Q&A: 'No time to waste' for UK nationals in Denmark affected by extended Brexit deadline

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Q&A: 'No time to waste' for UK nationals in Denmark affected by extended Brexit deadline
An information poster about an extended Brexit deadline for UK residents sits alongside a promotional poster outside the British Embassy in Copenhagen. Photo: Michael Barrett/The Local

An extended deadline by which UK citizens who live in Denmark must apply to retain their residence status is fast approaching. The Local spoke to British Ambassador Emma Hopkins about what needs to be done by December 31st.


In March, the Danish government announced that British nationals who had missed a previous deadline to secure their post-Brexit residency status under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement now have until the end of 2023 to apply or resubmit their late application.

That decision came after a large number of British nationals living in Denmark missed the 2021 deadline, in part because many did not receive individual notification of the need to apply.

Britons in Denmark who have already applied for and received a new residency document since January 1st 2021 do not need to apply again.

READ ALSO: How to apply for post-Brexit residency permit in Denmark under new deadline

The Local spoke to British Ambassador to Denmark Emma Hopkins and Political Officer Nic Craig at the British Embassy in Copenhagen about efforts to reach those who could be affected by the deadline, and the situation which led to its extension earlier this year.

[The Local]: What do people yet to apply for residency under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement need to know?

[Ambassador Emma Hopkins]: “There is support available. That support is through the consular team at the embassy, who help individual cases, but also at SIRI. We've had a lot of contact with SIRI [the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration, ed.] to support, perhaps more vulnerable people applying who perhaps need increased assistance.

“So our main message is don't waste any time. But our secondary message is, it's not just about you. If you know anybody who might fall into this category, please do reach out to them. Because I think we're also trying to reach people who might not access social media so easily.

“So we really just want to ask the British community, but also some of the Danish community who have British friends to just flag it to those nationals.”


Which resources are available?

Information can be found on our website,, where there’s a contact form where people can ask for advice. There’s also information on our social media channels.”

Did you have any coordination with the Danish authorities on the extension of the deadline to December 31st 2023?

“We requested an extended deadline, and we went to see the [immigration] ministry and the Minister, and SIRI a couple of times, setting out the difficulties that British nationals were finding using some of the cases that had been in touch with us asking what they could do. And suggesting that providing a further period for people to apply would be very well received.”

Were any UK nationals forced to leave Denmark because they missed the earlier deadline?

“We're aware of people who had appeals still outstanding, or who had another right to remain here, and then relied on that other right to remain here.”

[Political Officer Nic Craig]: “I think there were probably some, obviously we wouldn't comment on individual cases. There probably were a handful of people who did end up leaving in the early part of this year, but the majority, I think found other routes for residency permits here or were in the appeal stage.

“I think the cases that we've been aware of, we've been helping them if they want to return to Denmark, and to reestablish their case with SIRI.”

British Ambassador to Denmark Emma Hopkins. Photo: British Embassy

In extending its deadline, Denmark has shown more leniency towards UK residents than Sweden, which has not done this and has deported a number of people.

[Ambassador Emma Hopkins]: “Throughout this, the Danes have always said to us that we value the Brits here in Denmark. They're a part of our community, they make a good contribution.


“Over the last few years, we've done quite a lot of [social media and other] outreach with SIRI. So we have found them a very good partner, that they are wanting to be helpful, wanting to provide the right type of information and so on.”

SIRI is not sending letters directly to individuals who need to apply by the extended deadline. Would this not be a beneficial thing to do?

“They have been quite forward leaning, I'd say. Of course this issue came up in relation to whether or not people had a letter, whether they knew or they didn't know about the deadline.

“But I have to say, in extending the deadline the way they did, that's quite a generous approach, and providing quite a substantial period of time to reapply. It wasn't just a couple of months, it was a substantial period. So I think they're just acting in accordance with that overall sentiment, wanting to ensure that Brits can continue their life here.”


The original deadline was extended partly because many people missed it and some didn’t know or weren’t informed that they needed to apply. Can any lessons be learned from this?

“If we look across the EU, the Danes have taken quite a generous approach, quite a straightforward approach. Other countries have either not required a process at all or had a process that's more involved and more restricted. So you can see within the EU there's quite a range of different implementations of the [Withdrawal Agreement].

“So I think Denmark have actually adopted a position where they wanted to have a process rather than have no process at all. But they have always wanted to try and ensure that all the people here who were here before the deadline could continue to stay.”

Why do some countries have a process and not others?

“There's so much variation across the EU and Denmark is such a digital society and economy. They want to be able to understand who is here, you have this digital footprint here, which perhaps in other countries is not quite as advanced.

“I think for each country, it depends on their own national characteristics. And for Denmark, it is important to have this safe, secure digital process. So I think it's consistent with that.”

READ ALSO: How do other EU countries’ post-Brexit residence permits compare to Denmark? (2022)

What happens if anyone misses the deadline this time around? Is there any contingency plan in place for that?

“That would be a matter for SIRI, really. Presumably, you could still make a late application and they will look at whether or not to exercise discretion.


“I think that the benefit of having an extended period is that if you apply with the right documentation, and you were here at the right time, that's more of a right. Whereas you're asking for an exercise of discretion if you make a late application so it's not something you can rely on.

“It's up to SIRI about how they process [late cases] if there are really strong extenuating reasons.

“But it's a matter for [SIRI], really, because that's within the gift of the Danish government. But what we can control is trying to get as many Brits to hear the message and to apply now.”

Are there any demographics within UK residents of Denmark who are more likely to be unaware that they still need to apply?

[Political Officer Nic Craig]: “We’re really trying to reach many different profiles but there will be people who have maybe been here for 20-30 years [and] feel very embedded.

“They have a long standing and older permanent residence. And they may feel so well integrated that they don’t feel like they need to take any sort of action.


“No matter how long you've been here, if you are here as a UK national resident in Denmark, you have to apply.”

[Ambassador Emma Hopkins]: “I think that is a different, more difficult category to get to.

“The people who moved in 2020, they've moved in the Brexit era. So unless you were somewhere where you had no access to news, I think it's in most people's general knowledge that Brexit brought around some changes in relation to the way that we access the European Union. Whereas some of the categories of people who might be either isolated or well embedded, we're finding them trickier to reach out to.”


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