How does it live in London for foreigners

Welcome to the website of the Federal Foreign Office


Status: 03.03.2021

The United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31, 2020.

The exit agreement has entered into force. Among other things, it guarantees the rights of EU citizens in the UK.

A transitional period to which the Federal Government's Brexit Transitional Act refers ended on December 31, 2020.

The agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom agreed at the end of December has been provisionally applied since January 1, 2021. The information listed here is continuously adapted against this background. You can use our contact form for queries and information.

1. Entry for Germans into the United Kingdom

EU citizens who have not previously been resident in the United Kingdom have been subject to new rules for entry and residence since 01.01.2021.

Free movement between the EU and the United Kingdom ended on December 31, 2020. Anyone wishing to move to the UK after this date e.g. B. in order to work or study in the UK or to join a family you must apply for a visa beforehand. The issuance of the visa depends on whether it meets the specified criteria.

More on Visas and Immigration

Since January 1st, 2021, EU citizens are no longer allowed to work as an au pair in the United Kingdom.

EU citizens who started their au pair position before January 1, 2021 must submit an application under the EU Settlement Scheme before June 30, 2021. This enables them to legally complete the au pair work they have started.

If the conditions for a “Temporary Worker-Government Authorized Exchange visa (T5)” are met, the application for such a visa for a fee can be considered. As a rule, however, EU citizens no longer seem to be allowed to do a compulsory internship at a German university in the United Kingdom since January 1, 2021.

The British immigration law, which has been in force for EU citizens since January 1, 2021, no longer seems to allow the completion of a station within the framework of German legal clerkship training.

According to the British government, EU citizens are allowed to enter the country with ID cards and passports until September 30, 2021, even after Brexit. So far it is sufficient if the passport or identity card is valid for the entire duration of the stay. Since October 1st, 2021, entry for EU citizens has only been possible with a valid passport. If you have a "Settled Status" or "Pre-Settled Status", you can also enter the country with your identity card until 2025, provided that you have received your status on the basis of this identity card.

More on Visiting the UK after Brexit

2. Residence status for Germans and their relatives in the United Kingdom

EU citizens residing in the UK before January 1st, 2021 must apply under the EU Settlement Scheme in order to continue living in the UK after June 30th, 2021. This application should be submitted as soon as possible, but must have been submitted by June 30, 2021 at the latest. Applicants can, depending on the length of their previous stay, receive so-called “pre-settled status” or “settled status”.

EU students who have already settled in the UK before December 31, 2020 must submit an application under the “EU Settlement Scheme” in order to be able to secure the rights associated with “Settled Status” or “Pre-Settled Status”. You must have established a place of residence and also be able to prove physical presence.

EU students who move to the UK for their studies after December 31, 2020 must apply for a student visa in advance for a fee, even if their courses have already started in 2020. You then also have significantly fewer rights than those who have received “Settled Status” or “Pre-Settled Status”.

Further information for the period from 01.01.2021 from the UK Council for International Student Affairs here and here, and from Study UK / British Council

List of links to Brexit and the higher education sector on the website of the DAAD branch in London

In principle, the following applies: EU citizens who already lived in the UK before December 31, 2020 can stay and enjoy further rights than EU citizens who come after January 1, 2021. It doesn't matter whether they worked or made money. However, you must have applied for settled status or pre-settled status as soon as possible, at the latest by June 30th, 2021 and must not have committed any serious criminal offenses.

The electronic application process has been running according to the so-called "EU Settlement Scheme" since March 30, 2019. It consists of two parts. In the first part, the identification as an EU citizen takes place. This requires a passport with a modern chip and a newer mobile phone (Android or Iphone 7 (or newer)).

The data contained in the chip is transmitted to the home office via an app. In the second part, a questionnaire must be filled out online.

If, for example, you do not currently have a valid identity document due to the lockdown, or if electronic identification is not possible for other reasons, you can submit written application documents to the home office. You must call the EU Settlement Resolution Center (Tel. 0300 123 7379, from outside the UK: +44 (0) 203 080 0010, Monday-Friday 8:00 am-8:00pm, Sat + Sun 9:30 am-4:30pm). It is advisable to call before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m. because the waiting times are then shorter, according to the home office.

However, along with the written application, you must also send your documents including your ID card or passport by post to the Home Office. For this reason, you should make and keep a good photo or color copy (or a scan or photo) of your documents before sending them, with the passport photo in particular clearly visible. If the original document is lost in the mail, you can then present this copy when applying for a new passport. Better yet if you got the copy from a UK Notary Public has been certified. In the case of birth, marriage and other certificates, it is advisable to send only certified copies by post from the outset.

In view of the application deadline that is about to expire, the British Home Office now urgently recommends submitting the application as soon as possible and, if necessary, submitting additional documents as soon as the pandemic enables them to be applied for and issued.

Anyone who (also) has British or Irish citizenship does not need a new residence status. People who are both EU and UK citizens and who have exercised the rights of the Free Movement of Persons (“Treaty Rights”) for at least 5 years before acquiring British citizenship are not allowed to apply for settled status, but enjoy, for example, family reunification same rights as people with settled status, i.e. more extensive rights than other British citizens. For the sake of evidence, it is advisable to carefully keep all documents that prove the exercise of the rights of the Free Movement of Persons Directive, so that after many years, when relatives in need have to be brought to the UK, complicated questions relating to evidence on distant facts do not arise.

The application process is free of charge. Fees paid during the trial period will be refunded.

For the so-called Permanent Residence Card see question 4c

The UK government has set up a number of places where you can have your passport scanned - possibly for a fee.

You can find a list here

In exceptional cases, you can also submit an application in paper form. The application documents must be submitted to the EU Settlement Resolution Center (Tel. 0300 123 7379, from outside the UK: +44 (0) 203 080 0010, Monday-Friday 8.20am, Sat + Sun 9.30am-4.30pm) It is advisable to call before 10am and after 3pm because the waiting times are then shorter, according to the home office.

Please write an email or a letter to the Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Edinburgh and describe your particular case. Both will endeavor to find a solution. In an emergency, an application under the EU Settlement Scheme can also be applied for with an expired passport or another document proving your identity, if it can be demonstrated that it is currently not possible to obtain a new passport. It is important that the application is submitted soon and in any case before the application deadline has expired. Please note the practical information on question 2c.

EU citizens who have been granted settled status have lifelong permanent residence (see question 2h for exceptions) in the UK, combined with access to the labor market, the NHS, social benefits and free education under the same conditions like British citizens. In addition, you have the right to bring certain family members to live with you, even if they are not citizens of an EU member state.

If you would like to know exactly which family members can be brought in and under which conditions, please find out more on the Home Office website, by telephone on the hotline specified there or from a specialist lawyer for immigration law.

Yes, if you have been abroad continuously for more than 5 years or if you commit serious crimes. You should be very careful to return to the UK for at least one day before 5 years have elapsed and to keep a receipt of that trip.

EU citizens with “pre-settled status” have a 5-year right of residence with the same access to the labor market and free education as British citizens and certain rights to family reunification. It has not yet been clarified whether all EU citizens with “pre-settled status” or only those who meet the criteria of the EU Free Movement Directive will have unrestricted access to the NHS and social services. This depends on the results of the current negotiations and will be communicated at this point afterwards.

Yes, if you have been out of the country for more than 2 years after your stay in the UK or if you left the country before 6/30/2020 and you can not be shown to have re-entered before 12/31/2020.

Yes absolutely. There is no automatic conversion from “Pre-Settled Status” to “Settled Status”. You must have actively applied for “Settled Status” within 5 years of receiving your “Pre-Settled Status”, otherwise your status will expire.

European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) and Provisional Replacement Certificates (PEBs) issued by German health insurers can continue to be used in the previous format for temporary stays in the United Kingdom from 01.01.2021. As before, visitors and tourists with an EHIC are entitled to medically necessary treatment at the NHS.

Nevertheless, we recommend that you take out private travel health insurance.

If you have private health insurance, please contact your insurer about the scope of your insurance coverage.

More information at

All EU citizens who established their regular residence in the UK before December 31, 2020 can continue to use the NHS free of charge. We strongly recommend applying for pre-settled or settled status.

According to the legal opinion of the British Home Office, these EU citizens also need private health insurance if they are students or if they are neither in a dependent employment relationship nor “self-employed” (e.g. housewife or housewife). The EU Commission considers this legal opinion to be incorrect.

The social rights of EU citizens who have received pre-settled status are also in dispute.

EU citizens moving to the United Kingdom on or after 01/01/2021 will generally need a visa and can only use the NHS National Health Service after paying a special health surcharge.

More information on

British citizens insured in the NHS should have a UK Global Health Insurance Card or European Health Insurance Card with them when visiting Germany. You are therefore entitled to medically necessary treatment in Germany even after January 1, 2021.

More on

The embassy cannot make a general recommendation as to whether British citizenship should be acquired. The acceptance of a foreign nationality is an individual decision, which depends on personal (living) circumstances and is bound by requirements in each country.

For questions regarding dual citizenship / retention permit, see questions 4d – g and 4k.

The requirements that must be met in order to acquire British citizenship are governed by British law. You can find more information on this on the UK Home Office website.

A permanent residence card was used to document a permanent right of residence acquired by EU citizens in accordance with European law. It could only be applied for until December 31, 2020.

According to the German nationality law in force (since August 28, 2007), a German does not lose his / her German citizenship if he / she acquires the citizenship of an EU member state or Switzerland. The United Kingdom has not been a member of the EU since January 31, 2020, and the transition period ended on December 31, 2020.

The Brexit transition law passed by the Bundestag on January 17, 2019, provides in Section 3 (2) that Germans who have applied for naturalization in the United Kingdom before the end of the transition period (December 31, 2020) will not be able to obtain their German citizenship in accordance with Section 25 Lose paragraph 1 sentence 1 of the Citizenship Act, even if the acquisition of British citizenship with the induction ceremony does not take place until after the end of the transitional period. That means:

If you are naturalized by the British authorities or have applied for naturalization before the end of the transition period for the United Kingdom to leave the EU, you will not lose your German citizenship and you will not need a retention permit. The time of application is decisive, not the time of naturalization (invocation ceremony). Evidence of the time of submitting the application must be kept (see question 4e).

However, if you acquire British citizenship on your own application after January 1st, 2021, without having previously received approval from the Federal Office of Administration to retain German citizenship, you will automatically lose your German citizenship.

You can find out more about the Brexit transition law here.

When applying for a new German passport, you will have to state that you have acquired British citizenship upon application and, if you are naturalized after the Brexit date, you will also have to prove that you have applied for a German passport before the end of the transition period and, due to the transitional arrangement, the German one Have therefore not lost their citizenship.

This evidence can be presented in three ways:

  • Either, if you apply for UK citizenship online, by printing out the receipt received and dated for the required online payment; it usually states that you have applied for British citizenship;
  • or, if you exceptionally apply for British citizenship on paper, by printing out the dated confirmation letter for the application that the Home Office will send you;
  • or, if you apply very shortly before the Brexit date, the application was received by the Home Office before the Brexit date, but the date of the confirmation letter is after the Brexit date, a written confirmation from the Home Office that your application was received before the Brexit date Brexit date has been received there. You would have to apply for this confirmation separately from your home office.

Please keep this proof permanently and securely so that you can prove at a later point in time, e.g. when applying for a German passport, that you did not lose your German citizenship by acquiring British citizenship in accordance with Section 25 (1) sentence 1 of the Citizenship Act to have.Regardless of this, it is generally recommended that all papers and documents relating to the application for British citizenship be stored carefully and permanently.

If you apply for British citizenship after 01.01.2021 and want to keep your German citizenship at the same time, you must first apply for approval to retain your German citizenship. You can find the application here

If you applied for your naturalization before the end of the transition period for the United Kingdom's exit from the EU, i.e. before December 31, 2020, you do not need a retention permit under current German law.

According to Section 15 No. 4 Passport Act and Section 27 Paragraph 1 No. 4 of the Identity Card Act, the holder of a German passport or identity card is obliged to contact the relevant passport authority / identity card authority (in the case of habitual residence in the United Kingdom, the Embassy in London or the Consulate General in Edinburgh) to notify the acquisition of a foreign nationality immediately.

When applying for a new German passport or identity card worldwide and whenever a German authority asks about your nationality, you must state that you acquired British nationality. After naturalization, you are welcome to email us scanned copies of the naturalization certificate and the photo page of your German passport and, if applicable, proof of the timely application. In any case, please bring your British naturalization certificate (or proof of application see question 4e) with you to the passport appointment at the embassy / consulate general.

In individual cases, there may also be further notification obligations vis-à-vis domestic German authorities, not all of which can be recorded here. Please inquire with the respective authority.

Children of German parents do not acquire German citizenship through application, but automatically through descent. You can find more information on acquiring German citizenship on our website.

If your child acquired German citizenship at birth, you can usually apply for a German passport or identity card directly for your child; a previous application for German citizenship is not provided. You can find more information on applying for a passport on our website.

Before booking a suitable appointment, however, please check whether a name declaration has to be submitted for your child. All information on this can be found on our website under naming rights.

Registering the birth of your child or applying for a German birth certificate is only required if you, as a German parent, were born abroad after December 31, 1999. We have posted further information on this on our website.

According to current German law, it has no influence on the German nationality of your child if the child automatically acquires other nationalities through birth.

The UK's exit from the EU and the end of the transition period have basically no influence on your existing German citizenship. If you are already a dual citizen at this point, you do not have to choose between German and British citizenship.

According to the applicable German nationality law, naturalization abroad is only possible in exceptional cases. As a rule, spouses of Germans cannot be naturalized if the family lives abroad.

The responsible citizenship authority, the Federal Office of Administration in Cologne, has confirmed that a (even long-term) marriage to a German and the desire for a uniform nationality in the family are not sufficient grounds for naturalization.

In addition to the general requirements for naturalization (such as very good knowledge of German and close ties to Germany), there must be a special public interest in naturalization beyond the private interest. Unfortunately, this criterion is only met in rare cases.

Further information can be found on our website and on the website of the Federal Office of Administration.

This often happens, e.g. if the German passport was still issued in the maiden name, but a new name is used after marriage without a formal declaration of married names for the German legal area. Or if a child was born out of wedlock in the United Kingdom but is to be given the name of the father or, for example, a double name. In these cases you have two options:

  1. You adapt the name in the British legal area to the name in the German passport, e.g. by submitting a deed-poll name declaration. In the UK it is easier to change your name in your passport than in Germany.
  2. However, if you or your child want to use the name from the British passport in the German passport as well, the following applies: It depends on the individual case whether and, if so, how it is possible to change the name in the German passport. Unfortunately, a British name change (“deed poll”) cannot be recognized as a matter of principle. You can, however, submit a German name declaration and then apply for a new passport in the changed name. We have posted general information on name declarations on our website.

Unfortunately, as of January 1st, 2021, declarations of names according to Article 48 EGBGB, with which a name could be taken from a British civil status certificate, will no longer be possible because the United Kingdom will no longer be an EU country after Brexit and the end of the transition period is treated. Such an explanation has so far mainly, but not exclusively, occurred in the following constellations:

  • a Double name (consisting of the surnames of both parents with or without a hyphen) should be intended for a minor (or adult) child
  • a minor child should be given a name that does not correspond to the family name of one of the parents (e.g. grandfather's name or father's first name or even a fancy name)

Unfortunately, this becomes difficult as soon as Art. 48 EGBGB (see above answer to 4m) no longer applies. It is safest to choose the mother's or father's name directly and have it entered directly on the British birth certificate.

Should one parent have another nationality (except the British and German), it can be checked whether an alternative type of name declaration is possible (choice of foreign law).

If a simple name declaration is not possible, but you want to stick to the double name, the so-called public name change is still an option. You can get more information on request.

5. Residence status for Brits and their relatives in Germany and entry regulations after 01.01.2021

Since 01/01/2021, British nationals and their third-country family members who have been residing or working in Germany (or another EU