The British Ambassador Sir Simon Wood met with concerned British citizens in Berlin at the British Embassy on 13th February 2018 to talk about the latest news on Brexit and freedom of movement, after the agreements of December 2017. Here’s what we found out:
- British citizens resident in Germany before Brexit will still have access to reciprocal health care (EHIC, reimbursement arrangements, etc), pension payments and other state-funded benefits (e.g. child benefits).
- British citizens who have been living in Germany for more than 5 years will be granted permanent residence. Brits registered as living in Germany before March 2019 will be able to stay and can then apply for permanent residence once they have reached the 5-year mark.
- Permanent residency is not freedom of movement. It only applies to the Federal Republic of Germany and can lapse if you leave Germany and deregister. Then, if you return, you might have to start from scratch with a regular residence permit and wait 5 or 8 years before achieving permanent residency.
- Frontier workers have protected rights as long as they continue to be frontier workers, if they were working across borders before Brexit.
- Family reunification (parents, partners, children) is possible up until Brexit, even if the children are born after Brexit. Partners are defined as being “in a durable relationship” and must have commenced their relationship before Brexit.
- Those wishing to apply for German citizenship will be able to do so after being in Germany for 8 years and holding permanent residency.
- British citizens who have already fulfilled this 8-year term and wish to have German citizenship are encouraged to apply for it ASAP. If the citizenship application is approved while Britain is still an EU member state, dual citizenship is not an issue. After this, it is not clear whether dual nationality will be tolerated or not.
- Reciprocal agreements in education (e.g. ERASMUS) should continue.
- The embassy expects further clarification before October 2018 – all decisions have to have been made by then so that the agreement can be ratified in time for Brexit in March 2019.
- The Berlin senate representative assured British citizens that they are “all Berliners” in the eyes of the Senate. Well, ain’t that nice!
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