Below you will find further information on specific topics that may be of interest to you for your own preparations.
In the event of a withdrawal from the EU without a deal, the German Government will draw up a transition regulation to help UK and German nationals who apply for citizenship before the withdrawal date in Germany or the UK. They will be allowed to retain their previous UK or German citizenship even if the decision on their citizenship application is made after the withdrawal and provided that all other prerequisites for citizenship are met before Brexit.
The European Commission provides comprehensive information for people travelling between the EU27 and the UK.
German nationals in the UK can address their questions to the German Embassy in London:
If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement (“disorderly exit” or “no-deal Brexit”), the legal status of the UK nationals concerned will change permanently. They will lose their status as citizens of the Union or family members of a citizen of the Union and will become third-country nationals instead. They will lose their right of residence under EU freedom of movement rules and will in principle require a residence permit in order to be able to remain in Germany.
The German Government would like to ensure that all UK nationals and their family members who have been living in Germany under EU freedom of movement rules are able to remain in Germany. To this end, it has introduced the following arrangements:
1. Temporary exemption from the need for a residence permit
Firstly, if the UK withdraws from the EU without the Withdrawal Agreement, the German Government intends, by ordinance, to temporarily exempt those concerned from the need to hold a residence permit in Germany. The aim is to give both those affected and the foreigners authorities sufficient time to apply for and issue the necessary residence permits. When the ordinance expires, UK nationals will require a residence permit in order to be able to stay in Germany.
During the exemption period, UK nationals and their families residing in Germany under EU freedom of movement rules will continue to enjoy right of residence. Should this right of residence previously have granted an individual access to social benefits or child benefit, this access will remain unaffected. Existing access rights to health and long-term care insurance will also remain unaffected. Furthermore, during this period, such persons will continue to be permitted to be self-employed or pursue gainful employment. In particular, they will be permitted to take up any employment independent of their employer’s place of business and without seeking approval from the Federal Employment Agency.
2. Brexit Residence Act
Secondly, on 31 July 2019, the German Government approved a bill for a situation where the UK withdraws from the EU without the Withdrawal Agreement, the aim being to create legal certainty for all UK nationals and their family members who have made use of the EU's freedom of movement and made decisions affecting their lives in Germany in the legitimate expectation that this freedom of movement would continue.
The bill ensures that all UK nationals and their families residing in Germany under EU freedom of movement rules at the time of withdrawal will be able to receive a residence permit. Furthermore, the bill creates the necessary conditions under residence law for these persons to continue to have access to the German labour market.
The law must still be approved by the German Bundestag. It will only enter into force in case the UK withdraws without the Withdrawal Agreement.
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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 introduced a legal instrument that provides for mutual visa-free travel.
In addition, the question as to whether an accompanying family member requires a visa depends exclusively on his or her own nationality. 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. We therefore recommend that you plan extra time for this.
UK nationals resident in Germany and their family members will still be able to enter Germany also in the event of a withdrawal from the EU by the UK with no deal.
Please note, however, that delays and inconveniences may occur at the German border due to Brexit and the resulting changes to provisions governing entry and residence. The reason for this is that the entry of third-country nationals is subject to stricter inspection requirements than the entry of EU citizens into Germany. We therefore recommend that you plan extra time for this.
In order to facilitate border control formalities, documents should also be carried that provide evidence of your previous long-term stay in Germany. Various documents could be helpful here, such as any residence cards or permanent residence certificates issued to date, registration certificates and social security certificates, as well as employment and rental contracts, school certificates or comparable documents.
According to the UK Government, this will still be possible. The UK is envisaging a transition period during which EU nationals will continue to be able to enter the UK without a visa when holding an identity card or biometric passport. The UK Government provides information on its official website regarding the residence situation of EU nationals in the UK following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
UK nationals can continue to enter Germany without a visa for the time being. All UK nationals will be exempt from the requirement of obtaining a residence permit for a transition period of three months.
To remain in Germany thereafter, all such persons will have to apply for a residence permit from their local foreigners authority before the transition period ends. Until a residence permit is granted, such persons will retain access to the labour market and be entitled to be self-employed.
If no withdrawal agreement is reached with the UK, the law by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs will uphold the principle of good faith and protect existing social security rights.
In the event of a withdrawal without a deal, the EU has adopted an emergency regulation which ensures that the 27 Member States will take into account any periods of insurance in the UK before the withdrawal in the EU coordination of the social security systems.
You will find questions and answers (in German) on work and social security after Brexit on the Website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
The Federal Ministry of Health provides information (in German) on the impact of Brexit on healthcare.
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 previously covered by the British National Health Service (NHS) may have, e.g. relating to reinsurance and reduced contribution rates for pensioners, can be found on the website of the German Liaison Agency Health Insurance – International (in German).
You can reach the information hotline on health insurance matters of the Federal Ministry of Health on +49 (0)30 340 6066 - 01.
In general, grants from the German Government (BAföG) for supplementary learning periods abroad in the UK will still be possible for a period of up to one year as a matter of principle, irrespective of Brexit.
Whether educational or training periods completed entirely in the UK can still be supported above and beyond this after a withdrawal from the EU without a deal depends, in line with the transitional regulations planned by the German Government, on the date on which the respective training period starts: Training periods commenced in the UK up until the day on which a withdrawal without a deal takes effect will be eligible for funding until they are completed there. On the other hand, training periods that are taken up after that date are not covered by the planned transitional regulations. Students and pupils who begin a period of training in the UK after this date can then, as is generally the case for training outside the EU, no longer be funded for the entire duration of their training, but only for a one-year period as a matter of principle.
A Master’s course commenced after a withdrawal from the EU by the UK without a deal is not covered by the planned transitional regulation, even if the course (usually a Bachelor’s degree) on which it is based was commenced prior to the withdrawal.
The option to receive a scholarship from a UK scholarship programme is not subject to the condition of EU membership and remains unaffected by a withdrawal from the EU without a deal.
Other rules apply to funding for courses of studies completed entirely in the UK. The purpose of a transitional regulation is to ensure that students who have commenced their studies in the UK prior to the country’s withdrawal from the EU can be supported with a scholarship in the event of a withdrawal without a deal prior to the end of their studies.
The EU has adopted a regulation intended to make it possible for all Erasmus courses (Erasmus+ programme) already started in the UK to continue.
In the event that the UK withdraws from the EU without a deal, Erasmus+ projects with UK participants will no longer be formally eligible for funding.
The European Commission’s contingency planning envisages that learning periods abroad are to be safeguarded as a minimum (Key Action 1: Learning Mobility of Individuals). Erasmus+ scholarships for participants in the UK at the time of the country’s withdrawal from the EU without a deal and for participants from the UK in Erasmus+ programme countries could thus continue to be funded until the end of their stay.
You can find questions and answers (in German) on the impact of a no-deal Brexit on education and research on the website of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research