an independent right of residence at the Alien’s Registration Office (Ausländeramt) before that period of time has passed.
  • If a female migrant has a subsidiary protection, she is subject to a residence obligation. That means that without permission of the Alien’s Registration Office she is not allowed to leave the Federal State (Land) of her place of residence. In some municipalities (including Cologne), this obligation is restricted to the municipality.
  • If a migrant is undergoing an asylum procedure, she is not allowed to leave the municipality without permission.
Counselling centres for women and women’s shelters will assist you in filling out the request form for the Alien’s Registration Office.
Please note that under Section 51 of the Residence Act your residence permit will become invalid if you spend more than six months outside of Germany. This also applies if you have a settlement permit. In this case, however, you can request an extension of the time period.

If the violent husband or father threatens to take the children abroad: Do take those threats seriously and go to a social service centre for women. They will contact a lawyer to assist you in filing an order to prohibit him from leaving the country so that the father cannot travel abroad legally with the children. He will then be stopped by police officials, for example during controls at the airport.
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