Brexit information and FAQ
As of 10 May 2023
The United Kingdom left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement provided for a transition period until 31 December 2020, during which the existing rights of citizens of EU member states and UK citizens continued to apply. The deadline set by the British government for applications under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), which guarantees the right of permanent residence of EU citizens who were resident in the United Kingdom at the end of the transition period as well as other rights granted them in the Withdrawal Agreement, was 30 June 2021. We strongly encourage “late applicants” to submit their application even after the deadline has expired.
- To be granted settled status, EU citizens (and their family members) usually have to have lived legally in the United Kingdom for at least five years. The Withdrawal Agreement protects all the existing rights of these EU citizens and their family members.
- If, on 31 December 2020, you had not lived continuously in the United Kingdom for the full five years, you can apply for pre-settled status, which gives you fewer rights in some areas. Pre-settled status applies until you have lived continuously in the United Kingdom for five years. You can then apply for settled status.
In the case of EU citizens (and their family members) who, as of 31 December 2020, had not met the criteria to be granted the right to reside in the United Kingdom, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom forms the basis for access to the labour market, healthcare provision, education and benefits, and for family reunion rights. From 1 January 2021, anyone wishing to take up residence in the United Kingdom, e.g. to work, study or join their family, generally has to apply for a visa in advance. Set criteria have to be met for a visa to be granted.
The following information is being updated continuously. Please use our contact form for any queries you may have.
1. Entry into the United Kingdom for Germans
Since 1 January 2021, new rules apply to EU citizens not already resident in the United Kingdom who wish to enter or stay in the United Kingdom.
All information on UK visa requirements for foreign nationals can be found on the UK government website.
German citizens generally still do not need a visa for visits or business trips lasting up to 6 months.
Find out more, particularly on the distinction between a business trip (no visa required) and a stay where you undertake paid work (visa required): Visiting the UK after Brexit
Freedom of movement between the EU and the United Kingdom ended on 31 December 2020. Anyone wanting to move to the United Kingdom after that date, for example in order to work or study in the United Kingdom or join family already living there, must apply for a visa beforehand. Certain set criteria must be met in order for a visa to be issued.
Find out more: Visas and Immigration
EU students who had already taken up residence in the United Kingdom before 31 December 2020 had to submit an application under the EU Settlement Scheme to secure the rights associated with settled status or pre-settled status. They had to have taken up residence and been able to prove their physical presence.
EU students moving to the United Kingdom after 31 December 2020 to study must apply for a student visa (for which a charge applies) beforehand, even if their course started in 2020. It is not possible to enter the United Kingdom to begin a course of study without having obtained a visa in advance; EU students must apply (in advance) for a student visa if they are planning to stay for longer than six months. In these cases it is not possible to enter the United Kingdom to begin a course of study without having obtained a visa in advance. There have already been cases of students being turned back at the border or put on a flight back to Germany A student visa gives you considerably fewer rights than people who have acquired settled status or pre-settled status.
Further information on the situation as of 1 January 2021 from the UK Council for International Student Affairs can be found here and here and from Study UK/British Council here.
List of links relating to Brexit and higher education on the website of the London office of DAAD
Since 1 January 2021, EU citizens are no longer permitted to take up work as an au pair in the United Kingdom.
You may apply for a Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange visa (T5) provided you meet the criteria. However, since 1 January 2021, it is virtually impossible in practice for EU citizens to do a German university mandatory internship in the United Kingdom.
Under the British immigration legislation applicable to EU citizens since 1 January 2021, it is generally also no longer possible for Germans to undertake part of their legal training (“Referendariat”) in the United Kingdom.
Since 1 October 2021, EU citizens are only able to enter the UK with a valid passport. This also applies to travellers in transit.
If you have settled status or pre-settled status, you are generally still able to enter the country using your national ID card. To provide extra proof of your status at border control, your national ID card should be linked to your immigration status online. From 2026, the British government is free to make biometric documents compulsory. Some airlines will only accept a passport (rather than a national ID card).
2. Residence status of Germans and their dependants in the United Kingdom
EU citizens who took up residence in the United Kingdom prior to 1 January 2021 had to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the United Kingdom after 30 June 2021.
Even though the deadline has passed, we encourage applicants to still submit an application, and include an explanation of the reason for the late submission. You can get pre-settled status or settled status, depending on how long you have been living in the United Kingdom when you apply.
Essentially, EU citizens who were already living in the United Kingdom prior to 31 December 2020 can stay and can continue to enjoy more extensive rights than EU citizens arriving to take up residence after 1 January 2021. They do not have to have been working or earning money. However, they have to have applied for settled status or pre-settled status by 30 June 2021 and must not have committed any serious crimes. For late applications, see 2a. Submit an application and explain the reasons for the late Submission.
The electronic application process under the EU Settlement Scheme has been in place since March 2019. It is in two parts.
The first part is identifying yourself as an EU citizen. For this you need a passport with a modern chip and a relatively new mobile phone (Android or iphone 7 or newer). The data stored in the chip is sent to the Home Office via an app. The second part involves filling in a form online.
If you do not currently possess a valid identity document, you can download paper application forms from the UK government website, fill them in, scan them and submit them by email.
However, you will also need to send your documentation (including your national ID card or passport) by post to the Home Office with your paper application. Before sending them off it is important to take a high-quality photocopy (or a scan or photo) of your documents, making sure the passport photo, especially, is nice and clear. Then if the original document gets lost in the post, you can use this copy when applying for a new one. It would be even better if you had the copy certified by a British notary public. In the case of birth, marriage and other certificates it is in any case advisable to only send certified copies by post.
You can get advice from the EU Settlement Resolution Centre (tel. 0300 123 7379, or from outside the United Kingdom: +44 (0)203 080 0010, Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm, Saturday + Sunday 9.30am - 4.30pm).
Information for dual nationals: Anyone who (also) possesses British or Irish citizenship does not require a new residence status. People who have both an EU citizenship and British citizenship and who exercised their rights under the Free Movement Directive (“Treaty rights”) for at least 5 years prior to gaining British citizenship, are not allowed to apply for settled status, but do enjoy the same rights as people with settled status, for example with regard to family members joining them, in other words more extensive rights than other British citizens. It is advisable, for the purpose of proof, to keep safe all documents providing evidence of the exercise of rights under the Free Movement Directive, so that if, for example, many years later, you want to bring family members in need of assistance to the United Kingdom, you do not have trouble providing proof of circumstances far back in the past.
Since 1 July 2021, EU citizens residing in the United Kingdom have to be able to prove their residence status, especially if they are working or in education, entering into a tenancy agreement or opening a bank account, or if they claim benefits or use the NHS.
If the British authorities are made aware that an eligible EU citizen has not yet submitted an application, a final grace period of 28 days is granted. If you are making a late application you should also state the reason for applying late. If this is deemed “reasonable grounds”, the application will be processed.
See on the website of the British government
Here you can find the British government guidelines for handling late applications and examples of “reasonable grounds” for applying late.
Read also here
A Permanent Residence Card served to document an EU citizen’s permanent right of residence acquired under European law. You could only apply for one until 31 December 2020, and they are no longer valid.
However, you should keep this document safe because it proves that you exercised EU Treaty Rights for more than 5 years. The document may prove useful in the future if you need to provide proof of having previously resided in the United Kingdom.
The British government has set up a number of facilities where you can go to have your passport scanned. A fee may be charged.
A list can be found here
It is possible, in exceptional cases, to submit a paper application. You can download paper application forms from the UK government website, fill them in, scan them and email them to the Home Office.
Read more on the website of the British government
We regret that the Embassy does not have the capacity to provide individual advice on British administrative procedures, e.g. applying for settled status, pre-settled status or British citizenship. The Home Office, which is the competent authority, has detailed information on its website:
Please send an email or letter to the Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Edinburgh setting out your particular case. They will endeavour to find a solution. In an emergency, an application can be submitted under the EU Settlement Scheme using an expired passport or another document that proves your identity, provided you are able to provide credible evidence that it is not currently possible for you to obtain a new passport. Please refer to the practical advice set out in question 2b.
EU citizens who have been granted settled status have lifelong permanent resident status (see 2i. for exceptions) in the United Kingdom, together with access to the labour market, the NHS, social benefits and free education on the same basis as British citizens. In addition, certain members of your family are allowed to join you, even if they do not have citizenship of an EU member state.
If you would like to know more about which family members can join you, and under what conditions, please visit the Home Office website, call the helpline number given on the website or consult a lawyer specialising in immigration law.
Yes, if you spend a continuous period of more than 5 years abroad or commit a serious crime. It is important that you travel back to the United Kingdom for at least one day before the 5 years expire and keep documentary evidence of this trip.
EU citizens with pre-settled status have a 5-year temporary right of residence, with the same access to the labour market, the National Health Service and free education as British citizens, as well as certain rights concerning bringing family members to join them. There are differences, though, in access to certain benefits (see 6 below).
Yes, if you were out of the country for longer than 2 years after your stay in the United Kingdom or if you left the country prior to 30 June 2020 and there is no evidence of you having re-entered prior to 31 December 2020.
Yes, this is essential. You cannot automatically move from pre-settled status to settled status. You have to have actively applied for settled status before the end of your 5-year period with pre-settled status otherwise your status will lapse.
The establishment of the Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA) was agreed under the Withdrawal Agreement. The IMA is an independent body that makes sure public bodies are upholding the rights of EU citizens who took up residence in the UK and Gibraltar before the end of the Brexit transition period. Its job is to monitor public bodies in the UK and Gibraltar to ensure that these citizens continue to enjoy the same rights to live here, raise a family, work and study as they did before the UK left the EU. Citizens can contact the IMA via its website when they have experienced issues in connection with the EUSS. More information about its work can be found here.
The Embassy cannot make a general recommendation as to whether it is advisable to acquire British citizenship. The adoption of foreign citizenship is an individual decision which depends on the person’s particular circumstances, and is subject in every country to certain criteria.
For questions about dual nationality/ permission to retain a nationality, see points 3c–g and 3k below.
The criteria that must be met to acquire British citizenship are based on British law. Further information on this can be found on the Home Office website.
Under the German Nationality Act (in force since 28 August 2007), a German does not lose his/ her German citizenship if he/ she acquires citizenship of another EU member state or of Switzerland. The United Kingdom has not been a member of the EU since 31 January 2020, and the transition period ended on 31 December 2020.
Under Section 3 (2) of the Transitional Brexit Act passed by the German parliament on 17 January 2019, Germans who have made an application for naturalisation in the United Kingdom before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020) do not lose their German citizenship pursuant to Section 25 (1), first sentence, of the Nationality Act, even if the citizenship ceremony marking the acquisition of British citizenship only takes place after the end of the transition period.
This means that, if you were naturalised by the British authorities or applied for naturalisation before the end of the transition period following Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, you will not lose your German citizenship, and neither will you need permission to retain German nationality. It is the date of the application that counts here, not the date of naturalisation (citizenship ceremony). It is essential to retain proof of the date of your application (see question 3d).
However, if after 1 January 2021 you apply for and acquire British citizenship without having previously received permission from the Federal Office of Administration to retain German nationality, you will automatically lose your German nationality. You can find detailed information on Retention of German citizenship upon naturalisation in another country here.
When applying for a new German passport, you will have to state that you have applied for and acquired British citizenship. If naturalisation is after the Brexit date, you will also have to prove that you submitted the application before the end of the transition period and therefore, under the transition arrangements, have not lost your German citizenship.
There are three ways of proving this:
- If you applied for British citizenship online, you can use a printout of the dated receipt you received for your online payment; the receipt normally states that you have applied for British citizenship;
- If, alternatively, you submitted a paper application for British citizenship, you can use a printout of the dated application confirmation letter you received from the Home Office;
- If you submitted your application very close to the Brexit date, it was received by the Home Office prior to the Brexit date but the date of the confirmation letter is after the Brexit date, you can get written confirmation from the Home Office that it received your application before the Brexit date. You will have to contact the Home Office separately to ask it to issue this confirmation.
Please retain this documentary evidence and keep it safe so that you are able to prove at a later date, for example when applying for a German passport, that, in acquiring British citizenship, you have not lost your German citizenship pursuant to Section 25 (1), sentence 1, of the Nationality Act. It is in any case generally advisable to retain and keep safe all documents connected with your application for British citizenship.
If you submit an application for British citizenship after 1 January 2021 and at the same time want to retain your German citizenship, you have to apply beforehand for permission to retain German citizenship. You can find the application form here
If your application for naturalisation was submitted before the end of the transition period following Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, i.e. before 31 December 2020, under current German law you do not need a retention permit.
Yes! Under Section 15 No. 4 of the Passport Act and Section 27 (1) No. 4 of the Act on Identity Cards, holders of a German passport or national identity card are obliged to notify the competent passport office/ identity card office without delay (if your habitual place of residence is the United Kingdom then this is the Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Edinburgh) that they have acquired a foreign citizenship.
When applying for a new German passport or identity card anywhere in the world, and whenever a German authority asks for your nationality, you must state that you have acquired British citizenship. Upon naturalisation, you can email a scan of your certificate of naturalisation and of the photo page of your German passport and proof that you have applied in due time where applicable.
It is important that you bring your British certificate of naturalisation (or proof of your application as described in 3e) with you to the passport appointment at the Embassy/Consulate General.
In some cases (which cannot all be listed here) you may also be under obligation to notify certain German domestic authorities. Please enquire with the authority concerned.
Children of German parents acquire German citizenship not by application, but automatically by descent. Further information on acquiring German citizenship can be found on our website.
If your child acquired German citizenship through birth, you can normally apply directly for a German passport or national identity card for your child, and do not need to apply for German citizenship beforehand. Further information on applying for a passport can be found on our website.
However, please check before booking a passport appointment whether you first need to make a name declaration for your child. All information on this can be found on our website under Naming law.
You only need to register the birth of your child or apply for a German birth certificate if you, as a German parent, were yourself born abroad after 31 December 1999. Further information on this can be found on our website (in German).
Under current German law, your child’s German citizenship is not affected if the child automatically acquires another citizenship through birth.
The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU and the end of the transition period do not affect your existing German citizenship. If, on that date, you already held dual nationality, you do not have to decide between German and British citizenship.
Under current German citizenship law, naturalisation is only possible in exceptional cases for someone living abroad. As a rule, the spouses of German nationals cannot be naturalised if the family is living abroad.
The competent citizenship authority, namely the Federal Office of Administration in Cologne, has confirmed that being married to a German (even for many years) and wanting all the family to have the same nationality are not, on their own, adequate grounds for naturalisation.
In addition to the general naturalisation conditions (such as speaking very good German and having close ties with Germany), the naturalisation must be in the particular public interest as well as being in the applicant’s private interest. Unfortunately this condition is rarely met.
Further information can be found on our website and on the website of the Federal Office of Administration
This often happens, for example, if the German passport was issued in a person’s unmarried name, but the person uses a new name after getting married without a formal married name declaration having been made under German law, or if a child was born out of wedlock in the United Kingdom, but is to take the father’s surname or a double surname. In these cases you have two options:
a) You change the name under British law to match the name in the German passport, for example by a deed poll name change. The fact is, it is easier to change the name on a British passport than on a German passport.
b) If, however, you or your child want to have the name that is on your British passport on your German passport as well, it depends on the individual case as to whether it is possible to change the name on the German passport and how this is done. Unfortunately a British change of name by deed poll will not be recognised. However, you can make a German name declaration and then apply for a new passport in the new name. General information on name declarations can be found on our website.
Unfortunately, since 1 January 2021, name declarations under Article 48 of the Introductory Act to the German Civil Code (EGBGB) whereby it used to be possible to take a name from a British civil status certificate are no longer possible as, since Brexit and the end of the transition period, the United Kingdom is no longer treated as an EU member state. In the past, a declaration of this kind was used mostly, though not exclusively, in the following circumstances:
- a double surname (consisting of the surnames of both parents, with or without a hyphen) is to be chosen for a minor (or a child who has reached majority)
- a minor is to be given a surname which differs from the surnames of both parents (e.g. grandfather’s surname, father’s first name or even a made-up name)
Unfortunately this will be difficult now that Article 48 of the Introductory Act to the German Civil Code (EGBGB) (see answer to 3l. above) is no longer applicable. The safest way is to opt immediately for either the mother’s or the father’s surname and have this entered on the British birth certificate.
If one parent holds another nationality (other than British and German), it is worth checking whether an alternative kind of name declaration might be an option (opting for the law of another country).
If a name declaration is not possible, but you want to keep the double surname, there is also the option of a name change under public law. Please contact us if you would like further information on this.
4. Residence status of British citizens and their dependants in Germany and entry regulations after 1 January 2021
Since 1 January 2021, UK nationals and their family members who are third-country nationals who were entitled to live or work in Germany (or another EU member state) until that date and who also exercised that right essentially have the same rights as they had before withdrawal. In other words, provided these rights were exercised, they are effectively frozen. These rights exist “by law”, which means you can assert them without having to take any further action. However, in order to be able to provide evidence that you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, you must have a residence document, which you can obtain from the local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) responsible for your place of residence. UK nationals living in Germany on 31 December 2020 and continuing to live in Germany had to report their residence to the local immigration office responsible for their place of residence by 30 June 2021 in order to be able to obtain the new residence document. However, this privilege only applies to British citizens (with “British citizen” on their passport) who, based on their status, were treated as citizens of the Union during the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union.
The website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior contains complete information covering all possible Scenarios.
British citizens (with “British citizen” on their passport) do not need a visa for visits and/or business trips involving a stay of up to 90 days in a 180-day period. However, this only applies if they will not be pursuing an economic activity. British citizens from the following Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man, Montserrat, St. Helena and Turks and Caicos Islands also enjoy this privilege.
For UK nationals, the Schengen entry requirements for third-country nationals not requiring a visa apply:
When crossing the border, travellers must have with them the necessary documents and evidence required for entry into the Schengen states, in particular a valid travel document and evidence of the purpose and circumstances of the intended stay. They must also have sufficient funds to cover living costs (both for the duration of the intended stay and for the return journey). This normally includes holding valid, appropriate travel health insurance cover. As a rule, from 1 January 2021 an EHIC card is no longer sufficient.
After 1 January 2021 UK nationals arriving in Germany are subject to general German law on third-country nationals. However the following applies despite Brexit:
- UK nationals arriving in Germany for long term stays, such as study or work, do not need a visa. However, after entry into Germany you will have to apply for a residence permit from your local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde). If you wish to start work before you obtain your residence permit, you will have to apply for a visa for the purpose of employment at your local German mission before entry into Germany. You can find more details on the requirements and procedure on the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (in German), and on our website.
- UK skilled workers and other workers arriving in Germany will have easier access to the labour market. The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) can approve and priority-check applications for those wishing to take up employment of any kind in Germany, regardless of where the employer is based.
Holders of British residence cards for family members of EU/ EEA citizens were able to still enter the EU without requiring a visa until 31 December 2020. This privilege only applied if they were entering the EU together with the EU/EEA citizen. It did not apply to holders of British residence cards granted under the EU Settlement Scheme. These rights have ceased to apply now that the transition period has ended.
Since 1 January 2021 these facilities granted on the basis of the right of free movement are no longer applicable for non-EU family members of UK and German nationals, either when applying for a visa, or when crossing the border.
After the end of the transition period, travellers who still hold a visa granted to a family member of a UK or German national under the freedom of movement legislation should carry with them when crossing the border all the proof they need for entry into a Schengen state, e.g. proof of accommodation, of gainful employment, of sufficient means of support during their stay, letters of invitation or return flight tickets, as well as evidence of their economic situation in their home country and their intention to leave the territory of the member states before the visa expires.
As of 1 January 2021, nationals of the following countries need a Category A airport visa for each airport transit in Germany:
Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Ghana, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, (special rules for transit from and to Australia, Israel and New Zealand), Congo (Democratic Republic), Lebanon, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Turkey (individual exemptions for holders of diplomatic, service and other official passports)
The following persons do not need an airport visa:
- Holders of a valid visa and national residence permit for the EU and Schengen states
- Holders of certain national residence permits for the following countries: Andorra, Japan, Canada, San Marino, United States of America
- Holders of a valid visa for the EEA states (EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) and Japan, Canada and the United States of America.
As of 1 January 2021, possession of a British visa and residence permit no longer exempts travellers from the airport visa requirement.
The following UK convention passports still entitle the holder to visa-free entry after 1 January 2021.
- Convention Travel Document for Refugees (1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, dark blue)
- Stateless Person’s Travel Document (1954 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, red)
Holders of a UK Alien’s Passport (Certificate of Travel – black) still require a visa as previously.
The travel facilities for pupils of British schools who would normally require a visa will also remain in place, as far as Germany is concerned, after 1 January 2021. Under the conditions stated in the Council decision of 30 November 1994 - 94/795/JI, these pupils will not require a visa in future either. However, the British Council has already stated that from 1 January 2021 its List of Travellers visa scheme will no longer be available.
5. Access to the National Health Service and healthcare cover
European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) and Provisional Replacement Certificates (PEBs/PRCs) issued by German health insurers can still be used in their present form after 31 December 2020 for temporary stays in the United Kingdom. Visitors and tourists with an EHIC or PEB/PRC are entitled to medically necessary treatment on the National Health Service (NHS) as before.
We nevertheless recommend that you take out private travel insurance.
If you have private health insurance, please contact your insurer to find out what you are covered for.
Persons entitled to NHS treatment should carry with them a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) when visiting Germany. This entitles them to medically necessary treatment in Germany even after 31 December 2020.
Further information can be found at nhs.uk
In the United Kingdom, medical treatment is generally provided free of charge by the National Health Service (NHS). Unlike with an insurance system (as in Germany), access to treatment is not based on past contributions, but on whether you are legally resident in the UK at the time of treatment.
To access NHS Primary Care, i.e. to see a General Practitioner (GP) or use emergency care services, you need to be registered with the NHS. All EU citizens can register, regardless of their residence status. However, to access further free treatment (NHS Secondary Care), you have to be able to prove that you are “ordinarily resident” in the UK. You need to prove that you are staying lawfully and voluntarily in the UK, that you do actually have a domicile there (and are intending to stay), and – as a citizen of an EU country (or of the European Economic Area) – were resident in the UK on or before 31 December 2020. All EU citizens with settled status, pre-settled status or who have been granted “indefinite leave to remain” can access NHS services free of charge.
From 1 January 2021, EU citizens moving to the UK generally need a visa. Those entering the country for a stay of longer than six months have to pay an NHS surcharge (the “Immigration Health Surcharge”) before a visa can be granted. Persons with existing healthcare cover from their country of origin (students, persons with an S1 certificate, e.g. pensioners) can have the surcharge refunded on application.
Further information can be found at gov.uk
6. Social security
EU citizens (and their family members and surviving dependants) who at the end of the transition period were covered by the British social security regime generally still have the same access to social security benefits in the United Kingdom as they did previously.
With many of the means-tested benefits (e.g. Universal Credit) and applications for child benefit, applicants need to prove that they have the “right to reside” in the UK. They normally have this right if, in particular, they are economically active (employees or self-employed) or seeking work, or have already acquired permanent resident status through having lived in the UK for the previous five years. EU citizens with settled status automatically meet the residence conditions for receiving benefits.
Persons with pre-settled status can apply for certain benefits (e.g. contribution-based Jobseeker´s Allowance or disability benefits) without having to meet further criteria. However, in the case of income-based or means-tested benefits, applicants additionally need to be able to show they have the right to reside in the UK.
EU citizens who moved to the United Kingdom on or after 1 January 2021 or who move there in the future only get temporary right of residence, which is also conditional on them having no recourse to public funds during their stay. This means they cannot claim most benefits.
Further information can be found on the British government website and on the Citizens Advice website
Under the Withdrawal Agreement, there is basically no change to unemployment insurance, health insurance, long-term care insurance and pension insurance for UK nationals who were already living in Germany on 31 December 2020.
For UK nationals who moved to Germany on or after 1 January 2021 or who move there in the future, benefits are governed by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The arrangements are basically the same as the previous provisions in many areas. However, there are some departures from the former legal position, in particular with regard to family benefits, long-term care insurance and unemployment insurance.
Further information can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the British government website
Further information on family benefits can be found at arbeitsagentur.de
Further information on long-term care insurance can be found at dvka.de
Further information on unemployment insurance can be found at arbeitsagentur.de
7. Private pension provision/ Financial services
Problems can arise with company pensions if the pension beneficiary takes up permanent residence outside of the United Kingdom. Since 1 January 2021 British pension providers are no longer authorised in the EU and therefore will no longer be able to make payments to persons resident there.
Therefore if you are planning to leave the United Kingdom permanently, you should contact your pension provider in good time to make sure that you will still be able to access your pension.
Further information can also be found on the website of the EIOPA (European Insurance and Occupational Pension Authority)
The United Kingdom’s exit from the EU single market on 31 December 2020 may affect the cross-border availability of financial services such as insurance and banking services between the EU and the United Kingdom. It is advisable to contact your financial service provider directly if you have any questions. As a rule, though, rights and obligations under insurance policies already in place continue to apply even after Brexit.
8. Driving licence
Yes. Holders of a German driving licence can drive in the United Kingdom. An International Driving Licence is not currently required, according the UK Department for Transport.
German driving licence holders with permanent residence in the United Kingdom can also exchange their driving licence without having to take another driving test. You can use your German driving licence for as long as it is valid, subject to the British requirements regarding licence extensions. Under these rules, a driving licence has to be renewed either when the holder reaches the age of 70 or 3 years after the holder took up residence – whichever is the later date.
If you have any questions regarding your driving licence or your particular situation, please contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) directly: http://dvla.gov.uk
To find out more about the validity of foreign driving licences in the United Kingdom, there is a tool on the website of the British Government which enables you to check specifically what driving licence rules apply to you.
Yes. Holders of a British driving licence can drive in Germany if they are visiting temporarily (e.g. on holiday).
Important: An accompanying translation must be provided with British driving licences that do not meet the requirements set out in Annex 6 of the Convention on Road Traffic of 8 November 1968. The translation must be supplied by an internationally recognised motoring association in the issuing state (in the United Kingdom: the RAC or AA) or an agency specified by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (German Driving Licence Ordinance Section 29 (2)).
Holders of a British driving licence with permanent residence in Germany must have their British driving licence re-registered as an EU/EEA driving licence within six months.
Definition of “taking up residence”: For driving licence purposes, a person is legally deemed to have taken up residence in Germany if he or she lives in Germany for at least 185 days of the year. You need to check the start date applicable to you, particularly in the case of Brexit, with the local driving licence authority.
9. Imports and exports/ Customs
Since 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom is no longer a member of the EU Customs Union. From that date onwards, the customs formalities provided for in Union law apply to all goods taken
- from the United Kingdom to the customs territory of the Union or
- from the customs territory of the Union to the United Kingdom.
This will still be the case if a free trade agreement is signed with the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom counts as a “third country”/ non-EU state; this means that lower duty-free limits apply when entering Germany.
Find out more zoll.de (in German)
General Brexit-related information for private individuals in English
General information from the British government can be found here and here
Information on the Brexit-related changes:
10. BAföG student loans for Germans in the United Kingdom and UK nationals in Germany
Yes. On 24 November 2020, a transitional provision was introduced in relation to Section 66b of the Federal Law concerning the Promotion of Education (BAföG) by the “Law on the Current Adaptation of the Freedom of Movement Act/EU and Other Provisions to Union Law” relating to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Trainees starting or continuing their training in the United Kingdom by 31 December 2020 will keep their entitlement to BAföG student loans until they have completed that phase of their training, even beyond the end of the transition period under the Withdrawal Agreement on 31 December 2020. This transitional provision in the BAföG law ensures that students and schoolchildren can focus on their education in the United Kingdom and hopefully complete it successfully.
UK nationals and their family members living in Germany may also be entitled to apply for a BAföG student loan after 31 December 2020, on condition that they are covered by the personal scope of application set out in Article 10 of the Withdrawal Agreement and are entitled to maintenance aid for studies in accordance with Article 23 (2) of the Agreement. This is the case if they have acquired a right of permanent residence under Article 15 of the Withdrawal Agreement or belong to the group of workers, self-employed persons and others who retain this status, or their family members.
|Work/ Social Affairs||bmas.de|
|Right of residence in Germany||bmi.bund.de|
|Right of residence in the UK/ Settled Status||gov.uk|
|Federal Employment Agency||arbeitsagentur.de|
|BAföG Student loans||bafög.de|
|UK driving licence||gov.uk|
|Living in Germany||gov.uk|
|Settled Status checker||gov.uk|
|UK Transition period||gov.uk/Transition|
|Economic Affairs/ Buiseness||bmwi.de|