Just a few days away from Britain’s official EU exit date on 29 March 2019, the question of how the Brexit continues is still completely open. The scenario of a UK exit from the European Union without a contractual agreement is becoming increasingly likely.
What would be the consequences for the residence situation in connection with a hard Brexit for British people working in Germany and for EU citizens in the UK?
Let’s first look at the possible situation of the British living in Germany:
The UK’s exit from the EU without an agreement would permanently change the residence status of the British citizens concerned. Since Britain would officially become a non-EU country in the event of a withdrawal from the EU without contractual arrangements, British citizens living in Germany would in the future require a residence permit and work permit in the form of an EU Blue Card, residence permit, visa or EC long-term residence permit.
However, it is extremely unlikely that British nationals living in Germany will be required to leave the country immediately. The German Federal Government would most likely grant any UK citizens planning to stay in Germany for longer periods a transitional period of three months with an extension option. Within these three months, however, they would then have to have applied for a residence permit at the relevant immigration office.
Shorter stays in the UK or Germany or travels of up to 90 days:
For British citizens on short stays or trips in or to Germany as well as for EU citizens on short stays or trips in or to the UK, the situation would probably initially not change, even with a no-deal Brexit. The EU has proposed to Britain a mutual visa exemption for stays of up to 90 days within 180 days. In this case, a valid passport would still be sufficient for each entry – provided that the EU and the UK ultimately agree on this reciprocal visa exemption.
And what would the situation be like for EU citizens living in the UK?
On 21 January 2019, an open application procedure, the so-called EU Settlement Scheme, came into force in the UK, allowing EU citizens to stay in the UK for an unlimited period. Here, a distinction is made between a “settled status” – the full residence status and a “pre-settled status”, which grants EU citizens a temporary right of residence. With this residency status, EU citizens are equal to British citizens in all areas and can therefore also work in the UK.
EU citizens who have lived in the UK for at least five consecutive years by the end of 2020 and who have been in the country for at least six months each year during this period will receive full residency status under the EU Settlement Scheme, provided they submit their application no later than 31 December 2020.
However, anyone who has not been in the UK for at least five years by 31 December 2020 will initially receive a temporary residence status that can later be converted into full residence status after the five-year period has passed.
EU citizens who choose to spend time in the United Kingdom after Brexit would then be required to apply for a visa and, if necessary, a work permit.
It is not yet decided how Brexit will turn out. Times remain uncertain for international companies, the approximately 106,000 British citizens living in Germany and the approximately 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK.