Five important questions and answers:

03.04.2019 - FAQ


The entry of UK nationals into Germany will still generally be possible for short stays (90 days within a 180-day period) also in the event of a withdrawal from the EU by the UK without a deal. The EU has adopted a legal act that provides for visa-free travel for as long as the UK does not introduce a visa requirement of its own.

In addition, the question as to whether accompanying third-country nationals require a visa depends exclusively on their own respective nationalities. An overview of countries whose nationals require a visa or are exempt from the visa requirement for the Federal Republic of Germany is available here.

Persons who are insured under the German statutory health insurance scheme up until the withdrawal date and who have taken up permanent residence in the UK at that time will continue to be insured in the event of a no‑deal Brexit. The German Government has made provisions for this with the Act on transitional regulations to coordinate social security. For example, those insured under the statutory health insurance scheme who have stayed in the UK prior to its withdrawal from the EU and are undergoing treatment whose duration continues beyond the withdrawal date may have costs reimbursed if they do not have any other entitlements (e.g. via the UK National Health Service (NHS)). Pensioners who are resident in the UK and draw a pension from the German pension insurance scheme or from the pension insurance scheme for farmers will also continue to be insured under the statutory health insurance scheme beyond the withdrawal date. Likewise, students who are enrolled at a university in the UK prior to the withdrawal date will continue to be insured under the German statutory health insurance scheme for as long as they are enrolled at a university in the UK.

Moreover, UK nationals resident in Germany who have been insured via the NHS to date can join the statutory health insurance scheme in Germany as voluntarily insured persons. Membership must be applied for in writing to a health insurance provider of choice at the place of residence or employment within a period of three months following the withdrawal date and applies retroactively from the day after the withdrawal. To ensure health insurance cover by the statutory health insurance scheme is in place in good time, we advise those affected to apply for membership as early as possible. This is to avoid a situation where a patient is invoiced privately for treatment because at the time of treatment they were unable to certify health insurance cover by a statutory health insurance scheme. Once the three‑month time period has elapsed, access rights to statutory health insurance can no longer be guaranteed. Taking out private health insurance may in certain circumstances be an option in such cases.

A European Health Insurance Card issued in the UK will cease to be valid in the event of a no‑deal Brexit. If you have been insured to date in the UK and require medical treatment during a temporary stay in Germany following the withdrawal date, the health care provider will invoice you privately. You will need to consult the health insurance company responsible for you in the UK to determine whether you are eligible for reimbursement. The same applies for those insured under the statutory health insurance scheme who receive medical treatment during a temporary stay in the UK following the withdrawal date. It may be advisable to take out private travel health insurance.

As there is a wide range of different cases and questions regarding health and long‑term care insurance, we recommend that you contact your respective statutory health insurance provider or your respective health insurance company in Germany directly. Answers to questions that employed persons and those with German statutory health and long‑term care insurance in the UK as well as persons in Germany currently covered by the NHS may have (e.g. relating to reinsurance and reduced contribution rates for pensioners) can also be found on the website of the German Liaison Agency Health Insurance – International DVKA (in German) and on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health.

As before, a vehicle registered in Germany must carry a registration certificate (part I) in order to drive on UK roads. Our understanding is that this will continue to be regarded as sufficient following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, as the UK is also a party to the Convention on Road Traffic of 8 November 1968 and thus obliged to recognise the registration certificates (part I) issued in Germany since this is in line with the requirements of the provisions stipulated under chapter 3 of the Convention. As a result, an international registration certificate pursuant to Article 4 of the International Convention relative to Motor Traffic of 24 April 1926 is not required.

In addition, a green international insurance card must be carried as proof of insurance cover from the day on which the UK leaves the EU. This is generally available from your motor liability insurance provider. After the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, it is advisable to contact the competent authorities in the UK prior to entering the country in order to ascertain the specific requirements under national law.

In order to drive on German roads, a vehicle registered in the UK must carry an official registration certificate with certain minimum information or an international vehicle registration document. In addition, a green international insurance card must be carried as proof of insurance cover from the date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

However, in accordance with the Convention on Road Traffic of 8 November 1968, this only entitles the bearer to drive in the other country for a temporary period. Otherwise, e.g. when taking up residence, the regulations of the respective country regarding vehicle registration must be observed.

The Convention of 1926 and the Convention of 1968 are multilateral international treaties to which both the UK and Germany are parties.

Companies that are and wish to remain active trading partners with the UK should ascertain to what extent existing authorisations can be adapted by the main customs office (e.g. extension of the country group, processing and storage locations in the UK) and whether new customs authorisations must be applied for at the main customs office. The latter applies in particular to the authorisation to operate a storage warehouse for the import of goods (new applications will take some time to be processed).

For traders who have been trading with the UK but who have been operating exclusively within the internal market and have therefore not yet had any dealings with customs, this means, for example, that they must register with the customs authorities. The EORI (European Operators‘ Registration and Identification) number required for this is a number valid throughout the European Union under EU customs law and is issued free of charge by the Central Customs Authority on request. You can find contact information here for questions relating to EORI numbers. As of 1 October 2019, it has also been possible to apply online via the portal for citizens and businesses of the customs administration. A service account required to this end can be set up at www.zoll-portal.de (further information at www.zoll.de, search term “EORI”).

The exchange of information between economic operators and customs authorities generally takes place electronically. The use of the existing IT system ATLAS for this purpose requires, among other things, registration and certified software. Customs declarants must, as a rule, be resident in the EU. Declarants may be represented when completing customs formalities (e.g. by customs agents).

You will find further information for companies below.

It is up to the UK legislature to determine the conditions for entry into the UK from the European Union in the event of a withdrawal from the EU without a deal. Information (in English) about this is available here. It is stated here that the conditions laid down by Union law will continue to apply to entry with pet animals even in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. A pet passport issued by an authorised vet in an EU Member State, containing information on the identification of the animal, its owner and proof of up-to-date vaccination against rabies, must therefore be carried as an accompanying document. This passport must also contain information on treatment for tapeworm, which must have taken place at least 24 hours and no more than 120 hours prior to entering the UK. You should also obtain information on permissible transport routes or means of transport before entering the country.

When entering the EU with pets from the UK, travellers should take the precaution of ensuring that they meet the animal health requirements for entry from a non-listed third country when returning from the UK.

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