Official information British people moving to and living in Germany need to know, including EU Exit guidance, residency, healthcare and driving.
EU exit: what you need to know
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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.
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. In some places the Einwohnermeldeamt is known as the Kreisverwaltungsreferat (KVR), Bürgerbüro or Bürgeramt. When you change address in Germany you must deregister from your old address and register at your new one.
The UK and EU have agreed the full legal text of the draft Withdrawal Agreement in principle. The agreement on citizens’ rights will allow UK nationals to stay in their Member State of residence after the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019.
The German Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community published a website with information for UK nationals in Germany on 21 December 2018.
In all EU Exit scenarios, UK nationals living in Germany will need to register for a residence permit from their local Foreigners Authority (Ausländerbehörde). Find your relevant Foreigners Authority.
Some Foreigners Authorities are already planning a procedure for voluntary registration/application before the UK’s exit from the EU. If you live in Berlin, you should complete the Berlin registration form.
We will update this page when other Foreigners Authorities confirm their processes.
Applying for German citizenship
If you’re permanently resident in Germany, you can under some conditions apply for German citizenship.
In the UK, there are no restrictions on dual nationality. Germany only allows dual nationality in exceptional cases, including for EU citizens. According to the draft national Brexit law, in a deal scenario, UK nationals who have applied for German naturalisation and fulfilled all conditions before the end of the implementation period (31 December 2020) would not have to give up their UK nationality in order to obtain German nationality.
In addition, as part of its no deal preparations, the German cabinet on 12 December adopted a draft Social Security Transition Brexit law, which would ensure that any UK national who has applied before 29 March 2019 for German citizenship and met all conditions on that day, but whose application has not been processed yet, would still be able to retain his or her UK nationality when accepting German nationality.
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. German residents are either state insured (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) or privately insured (private Krankenversicherung), if your income allows it. All employees are allowed to choose their own health insurance provider. You can also ask your employer’s HR department for healthcare information.
The Federal Ministry Labour and Social Affairs has detailed information about German social security, including health insurance. This document details out the different health insurance systems, who is insured and for which treatment.
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.
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
Some jobs may require a UK criminal records check (known as a DBS check).
A German criminal record check (Führungszeugnis) can be ordered from local registry offices (Meldebehörde). This will be sent directly from the German Ministry of Justice.
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.
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.
If you’ve worked in Germany, you should contact the German pensions services (Deutsche Rentenversicherung) or your private pensions company.
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.
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.
You may be entitled to German benefits, including:
Find out more about claiming benefits in an EU country and see what benefits you may be able to get in Germany. You can request proof of time worked in the UK from HM Revenue and Customs, if you are asked for this information.
Driving in Germany
The Federal Ministry of Transport has information about the validity of your UK licence in Germany.
If you are resident in Germany, you will not be able to renew a lost, stolen or expired licence with DVLA. It may be easier to convert your UK licence to a German licence before it expires.
If you spend longer than 6 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 you reside in Germany, you might want to consider transferring your UK license to a German license. You can do this by contacting your local Zulassungsstelle (vehicle registration office).
The Federal Ministry of Transport has information on German road traffic regulations.
Importing a UK-registered vehicle
You may need to pay taxes when importing and registering your UK vehicle. More information can be sought from the Zulassungsstelle (car registration office).
If you’re resident in Germany, you can vote in local municipal and European Parliamentary elections.
Once the UK leaves the EU, UK nationals will no longer be eligible to vote in local and European elections. The UK pushed hard in negotiations for the right to stand and vote in local elections for UK nationals living in the EU, and EU citizens in the UK, but they will not form part of the Withdrawal Agreement. The Government has made clear that we will pursue bilateral arrangements with individual Member States to secure this right for both UK nationals living in the UK, and EU citizens in the UK.
See travelling with pets.
UK nationals will still be able to travel to and from the UK with a pet (cat, dog or ferret) when the UK leaves the EU, but the rules will change. See pet travel to Europe after Brexit for more information.
As well as the European emergency number 112, Germany also has 110 (police).
If you need urgent help, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.
Accommodation and buying property
Other useful information
- English-speaking lawyers in Germany
- translators in Germany
- notarial and documentary services for Germany
Returning to the UK
If you are returning to live in the UK permanently, it is important you tell the UK and German authorities.
You must deregister with your local Einwohnermeldeamt (registration office), and let your health insurance (Krankenkasse), bank and local service providers know.
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.