Brexit & private Insurance: What does the exit mean for policyholders?

It was already called Bye Britain on February 20th, 2020, but after a transitional phase it became a definitive Bye Bye on January 1st, 2021.

Pkv Brexit B

The UK's exit from the European Union is complete. After long negotiations, the EU and the UK were able to agree on an agreement shortly before the end of the transition period on December 31st, 2020 on how the two parties want to regulate their relations in the future.

On the one hand, this means new rules for all those planning to move to the UK, but also for all Britons who want to move to Germany or who already live here. The UK is no longer a member of the EU and is therefore legally treated as a third country.

What will change in concrete terms?


From January 1st, 2021, the right of free movement within the EU, which still applied during the transition period, will no longer apply to Britons.

Thanks to the withdrawal agreement, Britons could live, work and study anywhere in the EU, even though the UK wasn't part of the EU anymore after Brexit . They were effectively treated as if there had been no UK exit from the EU.

These new rules will apply from January 1st, 2021:

  • British nationals will no longer have the freedom to work, study, start a business or live in an EU state without prior permission. 
  • British EU visitors will need a valid passport. 
  • Visas will be required for stays of more than 90 days in a 180-day period. 
  • There will be additional border controls 
  • EU pet passports will no longer be valid

To whom do the exceptions apply?

  • resident in Germany as of December the 31st, 2020 and beyond
  • gainfully employed in Germany 
  • looking for work in Germany (However, if the job search lasts longer than six months, this right only applies if there was a reasonable prospect of finding a job).
  • self-employed in Germany (commercially or freelance) 
  • not gainfully employed in Germany but with a residence permit (pensioner, student), sufficient means of subsistence + health insurance cover

Changes for people with private insurance

Moving to the UK:

For those with private insurance who move their domicile or habitual residence to the UK from January 1st, 2021, it is important to actively take care of their health insurance in advance. As a rule, the insurance relationship will end with the relocation. 

However, a move does not necessarily mean the end of your private insurance. It is often possible to conclude a special agreement with your insurer in order to continue the insurance relationship, or to bridge the gap by taking out a qualifying insurance policy. This depends on what you have specified in your insurance conditions. Discuss this with your health insurance company.

What does Brexit mean for ottonova customers?

Britons now have the option of insuring themselves on our cheaper expat tariff. But only if they have a temporary visa, because the expat tariff is limited to 5 years. 
In the expat tariff, you do not build up any aging provisions, which is why we can offer you a lower premium here. 

For all Britons who already know that they want to stay in Germany for longer than 5 years or permanently, we recommend our "normal" full insurance tariffs for salaried employees or self-employed persons with aging provisions. This way, you not only benefit from our digital services, lightning-fast invoice reimbursement and very good health benefits, but also make financial provision for your old age today.

As a Briton in Germany, what do I have to do now?

1. show proof of residency

If you are British and were living in Germany on December 31st, 2020 and would like to continue living in Germany, you must report your residence to the foreigners authority responsible for you by June 30th, 2021. You will then receive a new residence document.

Note: Registration at the Residents' Registration Office is not sufficient. It is best not to wait until shortly before the deadline on June 30th, 2021. 

Tip: Many authorities now allow you to register your residence online. 

British citizens who move to Germany after 1 January 2021 will need a visa for a stay longer than 90 days. This also applies to family members who want to join you in Germany.

2. New residence document

Your previous documents (whether a residence card or permanent residence card) will become invalid on January1st, 2022. Therefore, you can have them exchanged for a new residence document free of charge by your competent foreigners authority.

If you are entitled to stay according to the withdrawal agreement, you will receive an identity document in cheque card format which is valid for at least five years and at most ten years.

If you are entitled to permanent residence in Germany, the word "Daueraufenthalt" (permanent residence) is written on the back, in the second line below "Erwerbstätigkeit erlaubt" (gainful employment permitted).

With the new residence document and your passport, you can travel visa-free within the Schengen states for up to 90 days within 180 days. However, it does not allow you to work in or move to other EU countries. 

How do I get a permanent right of residence in Germany?

You still have to have lived in Germany for five years. However, interruptions of residence of up to six months, in exceptional cases up to twelve months, are possible. Periods before and after December 31st, 2020 are included in the calculation.

Can I lose my right of residence?

The most common reason why people lose their right of residence is if they stay outside Germany for too long.
If you have the right of permanent residence, you can stay outside Germany for up to five years without losing your right of residence. 

Otherwise: If you stay outside Germany for longer than six months (exceptions: longer than twelve months), you will lose your right of residence according to the exit agreement. 

Please note: Your periods of absence before and after 31 December 2020 will be taken into account.

In these cases, the loss of the right of residence is also possible:

  • If you no longer fulfil the conditions for residence
  • If you can no longer support yourself (scenario: you lose your job and cannot find a new job within six months and there is no reasonable prospect of finding a new job in Germany)
  • If you commit a criminal offence

Where can I find further information?

The Federal Ministry of the Interior has summarised detailed information on the subject of residence for British nationals after the withdrawal agreement in this brochure. In addition, the foreigners authority responsible for you can answer further questions. You can find them here.

In our Survival Guide for Expats we have compiled the most important facts about life in Germany.

In addition, the website of the German government "Make it in Germany" summarizes some important points you should consider when moving to Germany.

If you want to apply for a visa, please contact the Embassy or Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in the country where you live.

Your Welcome Guide

All you need to know about living in Germany: We put together an essential life admin for you, so you can understand and embrace the German peculiarity when moving to the country that loves bureaucracy, beer and bread.

ottonova expat eBook

Your Welcome Guide

We put together an essential life admin for you, so you can understand and embrace Germany's peculiarities.

Share