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These are the documents Brits in Germany should carry when travelling after December 31st

British people in Germany have been advised to carry extra documents with them if they travel when the transition period ends on December 31st. Here's what you should keep in mind.

These are the documents Brits in Germany should carry when travelling after December 31st
Travellers in Frankfurt Airport in July. Things will change for Brits soon. Photo: DPA

As The Local has been reporting, British people who have registered in Germany before December 31st automatically have the right to remain in the country after the transition period ends.

However, they do need to apply for their residence document with their local Ausländerbehörde (Immigration Office) by the end of June 2021. At the moment, though, Germany is processing the draft law so the application process has been put on pause.

This could be frustrating for the Brits who have already registered for a residence permit, such as in Berlin which introduced a system at the start of 2019, and have not heard anything yet.

On December 16th, the British government updated its advice to urge Britons living in Germany to carry their German residence document (if they have been issued one), or proof of residency as well as their passport when travelling after December 31st.

“If you have applied but not yet received your document, carry your certificate of application (Fiktionsbescheinigung),” said the UK government in its Living in Germany section.

If you do not have a residence document or the application “you should carry evidence that you are resident in Germany,” says the UK government.

“This could include an address registration certificate (Meldebestätigung), tenancy agreement, or a utility bill in your name, dating from 2020.

“If you cannot show that you are resident in Germany, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter the Schengen area, and your passport may be stamped. This will not affect your rights in Germany.”

Brits will be able to travel

During an open information evening held online by the British Embassy earlier this year, authorities said that Brits who hadn't heard anything about their application should not be concerned at this stage.

It is likely they will hear back after the transition period ends. After that they can also contact their Ausländerbehörde to apply for the residence document if they haven't yet. The deadline for applications is the end of June 2021.

The head of the Brexit Taskforce in Germany, Axel Dittmann, said not having the document wouldn't mean that British people would be excluded from travel and return to Germany from January 1st 2021.

“By the time Christmas and New Year is here, no British citizen in Germany will have been issued a residence permit. But by no means you won’t be able to travel,” he said during the info evening.

“Simply take your British passport with you.”

'Might be useful to bring other documents'

Dittmann said Brits should also think about taking other documents with them that prove they live in Germany, just in case they are asked to at the border.

Until December 31st British travellers can join the EU queue when arriving at borders but from January 1st they will likely have to join different lanes. They will also face different border checks.

“It might be useful to take with you some kind of documentation that proves your residency. The lease of your apartment for example, or Anmeldung (registration document).

“But it's no problem to travel.”

READ ALSO: Q&A – What does Brexit mean for my rights as a Brit living in Germany

Brits could also carry other proof of residency such as bills, work contracts or insurance documents.

Deputy British Ambassador to Germany Robbie Bulloch said Brits should also be aware of an important point about their passport.

“From 1st January it’s very important when travelling to most European countries that British citizens have at least six months on their passport which is not something required at the moment,” he said. “It’s something you should make sure you have.”

Deadline for dual citizenship approaching

Meanwhile, Brits were also advised that if they want dual British and German citizenship they have until December 31st to apply.

After the transition period ends, British people who want German citizenship can still apply but they won't be able to also keep their British passport. That's because Germany usually only allows dual citizenship for EU countries.

“If you want to have citizenship of both countries get your paperwork together and apply by the end of the year,” said Dittmann.

If you apply by December 31st, you will still be granted dual citizenship, even if that happens after the transition period has ended.

Find more information here: What you need to know about applying for German citizenship

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Brits in Europe still face complex post-Brexit cases, rights’ group warns

Resources for Brits in Europe to overcome any problems regarding post-Brexit residency issues are being cut just when some people need them most, citizens' rights group British in Europe has warned.

Brits in Europe still face complex post-Brexit cases, rights' group warns

While the implementation of the Brexit agreement on citizens’ rights has gone “relatively smoothly” in some countries, “resources allocated to the rights of UK citizens in the EU are being reduced drastically” at a time of “a rise in serious and complex cases,” warned British in Europe co-founder Jane Golding at a recent meeting of the House of Lord’s European Affairs Committee.

Golding was participating in an evidence session on Tuesday, together with representatives of EU citizens in the UK and Dr Kathryn Chamberlain, CEO of the UK Independent Monitoring Authority overseeing the implementation of EU citizens’ rights under the withdrawal agreement.

The session followed up on an enquiry carried out in 2021 and will set the basis for a “substantial letter” to the UK government.

Golding said that the experience of British citizens varies depending on EU countries.

“Systems for applications for residents have gone relatively smoothly in some countries, for example, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Hungary and Austria.

But in others, they have not,” she said.

Golding cited Sweden as a “big example”, where the rate of refusals is “statistically higher than in other comparable countries, at around 11 to 16 per cent”.

“We have seen cases like a family of four with young children facing an order to leave and the recent well publicised case in the media of a 74 year old lady with Alzheimer’s, living in a care home, who also faced an order to leave”. She added that in Sweden there are more than 900 late residence applications from British citizens under the withdrawal agreement and the current refusal rate is around 60 per cent.

Golding also mentioned problems in Denmark, Portugal and Malta.

As funding for the support network on citizens rights in UK Embassies across the EU was terminated at the end of March 2023 and people rely on volunteer groups for advice, Golding called on the government to maintain support services in place.

She also urged Whitehall to introduce secondary legislation on voting rights so that Britons abroad can have their own representatives in Westminster. The full session can be watched here.