Brexit – What are the current provisions in German residence and employment law?

Immigration and residence

Since 01.01.2021, British nationals who were previously entitled to reside or work in Germany and who had exercised this right have essentially the same rights as they had before Brexit. These rights exist by operation of law, so they can be asserted without further action. In order to prove these rights, it is mandatory to have a residence document, which can be obtained from the responsible Foreigners Authority (Ausländerbehörde). Until June 30, 2021, British nationals who were residing in Germany on 31.12.2020, and who will continue to reside in Germany, must report their residence to the Foreigners Authority responsible for their place of residence in order to obtain the new residence document. This privilege only applies to British citizens who have been treated as EU citizens by virtue of their status during the UK's membership of the EU.

Business trips

British citizens do not need a visa for visits and/or business trips with a maximum duration of stay of 90 days within a period of 180 days. However, this only applies as long as no gainful employment is to be carried out. For British nationals, the Schengen entry requirements for visa-exempt third-country nationals apply. When crossing the border, travellers must carry with them the documents and evidence required for entry into the Schengen States, in particular a valid travel document and evidence of the purpose and circumstances of the intended stay. They must also have sufficient means of living (for the duration of the stay and the return journey). This also includes adequate travel health insurance (as of 01.01.2021, the EHIC card will regularly no longer be sufficient).


From 01.01.2021, the general immigration law for third-country nationals will apply to newly arriving British citizens. But even for longer-term stays in Germany - for example, for study or work purposes - newly arriving British nationals do not need a visa. They must apply for a residence title at their future place of residence at the Foreigners Authority. However, if they wish to work before obtaining a residence title, they must apply for a visa that allows them to work before entering the country.

Newly arrived British professionals and other employees are granted easier access to the labour market. In order to take up employment in Germany, the approval of the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) can be granted with a priority check for the pursuit of any employment, regardless of the location of the employer.

As of 01.01.2021, the facilitations granted on the basis of the Freedom of Movement are no longer applicable for non-EU family members of British and German nationals, neither when applying for a visa nor when crossing the border.

Autor: Dr. Christian Reichmann