Frankfurt Ausländerbehörde slated for failures of new online portal

Frankfurt Ausländerbehörde slated for failures of new online portal

In recent years, overwhelmed and understaffed Foreigners' Offices (Ausländerbehörde) across Germany have been buckling under the weight of unprocessed applications. Now, an attempt to digitise application processes in Frankfurt has landed a local immigration office in more hot water.

Immigration lawyers send open letter to Frankfurt Ausländerbehörde

In another cautionary tale of Germany’s attempts to quickly catch up with digitisation processes that many other European countries have been developing over the last 20 years, 31 immigration lawyers have sent an open letter to the Frankfurt Ausländerbehörde, condemning its online portal as a “contact avoidance mechanism that effectively makes it impossible for users to present their concerns.” 

The portal opened in June 2022 as a response to revelations that the office had a backlog of around 15.000 emails concerning time-sensitive immigration questions, such as requests to extend visas.

Foreigners’ Office portal only created more problems for applicants

Helpfully, the portal was available in 10 languages and connected to a hotline that applicants could phone, but instead of making the process more efficient, the immigration lawyers argue in their letter that the Frankfurt portal only made things more perplexing and convoluted. 

For example, applicants were required to include details that the lawyers criticised as superfluous, such as eye colour and height, in order to submit a processing request. If all required fields on the portal's form were not filled out, applicants were denied the option to contact the office. The portal also did not allow applicants to upload additional documents, leaving only the option to submit them by post.

The immigration lawyers who signed the letter stressed that the mess could likely lead applicants to lose their jobs, resident permits or housing.

Thumb image credit: Kittyfly /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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HaraGopalKovvali2 17:00 | 21 July 2023

this is more less the case across the country :)