The United Kingdom left the European Union on 1 February 2020 on the basis of the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU, which has since taken effect and entered into force.

The withdrawal agreement regulates the modalities of the withdrawal, including the following important points:

For the period after the UK's withdrawal from the EU, the withdrawal agreement established a transition period, which ended on 31 December 2020. During this transition period, EU law continued to apply in the UK. The rights of EU citizens (and their family members) who lived in the UK until 31 December 2020 and the rights of British citizens (and their family members) who lived in the EU until 31 December 2020, are comprehensively protected by the withdrawal agreement: they can continue to live, work, study and be covered by social security there.

The withdrawal agreement also defines the financial obligations of the United Kingdom.

The European Court of Justice has an important role to play in the monitoring and implementation of the agreement.

British citizens who have not exercised their right to freedom of movement in Germany by 31 December 2020 are not covered by the withdrawal agreement. This applies to most British nationals who move to Germany starting 1 January 2021. They are treated like all other third-country nationals: if they plan a longer stay or if they want to be gainfully employed in Germany, they need a permit from the foreigners authority. For other short stays and certain stays in the Schengen area for work, they will need a visa before entry starting on 1 January. You can find more information on the website of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community.

You can also find more information on the following pages:

Questions and answers on Brexit

Preliminary remarks

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 1 February 2020.

The withdrawal agreement provides for full continuance of the rights of EU citizens, British nationals and their family members living and working permanently in the UK or the EU at the end of the transitional period who continue to do so. The withdrawal agreement includes limited continuance for persons who were no longer in such a situation at the end of the transition period, but, for example, worked in the UK or the EU at an earlier point in time and completed pension qualifying periods. In a Guidance Note, the European Commission has set out who is covered by the withdrawal agreement and under which conditions. These FAQs deal with various aspects of the labour and social law provisions of this continuance of rights.

In addition to the information for the above-mentioned groups of people, information on postings and assignments is provided for companies. Companies can address labour market-related questions to the Employer Service of the Federal Employment Agency. Employer-focused counselling and referral services can be obtained by calling 0800 4555520.