New visa regulations for British students in Germany


With effect from 31st January 2020, the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union has become final. This will be accompanied by corresponding changes in the regulations for British residents entering Germany, for both short and longer-term stays. With the new standards coming into effect, different measures will apply in the future for British residents and especially students who plan to study in Germany. With this article, Fintiba provides you with all the relevant information you have to know now for entering Germany as a British resident for study purposes.

General regulations on entry and residence in Germany for UK citizens

By June 30, 2021, British nationals who have been residing in Germany before December 31, 2020, and who will continue to reside in Germany, must report their residency to the immigration authority responsible for their place of residence to receive a new residence document. In terms of entry and residence in the European Union and one of its Member States, privileges will no longer apply to newly arriving British citizens from January 1, 2021. Generally, under EU law, every third-country national requires a visa before entering the Schengen area (including Germany). However, according to the EU regulation, there are exceptions listing countries for which the visa requirement is waived. Since 2018, the United Kingdom has also been one of these countries.

Being an exception on this list implies that neither British citizens nor German citizens (as well as all other EU citizens) would need a visa when entering the Schengen area or the UK for short stays of up to 90 days in a 180-day period. Even for longer-term stays in Germany, such as for study or work purposes, newly arriving British nationals do not need a visa for their stay. After entering the country, however, they must apply for a residence title at the foreigner’s authority of their future place of residence within 14 days. If you wish to work immediately after entering Germany before you receive your residence title, you must apply for a visa allowing you to work at the relevant German mission abroad before you enter the country.

At present, though, stricter entry requirements apply again to entries from Great Britain due to the virus mutations. Therefore, first-time entry for study purposes is not permitted, at least until February 17, 2021. Regarding the restrictions in the service operations of the visa offices, it should be noted that some offices have resumed their regular work again. However, some are subject to hygiene and space concepts and even more severe restrictions, some of them fortunately only temporarily, for example when a temporary curfew is imposed.

 Required documents for entering Germany

 When crossing the border, the documents and evidence required for entry into the Schengen States must be carried. This includes a valid travel document and proof of purpose and circumstances of the intended stay. In addition, sufficient means of subsistence must be available (both for the duration of the intended stay and for the return journey). That means you must show proof of financial resources for example in the form of a blocked account. Nevertheless, you also have the option of applying for a visa before entering the country and thus have more legal certainty for your stay in Germany. British citizens are subject to the same visa requirements as all other third-country nationals, i.e. proof of the financing or health insurance for the stay is also required.

As health insurance is compulsory in Germany the regularities also include the conclusion of a valid and adequate travel health insurance policy. As a result, you need to take out health insurance for the duration of your study and register with a health insurer (Krankenkasse) to access healthcare. You can find more information here and at your local authority.

As long as the negotiations between the EU and the United Kingdom are still ongoing, there is still no clarity about the exact regulations that will apply to new British nationals entering the country from January 1, 2021. If the “Bundesrat” approves the draft regulation in its last session – which is likely to be the case – this would ensure equal treatment of British nationals with nationals of the most important trading partners outside the EU, at least in terms of residence and labour migration law.

For more information on that topic please see the Fintiba Help Center and the pages of the authorities:


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