If you’re moving to Germany from the UK and want to learn more, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re touching on visas and residency, Brexit, working life and some of the best and worst of what Deutschland has to offer.
There’s plenty to love about Germany and it’s more than just beer and pretzels. Loaded with a fantastic economy and sensational schools, Germany is a top pick for professionals and families alike.
So, if you’re set on making the move, read on for all you’ll need to know as an expat. And if you’re interested in purchasing property, take a look at our guide on buying real estate in Germany.
Immigrating to Germany
Before you move to Germany, you’ll need to sort out a visa. UK citizens can stay in Germany for up to three months without any visa worries. However, if you’re keen on moving to Germany for an extended period, you’ll have to go a step further.
There are a few long-term visa options available and sorting out the application process can take several months. Take some time to pick the right visa for you then get applying as soon as possible.
The temporary residence permit is the most popular choice for expats. It allows you to live in Germany for up to one year. Providing your situation doesn’t change (job, marriage, etc), you can continue extending for as long as you need.
After five years of living in Germany, you can apply for permanent residency. The German permanent residence permit is the next stage to citizenship – if that’s what you’re after in the long run. You can fast track your way to permanent residency if you meet the highly skilled worker criteria.
You can apply for a residence permit by contacting the German embassy or consulate in your area. The Germany visa website can sort you out with contact details and more information.
For up-to-date information on visas, the application process, fees, and more, head to the Germany section on the Schengen Visa website.
Moving to Germany after Brexit
Since leaving the EU at the end of 2020, UK nationals have faced some new challenges when moving abroad. As of 1 January 2021, Brits are officially classified as non-EU citizens, making a life on the continent a trickier task. And moving to Germany from the UK is no exception.
Germany isn’t the only country affected by Brexit. It’s created problems moving to all EU nations. If you’re interested in learning more about its impact on the rest of Europe, read one of our other guides, such as moving to Spain after Brexit.
Fortunately, Britons are still able to visit Germany for up to 90 days in a 180-day period, thanks to the Withdrawal Agreement settled with the EU. This presents a good opportunity to get a feel for Germany before making the move permanent. After this time frame, UK citizens will need a residence permit to live and work in Germany.
Working in Germany
If you’re moving to Germany for work, you’ll only be able to start once you have a residence permit. This must be completed within 90 days of arriving in the country.
As UK nationals are non-EU citizens, you will need a residence permit and a work permit. There are various types of work permit available. The general employment permit is mainly aimed at workers that are not highly educated or highly skilled. Jobs will only be offered to you if they are unable to be filled by EU/EEA or Swiss citizens.
Alternatively, you can apply for a highly skilled work permit. These are available to employees earning €84,600 per year or who qualify as highly skilled. You and your family can live and work in Germany indefinitely with this visa. There are also visas available if you are self-employed or a student.
Germany is brimming with fantastic working opportunities for Brits. Finding a job in Germany is not too hard and many of these are English-speaking. Nonetheless, learning some of the language would be a good idea.
The German working week is not dissimilar from the UK’s. You can expect to work around 36-40 hours per week, which is slightly below the UK average. Your working hours are regulated strictly by law. Therefore, it is illegal for you to work longer than eight hours per day and 48 hours per week. There are some exemptions to this, but you or your employer will need permission.
Living in Germany pros and cons
Moving to Germany from the UK is a big commitment, and there’s no shortage of pros and cons to consider. What may be a positive to some could be a negative to others, so it’s entirely up to you. Here is a short list of some of our pros and cons to give you a helping hand.
Germany has a thriving economy and is emphatically the strongest in Europe. This means salaries in Germany are high – especially for skilled workers. The average salary after tax in Germany is around £2,161 per month or £25,931 per year. In the major cities such as Munich, Berlin and Hamburg, salaries continue climbing. Many Germans consider a good annual gross salary to be between €64,000 to €81,000.
Low cost of living
As well as paying its employees more, Germany is cheaper to live in than the UK. According to Numbeo, Germany outranks the UK in many cost of living factors. This includes more affordable rent, groceries, meals at restaurants and consumer goods.
Punctual public transport
Germany’s public transport is synonymous with its super-efficient stereotype. Living in the big cities exposes you to the punctual and frequent buses, trams and trains. The S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains run every five minutes from around 4 am to 1 am.
Tough career progression
Due to its large pool of highly skilled workers, progressing up the German career ladder can be difficult. Competition is fierce and is particularly impactful on foreign workers. You’ll be paid well but once you’re in, it might be hard to move up.
The punctual nature of German nationals can be a bit of a shock to Brits. This is nothing personal, but it can be difficult for expats to engage with Germans initially. Also, while Germany is a fantastic place for English-speaking foreigners, Germans can be reluctant to speak it. Additionally, its non-Latin-based language makes it difficult for Brits to learn.
Send money to Germany
Moving to Germany from the UK means moving your money too. If you need to exchange your pounds for euros, we can help.
Our industry-leading rates and carefully constructed hedging solutions are designed to save you time and money.
Whether you’re buying property in Germany, moving your pension or transferring money to family, our dedicated Currency Specialists can offer guidance and walk you through every step of your exchange.
Book a chat for free with a Privalgo Currency Specialist today and see what we could do for you.Book a chat with a Currency Specialist