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.

What happens if Brits in Germany don't apply for post-Brexit residence card by deadline?
A British passport. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Andy Rain


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. 

VIDEO: What Brits in Germany should know about residency 

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.

READ ALSO: Brits in Germany urged to apply for residency before end of June deadline

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.

READ MORE: Postcode lottery – Brits in Germany on what it’s like to apply for the post-Brexit residence card

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. 


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”.  

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How roaming charges will hit travellers between the UK and EU in 2022

Trips between Europe and the UK and vice versa may well become more expensive for many travellers in 2022 as UK mobile operators bring back roaming charges. However there is some good news for all EU residents.

People look at their mobile phones.
How travellers between the EU and UK could be hit by roaming charges in 2022 (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP)

EU ‘roams like at home’ at least until 2032

First the good news. The European Union is set to decide to extend free roaming until 2032, so if you have your phone contract registered in an EU country you don’t have to worry about extra charges.

In addition to waiving the charges, the new regulation aims to ensure that travellers benefit of the same quality of service they have at home when travelling within the EU. If they have a 5G contract, for instance, they should also get 5G through the EU if possible. 

Under new rules, travellers should be given information about access to emergency services, including for people with disabilities.

Consumers should also be protected from prohibitive bills caused by inadvertent roaming on satellite networks when travelling on ferries or aeroplanes.

The final text of the new regulation was provisionally agreed in December. The European Parliament and Council will formally endorse it in the coming weeks.

UK companies reintroducing roaming charges this year

And now the bad news for travellers to the EU from the UK

Customers of UK mobile phone operators face higher fees when travelling in Europe this year, as some companies are bringing back roaming charges for calls, text messages and data downloaded during temporary stays in the EU.

This is one of the many consequences of the UK withdrawal from the European Union. Because of Brexit, the UK is no longer part of the EU’s “roam like at home” initiative which was designed to avoid shocking bills after holidays or business trips abroad.

The EU’s roaming regulation allows people travelling in the European Economic Area (EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) to make calls, send texts and browse the web using their regular plans at no extra cost. Switzerland is not part of the scheme, although some mobile phone providers offer roaming deals or special prices to cover travel in Switzerland.

Under EU rules, if the plan’s allowance is exceeded, the roaming fee is also capped at €0.032 per minute of voice call, €0.01 per SMS and €2.5 + VAT per gigabyte downloaded in 2022 (it was €3 + VAT in 2021). The wholesale price networks can charge each other is capped too.

The regulation was adopted for an initial period of five years and is due to expire on June 30th 2022. But the EU is preparing to extend it for another ten years. This time, however, the UK will not be covered. 

Which UK companies are reintroducing charges?

Three major UK network operators this year will reintroduce roaming charges for travels in the EU.

As of January 6th 2022, Vodafone UK will charge customers with monthly plans started after August 11th 2021 £2 per day to roam in the EU. The amount can be reduced to £1 per day by purchasing a pass for 8 or 15 days. Free roaming continues for earlier contracts, Data Xtra plans and for travels to Ireland.  

From March 3rd 2022, EE will also charge £2 per day to roam in 47 European locations, Ireland excluded. The new policy will apply to plans started from July 7th 2021. Alternatively, EE offers the Roam Abroad Pass, which allows roaming abroad for a month for £10. 

Another operator that announced a £2 daily fee to roam in the EEA, except for Ireland, is Three UK. The charge will apply from May 23rd 2022 for plans started or upgraded since October 1st 2021. The data allowance in monthly plans that can be used abroad is also capped at 12 gigabytes. 

O2 already introduced in August last year a 25-gigabyte cap (or less if the plan’s allowance is lower) to data that can be downloaded for free while travelling in Europe. Above that, customers are charged £3.50 per gigabyte. 

Other mobile operators said they have no intention to bring back roaming charges in the short term, but if won’t be surprising if they do so in the future. 

Sue Davies, Head of Consumer Protection Policy at UK consumer organisation Which? was disappointed at the changes and urged the UK and EU to “strike a deal on roaming charges” to stop companies “chipping away at the roaming benefits customers have become used to” and “prevent the return of the excessive charges people used to encounter.” 

By law, charges for mobile data used abroad remain capped at £45 per month and consumers can only continue data roaming only if they actively chose to keep spending. 

What about EU residents travelling to the UK?

In the EU, most mobile phone operators seem keen to continue free roaming for travels to the UK, but some have announced changes too.

In Sweden, Telenor aligned UK’s prices to those of non-EEA countries on May 1st 2021 while still allowing free roaming for some plans. 

Another Swedish operator, Telia, ended free roaming with the UK and Gibraltar on September 13th 2021 giving customers the option to access 200 megabytes of data for SEK 99 per day. People travelling to the UK can also buy a weekly pass allowing to make calls, send texts and download 1 GB of data. 

In Germany Telefónica Deutschland and 1 & 1 have extended current conditions for the UK until at least the end of 2022. However companies may keep other options open depending on negotiations with roaming partners. 

A1 Telekom Austria brought roaming charges back for the UK last June. Customers now have to pay €2.49 per minute for outgoing calls and €1.49 per minute for incoming calls if they are in the UK or Gibraltar. An SMS costs 99 cents and each 100 KB of data €1.49. 

This article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK.