German politicians are working on a draft law – called Brexit-Übergangsgesetz – which will allow Britons living in Germany the opportunity to become a citizen after the UK leaves the European Union.
The draft bill being prepared allows the so-called Brexit transition period to be adopted into German national law if it is fully agreed by British and EU negotiators.
If passed, German law will treat Britain as a member of the EU until the end of the transition period.
Britain will spend 21 months orbiting the EU, as a member in all but name, after officially leaving the bloc in March 2019 in order to complete an “orderly withdrawal”.
I welcome Germany’s proposal for a generous approach to UK citizens post-Brexit
While the implementation period is signed off by Theresa May’s fellow 27 EU leaders, it relies on the completion of the withdrawal agreement which remains only 80 percent finished.
In this time British passport holders living in Germany and applying for a German passport will be treated as EU nationals.
Despite German law generally not allowing dual citizenship, Britons will be able to keep their domestic documents as well as their new German passports.
There will be a regulation that favours British nationals applying for German citizenship during the transition period.
While a lengthy period is usually needed is usually needed to process applications, Germany states that if an application is submitted before the end of the transition period, British citizenship will be retained.
Brexit negotiating MEP Guy Verhofstadt welcomed the “generous” offer from Berlin and hopes it will set the tone across a number of EU countries.
He told Express.co.uk: “I welcome Germany’s proposal for a generous approach to UK citizens post-Brexit and hope this will set the tone for other EU27 countries.
The European Parliament is committed to scrutinising the preparations of EU countries regarding UK nationals. People shouldn’t be the victims of Brexit.”
Mr Verhofstadt’s Brexit Steering Group have raised a number of questions over Britain’s offer of settled status to EU citizens hoping to remain after Brexit.
Britain plans to allow those who have been continuously living in the country for five years to be eligible for “settled status”, once obtained residents would “have the same access they currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits” in the UK.
Mr Verhofstadt has, however, raised “four big concerns” surrounding the plan, including issues with a £65 fee, the need for a “very dense” network of registration points, and the failure to include an “independent authority to scrutinise the whole process”.
On the proposed cost of registration, he said: “We think the people who lived in Britain before the notification of the withdrawal agreement shouldn’t pay a fee.”