Brexit - important terms

The United Kingdom left the EU on 31 January 2020. In this context, the United Kingdom and the remaining EU member states have concluded a withdrawal agreement, which entered into force on 1 February 2020. The agreement sets out the conditions for the United Kingdom to leave the EU in a number of areas including citizens' rights of residence.

The Withdrawal Agreement stipulates, among other things, a transitional period of limited duration from 1 February 2020 to 31 December 2020. During this period all rights under EU regulations on free movement will apply to all UK citizens, including UK citizens and their family members who have taken up residence in an EU member state.

The application period in Denmark is from 1 January 2021 until 31 December 2021. During this period all resident UK citizens and their family members can submit applications for a new residence status in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement.

This means that both the UK and Northern Ireland are covered by the agreement.

A third country national is defined under the Withdrawal Agreement as a national who is not a citizen of the United Kingdom or of an EU member state.

Application for residence status under the Withdrawal Agreement

Your previous right of residence has been issued in accordance with EU regulations on free movement. After the transition period expires on 31 December 2020, as a British citizen you are no longer covered by the EU rules on free movement.

You must therefore submit an application for a new residence status in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement in order to retain your rights in Denmark after 31 December 2020. The rights are retained until the application has been processed. If you have residence rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, a residence card will be issued when the application has been processed, confirming your new residence status.

To be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, it presupposes that you have taken up residence in Denmark before the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. As you first enter Denmark in 2021, you must apply for a residence permit in Denmark as a third country national. However, you have the option of taking up residence in Denmark before 31 December 2020 – e.g. as a person with sufficient funds. You can then submit an application under the Withdrawal Agreement in order to obtain residence status as a student.

 

UK citizens and their family members who have taken up residence in Denmark before 31 December 2020 have until 31 December 2021 to submit an application for new residence status.

The same deadline applies to cross-border workers who must submit an application for a cross-border worker card.

As a rule, you have until 31 December 2021 to submit an application for new residence status. Applications submitted after 31 December 2021 will only be processed if there is a reasonable reason why the application has been submitted after the deadline.

Once you have submitted an application, you will receive a receipt confirming your right to reside in Denmark with all your previous rights until a decision on the new residence status has been reached. If you receive a refusal, you can appeal to the Immigration Appeals Board. You have the right to remain in Denmark until a final decision has been made.

You can submit an application for a new residence status as an employee in March 2021. Or you can choose to submit an application for a new residence status as a person with sufficient funds before March and then later submit a new application in order to change your residence status from a person with sufficient funds to an employee.

UK citizens entitled to residence under the Withdrawal Agreement may change their status and continue to be covered by the agreement. This means that you can switch between being an employee, a student or a person with sufficient funds.

As you have received a registration certificate as a student according to EU regulations before 31 December 2020, you can go on Christmas holiday in the UK and return to Denmark in January 2021, as your absence in Denmark is less than 6 months. However, you must apply for a new residence status after the Withdrawal Agreement during 2021. It is recommended that you bring your registration certificate upon entry into Denmark.

Family members

The Withdrawal Agreement applies not only to close family members who are legally resident in Denmark with a British citizen when the transition period ends, but also close family members who are not yet resident in Denmark on 31 December 2020. Your family will be able to move to Denmark after 31 December 2020, provided that you and your spouse are still married when he or she applies to move to Denmark, and provided that you have not in the meantime given up your residence status in Denmark. If your family is staying abroad, they can submit an application and have biometrics recorded at a Danish representation or at a Visa Application Center (VFS).

Like EU regulations, the Withdrawal Agreement - under certain conditions - also protects UK citizens' spouses from third countries in the event of divorce. If you have been married for at least three years before the divorce, and have lived in Denmark for at least one of these years, you can stay in Denmark after the transition period expires on 31 December 2020. You simply need to apply for a new residence status in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement. Once you have resided legally in Denmark for five years in a row, you can apply for permanent residence.

Residence for more than 5 years - permanent residence

No, you still have the right to permanent residence in Denmark, but you must submit an application with a view to exchanging your previously issued residence document - which originated from EU law - to a new residence document based on the Withdrawal Agreement.

Since you obtained permanent residence in Denmark before traveling to the USA, you are covered by the withdrawal agreement if you return to Denmark within five years of your departure (i.e. before March 2022). However, you must still submit an application for permanent residence in Denmark according to the Withdrawal Agreement before 31 December 2021. If you are staying abroad, you can submit an application and have biometrics recorded at a Danish representation or at a Visa Application Center (VFS).

If you have previously obtained permanent residence and you are in possession of a valid document regarding your right to permanent residence, you can exchange this for a document on permanent residence under the Withdrawal Agreement. It does not matter whether your right to permanent residence was obtained before the United Kingdom joined the EU. It also does not matter whether you obtained permanent residence as a third country national under Danish national law.

If you are no longer in possession of a valid document proving your permanent right of residence, you must submit a regular application for a new permanent residence status under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Similar to a Danish passport, which is valid for a maximum of 10 years, a residence card with biometric data can be valid for a maximum of 10 years, after which it must be renewed. The limited validity of the residence card has no effect on your continued right to permanent residence in Denmark.

Cross-border worker

Yes, the Withdrawal Agreement also protects so-called cross-border workers. Cross-border workers are persons who are employed or self-employed in a country other than the country in which they reside. In order to continue to live in the United Kingdom or an EU country and work in Denmark, you must apply for the issuance of a cross-border worker card proving your status as a cross-border worker. This document will make it easier for you to travel and work in Denmark, and then return to the country you live in.

You must apply for a new residence status in Denmark in order to continue to reside in this country. To be able to enter and work in Germany, you must also apply for a cross-border worker document with the German authorities.

Entry and exit

Your new residence status after the withdrawal agreement only applies in Denmark. After 1 January 2021, EU rules on free movement will no longer apply to UK nationals. However, it is possible for you to travel freely in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days. You can do this because British citizens are visa-exempt in Schengen and because you have a right of residence in Denmark. After 1 January 2021, it is recommended that you bring documentation of the continued right of residence in Denmark when entering and leaving Denmark.

If you wish to take up residence in another EU country after 1 January 2021, you must contact the authorities of that member state if you want to apply for a residence and work permit.