Category Archives: British in Germany

Registering in Berlin and elsewhere

Update 4 April, 2019

Important news from British in Bavaria about the official letter regarding residence for BRITS IN MUNICH – if this applies to you, please read carefully. Further, please note that Brits living in Munich who haven’t yet registered with the Kreisverwaltungsreferat (that’s the Meldeamt in Munich) as a resident, need to get their skates on. And do kindly pass this info on to anyone who it might help.

So here it is:
The Foreigners´ Office (Ausländerbehörde) in Munich is today (Wednesday, 3 April) sending out letters (with English translation) to all UK nationals registered as resident in the City of Munich, setting out what´s next. So, look out for these letters in your postbox in the next day or so.

Note: All the Ausländerbehörden around the country are finding it difficult to plan at the moment, given the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit deadlines. Munich´s solution is to nominate 15 April as the start date for online booking of appointments to go along and discuss your application for a residence title. If the UK leaves on 12 April, online booking opens on 15 April (not before). If it´s still not clear by then, the start of online booking will also be delayed.
Please also take a look at the website of the Munich Ausländerbehörde.

So: patience is required, on all sides. If you haven´t heard yet from your Ausländerbehörde, this is not necessarily a cause for concern. But of course if you are not registered as a resident (angemeldet) with your local authority (Meldeamt), then you need to do this asap, to ensure you will be notified about arrangements for applying for a residence permit.

Update 1 April, 2019

The UK Government has provided a list of all the Foreigners Authorities in Germany which they know about and if they are requesting Registration as in Berlin. Please check this list for updates as we will not be able to highlight changes other than for the biggest places.

Leipzig is missing from the list but has also announced a pre-registration form in a message to British Nationals.  (Please note that the submission stages of the form might not work on all browsers. Should you encounter difficulties, try using Firefox.)

Update 22 March, 2019

Following the European Council the UK’s departure from the EU has been put back until at least 12 April, 2019. The Berlin Ausländerbehörde have updated their website, but are unable to provide additional details until 29 March, 2019. However, we are concerned to learn that of approx. 18,000 UK Citizens registered in Berlin (Angemeldet) only 8,600 have so far registered themselves on the Berlin Website for a future Residence Permit. Please ensure you do as soon as possible and check with all UK acquaintances that they have too.

Original Article:

Whether there is a withdrawal deal or not, British citizens will require a residency title or other proof of their right of residency in Germany following Brexit.

If there is no deal, as it stands, all British citizens in Germany would have to apply for a residency title by 30 June 2019.

If there is a deal (i.e. the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU is ratified), British citizens would still be required to prove their right to residency.

Until the UK leaves the EU, British citizens continue to have the right of freedom of movement. However, some local immigration authorities are introducing a voluntary registration process so that they can contact affected citizens more easily, whatever happens.

For example, the Berlin immigration authority is already inviting UK nationals resident in Berlin to pre-register for a residency permit application. While it is technically voluntary, it is strongly recommended that you register before 29 March 2019 if you are resident in Berlin. The confirmation of registration ensures the residency rights acquired in Germany will remain valid from Brexit until a decision is taken on the subsequent application.

BiG have liaised with the Berlin immigration office and requested clarification on a number of points, including questions from BiG members. These have been addressed through an extensive FAQ page in English and German. Please also read the explanatory notes on the registration page carefully.

If you live outside Berlin please check the website of your local immigration authority for more information on the planned process where you live.

Both Berliners and those living elsewhere might also like to refer to the Federal Ministry of the Interior’s FAQs on right of residence in the context of Brexit in English and German.

Lots of activity in the UK Parliament

It has been an exhausting few weeks and it has been very difficult to know what we should report here as it has changed from hour to hour.

Today, Wednesday 27 March, the UK Parliament will be going rogue and having taken control of the Order Paper will be debating and conducting indicative votes on a set of proposals in an attempt to unblock the Brexit logjam.

We do not know which options the Speaker will select but they are likely to range from No-Deal to Revoke Article 50 and every possible option in between.

Which brings us to the second item. The Petition to Revoke Article 50. Created by Margaret Georgiadou, 77, she can hardly have believed the attention the Petition would receive.

Although revoking Article 50 is an improbable outcome it is still important to sign it in order to put pressure on MPs to consider other relationships the UK could have with the EU in the event that the UK does leave.

At the time of writing the Petition stands at over 5,800,000. Click on the image to add your vote! Remember you can vote if you are a UK National even if you are living abroad or a foreign National living in the UK.

If you are still hungry to sign more petitions then consider the one to allow all British citizens to vote should there be a new referendum on Brexit.

Sadly the Private Member’s Bill to implement Votes for Life was “talked out” – as often occurs to bills not part of the Government programme. The petition requests that in the event of a new referendum British citizens living abroad are not excluded from voting on a matter that greatly affects their lives as happened in 2016. Again click the image to be taken to the petitions website.

 

British in Germany on ZDF’s Länderspiegel

ZDF’s regional magazine programme Länderspiegel contained an item on the concerns and fate of British Citizens living in Germany.

With interviews from Paderborn and Berlin, British Citizens were asked about their concerns and fears from a British Brexit.

The programme can be seen (in German naturally), by clicking on the image below and going to the second item in the programme at 4:41mins in.

Images (c) ZDF, 2019

And here are a few more photographs taken at the Stammtisch by Rob.

Images (c) Rob Compton, 2019

Jane Golding speaks for BiG before a Bundestag Committee

The German Parliamentary Committee for the European Union has heard from Expert Witnesses about the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and the UK. Jane Golding attended to provide evidence on the impact of Brexit on UK nationals living and working in Germany.

Although she chose to speak in English, the recording of the event contains only the German translation.

Her contributions can be seen at 32:30 (following the question from the German MP) and for a second time at 1:10:40 on the Bundestag Mediathek Website with a report (in German) of the proceeding also on the Bundestag Website.

British in Germany also provided written evidence what can also be found on the Bundestag Website as part of the entire written contributions.

 

Unofficial translation of BMI FAQs on residence after Brexit

Below is our unofficial translation of the BMI’s FAQs on residency issues related to BrexitHowever since publication the BMI has also produced its own official translation which can be found on their website.

Here you will find information on the plans of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) on the residence rights of British nationals living in Germany and their family members, as well as measures for those applying for citizenship.

What is the legal status of British nationals and their family members until 29 March 2019? What can I do now if I am affected?

Until the UK leaves the EU, British nationals and their family members retain their freedom of movement. However, the general obligation to register at your local registration office applies.

Some immigration authorities [federal Foreigners Registration Offices] are planning a voluntary registration process to reach affected citizens better and to inform them about their rights. We will keep you informed.

What happens if the UK leaves with a deal?

If the withdrawal agreement is concluded, there will be a two-year transitional period until 31 December 2020, immediately after the departure on 29 March 2019. During this period, Britain will continue to be treated as an EU Member State. EU free movement rules continue to apply during this period.

Broadly speaking, the withdrawal agreement provides affected citizens with the life-long retention of rights associated with freedom of movement. At the end of the transition period, eligible British and EU nationals and their family members are entitled to reside in the EU or in Great Britain.

If you are a British citizen (or a family member of a British citizen) who moved to Germany before 31 December 2020, you will most likely be able to refer to the withdrawal agreement. For this you will have to apply to the Foreigners Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde) responsible for you, and if you have not already done so, you will have to register at your local Residents Registration Office as proof of your residence. Some immigration authorities are already planning a voluntary registration/application procedure before the departure date.

What happens if there is no deal? Will the British have to leave Germany immediately?

No, no British citizen will have to leave Germany immediately in the case of ‘no deal’. The Federal Government is planning a transitional period of initially three months, which can be extended. During this time, British citizens and their family members will be able to continue to live and work in Germany without a residence permit.

To stay longer, however, all those affected are required to apply at their local office for a residence permit before the end of the transitional period and, if they have not yet done so, to register at their local Foreigners Registration Office. During the time from the application to the decision, further stay is allowed.

Some immigration authorities are already planning a voluntary registration / application procedure before the withdrawal date.

What permanent status do British nationals and their family members have after a ‘no deal’ Brexit?

If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, the legal status of the affected British citizens will change permanently. They lose their status as EU citizens (or family members of an EU citizen) and become third-country nationals.

To stay in Germany after the end of the three-month transitional period, those concerned will need a residence permit, and will have to apply for this at the local Foreigners Registration Office. During the time from the application to the decision, further stay is automatically allowed.

Information on residence permits is available at the website of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, as well as at your local Foreigners Registration Office. Some immigration authorities are already planning a voluntary registration/application procedure before the withdrawal date.

Am I affected?

If you have British and another EU citizenship:

Nothing changes for you. As an EU citizen, you are still entitled to freedom of movement. You may also keep your British nationality.

If you have British and German citizenship:

As a German, you are naturally entitled to reside in Germany without a residence permit. In some circumstances, you will still derive additional rights from the Withdrawal Agreement (e.g. professional recognition, etc.).

If you are a British citizen and also a family member of an EU national:

You can probably continue to exercise free movement. Nevertheless, you should also register at your local Foreigners Registration Office, if such a procedure is provided. You may be issued a residence card for EU citizens’ family members.

If you are a British citizen and not a national of another EU member state

You will need a residence permit for your permanent stay in Germany. If you have not already done so, you should also register at your local Registration Office (Anmeldung) and Immigration Office.

Which immigration office is responsible for me?

This depends on your place of residence. You can search for your local office here.

Can German citizens travel to the UK for short stays without a visa, and can British citizens come to Germany?

Probably, yes. The EU has initiated a legal agreement on reciprocal visa-free travel. This includes stays of up to 90 days per 180 days. British citizens can travel throughout the Schengen area.

What changes for people applying to become German citizens?

If the withdrawal agreement is concluded, the Federal Government’s Brexit Transition Act contains transitional provisions for British citizens applying for German citizenship, and German citizens applying for British citizenship before the end of the transition period (until 31 December 2020). You should be allowed to retain your previous British or German nationality, even if the decision on naturalization is made after the end of the transition period, and as long as all other conditions for naturalization are met before the end of the transition.

In the event of a ‘no deal’ departure, similar arrangements will apply to those applying for citizenship before the date of departure (until 29 March 2019). For details, see the draft bill of the Law on transitional provisions in the field of work, education, health, social affairs and citizenship’ on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

German Federal advice on residence and Brexit

The Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) posted an FAQ on its website just before Christmas about Germany’s plans regarding the residence rights of British citizens in Germany after Brexit. The FAQ covers both deal and no deal scenarios.

The BMI explains that, until 29 March 2019, British citizens remain EU citizens with rights of free movement, but of course are still subject to the obligation to register with the relevant administration where they reside.

After 29 March 2019, the position will change.

Deal Scenario

In the case of a deal, there will be a transition phase until December 2020 during which the rights of British citizens in Germany will stay the same as they are now. Any British citizen who arrives in Germany before that date will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and will be able to apply for a status under that agreement in Germany, which will secure (most of) their rights in Germany going forward. To this end, some federal immigration authorities (Ausländerbehörde) are already planning a voluntary registration system before the UK’s withdrawal.

No Deal Scenario

The BMI also gives more details of what is planned in the case of a no deal. In this case, Germany is planning a three-month transition phase from 29 March 2019, which could be extended, during which time British citizens and their family members can, without a residence permit, live and work in Germany as before. However, after this, British citizens will need such a permit, since after Brexit, they will no longer be EU citizens but third country nationals. They are advised to apply for this before the end of the three-month transition phase (the BMI then links to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) information on residence in Germany), and their rights to live and work in Germany remain the same until a decision is taken on their application. As noted above, some Ausländerbehörde are already planning a voluntary registration system to this end.

How different categories of British citizens will be affected

The BMI then explains how different British citizens will be affected by the two scenarios:

British citizens who also have another EU citizenship will not need a residence permit.

British citizens who have German citizenship will obviously not need a residence permit but may obtain additional rights under certain conditions under the Withdrawal Agreement.

British citizens who are family members of an EU citizen of another EU country are expected to keep their free movement rights but are asked to register with the relevant Ausländerbehörde where that (voluntary) registration is already envisaged (see above).

British citizens without another EU citizenship will need a residence permit and should make sure that they are registered properly where they live and are asked to register with the relevant Ausländerbehörde where that (voluntary) registration is already envisaged (see above).

Citizenship applications

The BMI also sets out the position on citizenship applications and dual citizenship in both scenarios. In the case of a deal, those applying before 31 December 2020 will be able to keep both citizenships (German and British) even if the decision is after the transition phase, and if all the conditions for citizenship were filled before that date. Similarly, in the case of a no deal, those who applied by 29 March 2019 will have the right to keep both citizenships.

Unanswered questions

The FAQ sets out some first useful information but by no means answers all the detailed questions you may have about your future status. These issues include: how each Land proposes to implement these measures; in the case of no deal, the position of people who already have a permanent residence document but do not have German citizenship, or those with less than five years’ residence in Germany; and details of which status to apply for in the case of no deal, as well as how to apply for the status in the case of a deal, and so on. The British in Germany team will be seeking clarification on these and other questions raised by these proposals and have requested meetings with both the Auswärtiges Amt, along with representatives from other ministries such as the BMI, and with the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, early in the New Year. We have also collated the types of questions raised by our members on social media so that these can also help inform our discussions with the German authorities in the New Year, and will be putting out a call for case studies shortly as well. In short, we are following up to confirm how the government’s proposals will apply to all British citizens, as well as their family members, currently resident in Germany, whatever their circumstances.

More information on this website as soon as we have it.

You can read the original FAQs in German.

You can also read The Guardian‘s 22 December article on residency for Brits in Berlin.

Channel 4 News interviews BiG members in Berlin

Last night’s Channel 4 news included interviews with Jane Golding and other BiG activists in Berlin. We were asked about the impact on our everyday lives and what a no-deal Brexit means to us. You can watch the interviews here, and the entire show at the C4 news website.

You can also watch the opening speeches at the British Embassy event below, from Sir Sebastian Wood (British Ambassador to Berlin), Christoph Wolfrum (Federal Foreign Office); Jane Golding, Chair, British in Europe and British in Germany, and Engelhard Mazanke, (Berlin Foreigners’ Registration Office).

 

 

Stuttgart Christmas Drinks, 13th December

The Stuttgart chapter will be holding a Christmas drinks party on Thursday, 13 December, an opportunity to meet the new committee and hear about some of the events planned for 2019! All welcome!

Place:
Academie der Schönsten Künste, 70182 ,Stuttgart-Mitte

Time:
From 19:00 onwards

Details are also available in a flyer, download by clicking on the icon beneath.

This event also appears in our Events Calendar.

Image: By Julian Herzog, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43511715