British citizens may apply to the local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) for their residence permits after arriving 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. We strongly recommend contacting the local immigration office as soon as possible after your arrival in Germany in order to secure a timely appointment.
Please note that you may only take up employment once you have been issued a residence permit explicitly authorising such employment. You may also choose to apply for a visa prior to travel, effectively permitting employment from the first day of visa validity.
All other nationalities require a visa prior to travelling to Germany.
German law recognises both mixed-sex and same sex marriages as well as registered partnerships/ civil unions between same-sex partners. Mixed-sex civil/ registered partnerships and de facto relationships are not recognised under German law.
It makes no difference if the person you are joining is already in Germany or if you will be moving together.
Under German law, all residents must have sufficient health insurance cover. Please read our additional information on health insurance requirements.
How to apply for your visa:
1. Complete the VIDEX online application form, print one copy of the form including the barcode page (page 7) and sign the form on pages 5 and 6. Separate application forms are required for each applicant; all children also require separate forms.
2. Compile your supporting documentation to bring to your appointment:
- Printout of the online application form including barcodes (as under #1)
- Valid passport signed by the holder, issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least six months. The passport needs to have at least 2 consecutive blank pages (i.e. a blank double page spread).
Plus 1 photocopy of the passport biodata page
- Current UK residence permit (BRP)/ visa (non-British applicants only).
Plus 1 photocopy of the permit/visa
- 2 fully biometric passport photos, size 35 x 45 mm. Consult our FAQs for detailed requirements.
- Original marriage/ civil/ registered partnership certificate
Any original will be returned to you during your appointment. 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.
If issued outside Germany, the EU or the UK, documents need to be legalized or apostilled as applicable.
Plus 1 photocopy of the certificate and (if applicable) the translation
- Original or certified copy of German passport (biodata page only) or German ID card (Personalausweis/ front and reverse) of spouse/ partner Any original will be returned to you during your appointment.
Plus 1 photocopy of the passport biodata page or the ID card
- If spouse/ partner is already resident in Germany: 2 photocopies of confirmation of spouse’s/ partner’s registration (Anmeldebestätigung or Meldebescheinigung)
- Evidence of basic German language proficiency
Certificates issued by any institution testing in accordance with the standards of the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) are accepted. The test may not be older than one year. There are a number of exemptions from the language proficiency requirement. Please note that spouses of German nationals are only exempt from language requirements if the German spouse has exercised their right of free movement within the European Union.
- Prepaid, self-addressed Royal Mail Special Delivery return envelope (up to 500g) in order to return your passport after processing (not applicable for applications submitted to a Visa Application Centre run by our external service provider, TLScontact).
- Visa issued free of charge.
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. We strongly recommend contacting the local immigration office as soon as possible after your arrival in Germany in order to secure a timely appointment.
Further information on living and working in Germany is available here.