Category Archives: British in Germany

British High Court Ruling: EU in UK will not lose their status

Earlier in the  year you may have heard in the news that a decision has been made in the British High Court that EU citizens with pre-settled status will not lose their status if they do not apply for ‘settled status’. The Home Office confirmed that it will not appeal the High Court ruling that found that mandatory re-application is unlawful.

The organisation the3millon played a strong advocacy role in this ruling and the Home Office confirmed that it will not appeal the High Court ruling that found that mandatory re-application is unlawful.

British in Germany e.V. is delighted that the threat of EU citizens losing their rights has been removed from the 2.6 million EU citizens in the UK who currently have pre-settled status. For more on the story and the background to the case go to the 3 million webpage.

This is also good news for British citizens living in the EU countries that have taken a similar “constitutive” approach to Withdrawal Agreement rights.  (‘Constitutive’ meaning the mandatory requirement to re-apply by a deadline for the new status under the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) )


If this ruling by the British High Court had not taken place, there would certainly have been a risk that those EU countries, where re-application is required, might consider themselves justified in taking a similar line to that of the UK. Germany took the declaratory route rather than the constitutive. (‘declaratory’ meaning those who fulfil WA conditions are beneficiaries without a mandatory application – but in practice need to register for a residence card to go about their daily lives), so risks here in Germany are much lower.)

For more background on the story in Germany see:

According to the UK Government, the number of concluded applications to the EU settlement scheme by July 2022 was 6,473,830.  Of those, 51% (3,281,950) were granted settled status and 41% (2,627,770) were granted pre-settled status.

Life Long Voting Rights for all Brits Abroad!


***LAST UPDATE – Since 16th January 2024, all British citizens living outside of the UK can vote. Don’t delay in registering. See here for all the details you’ll need.

** UPDATE The final run of secondary legislation took place in the Lords evening of 12th December and the date of Tuesday 16th January 2024 for that legislation to be active is now locked in.

Nov. 2023 we wrote…

As you may have heard in the news recently, draft secondary legislation to implement the Elections Act 2022 and re-enfranchise around 3 million overseas British electors was ‘laid’ before both UK Houses of Parliament on 23 October and published on 25 October 2023.

The draft statutory legislation (SI) has to go through a scrutiny process before both houses of parliament, but we expect that to be done and the SI to be ‘made or adopted before the end of the year and hopefully come into force by 16 January 2024 (this is the date proposed in the draft secondary legislation) More details on this here.

Very significantly, this will re-enfranchise around 3 million Brits living outside of the UK, many of whom had been dis-enfranchised due to the 15 year rule.

The Electoral Commission is already preparing for the registration of this large number of newly re-enfranchised British voters in their relevant constituencies. British in Europe has already been working on a secondary legislation advocacy project about the implementation of the changes since last year and will partner with the Electoral Commission on its awareness raising campaign. Generally, British in Europe and British in Germany e.V. plan to play an active role in getting word out to Brits across Europe, that they can vote again in the UK.

If you’d be interested in supporting that campaign in any way please get in touch at info(at)

So many extra votes added to the current electorate could have a significant impact on forthcoming national elections and in strengthening the representation of British democracy.

The next UK General Election, the date of which will be decided by the present government, must take place latest by January 2025.

More positive news …….read here about the British High Court that EU citizens with pre-settled status will not lose their status if they do not apply for ‘settled status’. were 306,300 refusals, 133,000 withdrawn or void outcomes and 124,560 invalid outcomes in the same period, representing, combined, 9% of total outcomes.

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 join here.

BiG Summer Conference in Braunschweig June 4th 2023

Would you like to attend British in Germany’s Summer Conference?

The BiG Summer Conference and AGM will be held on Sunday 4th June in Braunschweig.  This was something members proposed at the successful BiG Autumn Conference last year in Berlin.

When:   Sunday 4th June
Time: 10am – 6pm

E mail: (Subject: 4th June) 

We welcome newcomers to the organisation, so if you would be interested in getting involved in on a local or national/international level please get in touch by e mail for more information.

This year’s summer conference in Braunschweig, near Hannover, will be a a great opportunity to meet up with Brits from across Germany to dissect, discuss and make decisions on issues that, post Brexit, are continuing to affect our lives in Germany.    All nationalities and partners welcome.

You can attend as a paid up member (15 Euros a year)
which allows you to vote in the AGM, or as an observer and then participant in the rest of the day’s conference.

We can also make suggestions for accommodation in Braunschweig, depending on where you’ll be travelling from.

New Report: Identity, Belonging and Representation Post-Brexit

Who are the British in Europe post-Brexit and how do they see themselves?

The report “Identity, Belonging, and Representation Post-Brexit among British citizens among British Citizens in the EU/EEA and Switzerland” by Tanja Bueltmann draws on a detailed survey of British citizens living in Europe to review the impact of Brexit on British citizens’ sense of identity and belonging.

Through qualitative research, the author explores how Brexit has affected how individuals understand and identify with their nationality, as well as their perceptions of representation in the UK and Europe.

Main findings and key themes:

  • Survey respondents constitute a relatively highly mobile group, with around a third having previous migration experience.
  • A plurality of respondents moved to the EU/EEA/Switzerland for work and/or personal reasons, such as moving with a partner/family.
  • Only 17.7% of survey respondents moved to the EU/EEA/Switzerland to retire, providing further evidence that the common characterisation of British citizens in the EU as a group primarily comprised of ‘expat retirees’ is misleading at best.
  • 76.6% of respondents plan to live in the EU/EEA/Switzerland permanently.
  • 65.7% of respondents agree that Brexit has increased the likelihood of them staying in the EU/EEA or Switzerland.

The study also highlights the complexities of national identity and how this has been challenged and reshaped by Brexit.

Download now: Identity, Belonging and Representation Post-Brexit

For more facts and figures related to British in Germany see here.


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 join here.

Dual Citizenship: German government planning new law

A draft law aimed at making it easier to acquire German citizenship for people who have lived in Germany for 5 years or more is currently being prepared by the German federal government.

The proposed law, if enacted may permit applicants to retain their original citizenship, while getting German citizenship in addition.  It is also being proposed to allow people to gain German citizenship after just three years living in Germany if they are especially well integrated and speak good German.

Currently, the process of obtaining citizenship in Germany often requires individuals to reside in the country for up to eight years and for non-EU citizens to surrender their original citizenship.  Over 70,000 Brits in Germany now have dual British-German citizenship, as they applied for German citizenship before the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020, allowing them to keep their British citizenship.  That is now no longer possible.

The proposed changes to the law have been welcomed by British in Germany because they offer an opportunity for those who were not able to benefit from gaining EU/German citizenship before the Brexit transition period, to potentially still do so, creating less of a division in rights amongst British citizens living in Germany.

The new law, if passed, would bring numerous benefits for British citizens if they acquired dual citizenship  including the right to vote in all elections and the right to free movement to live and work in other EU member states, something that British citizens have lost as a result of Brexit. At the same time, it would allow British citizens to preserve their rights in the UK, allowing them for example to work in the UK or if they needed to return to care for older relatives, which is quite often the case.

The German coalition government has expressed its intention to enact the law by the summer of 2023. British in Germany will be following developments closely and keeping our members updated.

To find out more about current citizenship regulations see here.

Some recent press coverage of the changes:

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 join here.

Driving in Germany

Holders of a British driving licence can drive in Germany if they are visiting temporarily (e.g. on holiday).

If you are resident in Germany and intend to continue driving here, then you need to exchange your UK driving licence for a German one.

UK driving licence holders living in Germany can drive on their valid UK licence for 6 months after moving to Germany. After this time, your UK licence is not valid for driving in Germany.

You can exchange your UK licence for a German one at any time after moving to Germany. The Fahrerlaubnisbehörde” (driver licencing authority) in your local Stadt or Kreis are responsible for exchanging licences.

You do not need to take a theory or practical driving test to exchange your licence. You may need to undergo an eye test or present a medical certificate, depending on your driving licence category.

You cannot use an International Driving Permit (IDP) instead of exchanging your licence.

What do you need to do to exchange your licence?

  1. To apply, contact the “Fahrerlaubnisbehörde” (driver licencing authority) in your local Stadt or Kreis.
  2. You will be charged a fee.
  3. You may need to provide a notarised translation of your UK licence.

What if you return to live in the UK later?
The UK government Living in Germany information confirms that if you return to the UK in future, you can exchange your German driving licence for a UK licence without taking another test: Driving in Germany

Useful resources:
In 2022, the UK was added to the fact sheet  for holders of foreign driving licences from states outside the European Union and the European Economic Area: Driving-licence-provisions-fact-sheet

Information from the UK government about living in Germany and driving licences is here: Driving in Germany

Additional links:
A good and authoritative general source regarding driving licences in Germany is the English-language web page of the German transport ministry: Validity of foreign driving licences in Germany 

If you hold a licence from another EU country, then this should continue to be valid without needing to be exchanged for a German licence. Further information on driving licences in the EU is here: EU-driving-licence-recognition-validity

There is also a German fact sheet for holders of licences from EU and EEA states: Fact-sheet-EU-EEA-driving-licences

Visa requirements for arrivals post-Brexit (after Dec 2020)

Are you travelling to Germany as a tourist, on business, for studies, to work, or maybe to join family members who live there?

There are lots of different reasons British citizens want to travel to, or move to Germany and the German government has provided a lot of helpful information,  to help you to understand which visa you need based on your individual situation.

All British citizens are allowed to travel to Germany and the whole Schengen area without a visa for 90 days in any 180 day period. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training.

For those that want to stay longer in Germany, or find out options on future longer stays or living in Germany, below is a list of useful links to pages that we have checked, that should help you with most of what you are looking for.

If you were living in Germany at the end of transition on 31st December 2020, and you are covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, you do not need a visa.

UK performing artists no longer have free movement rights to travel and work across the EU. Those wanting to work or tour in Germany should inform themselves of the specific requirements and responsibilities, links listed below.

The Vander Elst Visa is also worth considering for third country nationals who are employees of EU companies and wish to to work on temporary assignments, links listed below.

Visa Navigator
Which visa do I need for Germany?

Visa Navigator – Visa Categories

Do I need a visa?
This article tells you whether you need a visa for Germany.

Visa information – Visa Services at the German Missions in the UK

German missions in the United Kingdom

FAQ and other important information

UK performing artists

Vander Elst Visa
Germany has a specific Visa for this, which you apply for in your host EU country.—grenzueberschreitende-dienstleistungserbringung—data.pdf


BiG Membership finally face to face

After the social drought of Covid, British in Germany members finally met face to face on 19th November to discuss the future direction of the organisation post Brexit.   Members from Munich, Leipzig, Braunschweig, Berlin, Hamburg and the UK came together for the day and the consensus was we should do it again soon. 

Members acknowledged that in the 5 years of the organisation’s existence, BiG has shaped and influenced the history of British lives in Germany and that that was something we should publicly acknowledge and celebrate.   

Going forward, key issues such as Dual Citizenship, Life Long UK Voting Rights and Youth Exchange were discussed and proposals made for working groups to be created on such different themes.

Thank you to all members for their contributions, including fantastic florescent blue cake (above) made by Rachel.

If you’d like to learn more about the organisation or become a member, don’t hesitate to sign up here:

Join or donate to British in Germany e.V.

or be in touch at 


Notification to Ausländerbehörde

UK citizens in Germany with rights under the Withdrawal Agreement have been asked to notify their local Ausländerbehörde (Foreigners’ Office) by 30th June, 2021.

More information

For more details on the residency process Residency – latest


Your local Ausländerbehörde may have provided a form for you to use to notify them of your residence and claim to rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

If not, you can use the template below. Simply copy the text and include your own details. Post as a letter to the Ausländerbehörde using registered mail (Einschreiben) if possible. That way you have proof that you sent it and that it was received. The Ausländerbehörde should confirm receipt of your notification.

If you have children under the age of 18 who have UK citizenship and whom you expect also to have rights under the WA, you should include them in your notification.

If at all possible, do this before the 30th June date . You do NOT lose your rights if you have not made a notification by this date. But after 30th June, it is more likely that you will be asked to provide evidence of your rights. If you do not yet have an Aufenthaltsdokument-GB, showing that you have at least contacted Ausländerbehörde will help.

Anzeige des Aufenthalts

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,
hiermit zeige ich Ihnen gem §16 II 2 Freizügigkeitsgesetz/EU meinen Aufenthalt in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland an.

Ich bin britische(r) Staatsangehörige(r), Inhaber/in eines britischen Reisepasses Nr. …………………., ausgestellt am…….. in ………. und wohnhaft in Deutschland seit……………….

Zur Person:
Geburtsdatum und -ort.

Optional text to include minor children 
Ich zeige Ihnen auch hiermit gem §16 II 2 Freizügigkeitsgesetz/EU den Aufenthalt meines minderjährigen Kindes/meiner <1/2/3> minderjährigen Kinder an.

Zur Person(en):
Geburtsdatum und -ort.
Britische(r) Staatsangehörige(r), britischen Reisepasses Nr. …………………., ausgestellt am…….. in ………. und wohnhaft in Deutschland seit……………….
Repeat personal information to cover each child 

Ich bitte Sie, mir den Erhalt dieser Anzeige zu bestätigen und mir die nächsten Schritte für die Ausstellung eines Aufenthaltsdokuments-GB mitzuteilen. Ferner beantrage ich, für mich (und das minderjährige Kind / die minderjährigen Kinder) eine Fiktionsbescheinigung für die Zeit bis zur Bearbeitung meiner Angelegenheit.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Following is a translation into English although we suggest that you use the German version above to make your notification.

Notification of Residence

Dear Madam, dear Sir,
I hereby notify you, in accordance with §16 II 2 Freizügigkeitsgesetz/EU, of my residence in the Federal Republic of Germany.

I am a British citizen, holder of passport number …………………, issued on……………in………………. and have resided in Germany since…………………..

Personal details:
Date and place of birth

Optional text to include minor children
I also hereby notify you, in accordance with §16 II 2 Freizügigkeitsgesetz/EU, of the residence in the Federal Republic of Germany of my minor child / (1/2/3) minor children.

Date and place of birth

British citizen, holder of passport number …………………, issued on……………in………………. and residing in Germany since…………………..
Repeat personal information to cover each child

Please confirm receipt of this notification and inform me of the next steps for the issue to me of a Residence document-GB. I also request the issue to me (and my child / my children) of a Fiktionsbescheinigung for the period up to the completion of this matter.

Yours faithfully,