The information on this page was collected from public resources.
Is there cash assistance available? Who is eligible? How does someone apply?
According to the Residence Act, you are entitled to financial support. Citizen’s Allowance (“Bürgergeld”) is a basic substance income ("Grundsicherung") provided by the Jobcenter. In the past, it was known as "Arbeitslosengeld II" (Unemployment Benefit II) or "Hartz IV". This includes accommodation and money for food, clothing, etc, along with pocket money. If you move into your own apartment, you can also get additional financial support for furnishing the apartment.
Important: Even if you do not currently have a residence permit and are not yet registered, the Federal Ministry of the Interior states that you are already entitled to accommodation, food, and medical care.
If you are a person of retirement age, you must apply for this assistance from the social welfare office (“Sozialamt”) . Ukrainian immigrants who are not of retirement age can receive social benefits at the German employment and benefit center Jobcenter.
“Bürgergeld” for the following categories amounts to:
How to apply?
If you previously received "Arbeitslosengeld II", which is also known as "Hartz IV", you do not have to do anything. The citizen's income replaces the unemployment benefit II automatically. If you have not received any money from the Jobcenter before January 01, 2023, you must apply for the “Bürgergeld”. To do so, you need to fill out an application. That is called "Hauptantrag" or "main application". You can find the application form at arbeitsagentur.de at the bottom right under "Download"- download, print, fill it out and submit it to the Jobcenter responsible. You can also collect the application in paper from the Jobcenter responsible, fill it out, and submit it. You can also fill out the application online. To do so, you must click on the red box „Bürgergeld beantragen” on the website of the Employment Agency. There, you can look for the Jobcenter responsible for you and will then be forwarded to the online application.
For recipients of the “Bürgergeld”, the Jobcenter also covers rent and heating costs. However, heating costs are only covered up to a certain level. Please find out more information at the link .
From July 1, a mandatory condition for receiving Bürgergeld is to be within reach of the Jobcenter.
Recipients of Bürgergeld must be within reach of the Jobcenter: they must respond to messages from the job center on weekdays in a timely manner, and also be able to visit the job center at short notice.
Trips up to 2.5 hours in one direction from the place of residence are allowed. Exceptions are, for example, participation in medical or religious activities.
Long-term trips up to 21 days per year are allowed upon prior agreement with the employment center. Absence from the place of residence without the consent of the employment center can now lead not only to sanctions, but also to the complete loss of Bürgergeld.
Ukrainian families with children who have received temporary protection in Germany may qualify for kindergeld children's subsidies. The payment for each child is 250 euros. Read more about how to apply here .
The German support program «Teilhabe am Arbeitsmarkt» opens up new prospects for Ukrainians living in Germany. Starting from July 1, 2023, the Jobcenter will offer refugees a number of new opportunities to improve their skills:
How do I set up a bank account?
You can open a bank account at the bank or - in most banks - online. The Ukrainian ID card is valid in Germany as a substitute for a passport until 23 February 2024 (see the information at the link). That means if you do not have a passport but can present your Ukrainian ID card, you are also allowed to open a basic bank account.
You can open a basic account at any bank that accepts private customers. This can be a bank with a branch near your place of residence or a so-called "Direct bank". A Direct bank is a bank that does not have physical branches and often neither independent ATMs. You can only reach the employees of direct banks by email or telephone. In contrast, in a bank with branches, you can visit the place and speak to the employees personally. You can usually open an account at a bank nearby without an appointment if you visit the bank branch. The staff will help you fill out the bank account application. Don't forget to take a valid ID with you. For more information please see .
If you speak little or no German or English, an interpreter is recommended. Do not sign anything you have not understood. If you would like to receive counseling, you can contact the consumer advice centers (Verbraucherzentralen). The staff there will advise you free of charge. You can find your local consumer advice center at verbraucherzentrale.de. Please note: The employees speak German and only occasionally other languages.
You are free to decide which bank you open your account with. Make sure that you can withdraw money free of charge. And be sure to compare the fees for account management. These vary greatly from bank to bank.
A bank account is very important in Germany. You need it to pay rent, electricity, gas and bills, for example. If you have a job, your salary will be transferred to your account. And also the social welfare office can transfer the financial support directly to your account. That way you won't have to go to the social welfare office and collect the money there.
Documents required by some of the biggest banks (as indicated here ):
Documents. Ukrainian identity card and all. You do not even need to confirm the official registration - just indicate in the questionnaire the address of temporary housing or something.
Account opening procedure. Contacts: www.deutsche-bank.de .
Terms. Monthly fee canceled. The commission on transfers to Ukraine is not taken.
Documents. Opening a basic account requires a Ukrainian identity card. Official registration is also not required - specify the postal address of temporary residence.
Account opening procedure. Contacts: www.postbank.de .
Terms. The commission for using the account is not charged. Payments to Ukraine are free.
Documents. Opening an account under a simplified procedure. At least a national identity card is required.
Account opening procedure. Contacts and conditions: www.commerzbank.com .
Ostdeutscher Sparkkassenverband (OSV)
Documents. To open a bank account, you must provide a valid biometric passport. A Ukrainian ID-card or an expired passport will not work.
Account opening procedure. You will receive the contract and current account number immediately. Within two weeks, the PIN code is first sent to the Girocard, and in a few days - the card itself. Addresses of branches.
Terms. Booklet in Ukrainian with all information on conditions, opening procedures, etc. Read more about the conditions on the bank's website: www.sparkasse.de
Ukrainian refugees living in Germany can now use the new AusweisApp2 application to apply for services digitally. Please see .
Thanks to the online version of the electronic residence permit, you can easily confirm your identity. To do this, you need to read the data from the chip of your electronic residence permit with an NFC smartphone and send it to the required service using the AusweisApp2 app in encrypted form.
This way, you can now open a bank account online quickly and easily, apply for support under the Federal Education Assistance Act (BAföG) or register with the Federal Employment Agency.
You can manage your own PIN, find out about operator offers, and get information about your residence permit using the app. You can also use the app to check whether your device can read the online version of your electronic residence permit and whether the online version function is activated.
How do I withdraw cash or exchange my currencies?
You can withdraw cash at cashmashines or at the bank. You can exchange the currencies at any bank.
Refugees who have fled the war in Ukraine can exchange hryvnia banknotes into euro in Germany from 24 May 2022. Refugees of legal age can convert a total of up to 10,000 hryvnias per person into euro at a participating German bank or savings bank, provided they have an account at said bank or savings bank. Banknotes in denominations of 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 hryvnias belonging to the current banknote series issued by the National Bank of Ukraine will be accepted. The exchange rate at which the Bundesbank purchases the hryvnias from credit institutions and later uses as a basis when returning them to the National Bank of Ukraine will be published each Friday at 14:00 on this website .
The individual exchange transactions will be recorded in an online application operated by the European Central Bank to ensure that the exchange limit per person is not exceeded. The identity of each refugee wishing to participate in the exchange scheme will be registered and checked, with the same documents being accepted as when opening a basic payment account for refugees from war-affected territories in Ukraine. Data protection requirements will be adhered to in the process.
How do I pay taxes in a country?
The tax office will assign you a tax number ("Steueridentifikationsnummer"). A tax ID number is an 11-digit number specifically assigned to you, which will remain valid throughout your life. You should receive the tax ID number per mail shortly after the registration of your address in Germany. In case you lost or forgotten your tax ID number you have the option of requesting a renewed notification by filling an online form from the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt).
In the case of employment, taxes are deducted directly from wages.
The taxation system in Germany is quite complex and the actual taxation will depend on many factors. In general, if you stay in Germany for at least 6 months (including short breaks) or if you have a permanent residence in Germany, you will be considered a tax resident in this country.
In the case of employment in Germany, a progressive wage tax rate is paid - 14-45%, depending on the amount of annual income and other factors (for example, family status). If you, working for a German company, go on a business trip abroad for up to 183 days, then, as a rule, payroll taxes are paid only in Germany.
Church members are required to pay an additional church tax of 8% or 9% of the amount of income tax (on the amount of tax, not the amount of income) payable, depending on the federal state in which the taxpayer resides.
A solidarity levy of 5.5% is charged on the total amount of tax payable after deducting tax credits, such as offsetting foreign taxes against German taxes.
Please find more information concerning the tax system in Germany at the link .
If I already work remotely, how should I pay my taxes?
As a general rule, if you have registered your place of residence in Germany, you are liable to pay taxes in Germany. The rule also applies to the income that you earn abroad. Germany concluded a number of double taxation treaties (DTT) with other countries aimed to avoid double txation. According to Art.15 of the Germany-Ukraine DTT, salaries, wages and other similar remuneration derived by a resident of a Contracting State (Ukraine in the present case) in respect of an employment shall be taxable in the other Contracting State (Germany) if the employment is exercised there.
If you, as a tax resident of Germany, work for a Ukrainian company, including remotely, then such income is taxed in Germany according to general rules and you need to submit a tax return in Germany. Personal income tax paid in Ukraine can usually be offset against German taxes. However, for this you need to obtain a certificate of payment of taxes from the tax authorities of Ukraine and fulfill the requirements of German legislation regarding such enrollment.
You can read more about tax residency and income taxation of Ukrainians in Germany in the brochure prepared by the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine at the link .
How to avoid double taxation?
In Germany, Ukrainian refugees automatically become tax residents if they have housing (including rented housing) and live there for more than 6 months a year.
There is an ingenious, but not perfect, solution — to prove to the tax authority of the state in which the citizen does not plan to pay taxes that he is a resident of another country where he fulfills this duty.
A natural person has such a right, as Ukraine has valid conventions and treaties on the avoidance of double taxation with 73 countries of the world. Among them are almost all European countries, as well as the USA and Canada. According to these conventions, Ukrainians who pay taxes in Ukraine have the right to avoid taxation in the country of residence.
If such a situation arises in which a citizen falls under the criteria of a tax resident of Ukraine and at the same time another state defines him as its resident, he has the right to contact the tax authorities of the country of residence and make a request to the Ukrainian tax authorities to confirm that he pays taxes.
That is, in order to prevent double taxation, it is necessary to determine the resident status of an individual and, if necessary, obtain a document that will confirm it. But this may require the help of specialists - tax consultants or lawyers. Specialists advise in advance to collect evidence of the presence of a center of economic interests in Ukraine (if you plan to pay taxes only in Ukraine).
Among them may be:
If a citizen of Ukraine is recognized as a resident of Ukraine, but paid taxes in another country, the taxes paid can be credited in Ukraine. But if a person does not meet the criteria of a resident of Ukraine, it allows to change the tax resident status and consider another country as the place of tax payment.
It is important to check the registration of a natural person as a subject of entrepreneurial activity in the Unified State Register. Even if the activity has not been carried out for a long time, but the registration has not been terminated, this is a criterion for recognizing a person as a resident of Ukraine, which is accompanied by the obligation to pay taxes on income received abroad in Ukraine.
Being a citizen of Ukraine, but a tax NON-resident, you will still have to pay taxes in Ukraine for some types of income:
How can I send money back to Ukraine?
You can transfer money from Germany to Ukraine via an international transfer or money transfer at a corresponding provider or a bank.