The Aufenthaltsdokument-GB is a residence permit that needs to be applied for by UK citizens living in Germany if they were living in Germany prior to the start of the official Brexit starting point (1st January 2021). This document shows that the UK citizen in question benefited from their right of free movement as an EU citizen to move to Germany. Once this document has been obtained you can rest easy and know that your future in Germany is secure, you may even be able to plan for German citizenship in the future. In this article, we will outline the requirements for the Aufenthaltsdokument-GB and explore other options available to UK citizens in Germany.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our immigration law team works with clients globally with all of their needs in German immigration law. We also advise both business and private clients on their requirements in the post-Brexit environment. If you require expert legal assistance from highly qualified German legal professionals, look no further.

If you have a particular issue or legal question concerning Brexit legal issues, you can contact our law office anytime. Our lawyers for Brexit Affairs in Germany can be reached by phone, email and also provide video conferencing options. For more legal information, please visit our Brexit Information Center.

Who Needs the Aufenthaltsdokument-GB

The Aufenthaltsdokument-GB is needed by those living and working in Germany and have it as their main residence. It also extends to UK students in Germany, self-employed and self-sufficient individuals who have made Germany their home (and where they can show they have enough money to live on and have comprehensive health insurance). To apply for the Aufenthaltsdokument-GB, the following conditions must apply to your case:

  • UK Citizenship: you must be a UK citizen and possess a UK passport.
  • Do not possess dual EU or EEA citizenship. If you possess dual citizenship with an EU or an EEA country, you still benefit from European freedom of movement. You do not need a residence permit to remain in Germany. The EEA countries are Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
  • A family member of a UK national: if you are a family member of a UK citizen and do not possess EU or EEA citizenship, you can also apply for the Aufenthaltsdokument-GB.
  • Residing in Germany by 31/12/2020: Germany must be your place of residence, and you must have made the move before the beginning of Brexit.

You will need to apply at your local Foreigners’ Office to gain this residence permit. Your local Foreigners’ Office may have already written to you about the process, and where they have, it is advisable to follow the instructions provided. If they have not written to you and have written to other UK citizens in the local area, it is worth contacting them to inquire why you were not contacted directly. The deadline for the application is 30.06.2021.

The Aufenthaltsdokument-GB is not the same as the Anmeldung (registration) that you need to do upon moving to a German city; even if you have an Anmeldung, you still need to complete the Aufenthaltsdokument application.

Legal issues can arise where the local Foreigners’ Office question whether your German residence is your main place of residence. Further issues may arise as to when the local authorities registered your place of residence. Should you find yourself facing such disputes, you can contact our immigration lawyers to examine your case and determine the legal avenues available to you. Should the case need to be resolved in court, our team will be by your side and guide you through the entire process.

Required Documentation

The required documentation varies depending on your circumstances. You will need your passport (and those of the applicable family members) as well as biometric photographs. From there, the documents are based on whether you are an employee, a student, a retiree or self-employed. Employees will need to provide proof of salary (a payslip, for example). In contrast, students will need to show that they are enrolled in a German university, and school pupils can use a school certificate. Self-employed freelancers can demonstrate their status by a copy of their business registration.

Support from German Immigration Lawyers with the Aufenthaltsdokument-GB

Facing the German immigration authorities and bureaucracy can generally be challenging. The current situation regarding the Coronavirus pandemic lockdowns and further restrictions has not made this prospect any easier. Working alongside our immigration law team ensures that you receive expert advice from experienced professionals who deal with such bureaucracy regularly. Our team will oversee your entire application and will accelerate the Aufenthaltsdokument-GB process wherever possible. We will ensure that your application follows the requirements and make you aware of the applicable deadlines, the required paperwork and much more. Overall, we aim to reduce the pressure by overseeing the entire application.

Should any legal issues or disputes arise, our lawyers will be by your side throughout. We are aware of the difficulties inherent when there are question marks over a person’s residency status. We are here to help you resolve those issues reliably and efficiently. Our dedicated immigration team have expertly advised private clients from all over the world, and we are available to represent you in any immigration law case. We also support business clients whose employees require the Aufenthaltsdokument-GB and are having problems with the process.

German Citizenship and Other Options

German citizenship is an option that may be available to you. By gaining German citizenship, you will have the right to Freedom of Movement within the European Union. You will have many more rights within Germany, such as extended voting rights, easier access to German universities and the ability to remain in Germany without fulfilling residency permit requirements. On our page “How to Get German Citizenship“, we provide all the options available to you, such as German Citizenship by birth, citizenship by marriage and Citizenship by Descent.

However, the most likely route for German citizenship by UK citizens in Germany is the process of “naturalization”. Naturalization is provided for under § 10 StAG (Nationality Act), and it outlines that a person can apply for German citizenship in the following circumstances, they:

  • have an unlimited right of residence in Germany,
  • have been lawfully and habitually resident in the country for eight years,
  • can earn a living for themselves and their family without recourse to social assistance or unemployment benefit,
  • have sufficient knowledge of German: for adults, language level B1 is required, for those under 16 years of age, language development appropriate to their age,
  • have not been convicted of any criminal offence,
  • renounces or loses their previous citizenship,
  • is committed to the German Constitution and does not support any anti-constitutional efforts or credibly distance themselves from previous support,
  • have passed the naturalization test on the German legal and social order.

Renouncing citizenship is not always required, but dual citizenship Germany UK is a highly complex issue, and questions in this field are best answered by a legal expert examining your individual case. If you require more advice on German naturalization, make sure to contact our legal team directly.

Options for UK Citizens Moving to Germany in 2021

The Aufenthaltsdokument-GB is designed for those who were residing in Germany before the end of the Brexit Transition Period. However, those planning on moving to Germany post-Transition Period must pursue other options. Residence permits such as the EU Blue Card, the ICT Card and the Job Seekers’ Visa can be gained by those looking for employment in Germany. Entrepreneurs, investors and those seeking self-employment can gain a visa under § 21 German Residency Act allowing them to set up companies in Germany. It is also possible for retirees to move to and retire in Germany by applying for a temporary residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) which they can renew afterwards before gaining a permanent residence permit in Germany.

Our team of German immigration lawyers are here to assist you in whichever way you intend to move to Germany. We can guide you through all the legal requirements when planning the move to Germany.

Representation in Immigration Law and Brexit Issues

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, we are a full-service law firm in Germany with offices in Cologne, Aachen and Düsseldorf and conference room facilities across Germany. As a full-service law firm, we provide comprehensive legal guidance to both business and private clients across all areas of German law. As the fallout of Brexit continues to cause complications, creative legal solutions are often required in complex situations. Our firm is dedicated to providing tailored answers for those legal difficulties, and client satisfaction is central to our firm’s philosophy.

For legal guidance on the Aufenthaltsdokument-GB, advice in the midst of a legal dispute or further assistance on other Brexit-related issues, contact our firm directly. Our team of expert lawyers advise in English and German as well as a range of other languages. Our lawyers are ready when you are.