Denmark is EU’s second most expensive country for residency application

Denmark is second in a survey which compares the costs of applying for permanent residency in EU countries, as the UK prepares to begin negotiations to leave the bloc.

Denmark is EU's second most expensive country for residency application
Photo: Iris/Scanpix

For citizens of countries outside the EU, application fees for permanent residency for EU countries can represent a significant outlay when starting out in a new country.

A survey carried out by internet group CupoNation shows that Denmark is the second-most expensive country for work or study-based permanent residence applications, with fees of 5,760 kroner (772 euros) second only to Lithuania.

In comparison to its Scandinavian neighbours, Denmark is noticeably more expensive. Permanent residence fees are 1,000 Swedish kronor (102 euros) and 2,100 Norwegian kroner (222 euros) in Sweden and Norway respectively.

Criteria for permanent residency also vary significantly between each country, with various minimum periods of living and working required before non-nationals become eligible for permanent residency.

Earlier this year, the Danish parliament passed an unpopular proposal further tightening requirements for residency, with the eight-year period now required making it one of Europe’s strictest countries on the issue.

READ ALSO: Danish parliament rejects campaign to soften residence bill

Danish residency requirements also include provisions on age, employment, language, and criminal records.

The cost of applying for permanent residency in EU countries is a relevant issue in light of the expected start of negotiations between the United Kingdom and the EU on the former’s withdrawal to leave the union, CupoNation’s digital marketing manager Jeppe Jepsen told The Local.

With the UK’s future relationship with the EU uncertain, and other countries having raised the idea of leaving the EU, the economic outlook for those who may suddenly find themselves without EU citizenship is an issue that deserves accessible data, Jepsen wrote in an email.

The extent to which the UK will retain free movement and trade with EU countries has arguably become less certain after last week’s general election in the country, in which Prime Minister Theresa May, who has advocated a “Hard Brexit”, lost her parliamentary majority, leaving her future as PM in doubt.

READ ALSO: Denmark passes dual citizenship bill

A Hard Brexit would prioritise giving Britain full control over its borders, making new trade deals and applying laws within its own territory, at the possible expense of access to the EU single market.

The negotiations, which were scheduled to begin next week, may yet be delayed by the election result in the UK.

Should Britain exclude itself from the EU completely, fees for permanent residence applications could become an unwanted side effect for UK citizens basing themselves abroad.

Graphic: CupoNation

Correction: A previous version of this article erroneously stated in one paragraph that the 5,760 DKK fee was related to citizenship applications. It applies only to work or study-based residency applications.


Brexit: Brits in EU feel European and don’t want to return home

The majority of Britons who live in the EU, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland and are protected under the Brexit agreement feel European and intend to remain in Europe permanently, but many have concerns about travel problems, a new survey reveals.

Brexit: Brits in EU feel European and don't want to return home

The research also shows that problems exist and “travel is where most issues relating to the new status currently occur”. For instance, border officials are still stamping passports of UK citizens with residence rights under the EU UK withdrawal agreement, even though they shouldn’t.

“There is constant confusion around passport stamping. I was ‘stamped in’ to France on a short trip… but could not find anyway to be ‘stamped out’ again. I think I can only spend 90 days in other EU countries, but have no idea how anyone can check or enforce that – until someone decides to try. It’s a mess,” was one of the answers left in an open question.

“Every time I go through a Schengen border control, I need to provide both my passport and Aufenthaltstitel card [resident permit in Germany] and watch to check that they don’t stamp my passport. As I am currently travelling a lot that’s been 20-odd times this year…” another respondent said.

The survey was carried out by Professor Tanja Bueltmann, historian of migration and diaspora at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, between October and November 2022. About 1,139 UK citizens replied.

Of these, 80 per cent found acquiring their new status easy or very easy, 60.7 per cent feel their rights are secure, while 39.3 per cent have concerns about their status going forward.

Staying permanently

More than three quarters (76.6 per cent) of respondents said they plan to live permanently in the EU or the other countries of the European Economic Area and Switzerland. In fact, 65.7 per cent said that Brexit has increased the likelihood of this choice.

For some, the decision is linked to the difficulty to bring non-British family members to the UK under new, stricter immigration rules.

“My German wife and I decided we no longer wanted to live in UK post Brexit referendum. In particular, we were affected by the impact of immigration law […] We cannot now return to UK on retirement as I cannot sponsor her on my pension. We knew it was a one-way journey. Fortunately, I could revive an application for German citizenship,” was a testimony.

“My husband is a US citizen and getting him a visa for the UK was near impossible due to my low income as a freelance journalist. We realized under EU law, moving to an EU country was easier. We settled on Austria as we had both lived there before… we could speak some German, and we like the mountains,” said another respondent.

Professor Bueltmann noted that the loss of free movement rights in the EU could be a factor too in the decision of many to stay where they are.

Citizenship and representation

Among those who decided to stay, 38.2 per cent are either applying or planning to apply for a citizenship and 28.6 per cent are thinking about it.

A key finding of the research, Bueltmann said, is that the vast majority of British citizens do not feel politically represented. Some 60 per cent of respondents said they feel unrepresented and another 30 per cent not well represented.

Another issue is that less than half (47.5 per cent) trust the government of their country of residence, while a larger proportion (62 per cent) trust the European Union. Almost all (95.6 per cent) said they do not trust the UK government.

Feeling European

The survey highlights the Brexit impacts on people’s identity too. 82.6 per cent of respondents said they see themselves as European, a higher proportion than those identifying as British (68.9 per cent).

“Brexit has really left me unsure of what my identity is. I don’t feel British, and I certainly don’t identify with the mindset of a lot of British people who live there. Yet, I am not Danish either. So, I don’t really know anymore!” said one of the participants in the survey.

Professor Bueltmann said the survey “demonstrates that Brexit impacts continue to evolve: this didn’t just stop because the transition period was over or a deadline for an application had been reached. Consequently, Brexit continues to shape the lives and experiences of British citizens in the EU/EEA and Switzerland in substantial, sometimes life-altering, ways.”

Considering the results of the study, Professor Bueltmann recommends policy makers in the EU and the UK to address the issue of lack of representation, for instance creating a joint UK-EU citizens’ stakeholder forum.

The report also recommends the UK government to rebuild trust with British citizens in the EU introducing voting rights for life and changing immigration rules to allow British-European families to return more easily. 

This article was prepared in cooperation with Europe Street News.