Brexit: What Brits in Denmark need to do before and after December 31st

With the end of the Brexit transitional period between the EU and United Kingdom approaching, UK nationals in Denmark must take steps to maintain their residency in 2021 – including those who already have legal residence in the country.

Brexit: What Brits in Denmark need to do before and after December 31st
Photo: Niels Ahlmann Olesen/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (Styrelsen for International Rekruttering og Integration, SIRI) has contacted British citizens registered as living in Denmark to inform them of steps they may need to take prior to December 31st and will need to take after that date.

Any Britons in Denmark who have dual Danish nationality or dual nationality with an EU or Nordic country or Switzerland are not affected – but everyone else is.

Legal residents prior to December 31st, 2020 have right to stay

This is an important fact to know from the SIRI circular. If you are registered as a legal resident in Denmark under EU free movement rules prior to December 31st, your right to reside in Denmark can be preserved following that date.

“According to the withdrawal agreement you can maintain your residence rights in the host member state as defined in the EU rules on free movement. This means that you can continue to live, work or study in Denmark on the same conditions as now,” the letter states.

As such, if you have either form of legal residence in Denmark (temporary or permanent) obtained via EU free movement rules prior to December 31st, you will be able to stay after that date, although you will need to submit a new form in 2021 (more on this below).

READ ALSO: EU citizen? Here's how your free movement rights apply in Denmark

What do I do if I’m not currently registered as resident in Denmark?

Under the terms of the withdrawal agreement, UK citizens and their family members can continue to exercise their right to free movement in accordance with EU rules until December 31st, 2020. You can therefore apply for residency under EU free movement rules up to that date via the New to Denmark website. You should do this as soon as you can.

What happens if I’m not registered as resident in Denmark on or after January 1st, 2021?

If you have not registered as Denmark-resident under EU free movement rules by the end of the current year, you will count as a “third country” national (i.e. of a country with no free movement arrangement with Denmark) as of January 1st.

You will have to apply for a residence permit as a third country national under the Danish Aliens Act if you want to take up residence in Denmark: a pathway significantly more difficult than preservation of your free movement status. Click here for official information on the various ways to qualify for residence as a third country national.

I am British and already have residence in Denmark under EU free movement rules. Do I need to do anything?

Yes, you do. But not before January 1st.

SIRI’s circular states that “in order to preserve your residence right in Denmark in accordance with the withdrawal agreement you are obliged to submit an application for issuance of a new residence status and a new residence document”.

A new online application platform for this will be launched on the New to Denmark website. The platform will be launched on January 1st, according to SIRI. You will be able to submit the application no sooner than January 1st, 2021 and no later than December 31st, 2021. So, some time in 2021 – but not necessarily at the beginning of the year (see below for an explanation of this).

All UK citizens and their family members who have taken up legal residence in Denmark under EU free movement rules before December 31st this year must apply to continue their residence status. This includes permanent residents (people who have lived in Denmark under EU rules for over 5 years are entitled to permanent residency).

Cross-border workers from the UK will similarly need to apply to confirm their status in order to continue to work in Denmark and live in the UK or another EU country without a work permit.

What happens when and after I apply?

Next month, reminders will be sent out to UK nationals (via the eboks secure email system) as to when they must submit applications – these will be spread across the year so as to prevent a backlog, so you might not have to send anything in January, for example. You will keep your right to reside in Denmark up to the point you send your application as well as while it is being processed.

SIRI states that, “if you meet the conditions of the withdrawal agreement, SIRI will issue a residence card which documents your right to reside in Denmark.”

Residence cards are valid for, respectively, five years (temporary residence) and ten years (permanent residence).

Do I need to submit anything I might not already have?

Yes, unfortunately you do. In addition to the regular types of documentation you would have had to provide with an EU free movement application, you will also need to submit biometric data for the residence card.

That means you will need to get your biometric data recorded at one of SIRI’s five branch offices, located in Copenhagen, Odense, Aalborg, Aarhus, and Aabenraa.

Did this article cover any questions you might have about retaining residency after Brexit? Did we miss anything or would you like us to follow anything up with the Danish authorities? Let us know.

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Six useful products I discovered in Denmark

Denmark is well known for its tradition for high quality design, but which products make a difference to everyday life?

Six useful products I discovered in Denmark

Inbuilt bike locks 

There’s no need to carry around a heavy and impractical chain to lock up your bicycle in Denmark, as these all come fitted (or you can cheaply add) an inbuilt lock on the frame of the bike.

The lock is the form of a circular bar which is released by a key and goes between the spokes of the back wheel, meaning it can’t be turned when the lock is in the fixed position.

This way, bikes can be locked while still standing freely – which is just as well, since there are not enough railings and bike stands in the country to accommodate the many, many bicycles.

Of course, a locked bike can, in theory, be picked up and carried away even if the wheel doesn’t turn and unfortunately, this does happen sometimes. But not enough to undermine the public trust in bicycle wheel locks.

Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Rain trousers

Rain trousers/pants (regnbukser) can be bought on their own or with a matching jacket as part of a regnsæt (“rain set”).

These waterproof pants are a novelty to those of us who don’t come from bicycle cultures, but after your first rainy day cycling commute leaves you at the office with drenched trousers, you’ll understand the appeal.

They are designed to fit over your regular trousers and can be stretched over the top of your shoes and held underneath them with a piece of elastic attached to the bottom hem.

While primarily designed for cycling, they also come in handy for walking around during Denmark’s regular spells of cold, damp weather.

Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

READ ALSO: Essential rain gear for a wet Danish winter (and spring, summer, autumn)

The flatbed toaster

There’s something indefinably satisfying about putting two slices of bread in a toaster and waiting for the ‘ping’ as they pop up, warm and ready for spreading.

However, there’s no getting around the fact that toasters are a bit impractical when it comes to thick slices and rolls.

Of course, you can also warm bread in the oven, but it’s more hassle and not for quite the same result.

Enter the flatbed toaster. This device is much more popular in Denmark than the pop-up version and enables easy, simultaneous warming of several slices of bread of various shapes and sizes – including of course, the national favourite, rye bread.

Pro tip: turn the dial less for toasting the second side of the bread, because the element will already be warm. This way you avoid burning the second side.

Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The cheese slicer

Cheese products popular in Denmark include havarti and the Cheasy range from dairy Arla.

These are both soft cheeses and should be cut with an ostehøvl (cheese slicer), a quintessential Danish kitchen utensil.

There are two types of ostehøvl: a wire-based type and a version that looks a bit like a trowel, with a raised edge and a gap in the middle for the sliced cheese to pass through.

Cutting Danish soft cheese with a knife will turn the block into a crumbling mess, so in this setting you can’t really avoid using the specialised slicers. And while their usefulness is diminished for something like cheddar, there are plenty of softer cheeses in other countries that would surely benefit from being set about with an ostehøvl.

One thing to be aware of: injudicious use of the slicer can cause a “ski slope” cheese block, creating uneven slices and leaving one side of the block thicker than the other. Slice evenly.

READ ALSO: Why does Denmark produce so much cheese?

Foam washing cloths for babies

If you’re a parent and have found yourself struggling with a pile of dirty wet wipes or cotton pads after changing your baby, you may have found yourself wondering if there’s another way.

In Denmark, there is: the engangsvaskeklude (disposable washing cloth) comes in tightly-stuffed packets of 50-100 small, square foam cloths, around 20 square centimetres in size.

The cloths are made from thin slices of polyether foam, a type often used in sofa cushions. Manufacturers say it is better for the environment than other types, and the advantage against wet wipes is they are perfume-free.

They just need to be made damp with a splash of lukewarm water, then you’re ready to wipe – they tend to have a good success rate for picking up baby poo.

A sticker saying ‘no thanks’ to junk mail

We’re talking about physical junk mail here, not the type that goes into your email spam box although if there was a sticker for this, I’d be at the front of the queue.

The reklamer, nej tak (“advertisements, no thank you”) sticker can be ordered from FK Distribution, the company which operates Denmark’s tilbudsaviser (“special offer newspaper”) deliveries. These result in piles of paper leaflets, detailing offers at supermarkets, being pushed through letter boxes every day.

These leaflets are useful for bargain hunters, but many people take them out of their overfilled letter box and dump them straight into recycling containers. If you have a nej tak sticker on your letter box, you won’t receive any of the brochures in the first place.

You can also choose a sticker which says “no thanks” to adverts but excludes the offer leaflets, so you can cut down on the junk mail while still keeping abreast of good deals.

Have I missed any good ones? Let me know.