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

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

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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