Corona Pandemic » FAQ for transnational artists

FAQ for transnational artists in Germany

This is a FAQ-collection for transnational artists in Germany regarding the Corona-pandemic. You can also find a turkish translation here.

Please note: We continue to offer CONSULTATIONS to help clarify individual questions in German, English and Turkish. As always, these are free of charge - unfortunately, we are currently unable to offer face-to-face consultations in view of the current restrictions, but are available by email, phone and via Skype. To request an appointment, please email: beratung[at]

Exclusion of liability: As some of the information presented here may no longer be valid, we recommend that you always consult the official websites of the competent institutions and authorities. Since most of these official websites are not translated at all, or at best translated into English only, we offer consultations to assist with questions of understanding if necessary.

What will happen to my visa/residence title?

The Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) has issued recommendations for the immigration authorities that simplify the applicable procedures – primarily to relieve the authorities. A summary of the recommendations can be found here.

Important! You must always determine the applicable exceptions for your individual situation during the pandemic in consultation with the local competent authority. The website of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has an immigration authorities search option.

Berlin: The Berlin Immigration Office (LEA) has compiled a list of FAQ for people living in Berlin. 

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I entered Germany on a Schengen visa and I am currently unable to leave the country.

(updated 1 October 2020)

Holders of expiring Schengen visas were exempted from the requirement to hold a valid residence title until 30 September 2020. Employment, taking place lawfully on a Schengen visa, was possible until 30 September 2020.
This applied to holders who were present in Germany on 17 March 2020 with a valid Schengen visa or who entered Germany between 17 March 2020 and 18 June with a valid Schengen visa and who were present in Germany on 30 June 2020. They were exempt from the requirement of a residence title from 1 July 2020 until 30 September 2020.

Travel within the Schengen area was permitted during this period.

Entry to Germany from another Schengen state and a subsequent stay of up to three days was possible until 30 September 2020 without a residence permit for Germany. The prerequisite was that entry to Germany was for the purpose of transit: the stay must be permitted in the other Schengen state and the journey must be continued to a state where entry is also permitted.

These regulations were not extended and therefore expired on 30 September 2020.

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I entered Germany for a short stay without a visa and I am currently unable to leave the country.

The maximum duration for a visa-free stay in the entire Schengen area is 90 days in every 180-day period for nationals who are allowed to enter the Schengen area without a visa. You are requested to leave before this period expires. 

Australian, Israeli, Japanese, Canadian, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, and U.S. nationals may apply for a residence permit allowing them to remain in the German federal territory after their visa-free entry, including permission to take up gainful employment.
Andorran, Brazilian, Salvadoran, Honduran, Monacan, and Sammarinese nationals may also apply for a residence permit after visa-free entry into the federal territory, but are not permitted to take up gainful employment.
The application for a residence permit should be submitted before the end of the permitted stay. Considerable delays are to be expected in the processing of applications. 

According to the Berlin Immigration Office, the EU Commission has "recommended, according to a statement by the BMI, the waiving of sanctions for travellers from third countries who cannot leave the country by the end of their permitted stays due to travel restrictions. Any violations of the permitted length of stay due to travel restrictions should not be taken into account when processing future visa applications".

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I am stranded in Germany and currently have no health insurance coverage in Germany.

Artists from abroad who do not live in Germany but are stranded here can extend their existing travel health insurance by email or phone. It is also possible to purchase temporary private health insurance coverage in Germany. Please note: in the case of some providers, it can take up to four weeks for the insurance coverage to begin. 

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I have a residence permit in Germany, but I was abroad before the pandemic broke out and cannot re-enter Germany due to travel restrictions. Normally my residence permit expires after a stay abroad of more than six months

(as of 4 November 2020)

The BAMF (Federal Ofice for Migration and Refugees) writes: "As a rule, a residence title expires if its holder stays abroad for more than six months without interruption (§ 51 (1) no. 7 AufenthG). Persons with German residence titles who are currently staying abroad and who, due to the current situation, have no opportunity to return within the six-month period can be granted a generous extension of the deadline before the end of the period. Please contact the competent foreigners authority immediately.“ (translation by touring artists)

Extensions of time limits are handled differently by the foreigners authorities!

The LEA Berlin (Berlin Immigration Office) has set the deadline to 31 March 2021. This applies if the trip abroad was started between 18 September 2019 and 17 March 2020 and if the residence title in Germany is valid beyond 31 March 2021. Otherwise, the German mission abroad at the place of residence must be contacted; here a visa for re-entry can be applied for.

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I have questions about travel restrictions for Germany

(as of 27 October 2020)

Information can be found on the website of the Federal Foreign Office (Coronavirus and entry restrictions: 6 things travellers to Germany need to know) and the Federal Police (FAQs – German language) - please always keep up to date with the latest information!

Entry into Germany from other EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Great Britain has been possible without restriction since 21 June 2020.

From some third countries, entry to Germany has been possible without restrictions since 2 July 2020. The country list is updated regularly.

When entering Germany with a previous stay in a risk area within the last 14 days a test is mandatory and the person is intended to be placed in quarantine immediately until a negative test result is obtained. Please always inform about the latest quarantine regulations.

Whether entry is permitted depends on the previous place of residence, not on the nationality.

In general, entry can be granted from all third countries in case that there is an important reason (see above for information on the website of the Federal Foreign Office).

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Can I apply for basic security benefits ("ALG II", "Hartz IV") as a non-EU citizen?

(as of 04 November 2020)

The rules for non-EU nationals differ by region and depend on the respective residence status of the individual in question. Temporary residence permits for self-employment usually include a clause prohibiting the receipt of basic security benefits by the bearer. we therefore recommend that you contact the responsible immigration office to find out.
An overview of specific information pages published by the competent authorities can be found here.

Berlin: On 28 October 2020, the Berlin State Office for Immigration (LEA) issued a general decree which allows the receipt of basic income support up to and including 31 March 2021. This extension does not apply to holders of Schengen visas!

Please note: This only applies to artists who live in Berlin!

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Will applying for emergency aid ("Corona grant") have any impact on my residence title?

According to information from the Federal Ministry of the Interior/Citizens' Service (May 2020), the emergency aid from the federal government's Corona emergency aid programme does not lead to the withdrawal of the residence permit. The emergency aid is granted to self-employed persons and small companies for the purpose of securing the economic existence of the companies and bridging acute liquidity bottlenecks resulting from the Corona crisis. This is also intended to ensure that the its use does not have a negative impact on the right of residence of the persons concerned. The same applies to the Corona emergency aid programmes of the federal states.

If during the existing restrictions the extension of a residence permit for the purpose of self-employment is pending, the immigration authorities should take this situation into account and, if necessary, issue a „Fiktionsbescheinigung“ (fictional certificate) first. As soon as income is again generated from the aforementioned self-employment activities, a decision must then be made on the extension.

In addition: Is financial assistance provided in the form of a loan, this does not have any negative effects on the residence title, as the benefits granted must be repaid.

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I have further questions about emergency aid. Who can advise me?

A list of information centres can be found on the Bundesverband Kreative Deutschland website. An overview of additional sources of financial aid is available on the touring artists website

Berlin: Kulturförderpunkt/die Kreativwirtschaftsberatung and other organisations offer free advice on the subject for creatives living in Berlin.

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I have questions about the cancellation of events and cancellation fees.

Information concerning when artists are entitled to a cancellation fee in the case of event cancellations due to the coronavirus can be found here.

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