UK Immigration from Germany

If you are looking to emigrate from Germany to the UK you should be aware of the various immigration routes available to you as well as the lengthy application process following the UK’s departure from the European Union.

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    Immigrate to UK from Germany

    The UK is a popular country for people all around the world to move to hoping for better opportunities. Even outside London, you have cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, Cardiff, and Glasgow offering a multitude of potential economic as well as academic opportunities for those who wish to reside here and start a family.

    Regardless of the reason for which you may want to move to the UK from Germany, you will likely need a visa. There will be a variety of options available to you, from family to work visas, so it is very important you closely understand each pathway to ensure you are applying for the option that best suits you.

    In addition, you will need to compile the legal documents required for the application process to help the authorities understand whether or not you meet the eligibility criteria to be able to migrate to the UK.

    Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, rules have changed such that EU citizens or other foreign nationals who wish to move to the UK must apply for special permission if they wish to stay for a timeframe longer than 6 months. You should be aware of the changes in guidelines and how you may successfully gain permission to reside in the UK and even gain citizenship down the line should this be something you are aiming for.

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    Moving For Work

    The most common work visa for those hoping to reside in the UK on a long-term basis is the Skilled Worker visa. It is available for those who hold the appropriate skills that enable them to become employed by a valid employer that holds a sponsorship license.

    Other than proving you meet the skill expectancy, as with a lot of other visas, you will need to demonstrate a minimum level of proficiency of speaking English and proof you will be able to financially sustain yourself during your stay in the UK.

    Other types of work visas that may be available depending on if you meet the more specialised criteria include:

    • Health and Care Worker visa
    • International Sportsperson visa
    • Minister of Religion visa (T2)
    • Scale-up Worker visa
    • Frontier Worker permit
    • Innovator Founder visa

    These visas offer the opportunity for long-term residency in the UK, though temporary work visas for specific cases are available and include such visas as the Seasonal Worker visa, Religious Worker visa, and the Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

    Another category of work visas exist for those working for a company overseas that has a branch in the UK called the Global Business Mobility visas, which may help you live and work in the UK for up to a number of years with the ability to extend the term of your stay, though you should be aware generally these do not allow for a pathway to apply for settled status. These visas include:

    • Senior or Specialist Worker visa
    • Overseas Domestic Worker visa
    • Graduate Trainee visa
    • Secondment Worker visa
    • Service Supplier visa
    • UK Expansion Worker visa

    Points-based Immigration System

    If you wish to emigrate to the UK from any country, you should be aware of the points-based system instituted in 2020 by the UK government as a measure of whether or not an applicant will qualify for certain UK visas (mostly pertaining to work visas).

    As an example, such characteristics you must match to give you a certain amount of points include:

    • Receiving an offer of a job from a UK company who can offer sponsorship (20 points)
    • Your prospective job is at the appropriate skill level for the role (20 points)
    • Your English language ability is at least at the level of B1 (10 points)

    These points in particular comprise your mandatory 50 points to be eligible for the majority of visas, though to take the Skilled Worker visa, as an example, you must score at least 70 points on this system to be successful in applying for it.

    Other factors that may gain you points include the academic level of your qualification and meeting a minimum salary threshold at your new job.

    Moving For Family

    If you are hoping to move to Germany to join any family members for more than 6 months such as a partner, child, or parent, the Family visa is available. You should know that the standard cost to apply for this visa is £1,846 per person if applying from outside the UK and £1,048 if applying from within, excluding the mandatory healthcare surcharge.

    This visa will typically only be available if the family member you are hoping to join in the UK is a British citizen or has settled status, and is not only in the country on a temporary basis, such as on a Worker or Student visa. In such cases, you may apply to be added as a dependent on their particular visa if you wish to stay with them temporarily.

    The Spouse Visa is very commonly applied for if you have a valid partner in the UK and you will be able to offer substantial proof about the state of your relationship such as having been together for at least 2 years prior to applying or can prove you will get married within 6 months of your arrival in the country. Other requirements include being able to financially sustain yourself and having access to suitable accommodation.

    There are some special circumstances under which you could also apply if you do not meet the eligibility criteria, such as having a child in the UK who is a British citizen and has lived there for at least 7 years.

    You may stay for up to 33 months on this visa (or just the 6 months if applying as a fiancé), though you may extend this visa for a further 30 months.

    Moving As A Student

    The UK is a very popular destination for international students from around the globe and finishing a degree in the UK is a viable pathway to being able to stay long-term after your graduation, including having the right to a 2-year period after you finish your study to find full-time work and eventually earn Indefinite Leave to Remain.

    To apply for a Student visa you must be at least 16 years of age, be able to speak English, have received an offer for a course of study by a licensed student sponsor, and be able to financially sustain yourself during your stay in the UK. You should know that most UK degree courses require you to be at least 18 to apply and if you are under this age you must have parental consent to be able to apply.

    You may apply for such studies at 16 as college and foundation courses at institutions that offer them to minors who wish to continue on to a 3+ year degree course. In such cases your Student visa may be extended to accommodate for the full length of your study.

    You can apply up to 6 months before the start of the course of study if you apply from Germany and expect a response in 3 weeks or 3 months if you apply from within the UK with a response time of 8 weeks. The fee to apply will be £490.

    When you graduate from a university in the UK while on a Student visa, you may have the option of switching your visa to a Graduate visa, which will allow you to stay in the UK for 2 years without being legally required to work full time. Should you wish to stay longer than these 2 years, you must find work in this time and apply for a work visa such as the Skilled Worker visa. This will allow you to apply for settlement down the line.

    You should be aware that there are restrictions to the amount of work an international student can undertake within the UK while on a Student visa, so you may be expected to live off of savings or family support during the time in which you study. You may be expected to present proof of this during the application period.

    If you require further assistance acquiring a Student visa or switching your visa after graduating, contact Total Law today for expert legal advice. Contact us by phone at 0333 305 9375 or online on our website.

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      Permanent Residency in UK

      If you wish to permanently reside in the UK with no further conditions on your immigration status, you will need to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (permanent settlement).

      The most common way to apply is to meet the condition of having lived and worked for at least 5 years in the UK, though this can be as short as 3 years if you have been in the UK on an Innovator Founder visa, The Global Talent visa, or still possess an old Tier 1 visa.

      Other ways you may apply for settlement include having a family member with settlement status in the UK; this may apply whether they are a British citizen or just have Indefinite Leave to Remain status themselves. You may apply even if you are dependent on your partner or parent’s worker visa and they are also planning on applying for settlement status.

      Otherwise, you may apply for settlement if you have lived in the UK for at least 10 years and meet additional criteria such as no criminal convictions or violations of your immigration status, no extended stays outside the UK exceeding 180 days in a 12-month period, and can demonstrably speak and write English and are able to financially sustain yourself. A required component is also passing the Life in the UK Test.

      If you wish to apply for settlement status you must pay a fee of £2,885 per person and have your biometric information taken. You must present all the valid information about yourself, informing the immigration authorities of any changes to the status of your visa, and then you should expect a response in approximately 6 months.

      If you receive Indefinite Leave to Remain status you may apply for British Citizenship after a further 12 month stay in the UK.

      Asylum Seeking

      Though not as common for those in Germany to be looking at the possibility of seeking asylum should they choose to want to move to the UK, for those fleeing persecution who wish to join family particularly within the UK, there is some information worth understanding on how viable of an option this is.

      While the UK does accept many asylum seekers every year fleeing hostile countries and offers government financial and housing assistance through section 95 support, the 2023 Illegal Migration Bill made this a very difficult process for those who have entered the UK illegally. Additionally, your claim becomes less likely to be successful should you apply from an EU nation or ‘safe third country’, of which Germany is both. If you already have family in the UK, you may apply specifically to reunite, though this will be at the subjective discretion of the UK immigration authorities’ decision on the matter.

      How Can Total Law Help?

      Whichever route you wish to pursue to enable yourself to immigrate from Germany to the UK, you will likely require expert legal advice, whether you need assistance with such a process as converting your Student visa to a Graduate visa, or figuring out whether or not you qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain and need help navigating the application process.

      Total Law has a team of experienced immigration specialists who have helped countless people  with their UK visas from Germany and assisted them regardless of their own personal circumstances with the best pathway that enabled them to further down the line to settle permanently in a new country.

      Total Law will have their team of professionals analyse the position you’re in and offer expert advice to you as to what you need to do to have your legal needs be adequately met. If there are any issues during your application process, such as proving you have legally lived in the UK for the required amount of time to apply for settlement, we will be here to provide the best specialist assistance available.

      Contact Total Law today by phone at 0333 305 9375 or online on our website.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                Though, until recently, it was very difficult to gain dual citizenship if you were to become a naturalised German citizen, in the UK this has been available for a while. If you should seek to gain British citizenship by staying in the UK long enough to gain settlement status and stay for a further 12 months to be eligible to apply, you may choose to retain your German citizenship and hold a passport for both nations.