REVEALED: Hundreds of Britons in Denmark could be impacted by unsent Brexit residence letters

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
REVEALED: Hundreds of Britons in Denmark could be impacted by unsent Brexit residence letters
Pro-EU demonstrators in London in 2019. Hundreds of Britons registered in Denmark under EU rules in 2020, and may therefore have not received an important reminder to update their status under the Withdrawal Agreement. Photo: Niels Ahlmann Olesen/Ritzau Scanpix

Up to 1,800 British citizens who registered to live in Denmark under EU freedom of movement rules may not have been directly contacted telling them to update their post-Brexit residency status before a key deadline. Some have been ordered to leave the country.


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.

Over 1,800 people with British citizenship were issued registration certificates (registreringsbeviser) in Denmark under EU freedom of movement rules in between February and December 2020.

The figure comes from the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), the agency responsible for processing residency permit applications.


In response to an access to information request, SIRI provided The Local with data related to the number of UK citizens registered under EU rules in the period.

SIRI’s records state that a total of 1,838 persons with British citizenship were registered for the first time in Denmark under EU rules between February 1st and December 31st 2020.

Of these, 725 registered in Denmark for work purposes. Some 222 were family members of people already resident in Denmark; 699 had sufficient personal finances to be granted non-permanent residency under EU rules, 186 were students and 6 are listed as “other” reasons.

Figures for the last 11 months of 2020 – the final year in which Britons could move to Denmark under EU rules – are relevant because SIRI has already confirmed that it did not send reminder letters about the need to apply for post-Brexit residence permits to people who moved to Denmark from the UK after January 2020.

Denmark was entitled to ask British citizens to apply for renewed status under the terms of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU.

READ ALSO: Anger as Danish authority admits Brexit residency reminders were not sent

But people who moved to Denmark from the UK in the year 2020 (after January) were not directly notified in 2021 that they needed to submit an application to SIRI to update their residence status in Denmark before a deadline on December 31st, 2021.

These people were therefore at higher risk of missing the deadline.

The issue has serious consequences because SIRI is rejecting late applications for post-Brexit residence if the reason for late submission was that the applicant did not receive reminder letters in 2021.

An increasing number of instances have been reported of Britons who have been told to leave Denmark for this reason.


It should be noted that the numbers provided by SIRI may not correspond exactly with the people who were due to be sent reminder letters by the agency in 2021, telling them that they needed to apply for a new residence permit by the end of that year.

This is because SIRI used a database drawn from Denmark’s central personal registry (CPR) to send the reminder letters.

CPR numbers, which are used for registration of addresses and personal identification, are issued by municipalities and not by SIRI, whose remit is to process applications.

This means it’s possible to register with SIRI as resident in Denmark under EU rules but never be issued with a CPR number. An example for such a situation could be a change of career plans resulting in someone not moving to Denmark after the initial registration.

Additionally, some people – for example, international students – may have been in Denmark for a short period and therefore registered in 2020 but no longer living in the country in 2021.


Despite this, there is likely to be a strong correlation between the people who were registered in the period and the people who were not directly informed of the need to apply for a new residency permit in 2021.

This means the issue could affect hundreds and potentially over a thousand people who moved to Denmark from the UK in 2020.

The Facebook group British in Denmark, which seeks to provide advice and support for UK nationals who live in Denmark, called the numbers “deeply concerning”.

The figures “indicate how many people could be affected by this mistake,” a spokesperson from the group told The Local.

“SIRI said that they would notify all British citizens living in Denmark of the requirement to apply for residency in 2021 but they failed to communicate with a huge number of us. This is a systemic failure on SIRI’s part and it could be argued that a mistake on this scale breaches the Withdrawal Agreement,” they said.

“We are worried that the figures we have seen so far for late applications could be just the tip of the iceberg. There are potentially hundreds more British citizens living in Denmark who may be completely unaware that they have missed the deadline,” they said.

“We ask SIRI to accept that their error has created this problem, to notify everyone affected who should have received a letter and to accept late applications from everyone involved,” they said.

SIRI earlier said it viewed “the circumstance that an applicant has not received an orientation letter is not, by our assessment, enough reason in itself for him or her not to comply with the application deadline”.

The agency sees the letters as only being a supplementary service and says that all relevant information was available on its website throughout 2021.


A new government last week took power in Denmark following elections at the beginning of November. Political intervention in the matter is therefore again possible because the government no longer has “caretaker status”, as was the case while negotiations to form the new administration were ongoing.

Mads Fuglede, a Liberal (Venstre) MP who was the party’s immigration spokesperson during the previous parliament, told The Local in November that he believed “a minister would have the powers to say to the authority – that is, SIRI – that they should accept late applications”.

The Liberal party is one of the three coalition partners in the new government.

British in Denmark urged anyone affected by the issue to get in touch with them on Facebook.

“We have set up a separate private group for late applicants,” the group’s spokesperson said.

“We would also ask everyone who did not receive a letter to contact Your Europe Advice to make a complaint,” they added.

The EU advice service can be found here.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also