If a withdrawal agreement cannot be reached between the UK and the EU, British citizens will forfeit their privileges of EU citizenship. A ‘hard’ Brexit will have direct impacts on rights of free movement (both private and professional) and residency.
British citizens in Hamburg
All EU citizens may currently reside and work in Germany for an unrestricted amount of time. Residence permits are not necessary. Until Brexit is realised, these rights and privileges apply to all British citizens.
A ‘hard’ Brexit would make Great Britain a third (or non-EU) state in relation to the EU as of 31 October, 2019. The German government plans to implement at least a three-month transition period. During this period, statuses of British citizens in Germany will remain unaltered if a respective proposal is submitted. In addition, social security is to be maintained during this period.
For the submission of the proposal the British citizens will be asked to register themselves online along with their spouses, registered partners and minor children, who live with them in Hamburg. For this purpose, online registration on the websites of the Einwohner- Zentralamt (Central Office for Residents) is set up. The registration will safeguard some special rights such as the right to formally apply for a residence permit later. Once the registration process is completed the applicants will receive a letter explaining the further steps, which can also be presented to the employer. The website for the online registration is currently “offline”. It will go “online” as soon as the exit date of the UK from the EU is determined.
As a rule, citizens of third states require a visa upon entering German territory. Stays may not exceed 90 days, and no labour may be pursued without the respective permit. Please see the pages of the Hamburg Welcome Center for details.
British citizens may take on German citizenship under certain conditions. Since the Brexit referendum, the number of application processes has increased noticeably.
By naturalising a total of 373 British citizens in 2017, Great Britain has become one of the top five countries of origin for the first time. Reasons for applications have not been collected, but it is highly likely that Brexit plays a major role in many cases.
In the case of a ‘hard’ Brexit the naturalisation process needs to be finalised before 31 October, 2019. The date of approval is relevant, not the application date. However, an emergency measure is being developed that allows British citizens to be naturalised if their application has been submitted before 31 October, 2019. British citizenship will be retained if the permit is issued after Brexit and if all further requirements for naturalisation have been met prior to Brexit.
If the application is submitted after 31 October, 2019, British citizens will be treated as applicants from third countries. Please see the Hamburg Welcome Center for further information.