Category Archives: British in Germany

British in Germany e.V. on Clubhouse

A few weeks ago, some of the social media team at British in Germany e.V. tested a new app called Clubhouse. Clubhouse is an app where people can meet and discuss different topics in a drop-in audio conference setting.

Why did we choose to do this? In our social-media groups we found that many people have been missing the local Stammtische and contact to other Brits. There have also been many questions coming up again and again in the Facebook groups. We want to provide a place where we can discuss different themes and topics about being British in Germany.

Discussions thus far have covered:

  1. Introduction session / How does Clubhouse work? / Welcome
  2. Residency and Citizenship
  3. British and German foods, which is the “wurst”?
  4. Family differences
  5. Current situation in Germany vs. the UK (residency, travel, lockdown, etc)

Hosts on British in Germany Clubhouse are Ellie, Will and Sara who are based in Hamburg and Berlin.

Note that this is not an advice session, but simply an opportunity to get together informally and share experiences and ideas.  Please bring your ideas and consider stepping on stage to share your thoughts in our discussion.

Join us in our weekly meetings on Wednesday at 18:30 German time on Clubhouse. More information under the events post in British in Germany e.V. Facebook.

If you are already on the platform, please join our club and you’ll get notifications for our upcoming events.

If you have an iPhone / iPad but do not yet have a Clubhouse App account, please contact us under the events post in British in Germany e.V. Facebook for an invitation.

Please note that at this time Clubhouse is only officially offered on iPhones and iPads. We are hopeful that this will change soon. As this is an informal get-together there will be no minutes officially taken or published.

We look forward to having many of you join and to hearing your thoughts on the week’s topic.

By Sara Gordon.

For more information about residency in Germany under the Withdrawal Agreement click here.

For more information about Withdrawal Agreement rights in general see the British in Europe publications here.

Want to let us know what is happening? To complete a survey click here.

 

British in Germany e.V.  is solely run by volunteers giving their time and support to the organisation for free.   We’d welcome your support and/or membership for a mere 15 Euros a year. You can find more information here. 

Image from Pixabay.

Residency – online forum 23rd March – register now

Do you live in Hamburg, Bremen, Niedersachsen or Nordrhein-Westfalen?

If you have questions about your rights in Germany and about getting a residence document under the Withdrawal Agreement, you can join a live event on Tuesday 23rd March hosted by SSAFA and the British Embassy, Berlin, for all UK Nationals living in these four federal states.

The event runs from at 5-6:30pm on Tuesday. But you need to register by 1pm on Monday 22nd March, so sign up as soon as possible here to reserve your place.

Please let other UK nationals in Germany know about the event by sharing this post.

For more about residency in Germany after Brexit residency-in-germany-after-transition

More information about support from SSAFA can be found here

For UK citizens in the other Bundesländer, IOM provides support. You can find more information here.

Any UK national in need of urgent assistance can contact the consular team 24/7 via their contact form.

 

Main image by capri23auto at pixabay

 

Tell us what’s happening

A lot of UK citizens in Germany are now in contact with their local Foreigners’ Office (Ausländerbehörde) about their residence rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. Some have had interviews for their new residence document and some have even received the new document.

Some of you have also applied for German citizenship and we are aware that people still have applications in progress. Some may have encountered difficulties, particularly given restrictions due to Corona.

If any of this applies to you, we would love to hear from you!

Your input will help us understand what is happening all across Germany. In turn, this will help us to inform other UK citizens as well as to give feedback to the relevant German authorities. That way we hope to improve the process for UK citizens as well as for the German authorities themselves.

It should take less than 5 minutes to complete each survey.

The survey data is being collected anonymously and will be stored in compliance with EU data regulations and British in Europe’s data privacy and protection policy.

Survey on Contact with Foreigners’ Office

If you have contacted or intend to contact your local Foreigners’ Office (Ausländerbehörde) even if you have not yet had an interview about your new residence document.

Survey on Interview for residence document


If you have already had an interview with the Foreigners’ Office (Ausländerbehörde).

 

 

Survey on British in Germany citizenship applications survey

Residence document

If you have received your new German residence document – watch this space! Survey coming soon…..

Information on residency rights

For more information about your residence rights in Germany and what you may need to do see Residency in Germany after transition.

For information generally on the Withdrawal Agreement, see the  British in Europe explainers.

 

British in Germany e.V.  is solely run by volunteers giving their time and support to the organisation for free.   We’d welcome your support and/or membership for a mere 15 Euros a year. You can find more information here. 

Main image Darkmoonart_de at pixabay

Other images at pixabay
wichan yodsawai
Andreas Lischka

Rights to benefits

If you are a UK citizen living in Germany and covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, you have rights to benefits in Germany in the same way as  EU and German citizens.

If you are applying for benefits or if there is any confusion about your rights, information from the relevant German ministries may help.

Information on benefits related to children and parenthood
Information on benefits related to unemployment

The Bundesagentur für Arbeit has also published an official ‘Weisung’ (directive) which includes information about rights to benefits for UK citizens covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.
https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/datei/weisung-202012007_ba146766.pdf
“Britische Staatsangehörige, ihre Familiengehörigen und nahestehende Personen, deren aufenthaltsrechtliche Stellung sich aus dem Austrittsabkommen sowie dem FreizügG/EU ableitet, haben grundsätzlich einen gleichen aufenthaltsrechtlichen Status wie EU-Bürger, so dass ein Zugang zu den Leistungen nach dem SGB II entsprechend zu klären ist (vgl. §16 Absatz 5 FreizügG/EU).”

Is my right to benefits ‘automatic’?

No. There are conditions for receiving each benefit which also apply to German and EU citizens. So an application for benefit will depend on whether your specific situation meets the conditions for that benefit.

What if I am applying for work?

UK citizens covered by the Withdrawal Agreement keep their rights to work in Germany. For more information and links look at this previous post about Working in Germany

 

British in Germany e.V.  is solely run by volunteers giving their time and support to the organisation for free.   We’d welcome your support and/or membership for a mere 15 Euros a year. You can find more information here. 

Main image Steve Buissinne at pixabay

Am I still allowed to work in Germany?

If you are a UK citizen living in Germany and covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, you have the right to work in Germany.

This is one of the key rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. Unfortunately it seems that some UK citizens have had that right challenged, so here is some information that may help.

Information on working rights

The Bundesagentur für Arbeit provides information on the right to work for UK citizens in Germany. Separate information is given for both those who covered by the WA (here called “Old Britons” or “Bestandsbriten”) and those who are not.
www.arbeitsagentur.de/en/brexit/british-nationals-in-germany
www.arbeitsagentur.de/brexit/briten-in-deutschland

The Bundesministerium des Inneren Frequently Asked Questions includes the following:
‘From 1 January 2021, persons who were entitled to live or work in Germany (or another EU member state) until that date and who also exercised that right will essentially have the same rights as they had before withdrawal. ‘ BMI FAQs

The Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales published “Fragen und Antworten” on Brexit on 17 November, 2020. The introduction includes the following:
‘Für EU-Bürgerinnen und EU-Bürger, britische Staatsangehörige sowie ihre Familienangehörigen, die zum Ende der Übergangsphase dauerhaft im Vereinigten Königreich bzw. in der EU leben und arbeiten, sieht das Austrittsabkommen einen vollumfänglichen Bestandsschutz ihrer Rechte vor.’ 
BMAS faq-brexit

Information for employers

There is a flyer published jointly by the BMI and BMAS and addressed specifically to employers: brexit-informationen-arbeitgeber

Were you already working for your employer before 1 Jan 2021? In that case, your employer does not need to ask you for proof of your right to continue working.  The same is normally true, provided that you are covered by the WA, even if you start working for an employer after 1 Jan 2021.

The flyer, addressed to employers of UK citizens, includes specific  information on this subject.  So you can point your employer directly to this as an authoratitive source.
Wenn Ihre Arbeitnehmerin oder Ihr Arbeitnehmer unter das Austrittsabkommen fällt, ist er oder sie auch ohne entsprechendes Dokument berechtigt, bei Ihnen zu arbeiten. Wenn Sie wissen, dass Ihre Arbeitnehmerin oder Ihr Arbeitnehmer berechtigt ist, müssen Sie nichts
weiter unternehmen.
Dies gilt vor allem dann, wenn

  • britische Staatsangehörige oder
  • Familienangehörige britischer Staatsangehöriger mit Aufenthaltskarte oder Daueraufenthaltskarte

bereits vor dem 31. Dezember 2020 bei Ihnen legal gearbeitet haben. Sie können dann, ohne sich weitere Dokumente vorlegen zu lassen, diese Arbeitnehmerinnen und Arbeitnehmer auch danach einfach weiter beschäftigen. Sie müssen keine Dokumente kopieren oder scannen oder zu Ihren Lohnunterlagen nehmen. 

Gleiches gilt grundsätzlich auch, wenn eine Arbeitnehmerin oder ein Arbeitnehmer unter das Austrittabkommen fällt und erst ab dem 1. Januar 2021 eine Beschäftigung aufgenommen hat oder noch aufnimmt. Auch dann ist keine weitere Vorlage von Unterlagen erforderlich. Auch dann müssen Sie keine Dokumente kopieren oder scannen oder zu Ihren Lohnunterlagen nehmen.

Bis zum 30. Juni 2021 können Sie der Aussage britischer Staatsangehöriger, ein Aufenthaltsrecht nach dem Austrittsabkommen zu haben, vertrauen. Dies ist zumindest immer dann der Fall, wenn die Betroffenen am 31. Dezember 2020 in Deutschland gewohnt haben.’

There is also an official ‘Weisung’ (directive) from the Bundesagentur here: https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/datei/weisung-202012007_ba146766.pdf

The Bundesministerium des Inneren Frequently Asked Questions includes a question and answer in English and German: ‘I am an employer and employ UK nationals or their family members. What do I need to bear in mind in future?’ / ‘Ich bin Arbeitgeberin oder Arbeitgeber und beschäftige Britinnen oder Briten oder deren Familienangehörige. Was muss ich künftig beachten?’
BMI FAQs in English
BMI FAQs in German

In case your employer or prospective employer is confused or uncertain about your right to work, the links and documents above should provide clear information and reassurance.

Evidence of Withdrawal Agreement rights

Just in case you do need to provide proof that you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement before you get your Aufenthaltsdokument-GB, as well as some of the links and information above, you may be able to use documents that you already have.  For example, a Meldebescheinigung, proof that you were previously working, a rental agreement, bank statements etc. But you can also request a temporary Fiktionsbescheinigung from your local Ausländerbehörde.  You can find more information about how to contact your Ausländerbehörde here  Residency in Germany after transition.

British in Germany e.V.  is solely run by volunteers giving their time and support to the organisation for free.   We’d welcome your support and/or membership for a mere 15 Euros a year. You can find more information here. 

Updated to correct broken links on 24/02/21.

Main image Pexels pixabay

German-English Useful Vocabulary List

Official German can be confusing at the best of times – even for native speakers. When it comes to talking around residence rights it is important to know and be able to use the correct terms, as using the wrong vocabulary has the potential to cause serious problems. You also need to be aware if officials are using the wrong terminology with you, in case that indicates a misunderstanding of your situation and you being given less favourable conditions than those you are entitled to. 

With that in mind, we have put together a quick introduction to terms you need to know (and those you need to avoid). 

German-English vocabulary list: 

Aufenthaltsdokument-GB – GB-residence document
Aufenthaltserlaubnis – residence permit
Aufenthaltsrecht – right of residence
Aufenthaltsstatus – residence status
Aufenthaltstitel – residence title
Aufenthaltsgesetz – Residence Act
Ausländerbehörde (might be known locally by another name such as Migrationsamt, Einwanderungsamt or similar) – Foreigners Registration Authority
Austrittsabkommen – Withdrawal Agreement
Bescheinigung über das Daueraufenthaltsrecht für Unionsbürger – Certificate of permanent residence for EU citizens
Daueraufenthaltsrecht – right of permanent residence
Drittstaatsangehörige(r) – Third Country National
Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EU – EU Long term residence permit
festem Wohnsitz – fixed address
freizügigkeitsberechtigt
– entitled to free movement
Freizügigkeitsgesetz/EU – Freedom of Movement Act/EU
Niederlassungserlaubnis – settlement permit 

In practice

Here we now put these terms into action to explain further what they mean in practice (we’ve also included a bilingual summary of the information at the end): 

Residence status under the Withdrawal Agreement and Freedom of Movement Act/EU

For British citizens who are in scope, your new residence status (Aufenthaltsstatus) is obtained automatically by law (kraft Gesetzes) under Article 18(4) of the Withdrawal Agreement (Austrittsabkommen) in combination with Paragraph 16 of the German Freedom of Movement Act/EU (§ 16 Freizügigkeitsgesetz/EU). 

You should notify the Ausländerbehörde of your residence in Germany (den Aufenthalt in Deutschland bei der Ausländerbehörde anzeigen). NB: This is not the same as registering when you move into a new property (Anmeldung einer Wohnung) – it is something completely separate. 

Once you have notified them of your residence, the Ausländerbehörde should contact you to let you know the process for them issuing you with a new GB-residence document (Ausstellung eines Aufenthalsdokuments-GB). They should do this ex officio (von Amts wegen), i.e. it is not something for which you need to submit an application (Antrag) as such, even if you may need to fill in a form with some basic details.

You do not need to submit an application for a residence title to be granted (einen Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels stellen), as this is something completely different, see below for more information. Be aware of Ausländerbehörden asking you to fill in the incorrect form. 

For further details, see our British in Germany brief guide to what you need to get a GB-residence document. Further information can also be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) in both English and German

Residence titles: residence status for Third Country Nationals under the Residence Act 

Residence titles (Aufenthaltstitel), fall under the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz) and not the Freedom of Movement Act/EU. There are four main types of residence title, two from domestic German law and two from European law. 

The residence titles from German law are: 

  • residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) – a temporary status 
  • settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) – a permanent / long-term status 

The residence titles from European law are: 

  • EU Blue card (Blaue Karte EU) – a temporary status, similar to the German resident permit 
  • EU Long term residence permit (Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EU) – a permanent / long-term status, similar to the German settlement permit. 

Additional residence titles are the visa (Visum), as well as the ICT Card (ICT Karte) and the Mobile ICT Card (Mobile ICT-Karte) – NB: ICT stands here for intra-corporate transfer. 

A residence title is not gained automatically but rather must be granted (erteilt) by the Ausländerbehörde following an application. 

It is important that you are aware that if you have a right of residence (Aufenthaltsrecht) under the Withdrawal Agreement, then you do not fall under the general Residence Act, which is what applies to most non-EU citizens in Germany. This is a very important distinction. The conditions under the Residence Act are much stricter and in some cases the rights attached are much less favourable. 

There are some cases where you might wish to apply for a residence title under the Residence Act in addition to your automatic residence status under the Withdrawal Agreement. For example, the two residence titles from European law provide limited rights that can make it easier to move to another EU country. If you chose to apply for a residence title in addition to your status under Withdrawal Agreement, then you must of course meet all the normal relevant criteria the same as any other Third Country National (Drittstaatsangehörige/r). 

In summary

English

British citizens who are in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement obtain a right of residence in Germany by virtue of law (German Freedom of Movement Act/EU). No application is required. Affected Brits should notify their local Foreigners Registration Authority of their residence in Germany. Following this they will be issued with a GB-residence document. They do not have to apply for a residence title to be granted under Germany’s Residence Act (e.g. a residence permit or a settlement). They may, however, possess both a residence status under the Withdrawal Agreement and a residence title under the Residence Act at the same time. 

Deutsch

Britische Staatsangehörige, die nach dem Austrittsabkommen begünstigt sind, erhalten kraft Gesetzes (Freizügigkeitsgesetz/EU) ein Aufenthaltsrecht in Deutschland. Dazu bedarf es keines Antrages. Betroffene Brit:innen sollten ihren Aufenthalt in Deutschland bei der örtlichen Ausländerbehörde anzeigen. Infolgedessen wird ihnen ein Aufenthaltsdokument-GB ausgestellt. Sie müssen keinen Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels nach dem Aufenthaltsgesetzes (z.B. die Aufenthaltserlaubnis oder die Niederlassungserlaubnis) stellen. Sie dürfen jedoch sowohl ein Aufenthaltsrecht nach dem Austrittsabkommen als auch einen Aufenthaltstitel nach dem Aufenthaltsgesetz gleichzeitig besitzen.

 

Main image: Gerd Altmann  pixabay

Going for citizenship? Tell us about it…

German and UK dual nationality

The deadline for applications for German citizenship under the special law passed by the German government (Brexit Übergangsgesetz) was the end of the transition period (31 December, 2020). This law allows those whose application was made by 31 December, 2020 to keep UK citizenship as well as taking German.

We are aware that people still have applications in progress. Some may have encountered difficulties, particularly given restrictions due to Corona.

British in Germany e.V. is running a survey to collect a snapshot of applications in progress.

If you have an application for German citizenship under the Übergangsgesetz in progress, you can help us to get a more informed and complete picture.

Please fill out our confidential 5 minute survey here:
British in Germany citizenship applications survey

More about the Brexit Übergangsgesetz

This law allows UK citizens who, by the end of the transition period, fulfilled the requirements for German citizenship and whose application was also submitted before the end of the transition period to keep their UK citizenship as well as taking German.

Successful German citizenship applications made from 1 January 2021 onwards will generally require giving up UK citizenship.
Here is the key text from the Brexit Übergangsgesetz:
“Bei britischen Staatsangehörigen, die vor Ablauf des Übergangszeitraums einen Antrag auf Einbürgerung in Deutschland gestellt haben, wird von einem sonst nach dem Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz erforderlichen Ausscheiden aus der britischen Staatsangehörigkeit abgesehen, sofern alle weiteren Einbürgerungsvoraussetzungen vor Ablauf des Übergangszeitraums erfüllt waren und bei Einbürgerung weiterhin erfüllt sind.” §3 (1) BrexitÜG.

Click here for more information on Applying-for-german-citizenship

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Cross border travel from January 2021

From 1 January 2021, new rules will apply to UK citizens travelling to  Germany. 

(*If you are looking instead for information about how to get your new residence document (Aufenthaltsdokument-GB)?  Find out more here.)

22 December, 2020
Updated travel information from British in Europe is here.
23 December, 2020
Link to German Embassy in London travel information here.

If you are a dual German, EU/EEA or Swiss citizen, you still enjoy freedom of movement as before. Make sure to use that passport when crossing an EU or Schengen border.

If you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, you have the right to enter and exit Germany (as your host country) without having a visa or being subject to other formalities. This is set down in Article 14 of the WA. However, you won’t be able to use e-gates or lanes reserved for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens. Once issued, you should keep your new residence document (Aufenthaltsdokument-GB) with you whenever you travel and show this along with your passport at the border.

Note: UK citizens will also be subject to Schengen rules on length of visa-free stay. Schengen rules allow up to 90 days stay within a 180 day period without a visa.  This includes UK citizens covered by the Withdrawal Agreement for travel outside their host Member State.

What do you do if you are planning to travel outside Germany and have not yet got your new Aufenthaltsdokument-GB to provide evidence of your status? 

Information from the Bundespolizei

British in Germany has asked the Bundespolizei this very question. They are responsible for all German border controls. We received their response on 10th December and it makes clear that border officials will be aware of the rights of resident UK citizens. Here is what they told us about being able to prove that you belong to the group covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.

“Die Beantragung einer Fiktionsbescheinigung ist bereits zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt möglich, um britischen Staatsangehörigen, welche ab dem 1. Januar 2021 aus dem Ausland nach Deutschland reisen wollen, das Aufenthaltsrecht bescheinigen zu können.

Allerdings sind auch nach hier vorliegenden Erkenntnissen die Ausländerbehörden derzeit aufgrund der Corona-Pandemie nur eingeschränkt erreichbar, so dass die notwendigen Bescheinigungen nicht immer zeitgerecht erteilt werden können.

Die Grenzbehörden sind deshalb angewiesen worden, zum Nachweis des Aufenthaltsrechts ab dem 1. Januar 2021 vorerst auch anderweitige Bescheinigungen anzuerkennen. Das können bspw. Anmeldebescheinigungen, Mietverträge oder auch Arbeitsverträge sein.

Insofern wird empfohlen, dass während einer Reise mindestens eine der o.g. Bescheinigungen mitgeführt wird, um damit bei der Einreise nachweisen zu können, dass der britische Staatsangehörige oder Familienangehörige Aufenthaltsrechte in Deutschland nach dem Austrittsabkommen zwischen der EU und Großbritannien in Anspruch nehmen kann. Die Einreise ist dann möglich.”

If you are not sure that you understand the content of this German version, please put it into an online translator. We are not providing an unofficial translation so that our published version remains the exact wording actually used by the Bundespolizei.

How to show your residency when you return to Germany?

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Drawing on the suggestions from the Bundespolizei, here are some actions you can take.

1. Fiktionsbescheinigung

You may be able to request a Fiktionsbescheinigung. This is a temporary document from your local Ausländerbehörde which shows that they have registered your request for an Aufenthaltsdokument-GB.

Some Ausländerbehörde offices are issuing a Fiktionsbescheinigung by default to those who attend for interview or complete an online form, but this is only happening at the moment in some offices. You can ask your local office and explain your travel plans.

If you are not able to get a Fiktionsbescheinigung, your local Ausländerbehörde, is supposed to provide you with simple written confirmation (by letter or e-mail) that you have notified them of your residence in Germany. 

2. Meldebescheinigung

Everyone living in Germany has to do their Anmeldung (registration) when they move into a new home. When you did this, you will have been given an Anmeldebestätigung. The Meldebescheinigung is a certificate confirming that you are still registered as living at a specific address on the date of issue.

This is a standard document that can be requested by any resident at any time. It is usually easy to obtain from a local registration office, either in person, online, or by post. There is typically a fee but this is usually low.

3. Other evidence of living in Germany before 31.12.2020

If you can’t get either the Fiktionsbescheinigung of the Meldebescheinigung, then as the Bundespolizei have advised us above, it’s important to take other documents to show evidence of your residence and that you were already resident before the end of the transition period (31st December, 2020). Examples of documents include:

  • Anmeldebestätigung (original registration confirmation)
  • rental contract
  • recent bank statement
  • employment contract
  • recent salary statement
  • benefits or pensions statement
  • health insurance card or documents
  • an immatriculation certificate from a German university
  • evidence of self-employment in Germany.
4. Evidence of outward travel

If you are travelling out from Germany, then we suggest you also keep your tickets, boarding cards or similar and carry these with you when you return.

Corona and travel

If you are planning travel at this time, you will also need to take into account Corona regulations including any quarantine requirements. Some press discussion recently has highlighted the likelihood that non-essential travel to Germany by UK citizens would cease to be possible after 31 December. Our understanding is that, under such circumstances, UK residents of Germany will still be able to return, but this underlines the importance of being able to prove that you are a resident.

UPDATE 22 December, 2020

British in Europe posted information on their website about travel at this time. This followed the introduction of additional restrictions due to the new corona strain identified in the UK. British in Europe will try to maintain the information there.

britishineurope.org/travel-during-covid-19-times

Information on WA rights

You may also want to carry official summary documentation that describes the rights you have, just in case the official you deal with is not be aware.

For example, you can find information from the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) here:
https://www.bmi.bund.de/brexit-info-en (English)
https://www.bmi.bund.de/brexit-info (German)

If you are asked by anyone else about your status, for example, employers, financial institutions, landlords etc, the same documentation may be helpful. Provided you are covered by Withdrawal Agreement rights, you have the right to live, work and study in Germany. Therefore this is not something that you should expect to be challenged on. But worth knowing, just in case.

Travel information from British in Europe can be found here:
https://www.britishineurope.org/articles/63738-travelling-into-and-out-of-the-schengen-area 
https://www.britishineurope.org/articles/66847-travel-for-british-in-europe-during-covid-19-times

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office also produces a “Living in Germany” guide: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-germany

For in-depth information on the Withdrawal Agreement and your rights, make sure you read British in Europe’s handy explanatory guides:
https://www.britishineurope.org/page/1016540-explanatory-guides

Finally, British in Europe have published detailed information on the overall changes for UK citizens travelling in and out of the Schengen area in future:
https://www.britishineurope.org/articles/63738-travelling-into-and-out-of-the-schengen-area

 

Main image by Thobias Rehbein from Pixabay

Latest: Residency in Germany after transition

The new German law  on the future of UK citizens’ residence in Germany, covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, was passed in November 2020 by the Bundestag and the Bundesrat and signed off by the German President, coming into force on 24th November 2020.  

For all UK citizens who are living in Germany at the end of transition on 31st December 2020,  (and that means actually registered with an ‘Anmeldung’  at your local Bürgeramt not just, for example, on a business trip or holiday) this law is really important.  It’s the culmination of hard negotiation and lobbying that British in Germany e.V. has been involved in with German and British authorities over many months.  It basically puts into German law all your future rights to live, work, study and retire in Germany and defines how you will be able to evidence those rights in future.

The fundamental decision Germany has adopted (which British in Germany e.V.  supports) is an approach known as “declaratory”. This means that if you are registered as living in Germany and are exercising your free movement rights at the end of transition then, by law, you acquire residence status in Germany as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement. 

What you need to do is to request an individual residence document (Aufenthaltsdokument-GB) so you have evidence of your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.   

The first step is to notify your local Foreigner’s Office (Ausländerbehörde) that you are living in Germany .  

Important to note, this is not the same as the registration (Anmeldung), which you are required to do on arrival in Germany.

If you already have a Daueraufenthaltsbescheinigung-EU (Certificate of the right of permanent residence for EU citizens), you will be able to swap this for the new document without charge.

If you have dual UK-German citizenship, you have residence rights in Germany as a citizen and do not need to request an Aufenthaltsdokument-GB.

So what do UK citizens in Germany need to do now?

Contact your local Foreigner’s Office (Ausländerbehörde) asap*  You can tell them that in accordance with § 16 FreizügG/EU and Article 18 (4) of the Withdrawal Agreement, you wish to:
    • Notify them of your residence in Germany, having exercised your free movement rights under EU law
    • Request that they issue you with a residence document (Aufenthaltstitel-GB)
*It’s possible that the Ausländerbehörde may have already contacted you, and we know from our members some have already done so.  Others may be providing information on how to start the process via their local web page.  Check it out, but if you haven’t heard anything, it’s definitely worth you taking the initiative yourself. 

You can check which office is responsible for you here: https://www.bamf.de/DE/Service/ServiceCenter/BeratungVorOrt/Auslaenderbehoerden/auslaenderbehoerden-node.html

Time period
The time period set by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement for notifying of residence in Germany is 6 months from end of transition i.e. up to 30th June, 2021. 
Documents needed
The Ausländerbehörde will want to see your passport as proof of identity and UK citizenship, plus evidence of your local registration (Anmeldung). You may need to get an up-to-date Meldebescheinigung from your local town hall or other registration office. To visit the Ausländerbehörde you will probably need to make an appointment, especially in these Covid times when phone or e-mail appointments will be more popular.

You may also be asked for other documents that will help to show your residence in Germany under EU freedom of movement rules, such as tax, salary or bank statements, or evidence of student status.

Withdrawal Agreement and residency

You are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement if you are legally resident in Germany at the end of the transition period and if you continue to live here after this date. “Legally resident” means that you meet the conditions that apply to an EU citizen exercising free movement rights.

For more on the definitions of “legally resident” and “exercising free movement rights” see Explainer 1 on the British in Europe website here, and information in the FAQs from the BMI here.

As part of establishing that you are legally resident, if at all possible, make sure you have your Anmeldung (local registration) before 31st December, 2020. However, an Anmeldung alone is neither necessary nor sufficient for you to gain a status under the Withdrawal Agreement.

What do I end up with?

The residence document which you should receive (Aufenthaltsdokument-GB) will look something like this:

The right to work will be noted under “Anmerkungen”. This is also where a note may be included to state that you have permanent residency (after 5 years) or that you also have a Blue Card or EU long term residence permit.

Our current understanding is that these documents will be produced centrally and that production will start in January 2021. So even if you are able to start the process in December with your local Ausländerbehörde, the document will probably not be issued before the beginning of 2021.

Cost?
The standard cost for issuing an Aufenthaltsdokument-GB will be EUR 37.00 for those over 24 and EUR 22.80 for those who are younger. This is the same cost of an identity card for a German citizen.

What happens locally?

Local Ausländerbehörde around the country are responsible for issuing residence documents. Some have already updated their websites with the latest information, including information about what steps you should take, but some haven’t yet.  As we’ve said, some offices have already written directly to UK citizens in their area, while others may take a different approach.  As always, with the German federal system, there are likely to be differences in the ways that Ausländerbehörde run the process.  Therefore British in Germany e.V. advises that you take the initiative yourself to contact them if you’ve not heard anything.  While the processing for the Aufenthaltsdokumente-GB is local, it’s important to remember that the legal framework for the new German residency law is national. 

German and UK government information

Press release from the German Ministry of the Interior (BMI)
English: https://www.bmi.bund.de/…/right-of-residence-for-uk…
German: https://www.bmi.bund.de/…/aufenthaltsrecht-britischer…

FAQs relating to the German national law which may be a useful reference when talking to your local Ausländerbehörde.
English: https://www.bmi.bund.de/…/brexit/faqs-brexit.html…
German: https://www.bmi.bund.de/…/verfa…/brexit/faqs-brexit.html

The UK Government and the British Embassy in Germany publish information for UK citizens in Germany. You can request regular update emails via the website.
Website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-germany
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/1766520453638506/posts/2569823969974813/?d=n

Information on Withdrawal Agreement rights

Summaries and detailed guides from British in Europe https://www.britishineurope.org/page/1016540-explanatory-guides

British in Germany e.V.  is run by volunteers all giving their time and their expertise for free.  We therefore value your membership for 15 Euros a year, which goes towards expenses incurred in running the organisation.  You can apply for membership here.

Main image by Pete Linforth at pixabay