Updated: Jan 26
This article provides the latest position (as of 24.01.2020) for UK citizens looking to move to Berlin after Brexit day. It will cover your immediate rights after the 31st of January (the day the UK leaves the EU), the terms of the transition period and what your chances are of staying long-term in Germany. The post will also take a look at how Nomaden Berlin can help guide you through your move and help you relocate to Berlin after Brexit.
The UK’s departure from the EU
It seems the first stage of the perennial Brexit headache is coming to a close. Since the pivotal decision to leave the EU on the 23rd of June 2016, the UK has limped through 3 years of uncertainty, frustration and confusion.
But now that the Brexit withdrawal agreement has finally cleared the UK Parliament, it is a near certainty that the UK will officially leave the EU at 11 a.m. on the 31st of January 2020.
After 45 years of EU membership, it’s coming to an end people. But does this really mean your dreams of living in Berlin will come to an abrupt halt as of the 31st of January?
The short answer is no! As a withdrawal agreement has been agreed with the EU, a ruinous ‘cliff-edge’ scenario has thankfully been averted and British citizens now move into a transition period with the EU.
So, what does this mean?
What is the Brexit transition period and how does this affect my chances of moving to Berlin?
In short, the transition period is an 11-month period that will start on the 31st of January and run until the 31st of December 2020. During this transition period, the UK will continue to be considered an EU state, and British citizens will still be able to enjoy all the rights that this entails.
Importantly, this also includes the right to freedom of movement within the EU, meaning
British citizens are free to move, live and work in any EU/EEA country during the transition period.
While an obvious downgrade to a permanent right to freedom of movement afforded by EU membership, you still have an 11-month window to make the move to Berlin under the same conditions as before Brexit.
As it stands, the withdrawal agreement ensures that anyone registered as living in Berlin at the end of the transition period (31st of December 2020) will have the right to stay in Germany. This is confirmed by the latest position of the UK Government, who state:
So, I just need to fly into Berlin before the clock strikes midnight on the 31st of December 2020 and all will be dandy?! Well, not quite – and this is where things become slightly less clear at this stage.
Can I continue living in Berlin after the Brexit transition period?
As stated above, you will be permitted to stay in Berlin after Brexit if you are registered as living in Berlin at the end of the transition period.
Address Registration in Berlin
But being ‘registered’ doesn’t simply mean arriving in Berlin. You’ll need to be officially registered at an address in Berlin, a process that is known as Anmeldung. We’ve covered everything you need to know about registering an address in our blog post: Anmeldung in Berlin!
While the process of registering an address is relatively straightforward, the current rental market in Berlin makes it extremely tricky to find a suitable address that will allow you to register there.
This is where Nomaden Berlin can help – our Berlin Pro and Berlin Kickstarter programmes include 30-day private studio accommodation including Anmeldung. And our address registration service will ensure you get officially registered within days of arriving in Berlin – so as the 31st of December deadline looms, with our support you can rest assured that you have fulfilled this major criterion for staying in Berlin after the Brexit transition period.
Residence Permit in Berlin
In addition to registering at an address, you’ll also be required to apply for a residence permit at the immigration office in Berlin before the end of the Brexit transition period.
The German authorities are yet to confirm the residence permit application process for British citizens. But as the Berlin immigration authorities have already stated they will be generous when it comes to the legal status of British citizens who are officially registered in Berlin at the end of the transition period, we expect that this will be a simple process. In all likelihood, you’ll be required to show a valid passport, your address registration certificate (see above) and possibly proof that you can financially sustain your life in Berlin.
Nomaden Berlin is receiving weekly updates from the UK and German authorities with regards to the Brexit situation. If you opt to move with our Berlin Pro or Berlin Kickstarter services, we’ll not only ensure you get officially registered on arrival in Berlin, but we’ll also ensure you are fully prepared for any residence permit appointment at the immigration office in Berlin. Through our support, we’ll ensure you know exactly when, where and how to apply for your German residence permit after Brexit, thus giving you the best possible chance to stay long-term in Berlin!
Can I move to Berlin after the transition period ends?
As stated above, the process for moving to Berlin during the transition period is relatively clear. In addition, the long-term outlook for expats wanting to stay in Berlin is good if you move during this transition period.
However, we get into much murkier waters if you opt to move to Berlin after the 31st of December 2020 (the end of the transition period). So far, nothing has been agreed between the UK and the EU – as well as attempting to negotiate a trade deal in the next 11 months, the two parties will be hashing out details regarding citizens’ rights for after the transition period (or at least we hope!).
While entirely speculative at this stage, it is likely that UK citizens moving after the Brexit transition period will be subject to similar visa restrictions as US, Canadian or Australian citizens. While definitely manageable, this would mean UK citizens would need a valid work or study visa in order to stay – a process that is likely to be far more uncertain, complicated and expensive than for UK citizens that were registered as living in Berlin before the end of the transition period.
For these reasons, we definitely recommend moving to Berlin and becoming legally resident prior to the end of the transition period (31st December 2020)!
For further information about how Nomaden Berlin can support you through your relocation to Berlin after Brexit, check out our relocation programmes to Berlin or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.