Electronic travel document

Electronic travel document

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Electronic Travel Document for Foreigners, Refugees and Stateless Persons (eRA)

A foreigner who can prove that he or she does not possess a passport or passport substitute and cannot reasonably obtain one may be issued a travel document for foreigners in accordance with section 5 of the Residence Ordinance.

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Kleyerstraße 86
60326 Frankfurt am Main
Eingang: Rebstöcker Straße 4

***NEU*** Website der Ausländerbehörde

All topics at a glance

Service description

The electronic travel document for foreigners, refugees and stateless persons (eRA) with chip is the regular travel document.

As a rule, the e-travel document (eRA) is issued to persons aged 12 and over. Passport substitutes without a storage medium are issued to children up to the age of twelve. However, in justified cases, such passport replacement documents may also be issued with a storage medium. 

With the introduction of the e-travel document, every foreign national is obligated to provide his or her fingerprints. Exceptions to this are listed in Section 4 of the Residence Ordinance to the Residence Act. However, no fingerprints are taken from children under the age of 6.


Validity of the document

The period of validity of the e-travel document for foreigners, for refugees and for stateless persons may not exceed the period of validity of the foreign national’s residence title or residence permit.
The e-travel document for foreign nationals may also be issued for a period of validity of up to:

  • ten years, if the holder has reached the age of 24 at the time of issue, 
  • six years, if the holder has not yet reached the age of 24 at the time of issue.

The period of validity of travel documents for refugees and for stateless persons may not exceed three years at the time of issue.
An e-travel document for refugees that is issued to stateless persons is:

  • valid for ten years after reaching the age of 24, 
  • valid for six years before reaching the age of 24. 

For more information on questions relating to immigration law, please visit Foreign Nationals' AffairsInternal Link.

Required documents

  • 1 passport photo (for children from the age of 10) according to biometric specifications.
    When travelling to certain countries, a passport photo may already be required for children under the age of 10. Therefore, please also check with the competent foreign consulates and embassies! 
    From the age of 10, the child must sign his/her German passport replacement with his/her own signature.
  • Proof of the applicant’s identity (e.g. original documents, affidavits, old travel documents)


For foreign nationals, for refugees and for stateless persons (persons after reaching the age of 24)

€ 59.00
For children and persons under the age of 24 € 37.50

The costs are based on the fees for issuing an e-passport for German nationals.

The previous passports for foreigners, stateless persons and refugees remain valid. However, any renewal is excluded.
When the validity date expires, an e-passport must be issued in accordance with the new regulations.

For further information on the eRA, please refer to the information provided by the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI).

Of course, you can also contact your competent Foreigners' Registration Office ("Ausländerbehörde") if you have any questions.

What else should I know

Guidelines for issuing residence titles and German passport replacement papers

With the amendment of the Residence Ordinance, new guidelines for issuing residence titles and German passport replacement papers for foreigners came into force on 1 November 2005.

The consequence of these changes is that, in addition to the issuing of German passport replacement documents, the issuing of a residence title also requires the submission of a current photograph.

The photographs that have to be handed in at the Foreigners' Registration Office ("Ausländerbehörde") in this context are subject to the provisions of Section 3 of the Passport Sample Ordinance dated 08.08.2005, and have to fulfil the following criteria:

  • They must identify the applicant without doubt.
  • The applicant must be visible without any facial or head covering (exceptions may be permitted, in particular, for religious reasons).
  • The pictures must be front-facing

For further information on the requirements for the new passport/photographs, please refer to the sample passport photos.

Photographs that do not meet the above requirements may not be accepted by the staff of the Foreigners' Registration Office.

In order to avoid any delays in processing, you are requested in your own interest to submit only photographs that meet the above requirements.


Passport photo sample board (pdf , 564KB)Download Link

BMI – Documents for foreignersExternal Link