Please note that you may not pursue any economic activity in Germany unless such activity has been explicitly authorised by a visa or a residence permit issued by the local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) in Germany.
The following information applies to British citizens only.
Beneficiaries of Part Two (“citizens’ rights”) of the Withdrawal Agreement, particularly UK nationals resident in Germany prior to 1 January 2021, enjoy privileges in addition to those described here.
Visa-free short term visits up to 90 days
British citizens do not require a visa for the Schengen Member States, if the duration of their stay does not exceed 90 days within any 180-day period.
This exemption does not extend to non-EU family members of British citizens. Depending on their nationality, non-EU family members may be subject to visa requirements.
Please note that you may not take up any employment or pursue any economic activity in Germany unless such activity is explicitly authorised by a visa or a residence permit issued by the local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) in Germany.
If you are unsure how many days you have left out of your visa-free 90 days, check the Short-stay Visa Calculator.
Entry requirements for visa-free short stays
British citizens travelling to the Schengen Member States are subject to all entry requirements for third-country nationals. The entry requirements are contained in the Schengen Borders Code and comprise the following:
You need to be in possession of a valid travel document entitling you to cross the Schengen borders. UK regular, official and diplomatic passports identifying the holder as a British citizen are recognised for visa-free travel. On the date of entry into the Schengen member states the travel document must have been issued within the previous 10 years. The passport’s validity must extend at least three months after the intended date of your departure from the territory of the Member States.
- A non-EU traveller arriving on 1 December 2021 for a 20 days stay in the EU with a passport issued on 2 December 2011 and valid until 2 April 2022 will be allowed entry.
- The same person arriving on 2 December 2021 will NOT be allowed entry.
- You need to be able to justify the purpose and conditions of your intended stay, and you need to have sufficient means of subsistence, both for the duration of the intended stay and for your return to your country of origin or transit to a third country into which you are certain to be admitted, or you must be in a position to acquire such means lawfully.
- You are not a person for whom an alert has been issued in the Schengen Information System for the purposes of refusing entry.
- You are not considered to be a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or the international relations of any of the Member States, in particular where no alert has been issued in Member States’ national databases for the purposes of refusing entry on the same grounds.
Economic activities/ employment on short term visits
As a rule, visa-free short-term visitors may not pursue any economic activity in Germany. However, some professional activities may be carried out without a corresponding visa or residence permit as they are not classed as an economic activity. For details, please click here
Any other economic activity for a maximum of 90 days within any 180-day period requires a C visa authorising such activity.
Non-EU family members of British citizens
Holders of British Residence Cards for EU/EEA family members who previously did not require visas now require a visa for travel to Germany unless they are otherwise exempt.
Non-EU family members of British and German citizens holding a visa as a family member under Freedom of Movement rules (“Familienangehörige/r eines EU-/EWR-Bürgers”) issued before 31 December 2020 and valid after 1 January 2021 must provide evidence at the point of entry into the European Union that they fulfil all Schengen entry requirements. This includes the possession of a valid travel document (validity of no more than ten years and valid for three months after the intended departure from the Union), proof of accommodation, employment, sufficient means of subsistence, travel health insurance, invitation letter or return ticket, documents proving the family member’s economic situation in the country of residence or the genuine intention to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the visa.
Long stay national visas (D visas)/ residence permits for more than 90 days
British citizens require a visa and/or residence permit for any stay beyond 90 days within any 180-day period.
British citizens may apply to the local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) for their residence permits after arrival in Germany and do not need to have 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 arrival and apply to the local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) for your residence permit within the first 90 days of your stay in Germany.
British citizens also have the option to apply to a German Mission abroad for a visa prior to travelling to Germany.
Please note that some visa categories require approval from other government bodies such as the immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) at your intended place of residence and/or the Federal Employment Agency. Processing can take up to three months, and in the case of the self-employed and freelancers up to six months.
Information regarding different visa categories is available from our information page on national visas.