British citizens may apply to the local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) for their residence permits after arrival in Germany and without having obtained a visa prior to travelling to Germany. Please note that you need to register your new residence (“Anmeldung”) with the authorities (“Meldebehörde”) within 2 weeks of having moved in and apply to the local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) for your residence permit within the first 90 days of your stay in Germany. This privilege is also extended to citizens of Andorra, Australia, Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Korea (Republic), Monaco, San Marino and the United States of America. It is important to note that you may only take up employment once you have been issued a residence permit explicitly authorising such employment.
All other nationalities require a visa prior to travelling to Germany.
This information is designed to cover a wide range of individual and different cases and is therefore provided as a guideline only. Particularly in the case of children joining parents, the law provides for a multitude of different requirements depending on a number of criteria such as age, German language skills as well as current and previous custody Arrangements.
Applications for a minor must be filed by all parents/ guardians. The minor and all parents and guardians need to be present for the application. Should one or both parent/s and/ or guardian/s be unavailable/ overseas at the time of application we will require a “declaration of consent”, notarised by a German Honorary Consul in the UK or a notary public in the UK or any EU member state or any German mission overseas. A notarisation by a foreign Notary Public might be sufficient in some cases. Contact us for details at the Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Edinburgh.
The following is a rudimentary standard list of requirements for an expat family with children under the age of 16 years relocating together to Germany.
How to apply for your visa:
1. Complete the online application form,
print two copies of the form including the barcodes and sign both copies (separate application forms are required for each applicant; all children require separate forms).
2. Compile your supporting documentation:
- Two printouts of the online application form including barcodes
- Valid passport signed by the holder, issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least 3 months beyond the validity of the visa applied for. The passport needs to have at least 2 subsequent blank pages.
Plus: 2 photocopies of the passport biodata page
- Current UK residence permit (BRP)/ visa (foreign residents only).
Plus: 2 photocopies of the permit/ visa
- 2 fully biometric passport photos, 35 x 45 mm, no older than three months. Digitally altered passport photos cannot be accepted.
Please ensure that your photo adheres to German biometric requirements and is taken in front of a white/bright background.
- Original birth certificate - “Unabridged” or “full” birth certificate required: must contain the names of the child’s parent/s. If issued outside Germany, the EU or the UK documents need to be legalised or apostilled as applicable. Any document in a language other than German, English or French needs to be translated into one of these languages by a certified or sworn translator.
Plus: 2 photocopies of the certificate and (if applicable) the translation.
- Original or certified copies of passports of parents (biodata page only).
Plus: 2 photocopies each of the passport biodata pages.
- If one parent is/ both parents are already resident in Germany: 2 photocopies of confirmation of parent’s/ both parents’ registration (“Anmeldebestätigung” or “Meldebescheinigung”)
- If one parent is/both parents are already resident in Germany: 2 photocopies of (both) parent’s German Residence Permit (“Aufenthaltstitel” or “Aufenthaltsdokument-GB”) – only applicable to foreign residents.
- If one parent has sole custody, please provide documentary evidence. If this document was issued outside Germany, the EU or the UK, we will require the document to be legalised or apostilled as applicable.
- Any document in a language other than German, English or French needs to be translated into one of these languages by a certified or sworn translator.
Plus: 2 photocopies of the evidence and (if applicable) the translation.
- Prepaid, self-addressed Royal Mail Special Delivery return envelope (up to 500g) in order to return your passport after processing.
- Visa fees apply for certain categories. Contact us for details.
Processing time: For some visa categories, we will require approval from other German government agencies, such as the Federal Employment Agency (“Bundesagentur für Arbeit”) or the local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”). If you have previously lived in Germany this will add to processing times, as the immigration office may need to look into your previous immigration record. Once a decision has been made on your application, we will contact you.
In this visa category, most applications are typically processed within 3 months.
Although we will provide you with a file number, please understand that we cannot respond to questions regarding the status of your visa application. Should we have any questions or should we require additional documentation to process your application, we will contact you.
3. Book an appointment to apply for your visa.
Where to book your appointment/ apply for your visa:
If your application is successful, you will be issued a limited-validity entry visa - similar to a UK entry clearance. Once you have arrived in Germany please register your new residence with the local authorities (“Meldebehörde”) within 2 weeks of having moved in and apply to your local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) for your Electronic Residence Permit.
Further information on living and working in Germany is available here.