FAQ on Brexit and the online registration form of the Berlin Immigration Office

Information by the British Embassy in Berlin

  • On its website, the British Embassy offers British citizens extensive information about Brexit and the opportunity to ask questions online.
  • On the official information page Living in Germany you will find further practical information on questions such as the right of residence, health insurance, driving license and all about the exit agreement between Great Britain and the EU.
  • In the handout of the British Embassy, the most important information is clearly summarized in a compact form.

"Information about your rights to live in or move to Germany" (British Embassy handout)

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General aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement and its application in Berlin

  • Under the Withdrawal Agreement UK nationals, together with their dependants living with them, who are staying in Berlin in accordance with EU law on 31.12.2020 will continue to be able to stay here. From 01.01.2021 onwards rights can no longer arise under the Withdrawal Agreement. Separate rules apply for children born or adopted from 01.01.2021 onwards.
  • Anyone who was exercising free movement rights in Germany may continue to stay here. This right only applies for Germany, but not for other EU member states.
  • The following information sets out the procedure in Berlin. If you live in another German state, please contact your local Foreigners Authority (Ausländerbehörde) there.
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  • You must be a UK national or a dependant of a UK national living in Germany or moving here by 31.12.2020 and continuing to reside here after 31.12.2020. It suffices if you arrive in Germany just before 01.01.2021 and stay here as a job-seeker.
  • Workers (including those in vocational training), the self-employed, students and job-seekers are all beneficiaries. Those not engaged in economic activity are also covered as long as they have enough funds for their own subsistence and health insurance cover.
  • Knowledge of German is not required.
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  • Anyone temporarily outside Germany at the end of the Transition Period (31.12.2020) is still covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.
  • Temporary interruptions are those of less than six months in a calendar year, or longer periods of absence of up to 12 months for important reasons (such as pregnancy, serious illness or studies).
  • You can find information about this on the Federal Interior Ministry website at this link.
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  • You can find more information about whether you have a right of permanent residence or another right of residence under the Withdrawal Agreement on the website of the Federal Interior Ministry (BMI) at this link.
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  • As an EU citizen you are still entitled to exercise free movement rights irrespective of Brexit, and so you can travel freely around and stay in the entire territory of the EU. In order to do so you do not have to register, since you do not need any particular residence document for your stay.
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  • As a German citizen you do not require a residence document from Berlin Immigration Office.
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Family reunification

  • Dependants of UK nationals and their spouses or partners living here can join them regardless of nationality. You may fall within scope of the Withdrawal Agreement on account of your family ties to a UK national who is a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement.
  • The following family members within scope are:
    • spouses,
    • registered partners,
    • direct descendants (children, grandchildren etc.) of the UK national or spouse or registered partner up to the age of 21 or else in receipt of maintenance from them, and
    • direct ascendants (parents, grandparents etc.) of the UK national or spouse or registered partner if they are in receipt of maintenance from them.
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  • In cases of family reunification where the Withdrawal Agreement does not apply because applicants do not meet the necessary condition of requisite family ties existing on 31.12.2020, the arrangements for family reunification are provided for under the general framework of national residence law.
  • In other cases the Withdrawal Agreement may provide for more favourable treatment.
  • You can find information about this on the Federal Interior Ministry website at this link.
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  • Subject to certain conditions a child who, within or outside Germany after 31.12.2020, is born to or lawfully adopted by a UK national who has rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, can also derive rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.
  • You can find information about this on the Federal Interior Ministry website at this link.
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Online registration / notification of residence

  • UK nationals already living in Berlin or moving here by 31.12.2020 and continuing to live in Berlin will be issued with a GB residence document by Berlin Immigration Office as proof of their right of residence.
  • This also applies to family members who are not UK nationals. Anyone claiming a right of residence under the Withdrawal Agreement is obliged to notify their local Foreigners Authority of their residence by 30.06.2021.
  • Registration at the local registration office does not suffice as notification of residence!
  • The notification of residence serves as proof of your residence rights and records your right to engage in economic activity.
  • In the course of 2021 we will issue appointments to everyone who has registered.
  • Failure to comply with the duty to notify is neither a criminal nor a regulatory offence. It does, however, mean that you bear the burden of any complications arising such as difficulties in proving your lawful residence.
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  • All UK nationals and their family members who move their place of residence to Berlin by 31.12.2020 and continue to live in Berlin after 01.01.2021 must register online with Berlin Immigration Office by 30.06.2021 (notification of residence). This ensures that the rights of residence you have acquired in Germany are retained beyond 31.12.2020.
  • If you are not staying or do not wish to stay in Berlin for longer than three months, you do not need to register.
  • If you do not live in Berlin, please consult your local Foreigners Authority in your place of residence.
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  • The online registration process is only for UK nationals and their family members who already have their primary place of residence in Berlin.
  • If you do not (yet) live in Berlin, please consult the local Foreigners Authority in your current place of residence.
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  • If you have more than one registered place of residence in Germany, the responsible Foreigners Authority is the one in your principal place of residence (Hauptwohnsitz).
  • Please do not use our online form if you are only registered at a secondary place of residence (Nebenwohnsitz) in Berlin. Instead you should contact the Foreigners Authority in your principal place of residence.
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  • If you are not registered in Germany but simply commute for work to Berlin from another EU state or third country, you cannot register online.
  • In such cases please get in touch with our unit E 5 to apply for a GB frontier-worker residence document.
  • If you are not working in Berlin, please consult the local Foreigners Authority in your place of work.
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  • Yes. Your registration at the Citizens Office only records you as a resident of Berlin. This has no bearing on your status under national residence law in Germany.
  • We therefore ask you to register on our website by 30.06.2021.
  • The confirmation of registration you receive after entering your data can be saved and printed out, and serves as a record of your legal residence in Germany.
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  • Yes. By registering online you have complied with the obligation to notify us of your residence. Your notification of residence has no effect on your obligation to register your place of abode, meaning that you still need to register your address with your local Citizens Office separately.
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  • Please register online.
  • Your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement are secured, even if it was not possible for you to register your address with the Citizens Office by 31.12.2020.
  • When you come to attend an appointment with us, there are other ways in which you can credibly demonstrate that you moved to Berlin before 01.01.2021, for example by presenting a tenancy or job contract.
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  • If you move within Berlin, please use this contact form to notify us of your new address. We will then update your data entry.
  • If you move outside Berlin or indeed leave Germany completely, we would also ask you to notify us using the contact form. In that case please then register with the Foreigners Authority in your new place of residence.
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  • No, please do not re-register. The residence title issued to you means you are staying lawfully in Germany, can prove your status and travel visa-free within the Schengen Area.
  • In principle the GB residence document will be issued when your residence title needs to be updated because your passport has expired or a temporary residence title needs to be extended.
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  • Berlin Immigration Office is already using a variety of channels including its official website and press releases to highlight the possibility of online registration. We are grateful for your support in helping to reach all UK nationals in Berlin.
  • If you know of someone who is unable to complete the form themselves, please offer them your support by helping them to complete the form, or else put us in contact with them using our contact form so that we can support them ourselves.
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  • Please don‘t re-register!
  • A change in the purpose of residence is of no importance with regard to the acquisition of rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, and therefore you do not need to notify us of this.
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  • Please do not re-register!
  • Please instead use our contact form so we can amend your data entry.
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  • The data we collect as part of our online form are processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation.
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Online registration / notification of residence for families

  • If in addition to being a UK citizen you also have German citizenship or are a national of another EU member state, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein, then you do not need to register on our website. You retain your existing free movement rights.
  • If, however, in addition to being a UK citizen you are a citizen of a third country 1, we recommend that you do register. The same applies to any of your family members who are only citizens of a third country 1.
1 A country which is neither an EU member state nor Iceland, Liechtenstein nor Norway.
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  • Please enter all relatives, providing information about their respective nationalities in the relevant field.
  • German family members should however not be entered.
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  • Where families living together in a shared home are concerned, please ensure that only one adult member completes the form. The spouse and/or children should be entered in the appropriate fields of the form. It doesn’t matter what nationality your family members have (though this does not apply to German nationals).
  • Where family members live in a separate household in Berlin rather than being registered with you, they will need to register separately using the form. This also applies to grown-up children living together with their parents.
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  • Please do not re-register!
  • We will correct your entry with regard to family status. Please use our contact form for this purpose.
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Certificate confirming online registration / notification of residence

  • You will not receive a separate confirmation of your registration (e.g. in the form of an email) from Berlin Immigration Office.
  • When you send us the completed form you will see a summary of your entry and a confirmation of successful registration (notification of residence) displayed on your screen.
  • This registration corresponds to the requirements of Article 18 Paragraph 4 of the Withdrawal Agreement in conjunction with Article 8 Paragraph 2 of Directive 2004/38/EC.
  • We urge you to print out this confirmation and to save a copy for your records.
  • If you did not print the confirmation or save a copy, you can use our contact form to request a copy. We will then send you another confirmation.
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  • We have begun issuing e-mail invitations to a personal appointment, in order of priority, for people who used our registration service.
  • We therefore ask you to check your email account and junk folder regularly.
  • To optimise the process we categorised all those who registered in different groups. The first batch of appointments are being offered to those people who have resided in Germany for five years or more.
  • We kindly ask for your understanding that we cannot issue invitations in the immediate future to everyone who has made use of the online registration process.
  • We are working to ensure that we can offer an appointment as quickly as possible to everyone who has registered. Until such time we would ask for your patience.
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  • If you no longer have the certificate you can use our contact form to request a copy. We will then send you another certificate.
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  • The certificate serves as proof of your notification of residence and as confirmation that you were lawfully residing in Germany in accordance with EU law by 31.12.2020. Your right of residence in Germany is retained from 01.01.2021 onwards.
  • The certificate makes reference to the fact that you (and where relevant also your family members) are entitled to engage in economic activity.
  • Should you encounter any difficulties with your employer/landlord/other public authorities etc., please refer them to the information on our website.
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  • The certificate is only valid until a decision is taken to issue a document proving your right of residence. This requires that you attend the appointment given to you by Berlin Immigration Office.
  • In light of the high number of UK nationals living in Berlin and the restrictions on our customer service as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it will not be possible to issue a GB residence document to everyone at the start of 2021. Appointments will be issued throughout 2021, i.e. also for the period beyond the deadline for notification of residence on 30.06.2021.
  • We therefore ask for your patience at this time, please refrain from follow-up questions.
  • Should you be prevented from attending your appointment and inform us of this in advance, this will not affect the validity of your certificate. Please get in touch and we will postpone your appointment.
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  • The certificate you receive was issued by Berlin Immigration Office in accordance with the requirements of the Withdrawal Agreement in conjunction with Directive 2004/38/EC. Since each Foreigners Authority has discretion to design their own processes for UK nationals, the procedures and certificates will inevitably vary across Germany.
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Residence documents

  • The GB residence document and the GB frontier-worker residence document can be ordered by Berlin Immigration Office from 01.01.2021 onwards. The document will be produced by the Federal Printing Office as an electronic residence title (eAT).
  • It will take around 6 weeks to receive the residence document once it has been ordered.
  • We will therefore start to issue invitations on 01.12.2020 to registered persons to attend appointments at Berlin Immigration Office. In light of the high number of customers to be served we ask for your understanding that it can take the whole of 2021 to process everyone.
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  • We will invite as a matter of priority those who have registered online to attend an appointment from 01.01.2021 onwards.
  • So please regularly check your emails including your junk folder.
  • The invitation will list all the documents you need to bring with you to the appointment. Customers will be served at all Berlin Immigration Office sites.
  • In your own interest we would like to ask that you make sure you attend this appointment. For reasons of organisation and capacity we will be unable to issue you with an alternative appointment in the near future.
  • We ask for your understanding that we cannot invite everyone who has registered to an appointment straight away. We are working to ensure that we can offer an appointment as soon as possible to everyone who registers.
  • Appointments will be issued for the whole of 2021. When issuing appointments we will consider whether the temporal conditions for permanent residence (five years of residence in Germany) will be met by 31.12.2021. Where for example an individual reaches five years of residence in September 2021, we would not issue an appointment until after September 2021, since this would enable us to assess the grant of permanent residence, which is a more favourable status for you.
  • We kindly ask for your patience.
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  • No, attendance at a further appointment is not necessary.
  • We will send you the GB residence document or GB frontier-worker residence document by post as quickly as possible. It will take around 6 weeks to send you the electronic residence document after it has been ordered.
  • When you receive the electronic residence document in the post, please read the guidance in the accompanying letter carefully.
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  • A fee of €28.80 will be charged for issuing a GB residence document.
  • For individuals under the age of 24 the fee is €22.80.
  • For holders of an existing permanent residence card the GB residence document will be issued free of charge.
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  • From 01.01.2021 onwards we will start issuing invitations by email to attend appointments, prioritising those who have registered online.
  • So please regularly check your emails including your junk folder.
  • We ask for your understanding that we cannot invite everyone who has registered online to an appointment immediately. We are working to ensure that we can offer an appointment as soon as possible to everyone who has registered.
  • We kindly ask for your patience.
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  • Third-country nationals can continue to use their temporary and permanent residence cards after 31.12.2020 in order to prove their earlier status as third-country nationals exercising free movement rights.
  • Until 31.12.2021 third-country nationals who derive a right of residence under the Withdrawal Agreement from their relationship to a UK national can use temporary and permanent residence cards issued under the German EU Free Movement Act (FreizügG/EU).
  • Where a right of residence can only be derived from the Withdrawal Agreement, these cards expire on 31.12.2021. In such cases you will require a GB residence document from 01.01.2022.
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Economic activity, subsistence, recourse to public funds, language ability

  • Yes. All residence rights under the Withdrawal Agreement include an entitlement to work. This entitlement to engage in economic activity is not dependent on the possession of documents, in particular the GB residence document or the GB frontier-worker residence document, although we will certify this entitlement when you register with us.
  • For further informations for employers and employees see the fact sheet on the Federal Interior Ministry website here.
  • For UK nationals who do not have a right of residence under the Withdrawal Agreement, the entitlement to work is regulated by the relevant national laws (the Residence Act, the Residence Regulation and the Employment Regulation).
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  • No. The Withdrawal Agreement has been ratified by both the United Kingdom and the European Union. The UK’s departure from the EU thus ensued in an orderly process on 31.01.2020.
  • As a result of this orderly departure, until 31.12.2020 UK nationals and their family members will be treated for the purposes of residence law as though the UK were still a member of the EU.
  • The certificate displayed on your screen after you complete the online form serves as proof of your online registration (notification of residence) with Berlin Immigration Office.
  • Provided you are entitled to exercise your free movement rights in Berlin, your right of residence in Germany is retained pending a decision by Berlin Immigration Office to issue a GB residence document. Until that point you continue to remain entitled to engage in unlimited economic activity, draw child benefit, apply for a public housing support certificate (WBS) etc.
  • Your employer does not require any additional permit in order to continue employing you.
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  • Yes. You are entitled to obtain the residence title granting you the most favourable legal status. It is true that under the Withdrawal Agreement there is no time restriction on your entitlement to engage in economic activity, whereas the Blue Card may be restricted to four years. However, a Blue Card gives you a broader scope of mobility rights than the GB residence document, since it also covers the EU and EEA.
  • If you come to Germany after 31.12.2020 and would like to work here, like all third-country nationals you can apply for a Blue Card or other residence titles in accordance with the general rules of German residence law.
  • In this case please get in touch with our unit E 5.
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  • No. Since you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, you can continue to study and work or engage in self-employed activity without restrictions. All residence rights under the Withdrawal Agreement entail an entitlement to unrestricted engagement in economic activity.
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  • If you are not yet entitled to permanent residence, as a general rule you are allowed to be outside Germany for up to 12 months in a calendar year.
  • If you have a permanent right of residence, you would only lose it if you were outside Germany for five consecutive years.
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  • Yes. You retain all existing rights, e.g. to engage in unlimited economic activity, draw child benefit, apply for a public housing support certificate (WBS) etc.
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  • Yes. Drawing supplementary benefits will have no negative effect on the issuance of your residence document. Please bear in mind however that this only applies as long as you have been living in Germany or moved here by 31.12.2020.
  • Drawing supplementary benefits will not affect your status. If you have become unemployed, then in general your residence remains in accordance with EU law for a further six months as long as you are seeking work.
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Travel

*Beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement have a direct right of entry and exitprovided you carry a valid passport with you.

  • Please consult the embassies and consulates in your destination country or the responsible border authorities for particular rules governing entry and residence.
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Permanent residence

  • It suffices for you to register online. This registration will commence the procedure for issuing you with a GB residence document. This document will be marked with an entry affirming your right of permanent residence.
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  • You currently meet the criteria on continuity of residence if your primary place of residence has been in Germany for at least the past five years.
  • Temporary interruptions of less than six months in a calendar year, or longer periods of absence for important reasons (such as pregnancy, serious illness or studies) are irrelevant.
  • If you are unsure, quote the periods in question to the best of your recollection when registering online.
  • When issuing appointments we will consider whether the temporal conditions for permanent residence (five years of residence in Germany) will be met by 31.12.2021. Where for example an individual reaches five years of residence in September 2021, we would not issue an appointment until after September 2021. We can then assess your application individually at your personal appointment.
  • We nevertheless ask you to provide as accurate as possible information when registering online. This will help us to advise you as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
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  • UK soldiers stationed in Germany are counted as workers for the purpose of EU law. They have resided in Germany and exercised their free movement rights here until the end of the Transition Period. In calculating whether the five years necessary for permanent residence have been accrued, we will therefore include the periods of residence when you were serving here as a member of the British Armed Forces.
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UK passports

  • For appointments at Berlin Immigration Office to receive a GB residence document it is necessary to present a passport which is valid for at least six months. Please therefore apply for a new passport from the relevant UK authorities in good time.
  • The remaining period of validity on your passport does not matter when you are registering with us online (notification of residence).
  • The Berlin Immigration Office certificate confirming your successful online registration only mentions the requirement of a valid passport. You are not requested to provide the passport number when registering online, and so the passport number is not displayed on the certificate. There is no problem as long as you are in possession of a valid passport.
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  • No. Please bear in mind that for appointments at Berlin Immigration Office it is imperative that you present a passport which is valid for at least six months.
  • Please therefore apply for a new passport from the relevant UK authorities in good time if your current passport is expiring soon.
  • Residence titles can only ever be issued where a passport is presented which is valid for at least six months.
  • Please contact us in good time so we can give you a new appointment.
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  • Please do not register if your passport says British National (Overseas) / British Overseas Citizen / British Overseas Territories Citizen / British Subject / British Protected Person rather than British Citizen, since in such cases you cannot claim residence rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. The online registration option on our website is only directed at UK nationals holding a “British citizen” passport who are entitled to exercise free movement.
  • If your passport has one of the other aforementioned designations and you wish to apply for a residence title or an extension to a permit in Berlin, please book an appointment online with the Berlin Immigration Office unit responsible for your case.
  • If you are re-entering Germany from abroad, please note the conditions for applying for a residence permit from within Germany, in particular with regard to entry and visa provisions.
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Naturalisation

  • Yes. You should register as long as you have not yet acquired German citizenship, even if you have applied for it. This is the only way to ensure that your continuing residence in Germany remains lawful.
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  • Berlin Immigration Office is not responsible for processing naturalisation applications and cannot influence the processing of such applications.
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Those not in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement

  • From 01.01.2021 you can travel visa-free within the Schengen Area for up to 90 days in a period of 180 days, including re-entering Germany.
  • More generally you will be subject to the general rules of German residence law. You can find out more about this on our website here and here.
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Further questions

  • No, for the time being our online appointments booking service will not be available for UK nationals entitled to exercise free movement rights and covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. The same applies to family members of such UK nationals.
  • Please register online.
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  • For questions about residence law not covered in these FAQs you can call our dedicated hotline (030 90269-4407 and 030 90269-4408) as follows:
    • Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays (9am – 3pm) and
    • Wednesdays and Fridays (9am – 12pm).
  • For further informations in english please visit the IOM website here.
  • You can also contact Berlin Immigration Office’s consultation service by email at beratung@lea.berlin.de.
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