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BREXIT

British citizen faces deportation from Denmark after missing residence card deadline

A UK national has received notice he must leave Denmark by early next month after missing the deadline to register for a post-Brexit residence permit.

A detail from a Danish residence card
A detail from a Danish residence card. A UK national faces deportation for Denmark after filing his post-Brexit application for the card four days after the deadline. Photo: Michael Barrett/The Local

Are you a British national in Denmark facing a situation similar to the one described in this article? If so, you can contact us here — we’d like to hear from you.

Phil Russell, a UK national who lives in the western part of Zealand with his Danish partner, submitted an application for a post-Brexit residence permit four days after the December 31st, 2021 deadline.

Russell has been informed he must leave the country by December 6th but has the right to appeal the decision. He has notified authorities that he intends to appeal, he told The Local via email.

Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet and British newspaper the Guardian have both previously reported Russell’s case.

Under the terms of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, British nationals who moved to Denmark under EU free movement rules before December 31st, 2020 were required to submit an application for new residence status and a new residence document by the end of 2021.

The applications were submitted to and processed by the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI).

While SIRI sent reminders to UK nationals resident in Denmark during the application period in 2021, Russell told Ekstra Bladet and the Guardian that an error on SIRI’s side meant he had not received these, and eventually discovered he had missed the deadline just four days into 2022.

He was informed in May that his application for residency status had been rejected because it was submitted too late and has now received notice he must leave Denmark by December 6th, he told the Guardian.

“I feel completely devastated. I’ve been through 11 months of hell already, with no end in sight apart from being deported, so that means I’m going to lose my job, my home, my fiancee, being dumped back into London,” he told the newspaper.

Mads Fuglede, a Liberal (Venstre) MP who was the party’s immigration spokesperson during the previous parliament, has called for the deportation to be stopped, saying it is not in the spirit of the withdrawal agreement which intended to give all UK nationals resident in Denmark a straightforward path to stay.

Although a law change may not be necessary to reverse the decision, the issue is complicated by the fact Denmark currently has a caretaker government following the election on November 1st, Fuglede said.

“I don’t know if you need to change the law. There’s no minister I can get an answer from. But I believe that a minister would have the powers to say to the authority – that is, SIRI – that they should accept late applications,” Fuglede told The Local in a telephone call on November 14th.

Fuglede said he had requested the Danish immigration ministry look at the case in October, after the election had been called.

“I felt I needed to create a paper trail. I received the response that I couldn’t get an answer from the minister because there was an election, and that there wasn’t a new government,” he said.

“It’s a regrettable situation but I find it hard to see, due to the circumstance that there is no government, that any more can be done at the moment,” he said.

“I can’t do anything even though I’d like to,” he said.

Contacted by the Guardian, SIRI said it could not comment on an individual case but noted there had been information campaigns with “extensive information on the consequences of Brexit and guidance on how to apply”.

SIRI said it had sent three information letters to about 19,000 resident British citizens – in line with numbers reported in 2021 – and had created a Brexit hotline for questions.

In cases of late applications, SIRI would “assess all the circumstances and reasons” for late application and whether there were “reasonable grounds” the deadline had not been met, it said.

None of the three information letters sent to British residents in Denmark during the Brexit transition period and in 2021 reached Russell, Ekstra Bladet wrote in September.

He moved to Denmark from the UK in 2020 under EU freedom of movement rules, which still applied to British nationals at the time.

He became a legal resident under EU rules but did not subsequently receive notice that his status needed to be updated by the end of 2021 and that he needed to submit an application to SIRI for this.

Ekstra Bladet reported that it had seen an internal record from SIRI in which the agency concludes that the three information letters were a “supplementary service and part of an information campaign,” and were also available on the agency’s website.

Not receiving the letters was therefore not to be considered an extenuating circumstance in an appeal, the agency is reported to have concluded following internal discussions in March this year.

At least three other persons have missed the deadline after not receiving the information letters, according to Ekstra Bladet’s information.

SIRI informed the newspaper it had received 256 applications for post-Brexit continued residency status after the December 31st, 2021 deadline.

These had not all been processed as of September, meaning it is not clear how many UK nationals could lose their residency rights over the issue.

Member comments

  1. This is also the case for a friend of mine. There appears to have been a glitch in Siri’s system so that anyone arriving between October – December 2020 to live in Denmark was not sent the correspondence to apply via e-boks. Siri are claiming (as you reported) this is just guidance despite the fact we were clearly asked to wait until we received our invitation via e-boks and that the friend in question had this reiterated by border control staff.
    I have contacted them to get in touch with you.

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BREXIT

How do other EU countries’ post-Brexit residence permits compare to Denmark?

After reports this week that Danish authorities plan to deport a British national who failed to apply for post-Brexit residence status on time, we look at how other EU countries have applied residency permit rules following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

How do other EU countries’ post-Brexit residence permits compare to Denmark?

Phil Russell, a UK national who lives in the western part of Zealand with his Danish partner, submitted an application for a post-Brexit residence permit four days after the December 31st, 2021 deadline.

Russell has since been informed he must leave the country by December 6th but has the right to appeal the decision. He has notified authorities that he intends to appeal and his residence and working rights in Denmark are protected while the appeal is ongoing.

READ ALSO:

Under Denmark’s application of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, British nationals who moved to Denmark under EU free movement rules before December 31st, 2020 were required to submit an application for new residence status and a new residence document by the end of 2021.

Up to September 30th, Danish authorities have received 290 late applications for post-Brexit continued residency status.

Decisions on some applications made after the deadline are still being processed, meaning it is not clear how many UK nationals have already or could yet lose their residency rights.

The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement’s Article 5 states that the EU and UK must “take all appropriate measures, whether general or particular, to ensure fulfilment of the obligations arising from this Agreement and shall refrain from any measures which could jeopardise the attainment of the objectives of this Agreement.”

One of the stated objectives of the agreement is to protect the rights of citizens to continue living and working in their respective countries after Brexit.

Below, we look at how other countries have continued residence rights for Britons who lived in those countries prior to Brexit.

Sweden

On its website, the Swedish Migration Agency says it “can accept an application for residence status that has come in after” its deadline which, like in Denmark, was December 31st 2021.

“This presupposes that there are reasonable grounds for why you did not apply in time. A review will be done of each individual case,” the agency says.

People with permanent residence permits have the right to continue to stay in Sweden as usual even after the deadline, according to the Migration Agency. Those with temporary residence permits in Sweden may need to apply for a work permit.

The Swedish rules have nevertheless caused some uncertainty for resident Britons.

According to a section on the Migration Agency website, post-Brexit residence status “applies indefinitely”. The certificate which was issued to those who applied before the deadline of December 31st 2021, however, is only valid for five years. 

This has left many of those holding the certificate concerned that laws might change to prevent them from renewing their certificate when that period ends. 

READ ALSO:

France

Like Denmark, application for a post-Brexit residence card was required in France.

In June 2021, the French government extended the deadline to apply for residency for British nationals

France extended its deadline due to high demand and new Covid-19 restrictions in 2021, and because French authorities were aware many Britons were unlikely to meet the original deadline.

All Brits who were living in France before December 30th 2020 needed to apply for a residency permit known as a carte de séjour. The official deadline to do so was Wednesday, June 30th.

However with an estimated 25,000 Brits still to apply and thousands more still waiting for their application to be processed, French authorities decided to extend the deadline to September 30th, 2021. 

Spain

Spanish authorities have been lenient and informative regarding how Brits can guarantee their Withdrawal Agreement rights, but a number of Britons in Spain did not have residency or other official documents and could not prove they were living in Spain before 2021.

According to reports, people in that situation have been told to leave at (sometimes very) short notice and apply for a non-EU residency visa if their residency application is rejected.

However, previous (pre-Brexit) EU residency documents that Britons have are still valid and it’s not compulsory to update to Spain’s new non-EU residence card. As such, only people who were not previously registered have run into issues.

Italy

Italy’s post-Brexit card isn’t mandatory but the British Embassy in Italy advises residents to apply for it to prove their status under the Withdrawal Agreement.

This means you don’t need a residency card if you have alternative proof of pre-Brexit residency.

However, while Italian authorities have often accepted other forms of proof, they have also sometimes required the card, causing some level of uncertainty.

READ ALSO: How many of Italy’s British residents have successfully applied for a post-Brexit residency card?

Germany

Residence rights after Brexit were automatically granted to British nationals who lived in Germany prior to the deadline, so they don’t need Germany’s residence card – although it is still recommended-

There have been reports of passport stamping for British residents in Germany, even if they have the residence card.

Overall, Germany has a lenient system, transferring rights automatically and without demand application for a new card or updated residence status.

READ ALSO: How Brits can prove their post-Brexit rights in Germany – before they get their residence card

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