Brits in Germany urged to apply for residency before end of June deadline

Brits who were living in Germany before 2021 are being urged to apply for their residency document as a key deadline approaches.

Brits in Germany urged to apply for residency before end of June deadline
People standing at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin after the UK left the EU on January 31st 2020. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Britta Pedersen

Any Britons who were living in Germany before December 31st 2020 should notify their local Ausländerbehörde so they can get a residence document, experts have advised.

Under the Brexit Withdrawal agreement, Brits who were legally resident in Germany before the end of the transition period have the right to continue living here. 

However, they should apply for a residence document (Aufenthaltsdokument-GB). To get this, Brits should report to their local foreigners authority (usually called Ausländerbehörde) by June 30th 2021.

While Britons’ rights under the Withdrawal Agreement will not be affected if they miss the deadline, experts recommend that they apply for the new card as soon as possible. It can provide proof of the right to carry on living and working in Germany when needed. For example when travelling or applying for a job. 

Matt Bristow, of citizens’ rights group British in Germany, told the Local: “British citizens in Germany – and their non-EU family members – should notify their local Ausländerbehörde of their residence in the country ASAP and to request that they are issued with an Aufenthaltsdokument-GB.

“This can then be used as official evidence that you were living in Germany before the end of the Brexit transition period and have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.”


Process depends on where you live

Bristow pointed out that there are different systems in place across Germany for getting the residence document. 

Some areas have written to British citizens to inform them of what to do, others require people to take action themselves and report their residence to the immigration office.

“If you have friends, family or neighbours who are British, check that they know what to do and who they need to contact.

“Particularly vulnerable groups or people who aren’t online very often may not have even realised that there is anything for them to do – at British in Germany e.V. we’ve heard examples of just this in recent days.

“It is unclear how many people have already been in touch with their Ausländerbehörde or received their card, so it is impossible to know at the moment how many people might not have yet realised that there is anything for them to do.”

Anyone in doubt should call up their immigration office – or search for information on official local government websites – to see what steps should be taken. 

‘Residence card makes life easier’

Unlike some other EU countries, Germany chose a so-called declaratory system.

“This means that you do not have to apply for your rights: if you are in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement, then you already have your rights by force of law,” said Bristow.

“Getting an Aufenthaltsdokument-GB does not change the rights you have, nor does the card itself give you these rights. However, the card is the best possible evidence that you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and you will be expected to be able to prove this from time to time – eg at the border or by your employer. Having one will make your life a whole lot easier.”

READ ALSO: Britons in Europe face Brexit deadlines with many yet to apply for residency 

What if Brits don’t have a card by June 30th?

Even though the German government has asked British people to notify their local Ausländerbehörde of their residence by June 30th, experts say people shouldn’t panic if they haven’t had their meeting with the immigration office by then – or received their card.

“Try not to worry if you haven’t received the actual card by then. In quite a few areas it will take many months to process everyone’s requests for the new card and then it can take 6-8 weeks for the card to be printed,” said Bristow.

He added that people may be able to get a temporary certificate – a Fiktionsbescheinigung – as proof of their status if they need it. For example, this could be beneficial if people have to travel for work a lot.

The British in Germany e.V. website has put together a guide on what people need to do if they want further information or support if they encounter difficulties.

For people who have dual British and German citizenship, the German Interior Ministry advises that they do not need this residence document, Bristow said. Those who hold another EU citizenship (eg Irish), are eligible for the Aufenthaltsdokument-GB but the Interior Ministry has advised that you do not need to get one.

Bristow added that people in Germany who have British friends or family living elsewhere in the EU, EEC or Switzerland should check they know their rights. 

“In some other countries, British citizens must apply for a new status before a deadline and if they don’t they will lose all their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement,” said Bristow.
“For example in France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Malta, the clock is ticking: British citizens must have applied for the right to stay in those countries by June 30th or face losing their status overnight.
Changes for Brits moving after Brexit

Before the Brexit transition ended on December 31st 2020, Brits were able to move to Germany and only needed to register their address – like everyone living in the country, including Germans. 

However, with the end of the Brexit transition period that era is over, and if you are British and planning to move Germany now, you require the same sort of paperwork that was always the rule for non-EU nationals like Americans, Canadians or Australians.

READ ALSO: Post-Brexit visa rules – How can Brits move to Germany in 2021 and beyond

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‘It’s their loss’: Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

The UK is missing out by barring highly skilled Italian graduates from accessing a new work visa, Italy's universities minister said on Wednesday.

'It's their loss': Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

Universities and Research Minister Cristina Messa said she was disappointed by the UK’s decision not to allow any graduates of Italian universities access to its ‘High Potential Individual’ work permit.

“They’re losing a big slice of good graduates, who would provide as many high skills…it’s their loss,” Messa said in an interview with news agency Ansa, adding that Italy would petition the UK government to alter its list to include Italian institutions.

Ranked: Italy’s best universities and how they compare worldwide

“It’s a system that Britain obviously as a sovereign state can choose to implement, but we as a government can ask (them) to revise the university rankings,” she said.

The High Potential Individual visa, which launches on May 30th, is designed to bring highly skilled workers from the world’s top universities to the UK in order to compensate for its Brexit-induced labour shortage.

Successful applicants do not require a job offer to be allowed into the country but can apply for one after arriving, meaning potential employers won’t have to pay sponsorship fees.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP.

The visa is valid for two years for those with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and three years for PhD holders, with the possibility of moving into “other long-term employment routes” that will allow the individual to remain in the country long-term.

READ ALSO: Eight things you should know if you’re planning to study in Italy

Italy isn’t the only European country to have been snubbed by the list, which features a total of 37 global universities for the 2021 graduation year (the scheme is open to students who have graduated in the past five years, with a different list for each graduation year since 2016).

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL Switzerland, Paris Sciences et Lettres, the University of Munich, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute are the sole European inclusions in the document, which mainly privileges US universities.

Produced by the UK’s Education Ministry, the list is reportedly based on three global rankings: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Messa said she will request that the UK consider using ‘more up-to-date indicators’, without specifying which alternative system she had in mind.