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Residenzpflicht (German for mandatory residence) is a legal requirement affecting foreigners living in Germany, more specifically applicants for refugee status (Asylbewerber) or those who have been given a temporary stay of deportation (Geduldete). Those affected are required to live within certain boundaries defined by the applicants' local foreigners' office (Ausländerbehörde).[1]

Legal basis[edit]

Applications for refugee status are required at all times to reside in the district of their local foreigner's office (§56 and §85 of the German Refugee Processing Law - the Asylverfahrensgesetz[2]). Foreigners with a stay of deportation are generally required to stay within the boundaries of their federal state (ranging from small city-states such as Bremen to larger states such as Bavaria) and are regulated by §61 and §95 of the German Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz[3])

Foreigner who contravene the relevant legislation mentioned above can be imprisoned or face fines.

Political context[edit]

The Residenzpflicht is unique to Germany. A 2007 complaint to the European Court of Human Rights was not accepted for judgment.[4] Several immigrant and refugee advocacy organisations oppose the Residenzpflicht as a violation of fundamental human rights[5]


  1. ^ "Sich frei bewegen oder verreisen?". Pro Asyl. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Asylverfahrengsgesetz". AVerG. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Aufenthaltsgesetz". AufG. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  4. ^ "ECHR Decision". Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  5. ^ "Residenzpflicht".