Category Archives: Your Rights

everything on citizens’ rights, etc.

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.
“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.

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:

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

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.

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: (English) (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:

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office also produces a “Living in Germany” guide:

For in-depth information on the Withdrawal Agreement and your rights, make sure you read British in Europe’s handy 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:


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:

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.

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)

FAQs relating to the German national law which may be a useful reference when talking to your local Ausländerbehörde.

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.

Information on Withdrawal Agreement rights

Summaries and detailed guides from British in Europe

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


S1 Healthcare holders need new EHIC cards

UK Nationals who are resident in Germany and have their healthcare costs covered by the “S1” agreement (so people in receipt of a UK pension amongst others) now need to apply for a new UK issued EHIC card.

The process should be simple and only requires you to register at the new NHS European Health Insurance Card website with the details used on your S1 application – your name and Date of Birth should suffice.

Some people have reported that they have not been matched on the site despite holding an S1 form. This may be because your Krankenkasse has not registered you with the NHS after accepting your application and you will need to contact your Krankenkasse to resolve this.

Other groups with S1-like cover will be able to apply later.

Image: By Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France – L’Ambassade du Royaume-Uni (Berlin), CC BY 2.0,

Q&A: What does Brexit mean for my rights as a Brit living in Germany?

The Local in Germany, an english language news website, has interviewed Sir Sebastian Wood, British Ambassador to Germany and Axel Dittmann, head of the Brexit Taskforce for the Germany Federal Government, about the impact of Brexit for UK Nationals living in the country.

The article can be accessed free for a limited amount of time on their website.

Areas covered include:

  • Rights for Brits in Germany
  • Residence permits
  • Healthcare
  • Professional and academic qualifications
  • General

There is also a useful set of links to sources of further information at the end of the piece.

A future article will cover Brit who plan to move to Germany after the end of the Transition Period.

Images (c) Sara Gordon, 2019

Driving in Germany after Brexit Transition

Are you still driving on a UK driving licence? If you live in Germany and intend to drive here after the end of Transition, then you need to exchange your UK driving licence for a German one as soon as possible.

The UK government website below confirms that you may continue to drive on your UK driving licence until the end of Transition. But after Transition the rules for third country nationals will apply. Transition is expected to end on 31st December, 2020.

What do you need to do to exchange your licence?

– Get your application in as soon as possible and in any case before the end of Transition.

– To apply, contact the “Führerscheinstelle” at your local Kreisverwaltung.

– Read the current fact sheets (in English) from the German Federal Ministry of Transport on driving licences (see links below – they contain a lot of extra detail).

What if you return to live in the UK later?

The UK government website guidance on Living in Germany states that if you return to the UK in future, you can exchange your German driving licence for a UK licence without taking another test .

New test requirement?

Nationals of some third countries are required to take a test (theory and/or practical) before they can exchange their driving licences for a German one. The British Embassy stated before the Withdrawal Agreement was finalised that, in a no-deal scenario, British citizens would have to take the German driving test if exchanging their licence after the Brexit date. If and when we have further information, we will update here.


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

This has links to:

“Fact sheet for holders of foreign driving licences from EU and EEA states on driving licence provisions in the Federal Republic of Germany”


“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”

Further information on driving licences in the EU:


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