Brexit-Übergangsgesetz – Transitional Brexit Act

The German Federal Foreign Ministry has prepared a ministry draft of a potential Transitional Brexit Acdt (Brexit-Übergangsgesetz) – the title alone presents a translation problem. There is an explanation on the website in both German and English.

This Referentenentwurf is something prepared by the relevant section of the ministry but not yet adopted by the German government as a bill. So something may happen after the summer holidays.

The part of interest to British citizens who want to take German citizenship suggests that within the transitional period In addition, there is to be a regulation in favour of British nationals who apply for German citizenship during the transition period.

Solange das Vereinigte Königreich noch EU-Mitglied ist oder im Übergangszeitraum wie ein solches behandelt wird, muss für die Einbürgerung die britische Staatsangehörigkeit nicht aufgeben werden. Dabei kommt es aber nicht auf den Tag der Antragstellung, sondern auf den Tag der Entscheidung über die Einbürgerung an. Längere Bearbeitungszeiten könnten also zu Lasten britischer Einbürgerungsbewerber gehen. Um dies zu vermeiden, bestimmt der Referentenentwurf, dass bei Antragstellung vor Ablauf des Übergangszeitraums die britische Staatsangehörigkeit beibehalten werden kann.


As long as the United Kingdom is still a member of the EU or is treated as such during the transition period, British nationals applying for German citizenship will not have to give up their British citizenship. However, the pertinent date will be not the date on which the application was submitted, but the date on which a decision on citizenship is taken. In other words, the lengthy period needed to process applications could be to the detriment of British applicants. To avoid this, the ministry draft states that if an application is submitted before the end of the transition period, British citizenship can be retained.

I find this a bit confusing. I don’t know how long it currently takes for a person to be granted German citizenship (and as long as the UK is still in the EU, therefore to have concurrent German and British citizenship), but it looks as if the date of application is to be conclusive. If the bill becomes law in its current form!

The draft itself reads

Zu § 3

Die Einbürgerung in den deutschen Staatsverband setzt grundsätzlich die Aufgabe oder den Verlust der bisherigen Staatsangehörigkeit voraus, es sei denn, der Einbürgerungs- bewerber besitzt die Staatsangehörigkeit eines Mitgliedstaates der Europäischen Union oder der Schweiz (§ 12 Absatz 2 StAG). Solange das Vereinigte Königreich Mitglied der Europäischen Union ist oder in dem Übergangszeitraum als Mitgliedstaat der Europäi- schen Union gilt, werden britische Einbürgerungsbewerber daher mit fortbestehender britischer Staatsagehörigkeit eingebürgert. Dabei kommt es nach allgemeinen verfahrens- rechtlichen Grundsätzen auf den Tag der Einbürgerung an, nicht auf den Tag der Antragstellung. Um zu vermeiden, dass längere Bearbeitungszeiten zu Lasten der britischen Einbürgerungsbewerber gehen, wird in dieser ergänzenden Übergangsregelung be- stimmt, dass bei Antragstellung vor Ablauf des Übergangszeitraums die Beibehaltung der britischen Staatsangehörigkeit hingenommen wird, wenn zu diesem Zeitpunkt die weiteren Einbürgerungsvoraussetzungen bereits erfüllt waren.

In other news, there was a lot of excitement in the press last week when the UK government, on July 12, published a Brexit white paper translated poorly into various languages.

Brexit: British government’s botched German translation of Chequers white paper met with ridicule

That’s all well and good, and certainly the UK does not do much for foreign languages nowadays, but it isn’t the first time such documents have been translated poorly, in whatever country they originated. Apparently the ITI wrote a letter to Dominic Raab but the CIoL didn’t.

I even found a Wiki site Find translation errors in the UK government’s Brexit white paper.

That really says something about how social media are encouraging us to waste our time. What about discussing the content of the white paper, people?

8 thoughts on “Brexit-Übergangsgesetz – Transitional Brexit Act

  1. No mention, alas, of the well-kept secret of applying, right now if feasible, for a 5-year ’half a German’ (Aufenthalts-titel ) or ‘half an Austrian’ national passport based on permanent (continuing) residency (Dauer-aufenthalts-recht). It’s far easier than this UK vs. German citizenship rigmarole or ‘Theater’.


    Austria: Lichtbildausweis für EWR-Bürger /Republik Österreich – forestalling and circumventing the ongoing Brexit mess via resort to the EEA-European Economic Area.

    Query – acceptance of either ID at UK and German or Austrian border ‘control’ – e.g .ITI translator-preferred inspection.

  2. But you don’t have dual nationality if you are in Austria, right? I used to have permanent right of residence in Germany myself, though it was not relevant once we were EU citizens. I am not sure your suggestions really cut it for those who want German and British dual nationality even after a hard Brexit.

  3. There is, arguably, no point in dual nationality even after a hard Brexit, if a British passport, plus an Austrian- or German-issued ID card can be produced at Austrian, German or Schengen member-country border control points, jeweils-respectively, or to the local authority: das Magistrat in Austria (and the ex-GDR) or Stadtverwaltung/American Radio: ‘Rat House’ in Germany.

    I may be confused myself, but – wary of the conflation post-university German politics-and-society lectures almost half a century ago and with relatives who are US and Canadian nationals as well as federal state citizens – can’t see a clear distinction being drawn in the translation between (e.g. Northern Irish/ Hel(i)goland) citizenship/ Staatsbürgerschaft and (e.g. British or Bavarian – surely a misnomer!) nationality/ Staatsangehörigkeit.

    • Adrian,
      You can only get a proper German ID if you’re a German citizen. We used to have paper residence permits for EU citizens, but they abolished them some years ago. But they were never accepted as official photo IDs in any case.
      I also imagine that the EU practice of using national ID cards at borders will no longer be applicable in the UK after Brexit, unless they specifically allow it.

      • Thanks, Robin. My prospective aim on survival post-Brexit is to use the revived old, British black passport when entering the UK (with or without Northern Ireland and – dear to many of us – Scotland) whilst otherwise, the Lichtbildausweis/ Republik Österreich when moving around the Schengen ID-only travel area.

        Obiter, the inconsistent terminology in the weblink of Bayerische ‘Staatsangehörigkeit’ as a nationality – connoting a separately issuable Bavarian passport – sloppily interchangeable in the drafting with bayerischer Staatsbürger as a citizen of the German Federal State. As another relative of mine, a Herr öffentlicher Notar from Munich-Ottobrunn, used to shout when drunk, even when visiting London: ‘ich bin kein Deutscher, sondern ein Bay(r)er!’.

  4. Yes in the UK and still – by dint of a property qualification – in local West London government elections. Unless I rig my wife’s vote: no, in Austria nationally (aktives oder passives > als Bundeskanzler oder -präsident > Wahlrecht) but, yes, in local Viennese elections – in a Stadtbezirk bordering and abutting (upon) Sebastian Kurz’s original one.

  5. yes, exactly – not in UK local elections, but voting in Bavarian elections was fun: there were so many confusing options of combining votes, and I knew my vote would count. Not that PR is the perfect solution, but if I had voted in the local elections in Upminster I wouldn’t have felt I affected the outcome. I would have liked to vote in national elections in Germany.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.