Category Archives: Your Rights

everything on citizens’ rights, etc.

“Trust” period for employing UK citizens extended

Germany has extended the “trust” period for employing UK citizens post-Brexit to the end of 2021.

The Bundesministerium des Inneren published new instructions to employers about employing UK citizens with Withdrawal Agreement rights. The new memo now states:

“Bis zum Ende des Jahres 2021 können Sie der Aussage britischer Staatsangehöriger und ihrer Familienangehörigen vertrauen, ein Aufenthaltsrecht nach dem Austrittsabkommen zu haben.”

“Until the end of 2021, you can trust a statement by UK nationals and their family members to have a right of residence under the Withdrawal Agreement.”  

The earlier version of this sentence began “Until 30th June 2021”. So with this update the Ministry has pushed the date from which employers may ask for evidence of status to the beginning of January 2022.

The extended “trust” period reflects the reality that many residence documents have not yet been issued, and will come as a relief to all those whose employers have already asked for proof of Withdrawal Agreement rights. The memo now includes the information “Die Bearbeitung bei den Behörden kann voraussichtlich bis Ende des Jahres 2021 dauern.”

Other changes include a new link on short-term visitors from the UK carrying out “professional activities not classed as work”.

The latest version of this information for employers is published in German here brexit-informationen-arbeitgeber

Version in English Arbeitgeber-Flyer Brexit V2.0_EN-b 

For more information generally about working in Germany after Brexit, see this post on our site Am I still allowed to work in Germany? 

Not yet notified your residence and rights? Don’t delay! For more information: Residency – latest

Note: if you are moving to Germany now, then you will not be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and will need to request permission to work as a third country national. For German government information, see make-it-in-germany.com

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.

 

Residency notification and 30th June

30th June is the date by which German authorities have instructed UK citizens to notify their Ausländerbehörde of their residence and rights under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement .

If you haven’t done so already, don’t delay. Contact your local Ausländerbehörde now!

You can also help by spreading the word: please check with friends and colleagues. Most information has been online and there has been almost no attention in the German press. So some of the best-integrated Brits in Germany may not be aware that they need to do anything. Their German friends and relatives may have no idea that UK citizens need to act. People who are ill, disabled, or isolated may struggle, and anyone whose life is mainly offline may not have seen any information at all.

Fortunately, with the system that Germany has chosen, rights are not lost if notification is not made by the June 30th date. But, as time goes on, life will be much easier for UK citizens with the Aufenthaltsdokument to prove their rights.

Confirmation that you have notified your Ausländerbehörde will help as a first step. Once you have it, the residence document (Aufenthaltsdokument GB) is a simple way to show official evidence of your status at airports, to employers or to anyone else.

Some Ausländerbehörde have been very slow to respond. Some have not been open for appointments in the last few months, particularly when Covid numbers have been high. But most are now open and making progress. So don’t delay – get the process started.

For details on how to get the document and links to lots of resources to help you, see Residency – latest
For a template letter that can be used for notification, see Notification to Ausländerbehörde

Support with residency

Do you know someone who is struggling with the residency process in Germany? Two organisations can support UK citizens in Germany in getting their residency documents.

If you are in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein or Thuringia IOM UKNSF Project 

If you are a UK Services Veteran or you are in Bremen, Hamburg, Niedersachsen or Nordrhein-Westfalen SSAFA UKNSF Project

What else needs to be done by 30th June?

If someone was resident in Germany before 31 December 2020 and is still driving on a UK licence, there is no time to lose!  Driving in Germany after Brexit for information about switching to a German licence.

If you know UK citizens in France, Luxembourg, Latvia or Malta who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, they need to make an application by 30th June. Otherwise they may actually lose their rights! It seems many have not applied yet. British in Europe the-clock-is-ticking

The same for EU citizens in the UK: they also have until 30th June to claim their rights. Although there has been a lot of publicity in the UK, there may be many reasons why people have missed it or got stuck. If you know anyone who may be in this situation, just check in. Organisations that can help:  help-eu-settlement-scheme

More about residency and 30th June

The Local and the UK Embassy have jointly published an article aimed at UK citizens in Germany what-happens-if-brits-in-germany-dont-apply-for-post-brexit-residence-card-by-deadline

British in Germany

If you would like to exchange experiences with others going through the residency process in Germany, connect with the British in Germany e.V. Facebook group. Just answer our questions, and join the conversation!

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 after Brexit

Are you still driving on a UK driving licence? 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.

If you were resident before 1 January 2021, then you should exchange your licence by 30th June 2021. Otherwise you may need to take a German driving test in order to continue to drive here and, as things stand at present, it may no longer be legal for you to drive on your UK licence after 30th June.

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

If you have arrived in Germany during 2021 and intend to live here, then you should exchange your UK licence for a German one within 6 months of becoming resident. Otherwise you may need to take a German driving test in order to continue to drive here.

Information about Brexit and driving in Germany from the German Bundesministerium für Verkehr is here:
BMVI Brexit FAQ English
BMVI Brexit FAQ German

What do you need to do to exchange your licence?
  • To apply, contact the “Fahrerlaubnisbehörde” (driver licencing authority) in your local Stadt or Kreis.
  • You will be charged a fee.
  • You may need to provide a notarised translation of your UK licence.

NOTE: some local Fahrerlaubnisbehörde are currently unwilling to exchange UK driving licences and are asking UK licence holders to apply after 30th June. In some of these cases, writing to the local mayor has helped. If you are told that it is not possible for you to exchange your licence, then we suggest that you request a written confirmation from the Fahrerlaubnisbehörde that you will be able to do make the exchange after 30th June. You may also want to let the UK Consulate know.

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

New test requirement or new agreement?

Nationals of some third countries are required to take a German driving test (theory and/or practical) before they can exchange their national driving licences for a German one. Germany and the UK expect to make a new agreement  on recognition of driving licences so that it will still be possible to exchange your UK licence for a German one. However, this has not yet been signed.  So we can’t yet be sure exactly what will happen after 30th June.

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

Since the UK is now outside the EU, you may find the fact sheet for holders of foreign driving licences from states outside the European Union and the European Economic Area on driving licence provisions in the Federal Republic of Germany useful: Driving-licence-provisions-fact-sheet

Note that if Germany and the UK sign an agreement on recognition of driving licences, then the information in this last fact sheet may not apply. However, that agreement has not yet been reached.

Have you notified your local Foreigners’ Office of your residency and rights under the Withdrawal Agreement? Check here for what you may need to do: Residency – latest

Want to stay up-to-date on Brexit information relevant to you? Sign up for our Updates and get email when new information is posted to the website.

Residency – latest

*****Information updated on 22.04.2021*****

The new German law  on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and the future of UK citizens’ residence in Germany came into force in November 2020.  For all UK citizens who were living in Germany at the end of transition on 31st December 2020, this law is really important.  It describes how German law puts into effect the Withdrawal Agreement to cover your future rights to live, work, study and retire in Germany, and defines how you will be able to evidence those rights in future.

Germany has adopted an approach (which British in Germany e.V.  supports) known as “declaratory”. This means you are not applying for your rights but simply asking for rights that you have to be officially documented. This is different from the system adopted in some other countries, such as Austria, France and the UK.

In general, you acquired residence rights in Germany by law (von Amts wegen) under the Withdrawal Agreement, if you were resident in Germany and exercising your free movement rights at the end of transition. 

You should request that you are issued with an individual residence document (Aufenthaltsdokument-GB) so you have evidence of your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. 

Local Ausländerbehörde around the country are responsible for the process to get a residence document. As always, with the German Federal system, there are differences in the ways that Ausländerbehörde run the process.  But while the process is local, it’s important to remember that the legal framework is based in EU law and the Federal government has published guidance to help local authorities correctly apply the law across the whole of Germany.  

What are the steps you need to take?

If you have not already done so, contact your local Foreigners’ Office (Ausländerbehörde) as soon as possible.

Your Ausländerbehörde may have contacted you directly and have given you instructions steps to follow. Or there may be a form available on your local website. Some Ausländerbehörde have simply provided information on how to start the process via their local web page.  Check it out, but if you haven’t heard anything or are unsure, take the initiative yourself.

Write to your local Ausländerbehörde, preferably via a registered letter (Einschreiben mit Rückschein) so that you have proof of your action, telling 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)

There is a suggested template that you can use here

The German authorities are asking everyone to notify their Ausländerbehörde of their residence by 30th June, 2021. 

You can check which office is responsible for you here: Auslaenderbehoerden

In many publications/online and in the minds of some Ausländerbehörde, 30th June, 2021 seems to be considered a hard “deadline”. It is not. However, you will probably save yourself some discussion, if you make sure that you have contacted your local Ausländerbehörde before that date.

Once you have notified your local Ausländerbehörde, you have completed the actions that the German authorities are asking you to take. Your Ausländerbehörde is then responsible for initiating the next steps.

30th June is not a deadline by which documents must be issued and some offices already expect to take much longer. If you need to travel or if, for example, you need to present evidence of status to your employer, you may request a “Fiktionsbescheinigung” from your local Ausländerbehörde. Expected additional cost for a Fiktionsbescheinigung is EUR 13. (Note, however, that some areas including Berlin have stated that they will not issue Fiktionsbescheinigungen to UK citizens.)

What will the Ausländerbehörde do?

The Ausländerbehörde are supposed to acknowledge receipt of your communication, but we know that some places have been slow at doing this. If you are not sure whether or not your notification has been received, contact them to request that they provide confirmation.

In most cases, the Ausländerbehörde will ask you to provide various types of documentation. You may be asked to post or email copies or you may be asked to bring these to an appointment, or both. What exactly is requested varies by office. However, typically, you can expect to need to show evidence that you were resident in Germany before 31 December, 2020 (for example by showing an Anmeldung and/or Meldebescheinigung), as well as the obvious passport information confirming that you are a British citizen or a qualifying family member of a British citizen.

If you are employed or self-employed, you may be asked for some evidence of that status and income. If you are not, you will probably be asked for some evidence of funds (savings, pension, grants, benefits etc) that indicate you are able to support yourself. Some offices seem to be asking for evidence of rental contracts. Students may be asked to show evidence of registration at their place of study.

If you are asked for evidence of German language competency, or if it is suggested that you or your employer may need some kind of authorisation in order for you to work, then it is worth checking that they are not using the criteria for a different type of residence status and that they have understood that you are in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement.

At some point, you will be given an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde. How long it takes to get an appointment depends very much on the local office. Many offices simply ask you to wait until they contact you, some have an online booking system and a few allow you to call to make an appointment. You may be able to find information on the local website. Some offices seem to be progressing very quickly, but others have not yet started. Some appear to be completely closed down at the moment due to Covid.

When you go to your appointment, you will generally be required to show your passport, provide a photo, give your fingerprints and to pay a fee. (Some offices are requesting the fee at a later date.) In many cases, this will be all, but some offices are doing a thorough check of documents, both those submitted in advance and others, so you may wish to go prepared.

Permanent residence?

If you believe you should have “Daueraufenthalt” (permanent residence), for example, you have lived in Germany for at least five years, then you should request that this is mentioned on your card. You may be asked for more proofs that you have really been exercising free movement rights for a continuous five-year period. This may include evidence of health insurance, pension contributions and employment. Receiving Arbeitslosengeld I should not be an obstacle (as that is a benefit for which you have paid contributions) but receiving Arbeitslosengeld II may be. It may be that you have to build up a new continuous five-year period of meeting the conditions before you gain permanent residence.

For more information about Daueraufenthalt, see section 4 of this British in Europe guide.

If you believe you are entitled to “Daueraufenthalt” and wish to claim it, ALWAYS say so at your interview and preferably put the request in writing. The Ausländerbehörde may take an initiative to check whether you have Daueraufenthalt status, but are under no obligation to do so. It seems that many are not making such a check. Daueraufenthalt gives you some additional rights and securities under the WA so it is generally in your interest to request it. If you are not yet eligible, don’t worry: you can accumulate time from before 31st December, 2020 and after to complete the five continuous years and qualify for Daueraufenthalt at a later date.

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

If you previously had a certificate of permanent residence issued to you as an EU citizen (Bescheinigung über das Daueraufenthaltsrecht für Unionsbürger), then you should be able to exchange this for the new card free of charge.

If you require a Fiktionsbescheinigung, there will usually be an additional cost of EUR 13.

After your appointment, once your rights under the WA have been registered, the local office will order an Aufenthaltsdokument-GB residence card for you.  The cards are produced centrally and then sent out to the local Ausländerbehörde, either for collection or for distribution by post. Which method seems to depend on the local office. You will also receive a letter with a PIN and PUK for the card. If you pick up the card in person, these electronic features should automatically already be activated. If you receive your card by post, you will have to visit a local office to have them activated.

What do I end up with?

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

On the front, under “Art des Titels” it should have the words: ARTIKEL 50 EUV, and below that under “Anmerkungen” ARTIKEL 18 (4) AUSTRITTSABKOMMEN

The right to work will be noted on the back under “Anmerkungen” with the words “Erwerbstätigkeit erlaubt”. This is also where a note may be included to state that you have permanent residency (after five years) “Daueraufenthalt”.

Check that your name, passport details etc are all correct.

The card should be valid for a minimum of 5 years even if your British passport expires sooner than this. Initially, some cards were mistakenly issued for a shorter period. If that applies to you, you can have the card switched without charge to one with a 5 year validity.  

The validity of the card isn’t the same as the validity of the status. Your card expiring in five years doesn’t mean your right to stay in Germany runs out then, just that you need to renew to get a new card (similar to a passport or a driving licence).

Status refused?

If your Ausländerbehörde tells you that you are not entitled to status under the Withdrawal Agreement and you believe that may be incorrect, you should take action as soon as possible. You can contact IOM or SSAFA directly to let them know your position. They are funded by the UK government to support UK citizens in dealing with the residency process. You can also write to the Ausländerbehörde to tell them that you disagree with their decision and that you wish to appeal it (Einspruch anlegen).

Other residence rights in Germany

You have a Daueraufenthaltsbescheinigung-EU?
This continues to be valid until end of December 2021. You will be able to swap the Bescheinigung über das Daueraufenthaltsrecht für Unionsbürger for the new document without charge.

You are a dual UK-German citizen?
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.

You have another EU nationality as well as UK?
Your rights to live in Germany as an EU citizen have not changed. If you wish, you may request an Aufenthaltsdokument-GB as evidence that you also have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

In some cases, you may have greater rights under the Withdrawal Agreement than as an EU citizen, for example, if you have Daueraufenthalt, you may leave for up to five years and then reclaim that status on return to Germany. On the other hand, as an EU citizen you retain your right to move freely to other EU countries.

Your spouse/partner is a German or EU citizen?
You may request an Aufenthaltsdokument-GB as evidence that you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

In addition, or alternatively, you probably have a right of residence in Germany as a result of your relationship. You would need an additional document, for which there will be a charge, to evidence that right.

As the partner of an EU citizen, your rights to move elsewhere in the EU together with your partner are greater than those you would have under the Withdrawal Agreement. On the other hand, your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement are your own and are not dependent on your relationship. 

You are a non-EU spouse/partner of a UK citizen?

If you have had a residence title as a partner/spouse of a UK citizen, rather than in your own right, you will need a new document. Your old one as the spouse/partner of an EU citizen will cease to be valid at the end of 2021. You will need to apply for that document for which there will be a charge.

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, it is very helpful if you have an Anmeldung (local registration) dated before 31st December, 2020. However, an Anmeldung alone is neither necessary nor sufficient for you to gain a status under the Withdrawal Agreement.

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 Bundesministerium des Inneren has published guidance “Anwendungshinweise” for the Foreigners’ Offices which gives quite detailed information in German.  There is a courtesy version of this in English on the IOM and SSAFA websites (see below).

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

In case you have questions or need support with your residency, the UK Government is funding two organisations who can help you:
IOM covers Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia.
SSAFA covers Bremen, Hamburg, Niedersachsen and Nordrhein-Westfalen, as well as Services Veterans anywhere in Germany.

British in Germany’s Facebook Group

If you would like to exchange experiences with others going through the residency process in Germany, you may want to connect with the British in Germany e.V. Facebook group. Just answer our questions, and join the conversation!

Information on Withdrawal Agreement rights

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

Already part way through? Been in touch with the Ausländerbehörde? Been to an appointment? Let us know how it is going by completing one of our surveys.

 

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.

Main image by Pete Linforth at 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

 

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?

*** Updated 17 June, 2021 with latest advice to employers. ***

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 memo published jointly by the BMI and BMAS and addressed specifically to employers: brexit-informationen-arbeitgeber

Version in English Arbeitgeber-Flyer Brexit V2.0_EN-b 

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. Employers are advised to require evidence of status by the end of 2021.

New version 2 published 2 June, 2021

This version includes important changes.

  1. “Trust” period for employment of UK citizens extended from 30th June to end of 2021
  2. Statement that it may take the authorities until the end of the year to complete processing for residence documents
  3. Information on professional activities “not classed as work” for business travellers and persons working in the sports or arts sectors
Key information in the flyer

The flyer, addressed to employers of UK citizens, includes very specific  information.  So you can point your employer directly to this as an authoritative 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 Ende des Jahres 2021 können Sie der Aussage britischer Staatsangehöriger, ein Aufenthaltsrecht nach dem Austrittsabkommen zu haben, vertrauen. Davon können Sie zumindest dann ausgehen, wenn die Berechtigten 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, 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.

Not yet notified your residence and rights? Don’t delay! For more information: Residency – latest 

Information on Withdrawal Agreement rights

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

Moving to Germany now?

Then you will not be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and will need to request permission to work as a third country national. For German government information, see make-it-in-germany.com

 

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 Pexels 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