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Statement from the British Embassy in Berlin

The British Embassy posted the following statement on Facebook on Friday 5 April. Please find a copy of the statement below:

From the British Embassy today:

Dear all,

The British Embassy Berlin would like to draw your attention to these key sources of information for UK nationals living in Germany. We are grateful for your help in sharing this information with any UK nationals in your organisations and networks.

There are several steps which you can take to help prepare for the UK’s Exit from the EU. We recommend you take these practical steps as soon as possible. More information is available on the Living in Germany Guide, the UK government’s main source of information for UK nationals in Germany, which is regularly updated. You can sign up for email alerts.

Registration: You must ensure that you are correctly registered with your local residents’ registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) before the UK leaves the EU.

Residency: In addition, in all EU Exit scenarios, UK nationals living in Germany will need to apply for a new residence permit from their local Foreigners’ Authority (Ausländerbehörde). Please read the Federal Interior Ministry’s FAQs (in German, English translation to be published soon).

If the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified, this can be done until at least the end of 2020.
In a no deal scenario, the German government is planning a transition period of initially three months, which they intend to extend by a further six, during which you can apply for a residence permit.

This application should be done irrespective of whether you have in the past been issued with an ‘unbefristete Aufenthaltserlaubnis’ or another residence permit.

Some Foreigners’ Authorities are already planning a voluntary registration/application procedure before the UK leaves the EU. Please see our guidance on Foreigners’ Authorities and complete your local process as soon as possible.

Passports and Travel: The rules for passport and travel to most countries in Europe will change if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. You should have at least 6 months left on your passport from your date of arrival to any Schengen country, including Germany. This applies to adult and child passports. You can use this tool to check if your passport is valid before booking travel. In addition, in the case of a no deal scenario, if you need to leave and re-enter Germany before you have received your new residence permit, please plan more time at the border and take relevant documents, such as your registration certificate, social security confirmations, or work or rental contracts, with you.

Healthcare: If you are working in Germany and paying German social security contributions, your healthcare via a German health insurance provider (Krankenkasse) will not be affected by the UK’s exit from the EU. If your healthcare is currently covered via a S1 form and the UK leaves the EU without a deal, your access to healthcare may change. In this case, you should take out German health insurance. According to German no-deal legislation, you will be able to join a statutory health insurance (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) within three months of the UK leaving the EU, without being subject to the normal restrictions on age etc. You would be required to pay towards this insurance. For more information please read the Association of German Health Insurers’ Brexit FAQ.

In addition, your European Healthcare Insurance Card (EHIC) might no longer be valid, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Visitors should therefore ensure they have comprehensive travel insurance before travelling. Students should make sure they have appropriate health insurance.

Driving: Holders of UK driving licences who are resident in Germany should exchange their UK licence for a German driving licence before the UK leaves the EU. Your local Bürgeramt will be able to advise on where you must go to do this. You will be allowed to drive on your German licence when visiting the UK. An International Driving Permit is not a suitable alternative to exchanging your licence. Visitors to Germany will be allowed to drive on their UK photocard driving licence. Paper licences will not be valid. For more information please read the Federal Ministry of Transport’s questions and answers about EU Exit (in German)

Professional Qualifications: If you hold UK professional qualifications you may need to get them recognised in Germany before exit day. Find out where you can request recognition of your qualifications in Germany (in German) and read the European Commission’s guidance on recognition of professional qualifications during EU Exit. For further information, please consult Anerkennung in Deutschland’s Brexit FAQs.
Civil servants: If you are employed as a civil servant (Beamte/r), you will need a permit to continue your employment after the UK has left the EU. Further information can be found here (in German). Please consult your employer.
We appreciate that this is a period of uncertainty and many of you want more information and advice. We want to help you prepare for all scenarios and are committed to ensuring relevant information is available in a transparent and accessible way.

To stay up to date, please sign up for email alerts on our Living in Germany Guide and follow Brits in Germany on Facebook. Members of your organisation might also be interested in attending one of our information events across Germany.

Please also share the attached leaflet with your British members.

Many thanks,

British Embassy

Amy McHugh • EU & Economic Support Officer • British Embassy • Wilhelmstrasse 70 • 10117 Berlin

Image: By Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France – L’Ambassade du Royaume-Uni (Berlin), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6791741

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.

 

Will you stay or will you go? The not postponed Brexit party

Jon Worth and Philip Oltermann are organising a distraction from what would have been the original Brexit day, but nevertheless a necessary antidote to the stresses and strains of Brexit itself. As they say:

The idea – to give everyone a good night to distract them from politics – is the same as before. But this time we’re reversing the music – we’ll play something from each of the other 27 Member States of the European Union, released since those countries joined the EU.

Time: 19:30-21:00 – Brexit discussion (speakers tbc)
21:00 until very late – Music and dancing

Place: Freudenzimmer
Mehringdamm 61, 10961 Berlin

Price:  €4 online, €5 on the door
all profits go to British in Germany, e.V.

Details: jonworth.eu/fuxit2/

Report on Stammtisch (Brexit Stress Test) in Munich, 11th March

British in Bavaria Stammtisch

Brexit stress test – Are you ready for no deal?

Click to get to Top Tips and Links.

The spectre of no deal – and the threat that this poses to UK nationals in Europe – certainly concentrated minds in Munich on Monday in a city-centre Gaststätte. While a good many of the 66 attendees were already well informed about these risks, others were only just beginning to grasp the implications for them.

The British in Bavaria team wanted to tell it how it is – based also on the many different contacts with the authorities in Munich and Berlin – so that everyone could re-assess their own situation and take any action that might still be possible.

David Hole kicked off with an explanation of what no deal means for Brits in Germany, in particular the “demotion” from EU citizen to the status of a third-country national in the eyes of German immigration law. During a three-month period after March 29 (which could be extended), Brits would continue to have the right to reside and work in Germany, but during that time they would be required to apply for a residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel – sometimes translated as Residence Title). This is the new reality in a no-deal situation. David pointed out that despite emergency legislation drawn up to regulate some areas of life for Brits in Germany post no-deal-Brexit, critical aspects remain unresolved, each of them with severe implications for those affected, e.g. the EHIC and S1 scheme of healthcare provision (see below), and freedom of onward movement (i.e. no automatic right to work in any other EU27 country; Brits are 28th in the line for jobs, after applicants from other EU countries).

David re-iterated the strong recommendation that Brits who are eligible for German citizenship should urgently consider this option. EU citizenship would protect their rights. There is now a short window of opportunity (up until 29 March, if there is no deal) for Brits to apply for German citizenship, while having the right to retain their British citizenship. Applications need to be submitted at your local Einbürgerungsamt as soon as possible.

Ingrid Taylor followed with a summary of what the Munich City Foreigners´ Office (Ausländerbehörde at the Kreisverwaltungsrat / KVR) plans for registration of Brits in the city in a no-deal scenario. Basically: The KVR will send a letter to each affected resident Brit in the city (not dual citizens) by the end of March, inviting them to make an appointment with the Ausländerbehörde at the KVR to come and talk about their future residence status (see links below). Candidates need to bring with them the completed application form, and at that appointment they would be given a “Fiktionsbescheinigung” or “fictional certificate”. This is a certificate confirming the applicant´s right to live and work in Germany as before until such time as their application for a residence permit is approved. Brits who want to stay must submit an application for residence (and there are at least 6 different kinds of residence permit! – see below) during those three months. That is the current situation.

Potential problems identified are:

– What if you have to wait a long time for your appointment (over 6,000 Brits live in the city) – and therefore for your Fiktionsbescheinigung?

– What about travel, planned or impromptu, during that three-month period? Answers: see below.

Alison Jones summarised the British in Germany tips for a no deal Brexit. These are published on the BiG website – an update will be made available with latest information in the coming days. Alison then talked briefly about the significance of the vote for the Costa amendment on ring-fencing of citizens’ rights in the case of no deal and the next actions that British in Europe is taking together with the3million to encourage the Council of Ministers and the EU27 states to support ring-fencing. (See links below)

British in Bavaria
Ingrid Taylor, David Hole, Alison Jones
13 March, 2019

++++++++++++++++

 

British in Bavaria – Top tips + links for a no deal scenario

1. Register as a resident.

If you live in Germany and are not registered as resident, then make sure you do so before March 29th. Contact your local Einwohnermeldeamt.

2. Obtaining a residence permit

After Brexit (deal or no deal) you will need to have a residence permit (this is separate to the requirement to register your residence mentioned in point 1). The authority responsible for handling your application for a residence permit is your local Ausländerbehörde (foreigners´ office). Find out which office is responsible for you and keep track of the Brexit information on that site.

Links for the City of Munich and elsewhere in Germany.

3. Right of residence

As third-country nationals after a no-deal Brexit, UK nationals resident in Germany will need a residence permit. This must be applied for within the three months after a no deal exit (see also points 2 above and 4 below). During those three months all registered resident Brits will be able to continue living and working in Germany as before. Check out the FAQs on right of residence on the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (Home Office).

4. Residence permits

There are (at least) six different types of residence permit, each with different conditions and consequences. Read up on what they all are – and which you might be eligible for – on the website of the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

5. Fiktionsbescheinigung

For the first three months after a no deal Brexit, UK nationals registered as resident anywhere in Germany have a right to continue living and working here legally for – initially – three months, during which time they must apply for a residence title. This period may be extended.

Some authorities (e.g. Munich) are planning to issue a “Fiktionsbescheinigung”, or “fictitious” certificate confirming your right to live and work in Germany while your application for a residence title is being processed. In Munich the Fiktionsbescheinigung will be handed to you at your appointment. Other authorities have other procedures. But whether or not your local office issues such a certificate, your right to live and work here for the first three months continues.

6. Travelling after a no-deal Brexit

Take proof of your residence and work status in Germany with you when you travel, in case you need to show them to a border official.

These proofs could be: your “Fiktionsbescheinigung”, if you have one; copy of work contract plus current company ID; letter from HR dept. confirming current employment; copies of bills etc.

One interesting idea is to get an “erweiterte Meldebescheinigung” (extended certificate of residence) from your local Einwohnermeldeamt. This simple but official document confirms your key details on the date of issue (current and past registered address(es); passport number, DOB, etc.). It costs €5. It is a standard German document used also for other purposes. It is not a residence permit. You can obtain one from your Einwohnermeldeamt.

Always check the latest immigration regulations of any country you will be travelling to or through. That includes all EU27 countries. Be prepared to prove to officials when asked that you live and work in Germany.

If you are a dual citizen, it could be advisable to take both passports with you when travelling.

7. S1 + EHIC healthcare

As things stand at present, after a no-deal Brexit, UK nationals in Germany will no longer be entitled to the benefits of this reciprocal payment system for their medical treatment and medicines. Official information being given to hospitals and doctors in Germany is that these patients will be expected to pay directly for their care from 30 March.

If you are affected by this you should talk asap to the healthcare provider (Krankenkasse) with which you are currently registered. The option of joining the state health insurance scheme (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) is the subject of draft emergency legislation. Private insurance is of course always an option, though likely to be expensive. You must have alternative healthcare arrangements in place by latest three months after a no deal Brexit. Failure to do so would have serious consequences.

Note: Most working people are not affected by this – if you are in a company healthcare scheme, or have private or state health insurance already, then the above does not apply to you.

8. No-deal checklist

Essential reading – updated regularly –

the British in Germany no-deal checklist.

9. The Costa Amendment on ring-fencing citizens´ rights

See the British in Germany report,

the next steps in British in Europe´s campaign for ring-fencing,

and an example of campaigning by individuals to ask EU leaders to support ring-fencing.

Disclaimer: All this information is given in good faith, but we cannot guarantee that it is complete or accurate. It is correct to the best of our knowledge at this time and given the current situation. All information is subject to change at short notice depending on further developments in London, Brussels and Berlin. It is important for everyone to stay abreast of those developments, in particular via the relevant government information sources.

Image: (c) Clive Ashbolt – British in Bavaria

Report on the Costa Amendment


Last week saw an important vote with respect to UK Citizens’ Rights and EU Citizens’ Rights in the UK in the event of No-Deal.

An amendment put forward by MP Alberta Costa, despite his action costing him his post in the Government and being initially opposed by the Government, was passed without a vote after the Government changed its position.

However the vote is not binding on the UK Government and also requires the cooperation of the EU and so the work continues.

Alberta Costa has already written to Donald Tusk, the head of the Council of Europe representing the 28 EU States, seeking a meeting to discuss the issue and needs the Council to instruct the Commission to negotiate this “mini-Deal” in the event of a No-Deal situation.

However we, in the form of British in Europe, will also be there, adding our weight to the argument. This is costly work in terms of time and travel and therefore we are asking you to support British in Europe by making a donation to them via their website. While we, as British in Germany, are also seeking support from the German Government, the work in Brussels and the UK is also vitally important.

The original reporting follows:

As reported on the British in Europe website, the Conservative MP Alberto Costa, is proposing an amendment to the motion being voted on in the House of Commons next Wednesday 27th Feb. The amendment calls for the Prime Minister to ask the EU to jointly agree *as soon as possible* to adopt the citizens’ rights part of the Withdrawal Agreement – whatever happens with Brexit.

Please follow the British in Europe link and read about this important development and write to your UK MP in support of it.

Infoabend in Berlin, 4 March

Update: Tickets for this event were all taken within a very short time and probably only shortly after we managed to advertise the event here. As the event is not arranged by BiG we are unable to obtain any more tickets and therefore suggest you add yourself to the waiting list. The Embassy will no doubt take notice of the massive demand.

 

The British Embassy Berlin and the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe invites British nationals living in Germany to an opening evening and information fair on issues relating to citizens’ rights in the context of the UK’s exit from the European Union.

18:00-19:30 – Citizens’ Rights Info Fair

With info tables hosted by relevant authorities on pensions, health insurance, recognition of professional qualifications, driving licenses, residency and naturalisation, studying and Erasmus, and working in Germany after EU Exit.

19:30-21:00 – Q&A Panel with 
– Gerry Woop, State Secretary for Europe, Berlin Senate
– Robbie Bulloch, Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy Berlin
– Jane Golding, Chair British in Europe
– Engelhard Mazanke, Berlin Foreigners Registration Office Berlin
– Prisca Merz, Regional Consular Policy Advisor, British Embassy Berlin

and moderated by 
– Prof. Gerhard Dannemann, HU Centre for British Studies

Spaces are limited – please register on Eventbrite.

Please give the name of all participants when reserving tickets, as ID will be requested on the door.

We look forward to seeing you!

If you have reserved a ticket but find yourself unable to attend, please let us know so that we can give the ticket to someone else.

For other events please see our Events Calendar.

Image by Zairon – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12161365

Report on InfoAbend in Hamburg, 22 January

Since this report was first published an interview with several attendees has appeared on German TV and can be seen with english subtitles on YouTube:

And Deutsche Welle also produced a report on the effect of Brexit on British Nationals in Hamburg.

The original report follows:

On the evening of  22 January 2019, the British Embassy, along with the British Honorary Consul for Hamburg, Nicholas Teller, hosted an information evening for British citizens in Hamburg. The event was held at the Anglican Church of St Thomas Becket, thanks to Revd Canon Dr Leslie Nathaniel and was very well attended with 220 people filling all available seats.

On the panel were Nicholas Teller, Rachel King and Prisca Merz from the British Embassy in Berlin, Ellie Sellwood representative from British in Germany, Beate Wolk from the Einwohner Zentralamt Hamburg and Christiane Lex-Asuagbor, Head of the Rechtsabteilung.

The event kicked off with a welcoming speech from Revd Canon Dr Leslie Nathaniel and Nicholas Teller. Then there were individual speeches on the topic of Brexit and what Brits can do to prepare from Rachel King, Ellie Sellwood and Christiane Lex-Asuagbor.

Rachel King outlined the British government’s hopes for Brexit, and outlined the Withdrawal agreement, which would give British Citizens in Germany a transition period within which to get everything in order. During the transition period, from 29 March 2019 until 31 December 2020, British Citizens can be expected to be treated as EU nationals, with the same rights to live and work in Germany and move freely around Europe. Of course, she stressed that the government does not want or expect a no-deal situation. But in this case, Ms King assured all British Citizens present that there are plans in place to mitigate the effects of this, i.e. the 3-month transition period offered by German authorities which will allow British residents to apply for permanent residence or a passport and stay in the country whilst a decision is made.

Ellie Sellwood introduced the campaign group British in Germany and stressed that British Citizens across Germany have been living in limbo since June 2016. She also outlined the deal and no-deal scenarios and what both will mean for British Citizens in Hamburg and ended by outlining British in Germany’s ‘No-Deal Checklist.’

Christiane Lex-Asuagbor stressed that there wasn’t much that she could add given the complexity of the situation, but stated that after the UK’s departure from the EU, British Citizens will need a residence permit of some kind to be able to continue living and working here in Germany. She outlined the different types of residence permit and the requirements for each.

The evening then concluded with a 90 minute Q&A session led by Nicholas Teller in which concerned British Citizens could direct their questions to the representatives from the British Embassy and Hamburg authorities.

Main image: By IqRS – Fotos von IqRS, freigegeben als PD (siehe  [[:de:Wikipedia:Bilderwerkstatt/Archiv/2008/Juli#Alster|]]), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15650549

Article images (c) Chris Nicolls, Hamburg English Pages

Report on InfoAbend in Dresden, 11th January


An information event organised by the British embassy and the Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft was held in Dresden on the evening of 11 January 2019. It was attended by approximately 70 persons. The vast majority of those present had arrived in Germany within the last 5 years and were working. None had taken on German citizenship and only three people were applying for German citizenship.


Deputy Head of Mission Robbie Bulloch gave an update on citizens’ rights in both a deal and no-deal situations. He stressed that the government does not want or expect a no-deal situation. Rob Compton then gave a short speech introducing British in Germany, its current activities and called for audience members to get involved with British in Germany in Dresden.

Daniel Senf of the Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft Dresden chaired a 90-minute Q&A session in which the audience asked many questions concerning their rights after the UK exits the EU. Almost all questions were related to residence entitlements and third country national status and/or retaining British nationality when taking German citizenship in both deal / no-deal scenarios. Prisca Merz of the British embassy was able to provide lots of detail.

Main Image: By User:Kolossos – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2092763

In-page Images: British in Germany

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