Official information for British people moving to and living in Germany, including Brexit guidance, residency, healthcare and driving.
This page tells you what to do ahead of Brexit. It will be updated if anything changes, including if a deal is agreed.
Brexit: what you should do
Stay up to date on Brexit
To keep up to date:
- attend one of our citizens outreach meetings
- read essential information about UK nationals in the EU
- read the German government’s FAQs on Brexit
Visas and residency
Check the entry requirements for Germany.
If you are planning to stay in Germany for more than 3 months, you must register at your local registration office within 14 days of arrival. The office is sometimes known as the Einwohnermeldeamt, Kreisverwaltungsreferat (KVR), Bürgerbüro or Bürgeramt.
Whenever you move home in Germany, you must register at your new address.
Visas and residency after Brexit
After Brexit, UK nationals living in Germany must apply for a residence permit from their local Foreigners Authority (Ausländerbehörde).
You will need a valid passport when applying for a residence permit.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the German government plans a 3-month transition period which is likely to be extended to 9 months. During this period you must apply for a new residence permit. Your right to undertake any economic activity (such as work or study) and receive benefits you received before the day the UK leaves the EU will be protected during this period.
For more information, see the Federal Ministry of the Interior’s FAQs on residency and citizenship.
We will update this guidance as soon as information is available.
Applying for German citizenship
If you are permanently resident in Germany, you may be able to apply for German citizenship (in German).
The UK has no restrictions on dual nationality. Germany only allows dual nationality in exceptional cases. Find information on the Federal Ministry of the Interior’s FAQs on residency and citizenship.
Passports and travel
Passports and travel after Brexit
After Brexit, the rules on travel will change. Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You’ll need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.
If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, nothing will change until the end of 2020. In this time you can continue to travel freely in the Schengen area with your UK passport. What happens after 2020 will form the next part of negotiations.
If there’s no deal, new travel rules will apply. You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland). If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
If there’s no deal, UK nationals will not need visas for short stays elsewhere in the EU. You will be able to stay up to 90 days in another EU, EEA or EFTA country, within a 180 day period. You must retain evidence of travel (e.g. train and plane tickets), in case these are requested by national authorities. If you hold a residence permit from an EU, EEA or EFTA country, you will be able to transit through other EU, EEA or EFTA countries to reach your country of residence.
If there’s no deal, the German government has said that you should allow plenty of time when re-entering Germany and make sure that have you have documentation to hand that proves that you are a long-term resident, such as your residence permit, Meldebescheinigung, correspondence concerning social insurance contributions and work or rental contracts.
For further information, read the Federal Interior Ministry FAQs.
As a resident in Germany, you must register with a health insurance company (Krankenkasse) to access healthcare. This is usually done through your employer. Ask your employer’s HR department for more information.
You are able to choose the health insurance company (in German) and in some cases you can also choose private health insurance (private Krankenversicherung) instead of the standard statutory health insurance (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung).
If you live in Germany and receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may currently be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You must apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.
If you are resident in Germany, you must not use a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from the UK to access healthcare in Germany.
When you travel from Germany for a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, you can use an EHIC to access state-provided healthcare in that country. During that short stay:
- the EHIC covers treatment that is medically necessary until your planned return home
- an EHIC is not a replacement for comprehensive travel insurance
- for more information read our travel advice pages and advice on foreign travel insurance
You can find an English-speaking doctor in Germany.
- take out health insurance for the duration of their study
- read general information about health insurance for students (in German)
- read the German government’s guide on Social Security in Germany
- read the NHS guidance on healthcare and studying abroad.
Healthcare after Brexit
If you are resident in Germany and have statutory or private health insurance from a German provider, your access to healthcare will not change. This applies if you are an employee or self-employed.
If there is a deal, your current rights on access to healthcare in Germany will remain the same until the end of the implementation period, as long as you remain a resident in Germany.
If you do not have statutory or private health insurance from a German provider and there’s no deal, your access to healthcare may change significantly. You must take action now to confirm your residency status and decide how you will ensure access to healthcare if there’s no deal.
If you are resident in Germany you must take out German health insurance. You would be required to pay towards this insurance. Contact your Krankenkasse for more information (in German) and read the Association of German Health Insurers’ FAQs.
The UK has proposed maintaining current healthcare cooperation with Germany for S1 form holders until the end of December 2020. If there’s no deal, and an arrangement with Germany to continue reciprocal healthcare has not been reached, those receiving coverage through the S1 form will not be covered. According to German no-deal legislation (in German) you will be able to join a statutory health insurance (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) within 3 months of Brexit, without being subject to the normal restrictions regarding age etc.
UK nationals will also be able to return to the UK for treatment.
Your EHIC may not be valid if there’s no deal. The UK has offered to maintain the EHIC scheme if the UK leave the EU without a deal, however this is reliant on Germany continuing to accept UK EHICs.
Read the NHS guidance on healthcare for UK nationals in Germany and how it may change after UK leaves the EU.
Working and studying in Germany
- read our guidance on working in an EU country
- read the European Union’s guidance on working in an EU country
You may need a:
- UK police certificate
- German criminal record check (Führungszeugnis) (in German) which can be ordered from your local registry office (Meldebehörde)
Working in Germany after Brexit
If there is a deal, your right to work will not change until the end of the implementation period.
Read the guidance on providing services after Brexit if you’re planning to start a business, provide a service, or do a job in a regulated profession after Brexit.
Education and professional qualifications
In Germany, schooling is compulsory for any child above the age of 6.
Education and professional qualifications after Brexit
Get your UK professional qualifications recognised in Germany before Brexit. For help with this:
- find out where you can request recognition of your qualifications in Germany on the German government’s website
- read Anerkennung in Deutschland’s FAQs on the recognition of UK professional qualifcations
- read the European Commission’s guidance on recognition of professional qualifications
A professional qualification that has already been recognised by an EU country will still be valid after Brexit.
If there is a deal, UK nationals will continue to be able to study in Germany. Students or trainees receiving BAföG funding for courses that began before the UK leaves the EU, will continue to receive this support until the end of their course.
For more information:
- read our guidance on studying in the European Union after the UK leaves the EU
- read the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research’s FAQs (in German)
- read the German government’s FAQs on Bafög funding (in German)
Money and tax
The UK has a double-taxation agreement with Germany to ensure that people do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. Send your questions about double taxation to the relevant tax authority.
Read guidance about:
- tax if you leave the UK to live abroad
- paying tax on your UK income if you live abroad
- paying income tax in Germany (from the European Union)
You will get an income tax card (Lohnsteuerkarte) with your tax number (Steuernummer), when you register your address at the local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt). Your employer will need your tax number.
For help with taxes in Germany:
- read the German finance ministry’s comprehensive guide on taxes in Germany
- search for a tax adviser to get professional advice on paying tax in Germany
Find out if you can pay National Insurance while in Germany, so that you protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.
Declaration of assets
You must file an annual declaration of assets that are held outside Germany, alongside your annual tax return. There are severe penalties if you fail to file this, or give incorrect or incomplete information.
Money and tax after Brexit
If there’s no deal, it may become more expensive to use your bank card in Germany. Read more on using a bank card, insurance or other financial service in the EU.
You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.
If you retire in Germany, you can claim:
- your UK State Pension or new UK State Pension. Contact the International Pension Centre
- your German pension, if you’ve worked in Germany
- pensions from working abroad, if you’ve worked in other EU countries
For more information on how pension entitlements are calculated, read the German Pensions’ Authority’s guidance (in German).
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.
Pensions after Brexit
The UK government will continue to pay the UK state pension, child benefits and disability benefits to those eligible in the EU after Brexit. Read our guidance on benefits and pensions if there’s no deal.
If there’s a deal and you work and pay social security contributions in Germany, you will still be able to add your UK social security contributions towards your German pension. This will happen even if you claim your pension after the end of the implementation period.
Germany’s no-deal legislation (in German), which would come into effect if there’s no deal, ensures that UK nationals living in Germany can continue to pay into Germany’s public pension system. It also ensures that any contributions you have paid in the UK for 5 years after the day the UK leaves the EU would be counted towards entitlements for a German state pension.
You must read the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs’ FAQs (in German).
The UK government will uprate your UK State Pension for the fiscal year 2019/2020 in all Brexit scenarios.
You may still be able to claim some UK benefits like child and disability benefits if you live in Germany.
- read our guidance on which benefits you can claim if you live abroad
- use our tool on UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them
You may be entitled to German benefits. Read the German government’s guide on German Social Security.
You can request proof of the time you’ve worked in the UK from HMRC, if you are asked for this.
Benefits after Brexit
The UK government will continue to pay the UK State Pension, child benefits, and disability benefits to eligible UK nationals after the UK leaves the EU. Read our guidance on benefits and pensions if there’s no deal.
If there is a deal and you work and pay social security contributions in Germany, your UK social security contributions will be taken into account when applying for German contributions-based benefits. This will happen even if you claim contributions-based benefits after the end of the implementation period.
If there’s no deal, the German government plans a 3-month transition period which may be extended to 9 months. During this time, UK nationals will continue to receive benefits they received before Brexit. For further information, consult the FAQs of the German Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (in German).
Driving in Germany
If you are a resident in Germany, you must exchange your UK licence for a German one. You can still use your German licence in the UK for short visits or exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test if you return to live in the UK.
You must exchange your UK licence for a German driving licence within 6 months of moving to Germany.
If your UK driving licence is lost, stolen or expires, you will not be able to renew it with the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) while you are resident in Germany.
Read our guidance on:
- driving abroad
- driving rules in Germany
- German road traffic regulations by the German government
- driving licences and vehicle registration in Germany
Driving after Brexit
If there is a deal, driving licence rules will stay the same during the implementation period.
If there’s no deal, your UK licence may no longer be valid in Germany. You must have exchanged your licence for a German one before Brexit. You can still use your German licence in the UK for short visits or exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test if you return to live in the UK.
Find out more:
- read our guidance on driving in the EU after the UK leaves the EU
- read the Federal Ministry of Transport’s FAQs
An International Driving Permit is not a suitable alternative to exchanging your licence.
Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to Germany
Read our guidance on taking a vehicle out of the UK.
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. To do this, contact your local vehicle registration office (Zulassungsstelle) (in German). Read the European Union’s guidance on car registration rules and taxes in Germany . You may be exempt from some of these taxes. If so, you will need certificates of exemption.
You may be able to vote in some UK elections.
If you are resident in Germany, you can vote in local municipal and European parliamentary elections until Brexit. Read the European Union’s guidance on elections abroad.
Voting after Brexit
After Brexit, UK nationals living in Germany will not be able to vote in local and European elections.
Births, deaths and getting married
If your child is born in Germany, you will need to register the birth abroad.
If someone dies in Germany:
- read our guidance on what to do after someone dies abroad
- read our guidance on deaths in Germany
- find English-speaking funeral directors in Germany
Find out how you can get married abroad.
You may also need:
- notarial and documentary services for Germany
- an English-speaking lawyer in Germany
- a translator in Germany
Accommodation and buying property
Read our guidance on buying a property abroad.
After Brexit, you will still be able to travel to and from the UK with a cat, dog or ferret, but the rules will change. Read guidance on pet travel to Europe after Brexit.
While the UK is still a Member State of the EU, you’ll be able to travel with your pet to the EU under the current pet travel rules using your current EU pet passport.
If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time you must visit your vet to get a pet passport.
Read guidance on returning your cat, dog or ferret to the UK.
For moving pet horses and other equines read guidance on export horses and ponies: special rules.
For fire or medical emergencies dial the European emergency number on 112 or German police on 110.
Users with disabilities can fax on 112 or 100 to access the emergency services.
If you’re the victim of crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis abroad, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.
Returning to the UK
Read our guidance on:
- access to benefits and services in the UK if there’s no deal
- bringing your family to the UK
- access to higher education, 19+ further education and apprenticeship funding
- importing vehicles back to the UK
- bringing your pet back to the UK
- checking your tax status after returning to the UK
If you are returning to the UK permanently, tell:
- the German authorities
- your health insurance provider (Krankenkasse)
- local service providers
- your bank
You must also deregister with your local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt).
You can exchange your EU driving licence for a UK licence without taking another test if you passed your driving test in the UK or another specified country.
To move your pension to the UK contact:
If you get healthcare in Germany through the S1 form, you must contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0)191 218 1999 to make sure your S1 is cancelled at the right time.
This information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the German authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.