The United Kingdom (UK) has declared its purpose to leave the European Union (EU) by 30 March 2019 (so-called Brexit). Until now, it is not known under which conditions the Brexit shall occur and which regulations on foreigners will apply after the expected Brexit.
In order to achieve widest possible clarity, we will continuously provide current information on this website concerning the right of residence of UK nationals and their family members concerned as well as concerning naturalisation of UK nationals in Germany in the event of a Brexit.
Current state of the right of residence of UK nationals and their family members
Until the expected withdrawal of the UK from the EU, the freedom of movement according to European law will continue to apply to UK nationals and their family members.
- This means that UK citizens and their family members who are entitled to freedom of movement currently don't need a residence title in Germany. However, they are obliged to register their residence in Germany at the local registration office (Bürgerbüro).
Further information of the Munich Foreigners Office concerning the entry and residence of EU citizens and of nationals of EEA-Contracting Parties as well as their family members can be found here.
Consequences for residence rights in the event of a No-Deal Brexit
Should the UK leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement at midnight on 29 March 2019, UK citizens and their family members would no longer be entitled to freedom of movement within the framework of the EU citizenship. Instead, they would be regarded as third-country nationals after 29 March 2019 and would need a residence title for their residency within the German territory.
A residence title can be granted for the purpose of employment, education, for family reasons or for humanitarian reasons. There are two different types of residence titles: the temporary residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) and the permanent settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis). In principle, the residence permit is granted for a limited period of time and usually entitles you to work. A permanent right of residence do hold third-country nationals with a settlement permit, which entitles to practise any nature of employment. For the issuance, certain qualifications, which differ according to the type of residence title, must be fulfilled.
In the event of an unregulated Brexit, the Federal Government stipulates a transitional period of an initial period of three months up to 29 June 2019.
- During this transitional period, UK nationals and their family members who were entitled to freedom of movement shall be able to reside and work in Germany as before.
- Until the end of the transitional period, UK nationals and their family members, who are third-country nationals (non-citizen of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein), will need to apply for a residence title at their local Foreigners Office.
- UK citizens and their family members who are entitled to freedom of movement will be able to reside and work in Germany as before pending the decision about the application.
Procedure of the Munich Foreigners Office in the event of a No-Deal Brexit
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Munich Foreigners Office will inform by letter and through this website all UK citizens and their family members living in the city area of Munich concerning the required measures regarding the right of residence.
- After receiving our letter, you can make an appointment for a personal visit in order to take legal advice and to apply for a residence title. Appointments can be arranged online or by phone. Please bring the completed application form (PDF, 148 KB)with you to your appointment.
- Afterwards, each individual case will be reviewed to see, which residence title can be granted to UK nationals and their family members.
- In addition, applicants will receive a fictional certificate during their personal visits. They can prove with this certificate their temporary right to reside and work in Germany.
- If all necessary documents are provided, the Munich Foreigners Office will process all applications in time.
A registration is not necessary at the Munich Foreigners Office before the appointment.
Information concerning the different titles of residence can be found here.
Consequences for residence rights in the event of a Brexit deal
Should the UK leave the EU with a ratified Withdrawal Agreement at midnight on 29 March 2019, there shall be an implementation period that will start on 30 March 2019 and last until 31 December 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement sets out a preservation of the free movement rights for affected persons.
- During the Implementation Period, European law would still apply to the UK, and thus free movements rights would still apply to UK citizens and their family members.
- The freedom of movement shall apply permanently to UK citizens and to their family members who were permanent residents in Germany before the end of the implementation period.
- Measures concerning the right of residence would be necessary for further residence after the implementation period.
Information concerning the procedure of the Munich Foreigners Office will be provided in due course.
Current state of the naturalisation of UK nationals
In principle, in the case of naturalisation proceedings, the legal situation at the time of the decision made by the competent authority on the application for naturalisation is decisive.
Under current law, UK nationals do not have to renounce their UK citizenship to acquire the German citizenship, provided that all other requirements are fulfilled and naturalisation takes place before the Brexit.
Consequences for rights of citizenship in the event of a No-Deal Brexit
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the exceptional rule to retain the UK citizenship during naturalisation would no longer apply to British naturalisation applicants. Normally, they would have to renounce their UK citizenship in order to acquire German citizenship by naturalisation, if the decision upon their application is taken after 29 May 2019.
However, according to a draft law of the Federal Government it shall be derogated from this procedure in favour of UK citizens.
There is a national transitional arrangement provided in addition to the Law on Citizenship in favour of British naturalisation applicants who have already submitted the naturalisation application before the Brexit. The Draft Law of the Government on Transitional Arrangements in the Field of Labour, Education, Health, Social Affairs and Citizenship assumes that the UK will leave EU without a withdrawal agreement by 30 March 2019. The law shall enter into force on the date of exit.
- According to the draft law, British naturalisation applicants that have applied for naturalisation before the Brexit may retain their UK citizenship if all other requirements are fulfilled at that time, even if the naturalisation itself takes place after the Brexit.
It is therefore strongly recommended, that all UK citizens, who want to be naturalised while retaining the UK citizenship, should personally visit the naturalisation office as soon as possible, but not later than 29 May 2019. There, the naturalisation requirements will then be discussed in each individual case and it will be ensured that the application deadline is met.
If you are not registered with your main residence in the city area of Munich, please contact the naturalisation authority responsible for your place of residence.
The naturalisation while retaining the UK citizenship is normally only possible for those who have been residing in Germany for at least eight years by 29 March 2019 at the latest. A reduction of this minimum time of residence is possible in exceptional cases, such as in the case of special integration efforts, proven knowledge of German of at least level B2 or in the case of an existing marriage with a German national. The naturalisation office of the Munich Foreigners Office will be pleased to advice you on this matter.
Consequences for rights of citizenship in the event of a Brexit deal
In the event that the Withdrawal Agreement will be ratified by the UK and the EU, the Federal Government provides for a Brexit transition act, which establishes, inter alia, transitional arrangements concerning the Law on Citizenship in favour of British naturalisation applicants. The Brexit transition act shall enter into force as soon as the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force.
- According to the Brexit transition act, British naturalisation applicants may retain their UK citizenship provided that they have submitted their application before the end of the implementation period from 30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020, even if the naturalisation itself takes place after that period. Precondition is that all other requirements were already fulfilled at the time of submission and are still fulfilled at the time of naturalisation.
General information of the Munich Foreigners Office concerning naturalisation can be found here.
Exchanging a British driving licence
Official rules have not been passed, yet. However, the Munich Driving Licence Office recommends applying for a re-registration to get a German driving licence.
You need to book an appointment before your visit at the Driving Licence Office ("Fahrerlaubnisbehörde", Garmischer Straße 19/21).
When booking your appointment choose "Umschreibung einer ausländischen Fahrerlaubnis" and then "Umschreibung einer EU/EWR Fahrerlaubnis".
For more information about what you need to bring with you and how to book your appointment please klick here.
Information on Brexit for the corporate community
If you are a company, a British specialist or a start-up entrepreneur, we advise you to consult the following platforms and contacts, all of which are closely following the subject of Brexit.