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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?
Denmark could deport UK nationals who did not apply for post-Brexit residence status under the Withdrawal Agreement. How does this compare with other EU countries? Photo: Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

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.


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.


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. 



Like Denmark, application for a post-Brexit residence card was required in France. 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 original deadline for applications was June 2021, but the French government extended this several times – and also extended the deadline to be in possession of the card – due to high demand and fears that Covid restrictions would prevent people from meeting the original deadline. 

Since January 1st 2022 it has been compulsory for all Brits who were living in France before Brexit to have the post-Brexit carte de séjour.

Evidence suggests that France has taken a relaxed approach to the process – only a tiny fraction of applications for residency were refused, most on the grounds of serious criminality. Groups working with Brits in France have reported that local préfectures have been willing to process a small number of applications that were received after the deadline. 


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’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?


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 demanding 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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‘We will not send letters’: Danish immigration agency in reminder over extended Brexit deadline

British nationals who moved to Denmark before the end of 2020 can still apply to have their residence status continued under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, under an extended deadline which is set to the end of 2023.

'We will not send letters': Danish immigration agency in reminder over extended Brexit deadline

In a statement on its website, the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), which is responsible for processing residence permit cases, said that British citizens and their family members covered by the Withdrawal Agreement should be aware that they must apply by the end of the year, if they did not do so before the original deadline in 2021.

“British citizens and their family members who do not already hold a residence document in Denmark under the Withdrawal Agreement must submit an application – SIRI is not going to send out individual information letters,” the agency said in a statement on its website.

People who have already extended their residence in Denmark under the Withdrawal Agreement and received a residence card should not apply again. In most cases this will have happened in 2021.

The extended deadline applies to British residents who have not previously submitted an application under the Withdrawal Agreement, and to others who submitted their applications after the original deadline expired on December 31st, 2021 and subsequently received a rejection to having their application processed.


In March, the government announced that British nationals, who had missed the previous deadline to secure their post-Brexit residency status, 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.

The extension means that the applications process is currently open for people who never submitted an application before the original deadline of December 31st, 2021.

People whose cases were not processed because they submitted their application after the original deadline can also have them reopened. This applies regardless of whether an appeal was lodged with the Immigration Appeals Board (Udlændingenævnet), SIRI states.

If you applied after December 31st 2021 and were previously informed by SIRI that the agency would not process the application due to its late submission, you must contact SIRI using the contact form on the agency’s website and request that your case is reopened.

More information about reopening cases can be found on SIRI’s website.

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 under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. 

People who moved to Denmark from the UK after December 31st, 2020 are not covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and are therefore subject to Denmark’s general immigration rules for third-country nationals.