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. 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.
German law recognises both mixed-sex and same sex marriages as well as registered partnerships/ civil unions between same-sex partners. Mixed-sex registered partnerships/ civil unions 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.
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.
- 2 photocopies of the passport biodata page
- Current UK residence permit (BRP)/ visa (foreign residents only).
- 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.
- Original marriage/ partnership/ civil union certificate
- If issued outside Germany, the EU or the UK documents need 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.
- 2 photocopies of the certificate and (if applicable) the translation
- Original or certified copy of German passport (biodata page only) or German ID card (“Personalausweis”) of spouse/ partner (front and reverse)
- 2 photocopies 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. In the UK this requirement is currently only met by the Goethe Institute (certificate 'Deutsch 1'). There are a number of exemptions from the language proficiency requirement.
- Prepaid, self-addressed Royal Mail Special Delivery return envelope (up to 500g) in order to return your passport after processing.
- 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.
Further information on living and working in Germany is available here.