Updated: How are post-Brexit residency applications going in Denmark?

Updated: How are post-Brexit residency applications going in Denmark?
In Aarhus, applicants need to leave biometric information at Siri's offices in the Dokk 1 building. Photo: Dokk 1
A survey by The Local has found that Denmark's authorities are for the most part handling post-Brexit residency applications from Brits fairly efficiently, with the process taking between two and four months from the moment of application.

How long are Danish authorities taking to process residency applications? 

According to figures obtained by The Local, Denmark’s integration agency Siri claims it took an average of one and a half months to process applications for permanent residency from Brits in the first half of this year.

That is faster than it processes other residency applications in its “fast-track” category, so it seems like British applications are being prioritised.  

As of May 31st, Denmark was nonetheless behind neighbouring countries such as Sweden, The Netherlands, and France in the share of its British residents whose post-Brexit residency applications had been completed, according to the fourth report of the EU and UK’s Special Committee on Citizens’ Rights.

This may be due to Denmark’s slow start, and its decision to ask British residents in Denmark to wait to apply until a certain month, based on their date of birth, to avoid receiving an unmanageable surge in applications.  

In November 2020 all British citizens and family members of British citizens in Denmark received an information letter with relevant information about applications for their new residence status in accordance with the withdrawal agreement between The UK and the EU. Siri will send a reminder letter in autumn 2021.

What processing times are The Local's readers reporting? 

Brits in Denmark are reporting the process taking between five weeks and four months from the moment of sending in their application to holding their new residency card in their hands. 

This includes a two to three-week wait to receive an invite to supply biometric information, then between one and three weeks before an appointment was available at their nearest citizen centre. 

Once applicants had given fingerprints etc, it then took between ten days and six weeks to receive a residency card, with the average being about two to three weeks. 

"I had to apply in May, did so mid-month and got invited for my biometrics about 6 weeks later. That process was very smooth, only about a 10-minute wait and all very efficiently managed," said Sofie Blakstad. 

Rosie Madsen received her residency card four weeks after the biometric test. "I was applying as an already permanent resident, so there was minimal stuff to send in and biometrics went smoothly." 

"I had to apply in January and the process was easy at first," said John Barton. "I went to Aarhus for the biometric which was easy for me. The new residence card took over 3 months but I have it for 10 years now." 

Has anyone experienced unexpected problems? 

Moira Paulsen applied early, but when she got her residency card in April, discovered that the birthdate was wrong. 

"I rang Siri as number 27 in a queue only to be told that they knew and that they were 'trying' to rectify the error and that I would hear from them," she said.

"We are now at the end of August and still no card! I have emailed them, rung six times, and get a very kind and patient person telling me that it is their supplier who is having difficulties delivering!! I asked what would happen if I came back from UK and got stopped at the border because the date does not match my passport 'just ask them to ring us'!" 

Because Blakstad is a self-employed entrepreneur who has had long periods without pay, she received an email after submitting her biometrics, asking for proof that she had been in Denmark. 

"That made me a bit nervous; there was a two-week deadline and although I submitted it immediately, it wasn't clear whether anyone had seen it," she said. "I phoned the next week and they couldn't find it (although they said that was normal), which made me even more nervous, but obviously it got processed and before the deadline, I got an email confirming that I'd been approved." 
The process of getting a residency card can take more than three months. Photo: Siri
What other obstacles have come up? 

Hasan Salim, a purchasing manager, said that the requirement to submit a work contract signed by your employer within 30 days of the application submission, and also for your employer to fill in the arbejdsgivererklæring, or "employer's statement", might be a barrier for some applicants. 

For Davy Smith, who moved to Denmark in 1985, the online aspect of the application has been difficult to manage. 

"I had lots of problems finding someone to help me with the online shit. I am old, with no knowledge of IT," he said. "It's totally ridiculous that a permanent residency permit was revoked after 30 years of residency. What happens if I can't take care of myself in 10 years' time, when everything must be renewed?" 

What happens when you submit your biometric information? 

Biometric information is submitted at one of Siri's six offices, which are in Valby outside Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, Aabenraa, Aalborg, and Bornholm.

According to one member of the Brits in Denmark Facebook page, the process was "straightforward".

"You input the number from your reply email, and this generates a ticket with a number on it. You sit down in the waiting area and wait for your number to appear on screen. Go to the desk and hand over your ticket and passport. Then there was a wait similar to when you park upon completion of your driving test, before she told me I would receive my Residence Document today, and my card would follow. We did the photo and fingerprints thing, and then my document was printed off and handed to me, together with a receipt indicating my Biometrics had been taken."

Others have reported waiting for an hour or more after the appointment time they booked. 

Has everyone stuck to the recommended application dates? 

In its information letter sent in December last year, Siri asked British residents born before 1946 to submit their applications during January, those born 1946-1951 during February,  1952-1958 during March, 1959-1964 during April, 1965-1969 during May, 1970-1972 during June, 1973-1975 during July, 1976-1979 during August, 1980-1984 during September, 1985-1989 during October, and 1990 during November.

But many Brits in Denmark have ignored this request. 

"The suggested dates are just that -- suggestions. Timescales seem to vary between SIRI offices. But nobody gets penalised in any way for applying "out of turn", one Brit wrote on the Brits in Denmark page. 
Madsen was supposed to apply in September, but applied sooner, as she was worried that her application might not be fully processed by the end of December, which she worried might cause problems with travel. It seems that this did not affect her application. She received her card four weeks after giving her biometric information. 

What have people found has helped the process? 

Those who already have permanent residency in Denmark dating back to when the UK was a member of the European Union report that this has made the process smoother. Applicants simply send a copy of their existing residency permit, together with a copy of their passport, and the application form. 

Is there a risk that it might be hard to travel while you are waiting for your residency card? 

Not really. Residency cards issued when Britain was a member of the EU will remain valid until December 31st, the confirmation you receive from Siri you have applied for residency also counts as proof of residency, and when applicants leave their biometric information, they also receive an official document stating that they are legal residents in Denmark. 

What advice is the British Embassy in Copenhagen giving to people applying for residency cards?

Contacted by The Local to request relevant advice on the application process, the British Embassy in Copenhagen provided the following information via email:

"UK nationals who were legally resident in Denmark before January 1st 2021 must apply for a new residence document before 31 December 2021. The 'How to apply' pages on the Danish government’s website lists the supporting documentation you need to provide.

After you’ve applied online, you will receive an invitation to book an appointment at your nearest SIRI branch office to have your photo taken and record your fingerprints. We recommend that UK nationals read the Danish government’s guidance on the new residence document and application procedure. You should also read SIRI’s FAQs on residency.

British Embassy Copenhagen has furthermore created two how-to videos on applying for residency under the Withdrawal Agreement."

The two embassy videos can be found via the links below. 

Article updated to include response from the British Embassy in Copenhagen.


Member comments

  1. 2. week of May I received my new residency card. Cue – huge excitement…. and then I read it so closely and discovered that my birthdate on the card was wrong ( by one day) so phoned SIRI the next day and was promised that I needed to do nothing else, that the problem was acknowledged and would be sorted and I needed to nothing more. Well by the beginning of July and I had nothing more I made a made another appointment with SIRI. SO in the second week of July I went back to SIRI….. no, nothing had been done to replace my incorrect card, but they would take new biometrics and set in process once again….. And now week 3 of August nothing has appeared in my letter box and I am hoping to be able to go to UK next month and re-enter Denmark at the end of September without a card…. It is all so stressful – but it shouldn’t be. I feel I have done my best by SIRI – but have not yet been done best by them. Don’t gi
    ve up if you have problems but keep up the pressure as needed. S

  2. Well, I was invited to submit my details quite early on, being a bit of an elderly (75yr old) applicant. Info, all OK – and asked to come for biometric stuff in early February. All OK…… and then, finally in the first

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