What happens if Brits in Germany don't apply for post-Brexit residence card by deadline?
Britons who were legally living in Germany before the end of the transition period are being urged to register for a residence document before June 30th. We look at what happens if people miss the deadline.
British people, who lived legally in Germany before December 31st 2020, have been strongly urged to report their residence to their local immigration office (usually known as Ausländerbehörde).
They can then receive a residence document (Aufenthaltsdokument-GB), which will be helpful for providing proof of the right to carry on living and working in Germany, or when travelling.
For people who have dual British and German citizenship, the German Interior Ministry advises that they do not need this residence document as they are classed as German.
Those who hold another EU citizenship (for example, an Irish passport), are eligible for the Aufenthaltsdokument-GB but the Interior Ministry has advised that you do not need to get one.
Note that this is different to registering your address in Germany (the Anmeldung process) which everyone has to do.
Are there any conditions?
The Withdrawal Agreement protects UK nationals who were living in Germany (or the host EU state in question) in accordance with the conditions which EU law on free movement attaches to the right of residence.
So UK nationals generally meet these conditions if they: are working or are self-employed, or have sufficient resources to support themselves and have health insurance, or are family members of another UK national who meets these conditions, or have already acquired the right of permanent residence.
Individuals keep their rights as long as they meet the conditions of at least one category.
Brits also have to have been legally resident in Germany before the end of the transition period (December 31st 2020). So if you moved this year, you won't be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, unfortunately.
The deadline to apply to your local Ausländerbehörde is fast approaching - it's June 30th 2021.
It varies depending on where you live. Some British people in Germany may have received a letter with instructions on what to do, while others - such as Berlin - have asked Brits to register on a website and they sent out details of an appointment at the immigration office at a later date.
Some places require Britons to take action and directly get in touch with the immigration office. If you're not sure what applies to you, the best thing to do is to get in touch with your local Ausländerbehörde and ask them.
When invited to an appointment, you will need to bring documents - such as a valid British passport and proof of your residence in Germany before December 31st 2020.
You can read experiences of people around Germany in the link below.
So what happens to people who miss that deadline?
The simple answer to this is: nothing major will happen, but it could make life harder.
Germany has opted for a declaratory system for Brits living in the country.
“This means that you do not have to apply for your rights: if you are in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement, then you already have your rights by force of law,” said Matt Bristow of citizens' rights group British in Germany.
So if you miss the June 30th deadline for reporting your residence in Germany, it won't affect your rights to live and work in Germany.
And, Germany has also chosen not to impose any fines or penalties on British nationals who do not register their residence before June 30th.
But authorities in Germany and the UK are still urging people to register their residence before the deadline - and then they'll get the residence document in due course.
The main thing is to report to the immigration office - don't worry if you haven't received an appointment or your card before June 30th. The important thing is to have contacted the office.
- Brits in Germany – What do you need to do to secure your post-Brexit rights and by when?
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British Ambassador to Germany, Jill Gallard, told The Local: “I strongly urge UK nationals in Germany to take action before the 30th of June.
"It is straightforward to report your residence to your local foreigners authority, and then follow the process for a new residence document.
"This document will make it easier to prove your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. You will need to be able to do this in various situations in future, such as for international travel, job applications or benefit claims”.