Brexit and Immigration Germany - 3rd UPDATE

German Flag and Union Jack tearing apartThe majority of Brits voted "out". So be it. Bye, bye; we will miss you.

How will this effect Brits living in Germany right now? Will they be kicked out? May they stay? I want to briefly discuss the legal consequences for immigration of BREXIT – now that the "divorce" is final. What is now to be done? How do I maintain a legal status? What rules will be applicable for future relocations?

Update November 2020

The German parliament has reacted with adjustments to immigration law pretty much as expected. This update reflects German law as of November 2020. I would like to breakdown it all a bit. First differentiation is for those already living in Germany and those entering anew to Germany. All stands and falls with the end of the transition period which ends on December 31, 2020. January 1, 2021 is already too late.

Status of Britons living in Germany

In as far as you have been living in Germany until December 31, you have been enjoying the freedom of movement. Depending on how long you have been living in Germany, you will be entitled to a settlement permit or "residence permit-GB".

Permanent Residency

After living in Germany for 5 consecutive years or more, you have been enjoying the "permanent freedom of movement" – comparable to permanent residency for "normal" third-country citizens. The requirements for this are:

  • five or more consecutive years of residence in Germany,
  • health insurance coverage (and still maintaining it),
  • pursuing your reason to be here:
    • employment,
    • business,
    • studies (at university),
    • retirement.
  • sufficient means to finance your livelihood.

When visiting immigration to apply for your permit, latest then you will have to prove everything!

How to Prepare for Residency for after the Transitional Period of BREXIT?

Start collecting

  • diplomas,
  • reference letters from previous employers,
  • get Letters Of Interest from Germany-based business partners, when freelancing or self-employed, start working on your business plan,
  • be able to demonstrate that you have been applying the freedom of movement until December 31, 2020.
  • Parallel to that apply for your new status in Berlin via the webpage "Online registration for the notification of residence".

    If you live somewhere else in Germany, click this sentence to find your local immigration office.

    Britons Entering to live here for the first time

    As a rule, UK nationals are now subject to the rules and regulations applicable to third-country nationals. However, they enjoy two main privileges:

    1. employees may have an employer from abroad,
    2. Brits may first enter, settle down (= registering their address), and then apply for any permit.

    Otherwise, UK citizens have to carefully check for which permit, they will be eligible and will be treated as "regular" foreigners.

    Visa Waiver Period – 90 Days

    Under Directive (EU) 2019/592, UK nationals will be allowed to travel to the Schengen States for a period of 90 days within 180 days, i.e. also enter Germany, visa-free and stay here as soon as BREXIT really commences. In other words, they will remain as citizens who enjoy the full visa waiver privilege to visit Germany. Britons are allowed to apply for any permit after having settled down (= registered their address) and do not need to exit the country first.

    Non-British Family Members

    Family members of Brits already living here and have been enjoying the freedom of movement continue to enjoy the same rights just as before – as long as the British citizen has been and remains residing here in Germany.

    Those family members following a "British subject" for the first time to Germany will have to follow the rules that are applicable to their citizenship.

    Dual Nationals

    It is not an uncommon fact that dual citizenships are kept. We have to differentiate here between British-German and British-other dualism.

    British-Germans have no worries at all. Their German citizenship prevails the British inside Germany because you are a national. By virtue of the federal constitution, you are a national.

    If you have another European citizenship next to your British then you remain inside the regime of freedom of movement – but based not on British but the other European citizenship. In the event, your other nationality is neither European nor German, then you remain inside the regime of "post BREXIT" as is being introduced here on this page.


    On October 29, 2018, the German Federal Government published the bill for the BREXIT transition period in regards to naturalization as German citizenship. British citizens that apply for naturalization in Germany before the end of the transition period will be able to retain their British citizenship based on §25 II 1 StAG. This transitional period lasts from March 2019 until December 31, 2020. This means applications for naturalization submitted until December 31st, 2020 are privileged in so far that British citizenship does not have to be renounced. Otherwise, you still have to have met and continue meeting the requirements for naturalization until the very final day, the day the vital office hands over the certificate of naturalization.


    Are you interested to have this maze unraveled for you personally? Click here to book your initial consultation.


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