Brexit - it does not get any easier

On 29.03.2017, the United Kingdom triggered Article 50 of the EU Treaty and declared its intention to withdraw from the European Union within two years. Since then, extensive negotiations have taken place on the UK's future relationship with the EU. However, the negotiated agreement has not found a majority in the House of Commons. The future is now subject to short-term political decisions that nobody can predict at the moment. In the run-up to 31.10.2019, therefore, only one thing is certain: things will not get any less complicated.

EU residence permits as of 31.10.2019

At present, it is still completely open which regulation will apply after the leaving date. As a withdrawal without an agreement is also possible (No-Deal-Brexit), in which Great Britain becomes a third EU state without any transition, visas and other residence permits for relatives based on the EU membership of the partner can only be issued for a limited period up to this date.

Visa and residence permit deadlines that are not based on EU law, but on current national case law, remain unchanged.

Brexit with withdrawal certificate

If an agreement were to be reached by the date of withdrawal which essentially regulates the rights of free movement in the same way as the previous proposal, a transitional phase would apply until 31 December 2020 during which the previous rules would continue to apply to British citizens. In this case, they would be able to travel visa-free within the territory of the EU as before. If they had a residence in another EU country before that date, the right to do so would apply to them and their family members even for life, the proposal went on.

Example: A British citizen takes a job in Germany and moves to Germany with his Indian wife and children before 31 December 2020. Under the terms of the withdrawal agreement, he can then apply for a permanent residence status for himself and his relatives by submitting a German registration certificate to the appropriate foreigners authority if visas, work permits and residence titles would automatically become necessary. Not only for UK citizens, but also for their relatives, this would entail complications. Currently, residence permits are issued for a limited period of time until 31.10.2019.


Brexit without withdrawal agreement (No-Deal-Brexit)

In this case - which all sides are still trying to avoid - there would also be a transitional phase. British citizens and their relatives who already reside in the EU would be able to live and work in Germany for three months as before according to the current plans of the Federal Government. After the end of the transitional phase, however, they will need a residence permit and a work permit in accordance with the rules that also apply to citizens of other third countries. From the time the application is filed until the decision is issued by the Aliens Department, the stay would automatically be deemed to be permitted. Since around 100,000 persons throughout Germany are affected by this, it could be advantageous to submit the application rather late in the transition phase because a short-term decision is not to be expected and the transition phase could thus be extended.

EU citizenship for British citizens

Another solution to these problems could be to apply for another EU citizenship, which is currently being sought by many UK citizens. For example, anyone who has lived in an EU 27 country for a long time, is married to an EU citizen or has Irish ancestors has the chance to acquire dual citizenship and continue to enjoy all the privileges of an EU citizen. We are happy to check on a case-by-case basis whether this possibility exists.

Example: A Briton would like to live and work in Germany. Since his parents come from Ireland, he can apply for Irish citizenship in addition to British citizenship. This means that he is an EU citizen again and enjoys freedom of movement within the EU for himself and his family. A wife does not need a second citizenship as she is a member of an EU citizen.


Emergency measures: What can you do as a UK citizen, what can you do as a company employing UK citizens?

  • Follow other publications by the Federal Government and the Aliens Department
  • As an employer, get in touch with your employees with a British passport. In order to continue to employ them legally, they need a residence permit in good time.
  • If you intend to hire UK citizens as an employer, make sure that they are able to obtain a visa and residence permit in good time.

c + s relocation helps you as a company not to lose valuable employees and helps you as a citizen of the United Kingdom not to lose your adopted home country Germany.


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