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Brits in Germany face residence permit costs of up to €150 in no-deal Brexit

Britons living in Germany will face costs of up to around €150 for residency permits in the case of no-deal Brexit, The Local can reveal.

Brits in Germany face residence permit costs of up to €150 in no-deal Brexit
Brits will have to pay for German residency permits in future if it's a no-deal. Photo: DPA

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal at the end of this month, Brits in Germany will become third country nationals (in other words non-EU member states) and will be expected to pay the same price for a residence permit as people from other non-EU nations that fall into this category.

The residence permits range from €13 for a Fiktionsbescheinigung (holding permit) up to €147 for a type of Niederlassungserlaubnis (permanent residency).

Other permits include the Aufenthaltserlaubnis (limited residence permit) which typically costs around €100. Find the full list of permits and their fees under German law here.

A spokesman from the Berlin interior senate department told the Local: “If the United Kingdom withdraws without an agreement on October 31st 2019 then due to the changing legal situation all titles issued from November 1st 2019  will be subject to a fee in accordance with section three of the residence regulations. The fees vary according to the purpose of the residence permit.”

READ ALSO: Brexit limbo: How Brits in Germany are trying to secure their futures

The spokesman added that this is not something specific to Berlin and that all Brits in Germany receiving a permit after this deadline will face costs. He said: “This applies to all British nationals in Germany.”

Up until now, Brits in Berlin have been receiving residence permits without having to pay a fee.

As we've reported, Germany has said no British person will have to leave the country as a result of Brexit. However, to guarantee their future in the Bundesrepublik, Brits have to apply for a residence permit from their local Ausländerbehörde – and that's the case whether a deal is in place or not. 

But the processes vary hugely across Germany, a country of 16 states and hundreds of foreigners authorities.  Some places, like Berlin, have been proactively asking Brits to register. Others have been sending letters out to residents asking them for interviews. Some do not plan to take any action until after the UK officially leaves the EU.

Germany also plans to bring in a no-deal Brexit law which will guarantee that no British citizen already living in Germany before Brexit will be forced to leave.

READ ALSO: New law set to guarantee Brits residency in Germany in case of no-deal Brexit

'Unfortunate but understandable'

The move to impose fees in the event of a no-deal may be a disappointment to Brits who have set up their lives in Germany, especially as the UK government scrapped a fee for their settlement scheme for EU nationals.

British Berliner David Greenhouse, 35, said paying around €100 may not be a big deal financially for some but “it’s not great, and I would definitely hope that it wouldn’t be the case especially as there’s lots of people who may not be in a fortunate position”.

“If there’s going to be some charges like that and if people can’t afford to pay then what are they going to do? Are those people then going to be at risk of being deported if they couldn’t afford the fee to get the residence permit?

“If I were somebody in the German government I would try to be the bigger person. The UK was going to charge for the settlement scheme but they stopped doing that. So if Germany is going to charge us they would definitely not be the better person in this situation.”

Photo: DPA

Another Brit, James East, described the move as  “unfortunate but understandable”.  “As long as it's a reasonable amount, I don't mind – but I'm afraid that the cost might be significant if the British government put EU citizens through the same processes (with the same fees) that they currently impose on third country nationals,” he said.
Meanwhile, Paul Forster said: “As a fairly new Berliner I personally feel like Germany has been more than accommodating to British citizens. I would be happy to pay a modest fee if it meant being able to stay.”
Registration in Berlin to close

In Berlin the registration system for Brits to apply for a residence permit will close if a no-deal Brexit happens. Any Brits who haven’t registered by this point will have to contact the Ausländerbehorde (foreigner's authority) directly by email to make an appointment and 

“The online registration procedure would be shut down at midnight in the event of an unregulated departure of the United Kingdom on October 31st,” the spokesman told The Local.  “All Britons who have not registered by then can only contact the foreigners authority by e-mail or attend an interview during the regular opening hours.”

The Ausländerbehorde in Berlin is aiming to invite all Britons who have registered by October 31st to an appointment for a residence permit before April 30th, 2020. 

Up until now, around 12,288 Brits have applied for a residence permit in Berlin. However, as there are about 18,000 Britons in the capital that means more than 5,700 still haven’t registered. 

READ ALSO: What complications do Brits face in obtaining German residence permits?

Of those who have registered, 2,698 have attended appointments and received a residence permit. 

Here's the number of permits that have been given out so far in Berlin:

Niederlassungserlaubnis (permanent residency or settlement permit): 2,4909

Aufenthaltserlaubnis (limited residence permit): 21

Fiktionsbescheinigung (fictional certificate, acts as a holding permit) : 253

Other: 15

Brits who have registered have been advised not to take any further action, and simply wait for their appointment. However, if they are concerned about anything or have had a change in personal circumstances (for example if they are now married or have moved house) they should contact the Ausländerbehörde.

Any Brits who haven't registered yet are advised to do as soon as possible. British nationals in Germany will need a residence permit in future regardless if the UK leaves with or without a deal.

“Regardless of how the United Kingdom withdraws, British citizens will in future always need a residence permit or other proof of their right of residence for their stay in Germany,” the Berlin Senate spokesman told The Local. 

“In order to secure the respective residence rights, the Ausländerbehörde Berlin therefore expressly recommends that you make use of the possibility of online registration on the homepage.”


‘It’s their loss’: Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

The UK is missing out by barring highly skilled Italian graduates from accessing a new work visa, Italy's universities minister said on Wednesday.

'It's their loss': Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

Universities and Research Minister Cristina Messa said she was disappointed by the UK’s decision not to allow any graduates of Italian universities access to its ‘High Potential Individual’ work permit.

“They’re losing a big slice of good graduates, who would provide as many high skills…it’s their loss,” Messa said in an interview with news agency Ansa, adding that Italy would petition the UK government to alter its list to include Italian institutions.

Ranked: Italy’s best universities and how they compare worldwide

“It’s a system that Britain obviously as a sovereign state can choose to implement, but we as a government can ask (them) to revise the university rankings,” she said.

The High Potential Individual visa, which launches on May 30th, is designed to bring highly skilled workers from the world’s top universities to the UK in order to compensate for its Brexit-induced labour shortage.

Successful applicants do not require a job offer to be allowed into the country but can apply for one after arriving, meaning potential employers won’t have to pay sponsorship fees.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP.

The visa is valid for two years for those with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and three years for PhD holders, with the possibility of moving into “other long-term employment routes” that will allow the individual to remain in the country long-term.

READ ALSO: Eight things you should know if you’re planning to study in Italy

Italy isn’t the only European country to have been snubbed by the list, which features a total of 37 global universities for the 2021 graduation year (the scheme is open to students who have graduated in the past five years, with a different list for each graduation year since 2016).

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL Switzerland, Paris Sciences et Lettres, the University of Munich, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute are the sole European inclusions in the document, which mainly privileges US universities.

Produced by the UK’s Education Ministry, the list is reportedly based on three global rankings: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Messa said she will request that the UK consider using ‘more up-to-date indicators’, without specifying which alternative system she had in mind.