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German Saarland state no more require 'valid Syrian passport' to apply for German citizenship

Syrian refugees in the German state of Saarland breathed a sigh of relief after the abolition of the requirement to have a valid Syrian passport when applying for permanent residence or German citizenship for those who fulfilled the other conditions, and to suffice with any document proving their Syrian nationality.

The Ministry of Interior of the state of "Saarland" announced its intention to facilitate the process of granting German citizenship to foreigners, which is more stringent than the rest of the German states.

The Association of Free Syrians in Europe announced a signature campaign against the renewal of passports of Syrian refugees in Germany at the Syrian regime's embassy. The association issued a statement directed to the German Foreign Ministry, in which it mentioned the suffering that Syrian refugees face because of this measure.

The association also called on the German authorities to assess the conditions experienced by the Syrian refugee during his visit to the embassies of the Syrian regime, which incurred the blood of the Syrians and caused them to emigrate to their country.

Security concerns

Similar to other states, the authorities in the southwestern German state of Saarland required a passport in order for an applicant to be granted approval for naturalization, a strict procedure compared to other federal states.

The Social Democratic-led Interior Ministry has justified the measures since the state elections with security concerns, among other things, according to Radio SR.

After protests by refugees, the Ministry of Interior announced that it is studying facilitating the procedures, including accepting other documents as an alternative to the passport, such as personal identification, driver's certificate, or even school documents.

The ministry announced that these simplification measures come in the context of the welcoming culture followed by the Saarland state government, according to the same source.

"Blue passport"

The Department of Foreigners known as “Ausländerbehörde” in some German cantons forced new arrivals of Syrian refugees who wished to reunite their families to visit the embassy of the Syrian regime to obtain or renew passports, noting that those who came to request temporary protection were mainly asylum seekers, but the German authorities It gave them temporary protection.

Unlike the refugees recognized in accordance with the Geneva Convention, who obtain an alternative travel document from the authorities - known among the refugees as the blue passport - the holders of subsidiary protection do not get the “blue passport”, but the authorities oblige them to bring a passport issued by the authorities of their countries of origin.

700 euros for a passport

And given that obtaining a Syrian passport from the regime’s embassy in Berlin costs 270 euros “according to the role system,” and because this method takes a long time, many are forced to request an “urgent passport,” which costs more than 700 euros.

This means that the regime may obtain large sums of money from issuing passports to Syrians who have subsidiary protection in Germany, who number more than 150,000 people, which activists saw as being in the interest of the Syrian regime, and providing material support for the war crimes it is committing against Syrians. And from the victims’ money, in addition to the fact that the passports issued by the regime’s embassy cost the refugee huge sums that the refugee cannot afford.

Activist Mazhar Makhlati indicated in a previous interview with Zaman al-Wasl that the regime's consulate in Berlin is receiving enormous resources and support from renewing or issuing new passports.

"If there are 200,000 Syrians who have temporary protection in Germany and they have to renew their passports according to the request of the Foreigners' Department every two years, this means that the amount of 80 million euros goes to the system every two years from Germany alone, at the very least," the activist added.

Most of the Syrian refugees arrived in Germany between 2015 and 2016 at the height of the wave of refugees to Europe to escape the war waged by the Assad regime against Syrians, which has continued since 2011.

Faris Al-Rifai

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