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BREXIT

What you need to know about getting a Danish driving licence post-Brexit

Most UK nationals do not need to take a driving test to exchange their driving licence to a Danish one, provided their licence was issued before the UK left the EU. But there are some rules and deadlines to be aware of.

If you live in Denmark and haven't exchanged your UK driving licence, it's time to buckle up.
If you live in Denmark and haven't exchanged your UK driving licence, it's time to buckle up. File photo: Anne Bæk/Ritzau Scanpix

According to the Danish Road Traffic Authority, it is permitted to use a UK driving licence in Denmark if you are in the country temporarily. That is because Danish rules permit the use of foreign driving licences printed in English with Latin letters.

Residents of Denmark who have a UK-issued driving licence are required to exchange their UK licence for a Danish one within 180 days of moving to Denmark, meaning 180 days after they become registered as living in the country.

In written comments provided to The Local, the Danish Road Traffic Authority confirmed that “based on Brexit, driving licenses issued in the UK are no longer encompassed by the EU’s rules on reciprocal recognition of driving licenses”.

The practical consequences of this in relation to exchanging a UK-issued driving license for a Danish one are described below.

For driving licences issued in the UK prior to January 1st 2021, and thereby before Brexit took effect, the “driving licence (and all categories) can be exchanged for an equivalent Danish driving licence without taking a control driving test”.

Driving licenses issued in the UK after January 1st 2021 are treated as “third country” driving licences, the traffic authority said. That means that licences issued in the UK after this date “must be exchanged in accordance with the applicable rules for exchange of foreign driving licences”.

However, this will not always mean a test must be taken, even for licences issued in the UK since Brexit. That is because the UK was on March 25th last year accepted as a “group 1” country under Danish rules following application by the UK for this, the Danish Road Traffic Authority told The Local.

In practice, this means category B or normal car driving licenses issued by the UK after Brexit (January 1st 2021) can be exchanged for a Danish category B driving licence without taking a control driving test.

“Exchange of other categories requires a control driving test to be taken”, the Danish Road Traffic Authority said.

What is a ‘control driving test’?

The Danish Road Traffic Authority website states that a control driving test or kontrollerende køreprøve consists of a theory and practical element. Driving lessons are not mandatory for the test, unlike with the regular driving test given to new drivers.

Drivers taking the test must supply their own vehicle and applications are made via their home municipality.

A fee of 280 kroner is charged to exchange a foreign driving licence for a Danish one.

The applications form for exchanging to a Danish driving license can be found on the Local Government Denmark (KL) website. The form must be handed in to the municipality in which you reside. 

More information on the application process can be found on the Danish citizen and residents’ platform Borger.dk.

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BREXIT

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.

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