How Brexit Impacted UK Citizens Moving to Germany: Insights on Visas, Work, Cost of Living, and More.

Moving to Germany After Brexit

Brexit, Britain's exit from the European Union (EU), led to massive consequences for its citizens and those across the continent. While experts debate its value in the short and long term, there’s no denying that its impact has been profound. The exit set off a chain reaction, reshaping numerous rules and regulations and affecting millions across Europe.

How Did Brexit Affect UK Citizens?

Although the UK's new autonomy can help it expand its international influence, save millions of pounds in taxes, and create more local jobs, it has also led to the restraint of movement that British citizens were so used to.
Moving to Germany: How Brexit Altered the Path for UK Citizens

Some of the unexpected effects of Brexit on Britain's citizens include the following:
  • Travel Restrictions
    British citizens were free to live and travel all over Europe for decades. Post-Brexit, they can no longer visit, work, or study in any EU Member State for extended periods without a visa.
  • Weak Economy
    The British pound hit an all-time low, causing many investors to lose confidence in the market.
  • Supply Chain Delays
    EU restrictions have changed importing and exporting rules, leading to border delays. Some companies have moved their bases from the UK to have a more efficient supply chain.
  • Financial Service Displacement
    Brexit has left banks with conflicting regulations, preventing them from accessing the European market.

How Did Brexit Affect Germany?

Although the results of Brexit may not have tipped in the UK’s favour as hoped, it has certainly helped some countries thrive—one of them is undoubtedly Germany.
According to reports, Germany exported goods worth 73.8 billion euros (£63 billion) to the UK. In addition, many British companies have set shop in Germany, thanks to the Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI). This organisation aids international companies to set up business in the country.
Since Brexit, more than 1,000 new businesses have moved from the UK, and 170 of them just in the last year.

Old German house with white windows and flower pots, Wachtendonk, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany

Moving to Germany as a UK Citizen

More and more people are looking to move to Germany simply because of its central location and bustling job market. This goes into a feedback loop of attracting more companies and, therefore, more people.
Visa-free visits for UK citizens can last up to 90 days, but if you want to join the 84,000 UK citizens living in Germany in the long term, you must first apply for a visa and then a residence permit.

Applying for a Visa in Germany

Visa applications cost €75 per adult and €38 per child under the age of 18, and will require a valid UK passport, proof of finances, proof of health insurance, and other documentation related to the purpose of your relocation.

There are three long-stay national visa options:


Basic requirements include proof of attending a vocational/academic institution, professional/academic qualifications recognised in Germany, minimum German language skills (B1 level), and the ability to support yourself financially.
  • Job Seekers
    No concrete job offer, up to 6 months.
  • Qualified Professionals
    Professionally permitted to work in Germany with a job offer from an eligible employer.
  • IT Professionals
    Minimum of 3 years of experience in the field with an eligible job offer.
  • Self-Employed Individuals
    Business owners or freelancers whose work will positively affect the economy.


Students admitted to a full-time course by an academic institution are permitted to stay throughout their studies and will have 18 months to look for qualified employment in Germany after completion.
Exchange students can reside in Germany for two semesters.

Family Unification

Spouses and registered partners, parents, and minor, unmarried children can join German nationals, EU citizens, or third-country nationals in Germany.
These National visas are often granted for one year. For more extended stays in Germany, you will need to apply for a Temporary Residence Permit.
When you first arrive in Germany, you must register at the local registration office within 14 days and obtain a residence title. Private health insurance is also mandatory in the country.
Foreign nationals can apply for permanent residency in Germany after five years of lawful residence. After at least eight years, permanent residents can apply for German citizenship.
Berlin Underground

Living in Germany

Housing and accommodations are among the biggest concerns when moving to another country. This critical decision will inform most of your decisions moving forward and various legal considerations, such as your visa application and registration with the local government.
British expats often relocate to Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. These bustling cities have everything you need for a happy, comfortable life in Germany.

Renting in Germany

Renting is the most popular housing option in Germany. While rental rates in Munich or Berlin aren’t quite as high as in London, prices are trending in that direction. The current average rental price for an apartment in Berlin is €1,100.
Consider proximity to your new workplace or school, public transport options, amenities, and the neighbourhood's general atmosphere.
Purchasing property in Germany is also an option. Note that financial institutions in Germany may require a 40% to 50% down payment for mortgage applications.

Moving Your Belongings to Germany

If you are moving your primary residence, you are eligible for tax-free import of personal belongings to Germany. You will need to present a comprehensive inventory and customs declaration form outlining each item, which must have been in your ownership for at least six months before the relocation.
If you own a vehicle, you can also import it to Germany. Simply present ownership documents, vehicle registration, and proof of German address to the local motor vehicle registration office. Once it passes the safety and emissions tests, you can drive it in Germany for a year with a UK license plate before getting a German one. UK driver’s licenses are valid for six months, with no need for an International Driving Permit.
Experienced professionals will make removals to Germany from the UK much easier. You can avail of full packing, transport, and storage services from highly-trained and experienced teams who will take care of your belongings.
Gentlevan Removals offers four weeks of complimentary storage in the UK in the case of delays in the moving process.

Pros and Cons of Moving to Germany

If you’re considering moving to Germany after Brexit, here are some advantages and disadvantages you must be aware of.

Advantages of Moving to Germany

Berlin Skyline With Tiergarten Park In Summer

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Germany is considerably lower than in other Western European countries, including the UK and France. The monthly cost of living in its large cities averages between €1,698 and €3,561. Even VAT is around 4% lower than that charged by Portugal and Greece, so buyers have more purchasing power.
Of course, the cost of living varies depending on the specific region, but overall, it is easier to live in Germany than in the UK, as housing, childcare, and public transport are considerably cheaper.

Work Opportunities

Germany has one of the lowest unemployment rates among the 27 EU members, at 3.1% for those ages 15 to 74.
In addition, after Brexit, many companies from the UK shifted their base to Germany due to its central location and more flexible startup culture. Working in Germany is considered more rewarding, as the country pays its citizens 9% more than others, improving financial stability and overall well-being.


Germany is one of the leading countries in the world when it comes to healthcare. Hospitals have highly developed systems, modern technology, and friendly and efficient staff.
In addition, Germany has integrated AI into healthcare, which has improved patient diagnostics and outcomes.

Safety and Security

Thanks to strict laws and regulations, Germany is one of the safest countries to live in. In 2022, the crime rate was as low as 6,762 crimes per 100,000 people, one of the lowest globally.
Furthermore, according to the Global Peace Index, Germany ranked 16th in peaceful living conditions among 163 countries.

Public Transport

Germany has a smooth and efficient system of buses, trains, and trams in cities also well-connected to rural areas. You will not feel the need to buy a car because of the ease of travel wherever you need to go.

Access to Other European Countries

Germany is close to many countries, and its well-connected public transportation system makes it easy to visit places. You can hop on a plane, train, bus, or even a rental car quickly for a weekend mini vacation.

Disadvantages of Living in Germany

Language Barrier

A large percentage of people residing in Germany speak English fluently. However, many of them prefer to converse in German. As a UK expat in Germany, you may want to learn the language if you want to communicate with locals easily.
German is not an easy language to learn, but it would be rewarding if you plan to live there for a while. The locals will appreciate it and open up to you, too.

Social Life

Germans are quite reserved and prefer to stick to small groups, unlike in the UK, where rowdy crowds eagerly gather at the pub for a pint or two. As an expat, you may find it challenging to make new friends, but once you’ve understood the locals better, you can establish a healthy social life.

Local Rules and Regulations

If you’re from the UK, you’ll be surprised to learn about the many rules and regulations that Germans follow. There are extensive traffic, garbage disposal, shopping, and other public regulations that may be cumbersome to keep track of and follow.
That said, these rules are put in place to make life easier. Once you have adjusted to them, you’ll have no trouble following them every day.


If you are planning to move to Germany for a change in weather, think again. Germany’s weather is pretty much like the UK: gloomy and grey. However, the sun will occasionally emerge, making it perfect for outdoor activities like hiking or cycling.



If you're contemplating moving from the UK to Germany after Brexit, you should know that the process may be challenging. Understanding the complexities of socioeconomic and political factors, the pros and cons, and the broader implications of Brexit would be wise.
The advantages of relocating to Germany are enticing, as it has a lower cost of living than the UK, an abundance of work opportunities, superior healthcare services, and a high standard of public safety and security. However, challenges like the language barrier, cultural adjustments, and Germany's approach to rules and regulations may deter you.
Despite these potential issues, UK expats will find that moving to one of Europe’s most dynamic and resilient societies can be quite rewarding.