Current Judgments on Identity Clarification

If refugees don’t have valid passports, it is usually difficult to clarify their identity when a residence permit or settlement permit is issued. In two judgments issued this year, German administrative courts upheld refugees’ claims and ordered the competent foreign authorities to grant them residence rights. These cases are reported by the Refugee Council of Baden-Württemberg in its newsletter (e-mail newsletter no. 232 (
On February 16, 2022, the Sigmaringen administrative court ruled that an Eritrean should be granted a settlement permit despite the lack of a passport. “Obtaining a passport through the influence and power of the state whose persecution the plaintiff fears contradicts the protection of the refugee status granted to him. As a result, their demand is not reasonable for the purposes of the measure. In other words, in the case of a refugee, it can generally be assumed that the passport application is unreasonable.” Furthermore, there was no doubt about the man’s identity.
In another case, the Mainz administrative court ruled that if official identification documents are missing, declarations and identity documents from family members abroad can also be provided to clarify identity in individual cases. The competent foreign agency had not recognized the passport of a Somali national. Then, he presented notarized statements from two relatives from the USA and Sweden. After that, the court obliged the authority to grant naturalization. However, the clarification of the identity always remains a case-by-case examination in which the special features of the individual case have to be taken into account.
Das Landgericht Tübingen. Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL / Mostafa Elyasian.

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