Guidance

Living in Germany

Official information British people moving to and living in Germany need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.

EU exit: what you need to know

There will be no change to the rights and status of UK nationals living in Germany while the UK remains in the EU.

While the government continues to negotiate EU exit, you should:

Before you go

See our travel advice for Germany and sign up for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.

See moving or retiring abroad.

Visas and residency

See entry requirements for Germany in our travel advice.

You must register at your local Einwohnermeldeamt (registration office) within 14 days of arrival if you are staying in Germany for more than 3 months. When you change address in Germany you must deregister from your old address and register at your new one.

In some places the Einwohnermeldeamt is known as the Kreisverwaltungsreferat (KVR), Bürgerbüro or Bürgeramt.

Healthcare

See our travel advice for Germany.

If you are resident in Germany, you must register with a Krankenkasse (health insurance company) – normally through your employer – to access to healthcare. The NHS has information about healthcare for British people living in or visiting Germany.

The Federal Ministry Labour and Social Affairs has detailed information about German social security, including health insurance.

You need a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to get emergency medical treatment during temporary stays in EU countries. You also need comprehensive travel insurance to cover anything not covered by your EHIC.

You can find English-speaking doctors in Germany. You should also check your prescriptions are legal in Germany.

S1 form – healthcare paid for by the UK

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Germany and get an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit.

You need to apply for a S1 form – contact the Department for Work and Pensions’ International Pension Centre.

Working in Germany

See working in another EU country and working abroad.

Some jobs may require a UK criminal records check (known as a DBS check).

Tax

See tax if you leave the UK to live abroad and tax on your UK income if you live abroad.

The UK has a double-taxation agreement with Germany to ensure people do not pay tax on the same income in both countries.

We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in Germany. You can search for a tax adviser.

See information about paying income tax in Germany.

You should get a Lohnsteuerkarte (income tax card) when you register your address with the local Einwohnermeldeamt (see Visas and residency). Your card will have your Steuernummer (tax number), which your employer needs.

In addition to an annual tax return, all residents of Germany, including non-nationals, must file an annual declaration of assets held outside Germany. There are severe penalties if you fail to file or provide incorrect or incomplete information.

The German finance ministry has comprehensive information on taxation, including the guide ‘An ABC of taxes’.

You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

Pensions

See State Pension if you retire abroad and new State Pension.

See information on German pensions.

If you haven’t worked in Germany, you should claim your UK state pension by contacting the International Pension Centre.

If you’ve worked in several EU countries, see state pensions abroad.

Life certificates for UK state pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you don’t.

Benefits

See claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad.

Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit can’t be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

The Federal Ministry Labour and Social Affairs has detailed information about German social security.

Driving in Germany

See driving abroad and road travel in Germany.

See driving licence renewal and exchange and taking a vehicle out of the UK.

The Federal Ministry of Transport has information about the validity of your UK licence in Germany.

If you spend longer than 12 months of the year in Germany with your UK-registered car, you must register your vehicle with the German authorities. Ask your local Zulassungsstelle (vehicle registration office) for more information.

If the German authorities request information about your British licence or entitlement to drive, you should contact the DVLA.

The Federal Ministry of Transport has information on German road traffic regulations.

Voting

British citizens living abroad can vote in some UK elections – you’ll need to register as an overseas voter.

If you’re resident in Germany, you can vote in local municipal and European Parliamentary elections.

Births

See register a birth abroad.

Deaths

See what to do after someone dies.

See also:

Getting married

See getting married abroad.

Renewing passports

See overseas British passports applications and get an emergency travel document (sometimes called an emergency passport).

Pets

See travelling with pets.

Emergencies

As well as the European emergency number 112, Germany also has 110 (police).

See Germany – emergency numbers.

If you need urgent help, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.

Accommodation and buying property

See buying a property abroad.

Other useful information

Returning to the UK

When you leave Germany, you must deregister with your local Einwohnermeldeamt (registration office), your health insurance (Krankenkasse), bank and local service providers.

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

See tax if you return to the UK.

See bringing your pet to the UK.

Disclaimer

Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the German authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 17 May 2013
Last updated 22 March 2018 + show all updates
  1. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.
  2. Updated January 2017
  3. Updated Information in view of a change in German registration law as of 1 November 2015.
  4. instructions for witnessing UK state pension life certificates updated
  5. First published.