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Complete guide to moving to Germany from the UK, steps you need to take, available pathways for Britons, and FAQs

Germany hosts approximately 120,000 UK expats. Between Brexit, higher salaries, better opportunities for professional development Germany has become even more popular with UK residents in recent years. 

However, if you plan to move to Germany from the UK, you have to know the general requirements— especially that now the UK is no longer in the EU— and the best way to move to Germany. 

Can UK Citizens Move to Germany?

UK citizens can move to Germany and stay visa-free for a period shorter than 90 days. Otherwise, UK citizens must apply for a long-term visa if they plan on staying in Germany for longer than 90 days. 

Moving to Germany from the UK Checklist

To move to Germany from the UK, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You have a valid reason for moving to Germany, e.i., you have found work there, you will join a partner, or you will be studying in Germany.
  • You have enough financial resources to support yourself and your family in Germany. 
  • You meet the qualifications for a long-term visa in Germany. 
  • You have a basic knowledge of the German language.

How Do I Move to Germany from the UK?

There are two main ways to obtain a residence permit to move to Germany from the UK:

  1. Applying for a residence permit within Germany. 
  2. Applying for a residence before entering Germany. 

If you’re unsure how to apply for a visa to move to Germany from the UK, the legal consultants at Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte can guide you through the application process.

Residence Permit Within Germany

Since you can enter the country visa-free for 90 days, you can use that time to obtain your German residence permit. Once you enter Germany, you can apply for your residence permit with the local Foreigner Authority “Ausländerbehörde”— you must obtain your residence permit before your 90 days expire.

You’re also required to register your new residence with the local registration office within two weeks after arriving in Germany. Keep in mind the local office name changes depending on which municipality you are currently in, e.g., ‘Einwohnermeldeamt,’ ‘Kreisverwaltungsreferat’ (KVR), ‘Bürgerbüro’ or ‘Bürgeramt.’

Residence Permit Outside of Germany

You also have the option to apply for a visa from the UK without entering Germany first at all— see the steps below on how to get a German visa: 

  1. Find the correct visa type. Germany offers several different visas and pathways to residency; that is why it’s important to see which one meets your needs. If you are moving because you found a job in Germany, you need to apply for a work visa; on the other hand, if you are joining a partner, you need a family visa. 
  2. Prepare your documents. The next step is preparing the documents required for your visa application. You generally need the visa application form, your documents (birth certificate, ID, CV, etc.), passport, etc. 
  3. Submit your application. Once your documents are in order, you must submit your visa application at a German mission in the UK. However, some visa applications (employment and family-based) can only be processed by a Visa Application Center (VAC) under Germany’s service provider TLScontact. 
  4. Get your national D visa. If your application is approved, you will receive a national D visa based on your purpose of moving to Germany, i.e., an employment-based national D visa or a family-based D visa. 
  5. Enter Germany. Finally, you can receive your residence permit after you enter Germany, and your D visa will no longer be necessary. You have to visit the Foreigners Authority office in your region to receive your residence permit— within 90 days of your arrival. Additionally, you have two weeks to register as a new resident in Germany at your local registration office. 

Moving to Germany for Work from the UK

One of the most common ways to move to Germany from the UK is to apply for a work visa. However, for most work visas in Germany, you must have already found a job in Germany and have an employer sponsor you for the visa to meet the requirements. 

Here is a list of work visas you can apply for to move to Germany from the UK:

  • EU Blue Card for Germany. An EU Blue Card is a work visa that only highly skilled individuals can apply for. There is usually a yearly cap and a scoring system based on your qualifications and skills. Keep in mind that you must have a job offer in Germany for the EU Blue Card, and your job must meet the minimum salary requirements, which currently is at €56,400.
  • Intra-Corporate Transfer Visa. You qualify for this type of visa if your employer transfers you to Germany for work. However, this type of permit is non-permanent valid for one to three years. If you want to stay longer, you have to look into other permanent employment visas. 
  • General Employment Visa. For this type of visa, you need to have an employer in Germany who will sponsor you for the permit. Then, you can proceed with the application process and receive a national D visa and afterward enter Germany. 

Moving to Germany for Family from the UK

You can also move to Germany to join a family member by applying for a family reunification visa. Depending on your situation, you can apply for a German visa from the UK if one of the following applies to you: 

  • You have a German spouse or registered civil partner. 
  • You have an EU/EEA/ partner who lives and works in Germany. 
  • You have a third-country national partner who holds a permanent residence in Germany or an EU Blue Card.

Family reunification cases for UK citizens who moved to Germany before and after Brexit can be complicated. For this reason, you are advised to contact the immigration lawyers at Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte to help you apply for a family visa in Germany. 

Moving to Germany for Study Purposes from the UK

As a UK citizen, you can enter Germany and apply for a student visa from Germany or submit an application from the UK. Your student visa will be issued for a year or longer if your studies take longer to complete. 

However, you must be accepted to a German university or course to be eligible for a student visa. If you still haven’t applied for a university or chosen your German course, then you will receive a 9-month valid visa until you enroll in a valid German program. 

Please note that moving to Germany from the UK for study purposes allows you to stay only. In contrast, your study visa is valid— you have to apply for a work visa after completing your studies if you want to stay permanently in Germany. 

How Much Does it Cost to Move to Germany from the UK?

The overall cost of moving to Germany from the UK can increase between €5,000 to 10,000. 

Here is an overview of the expenses you have to go through when you move to Germany: 

Visa application€75 The cost for the long-stay D visa is €75, but you may be required to pay extra fees for your residence permit after entering Germany.
Moving your items€2,300-2,500The cost will differ on which method of transportation you use, i.e., transporting your items via plane or via professional relocation company.
Storage€30If you opt to keep your furniture and other items in storage in the UK, you must pay an average monthly fee of €30.
Moving your pets €300-500The fee of moving your pets depends on the species, the size of your pet, and the relocation company you use. 
Accommodation€750This is the minimum cost for a one-bedroom apartment in Germany— the fees differ based on which city you live in, whether you live in the city center, and how large your apartment/house is. 

To help you with your move and save up on relocation costs, you can get a quote at MoveAdvisor, who will put you in contact with several professional moving companies. MoveAdvisor’s services are free of charge, and all you need to do is put in your moving details, and you will get a list of professional movers that suit your needs:

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Moving to Germany from the UK After Brexit 

To move to Germany from the UK after Brexit, you must have a valid residence permit. Because of Brexit, you no longer have the right to work and live freely in Germany beyond 90 days— you must apply for a residence permit the same way a third-country national would apply. 

If You Moved to Germany Before January 2021

If you moved from the UK to Germany before January 2021 and are a lawful resident, you have the same rights— to live and work in Germany— you had before Brexit due to the rules of the Withdrawal Agreement. 

The Agreement outlines the rules and regulations of the UK leaving the European Union— with specific laws protecting the rights of UK citizens who moved to Germany (or any EU country) before Brexit was finalized. 

Suppose you’re not sure what rights you have under the withdrawal agreement. In that case, the lawyers at Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte can provide you with detailed information regarding your rights as a UK resident in Germany. 

Can I Move to Germany from the UK if I Don’t Have a Job?

You can move to Germany from the UK if you are not employed by applying for one of the following visas:

  • A job-seeker visa. This type of visa allows you to stay in Germany for longer than 90 days and look for employment— after which you can apply for a work permit. This type of visa is very popular with students who have finished their studies and want to move permanently to Germany. 
  • A self-employment visa. If you don’t have an employer in Germany, you can apply for a self-employment visa and start your own business. You also qualify for this visa if you are a freelance artist (musician, painter, writer, etc.). 

Moving With Pets to Germany from the UK

When you plan your move to Germany from the UK, you have to make sure that your pets follow the EU guidelines:

  • You must microchip your pet. 
  • You must have a rabies vaccination for your pet. 
  • You must have an animal health certificate. 
  • You must provide proof that your pet was treated for tapeworm before traveling. 

Please note that UK pet passports are no longer valid in the EU— you must either provide a passport that was issued in an EU country or provide the animal health certificate. 

Relocating with pets can be highly stressful, especially if you don’t have the means to transport them across the country. So, use MoveAdvisor’s form to find moving companies to help you and your pets move safely to Germany from the UK.

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Things to Keep in Mind When Moving to Germany from the UK

Don’t forget to pay attention to the following things when you move to Germany:

  • Let your council know. You have to let your local council know that you are moving to Germany and provide them with your new address to have your mail forwarded. You’re also responsible for contacting your pension and tax office and letting them know you are moving to Germany.
  • Accommodation. It’s important to have a place to stay when you move to Germany. Since you can enter the country visa-free for 90 days, you should use that time to contact a real estate agent and see properties that will suit your needs. You have several options between renting, buying, or staying in a hostel— it depends on your financial situation and long-term plans. 
  • Taxes. Because the UK has a double taxation agreement with Germany, you won’t be required to pay income taxes in both countries. After you register your new address, when you enter Germany, you will receive an ID tax number ‘Steueridentifikationsnummer’ from the Federal Central Tax Office— your employer will need this tax ID number. If you have any questions about taxes, you can contact a tax advisor in Germany to help you. 
  • Health insurance. Health insurance is mandatory in Germany, and you have to make sure you obtain valid insurance when you move. As a UK citizen, you can get health insurance in Germany in one of the following ways: 
    • Join the public health care insurer ‘Krankenkasse.’ 
    • Join a private health care scheme (around 10% of the population have private insurance). 
    • Use your UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)
    • Use your UK insurance by registering with form S1. 
  • Moving your furniture and items. Another important thing you have to do is decide which furniture you want to bring with you to Germany, what to sell, and maybe put some things in storage. Often, this is one of the most stressful parts of relocating from one place to another.

Becoming a German Citizen After Moving from the UK

After moving to Germany, you must live there for eight years under a permanent residence permit to qualify for German citizenship. Additionally, you must have proficient knowledge of the German language and pass a citizenship test. 

Important: The UK has no restrictions on dual nationality, but Germany allows dual citizenship only in specific cases. So, if you decide to naturalize in Germany, you will be required to give up your UK nationality.

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