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December 2020 3 minutes

Brexit: What should British citizens living in Germany know?

An overview of the steps British citizen must take before December 31st 2020

On January 31st 2020 Great Britain left the European Union after the settlement of the Withdrawal Agreement. At the moment we are in the transition period, which ends on December 31st 2020. Until that day British citizens are still granted the right to freedom of movement within the EU and, thus, continue to be able to travel, settle and live in EU countries. Nevertheless, since the end of the transition period is drawing closer, it’s crucial you act now to ensure you can legally stay in the EU. 

British citizens in Germany: what steps do you need to take?

We know this time can be stressful for British citizens living in Germany. With this article, we aim to give you an overview of the situation in Germany and provide you with a precise list of steps to tick off on your To-Do list. In this way you get all the administrative tasks done quickly and effectively. With the bureaucratic hassle out of the way you can fully enjoy the Christmas period and look forward to a - hopefully much better - year of 2021 in Germany.

The first steps: what do you need to do right now?

Registration as a resident: 

Register yourself with your local Foreigners Authority (Ausländerbehörde). Depending on your registration status of arrival, there are three possibilities:

  • Currently not registered as a resident: You are required to register with the local registration office if you stay in Germany for more than 3 months. Do register before December 31st 2020 to continue to hold the right of freedom of movement within the EU. 

  • Already registered as a resident: You can remain in Germany after the end of the transition period, however, you have to get a new residence document (Aufenthaltsdokument-GB) by reporting your residence to your local Foreigners Authority (Ausländerbehörde) by June 30th 2021.

  • You only come to Germany after December 31st 2020: Immigration rules for third-country nationals will apply to you. 

Life in Germany post-Brexit

The following sections will summarise the regulations and laws governing life as a British citizen in Germany after December 31st 2020. 


You maintain your right to work in Germany, as long as you are registered as a resident in Germany before December 31st 2020. Depending on your employer, you may need a UK police certificate and/or a German criminal record check (Führungszeugnis) which can be ordered from your local registry office.


When you register as a resident in Germany you will receive an income tax ID. Since Great Britain has a double taxation agreement with Germany you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. The existing double taxation arrangements for UK nationals living in Germany will likely not change. 

Banking arrangements should stay the same after the end of the transition period on December 31st 2020. If your finance provider needs to make any alterations to one of your products, they will contact you directly. 


Until the end of the transition period on December 31st 2020, the legislation on driving license exchange will remain the same. As a resident in Germany, you are obliged to exchange your UK license for a German license within 6 months of registering as a resident. If you bring a UK-registered car to Germany, you must also register it with the German authorities within 6 months. International driving permits are not recognised as a suitable alternative to exchanging your driver’s license.

Do you still have doubts about what you must do to legally stay in Germany or other EU-member states post-Brexit?

We have created a comprehensive guide on how British citizens can remain compliant with the new regulations in Germany and other EU-member states. In case you still have further questions that are not answered in this article nor by the guide, please send us a message or schedule a free consultation - we will be happy to help you!

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