If the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved

If the United Kingdom decides to leave the EU without an agreement, the Danish Government wants to ensure that the 18.500 British citizens who live in Denmark today and actively contribute to the Danish society can continue to stay and work in Denmark. The Danish Government has therefore been preparing for the event that the United Kingdom leaves the EU without an agreement.

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If the United Kingdom leaves the EU without an agreement with the EU (the no deal-scenario), British citizens will by default be considered to be third country nationals. The possibility of a continued right of residence in Denmark will therefore in principle depend on national rules applicable to third country nationals. The Danish Aliens Act will thus apply from the withdrawal date, unless the Danish Government decides otherwise.

On 15 January 2019 and 12 March 2019 the British Parliament voted against the Withdrawal Agreement. On 13 March 2019 the British Parliament voted against a 'Hard Brexit'. On 14 March 2019 the British Parliament decided to request an extension of the withdrawal date.

On 10 April 2019, the European Council agreed on an extension of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU. The final deadline is now set for 31 October 2019, with the possibility that the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU before this date if the withdrawal agreement is approved on an earlier date. It is therefore still uncertain when the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

Read more about the rules regarding right of residence to third country nationals (new window)

The Danish Government greatly appreciates the British citizens who have chosen to live in Denmark and contribute to the Danish society. The Danish Government wants to avoid that British citizens and their family members who are legally residing in Denmark abruptly fall back on rules applying to third country nationals.

When considering the situation of British citizens in a no deal scenario, the Danish Government has taken due account of the fact that British citizens who resided in Denmark prior to the United Kingdom leaving the EU, have resided here in their capacity of EU citizens.

It is a clear priority for the Danish Government to ensure that British citizens who have chosen to live in Denmark are offered good conditions to stay in Denmark.

In spring 2018 the Danish Government therefore established an inter-ministerial Brexit Taskforce which has been given the task, inter alia, to examine how to handle consequences for citizens in the event of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU without an agreement.

A temporary transitional scheme

On 19 March 2019, the Danish Parliament adopted a legislative proposal (no. L 166) which extends existing EU-rights for British citizens in Denmark and their family members in the event that the United Kingdom leaves the EU without an agreement (Lov nr. 264 af 25. marts 2019 om videreførelse af visse rettigheder i forbindelse med Det Forenede Kongeriges udtræden af Den Europæiske Union uden en aftale) (hereafter, the Danish Brexit Act).

The Danish Brexit Act will only enter into force, if the United Kingdom leaves the EU without an agreement.

Read the Danish Brexit Act as adopted on the Danish Parliament’s webpage (new window). Unfortunately, the Act is only available in Danish.

The   Danish Brexit Act is a temporary solution which seeks to mitigate the most serious consequences of a no deal-scenario. The Brexit Act will apply to British citizens and their family members, who are legally residing and/or working in Denmark in accordance with EU rules on Free Movement on the withdrawal date. The EU rules on free movement are implemented into Danish law by ministerial order, the EU-Residence Order.

The temporary transitional scheme set out in the Danish Brexit Act will apply until replaced by a permanent solution. The Danish Government will continue the work on a permanent solution for British citizens legally residing in Denmark. The necessary information in this regard will be made available on the existing Brexit webpages (the Ministry of Immigration and Integration and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

Below is a general introduction to selected parts of the Danish Brexit Act in relation to residence rights.

Right of residence and work

The Danish Brexit Act ensures that British citizens and their family members with a right of residence in Denmark on the withdrawal date can continue to reside in Denmark, provided that the conditions in the EU Residence Order are continuously met.

This means that British citizens and their family members who meet the conditions for a right of residence under the EU Residence Order on the withdrawal date and who continue to fulfill those conditions, are not met with new requirements in order to preserve a continued right of residence in Denmark.

The Danish Brexit Act furthermore ensures that British citizens who are residing in another EU-/EEA Member State than Denmark or in the United Kingdom on the withdrawal date, and who meet the requirements for being an employee or a self-employed person, will continue to have the right to work in Denmark.

This means that frontier workers, who on the withdrawal date have the right of residence in accordance with EU rules on Free Movement in e.g. Germany and work in Denmark, can continue to work or be self-employed in Denmark without being  required to have a work permit.

The Danish Brexit Act furthermore ensures that persons, regardless of nationality, who on the withdrawal date is working as a posted worker in Denmark in accordance with the EU Residence Order in order to provide an on-going service on behalf of a service provider established in the United Kingdom, can provide and complete that service.

This means that postings initiated under the EU rules on Free Movement on the withdrawal date for the purpose of providing an already on-going service, can continue and be completed as scheduled after the withdrawal date, regardless of the nationality of the posted worker. Postings in order to provide services initiated after the withdrawal date are not covered by the Danish Brexit Act and will be handled in accordance with the Danish Aliens Act.

The continued right of residence and work will in any case be conditional upon the continued fulfilment of the conditions set out in the EU-Residence Order.

Termination of right of residence

The Danish Brexit Act extends the current rules on termination of residence rights in the EU-Residence Order.

In this regard, it is important to note that if you as a British citizen or a family member of a British citizen lose your right of residence and/or work under the Danish Brexit Act, this right cannot be restarted or recovered at a later time.

Travelling to and from Denmark

Rules governing the border control of persons crossing the external Schengen-borders while travelling to and from Denmark are set out in the Schengen Borders Code. In a no deal-scenario, British citizens will be treated as third country nationals after the withdrawal date in relation to the rules on border control in the Schengen Borders Code. This applies regardless of whether they are covered by the Danish Brexit Act. Since the United Kingdom does not participate in the Schengen cooperation, British citizens must show their passports when travelling to and from EU Member States and the Schengen associated countries. This will continue to apply after the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU.

In accordance with the Schengen Borders Code, all British citizens shall have their passports stamped during passport control when crossing an external Schengen border. All British citizens therefore need to pass through the manual passport control after the withdrawal date. Consequently, British citizens will no longer be able to use the scanners with automatic passport control (e-gates) at the airport when travelling to and from Denmark. It is no longer possible for British citizens to use the lanes for EU/EEA/CH citizens after the withdrawal date. Accordingly, after the withdrawal date British citizens must use the lanes for third country nationals ("all passports").

The entry conditions for third country nationals will also apply to British citizens who are not covered by the Danish Brexit Act. When entering the country for a limited time period, British citizens must for example be able to justify the purpose of their stay and present sufficient funds. They are not allowed to enter into Denmark if they are registered in the Schengen Information System. A stay in the Schengen area may not exceed 90 days within a 180-day period.

After the withdrawal date, British citizens who are covered by the Danish Brexit Act must show their passports and documentation for legal residence under the EU-Residence Order which is extended by the Danish Brexit Act.

The Ministry of Immigration and Integration has informed the EU Commission that registration certificates and residence cards issued in accordance with the EU-Residence Order will serve as proof of a right of residence in Denmark during a temporary transitional period. Older residence documents that have been issued by, e.g. the “Rigspolitiet”, “Tilsynet med Udlændinge”, “Direktoratet for Udlændinge”, “Udlændingestyrelsen” og “Statsforvaltningen” are still valid.

Read the letter that the Ministry of Immigration and Integration has sent to the EU Commission (pdf)

Family reunification

In accordance with the Danish Brexit Act, EU rules on Free Movement will continue to apply to families established on the withdrawal date, including children born or adopted after that date.

This means that applications for family reunification with other family members than children, with whom a British citizen has established a family life with after the withdrawal date, must be submitted and assessed in accordance with the Danish Aliens Act.

Right of permanent residence

The Danish Brexit Act furthermore ensures that British citizens and their family members can continue to obtain a right of permanent residence in accordance with the rules set out in the EU Residence Order.

When the basis for residence changes

British citizens covered by the Danish Brexit Act still have the opportunity to change status on the basis of which they  reside in Denmark, e.g. from student to employee, or from self-employed to job seeker. The person in question must however ensure to continuously meet the requirements for a right of residence set out in the EU-Residence Order.

Similarly, British citizens will be able to reside in another EU/ EEA Member State and continue to retain the right to work or be self-employed in Denmark (frontier workers). However, the possibility of residing in another EU/EEA Member State after the withdrawal date will depend on the legislation of the country in question.

It is important to be aware that if you change your status during your stay in Denmark– e.g. from student to employee - you must apply for a new residence document in accordance with the rules of the EU Residence Order. Applications must be submitted to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration.

Residence documents

EU registration certificates and residence cards issued to British citizens and their family members in accordance with the EU rules on Free Movement will continue to be valid, until decided otherwise. This also applies if you have been issued with older residence documents, e.g. if the document is issued to a citizen of an EC Member State.  

You do not need to do anything now if you have already once been issued with a document or card, which confirms your right of residence in Denmark under the EU rules on Free Movement.

If you are a British citizen – or a family member of a British citizen – and living in Denmark under the EU rules on free movement without being in possession of an EU registration certificate or an EU residence card respectively, you are encouraged to submit an application for such documentation before the withdrawal date. The Ministry of Immigration and Integration has informed the EU Commission that registration certificates and residence cards issued in accordance with the EU Residence Order under the temporary transitional scheme will serve as proof of a right of residence in Denmark in the transitional period.

Please note that you may apply for EU registration certificates and EU residence cards after the withdrawal date. You must, however, be able to prove that you had a right of residence in accordance with the EU Residence Order on the withdrawal date.

Applications for registration certificates and residence cards must be submitted to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration.

Changes in citizens’ rights under the temporary transitional scheme

With the Danish Brexit Act, almost all rights that British citizens enjoy today as EU citizens are extended with a few exceptions regarding removal and the rules on family reunification.  The Danish Government has decided that existing rules should not be extended with regard to those two areas.

As regards the right to family reunification, the favorable rules applying to EU citizens will apply only to family members of British citizens who were legally residing in Denmark on withdrawal date, provided that the family life was established before the withdrawal date and that the conditions set out in the EU Residence Order are met. However, children and adoptive children born or adopted after the withdrawal date will also be covered by the favorable rules. This solution will protect British citizens and their family members who have already established a family life in Denmark at the time of withdrawal.

Read more about the right of residence under EU rules on free movement (new window)

Applications for family reunification with regard to family relations established after the withdrawal date will be handled in accordance with the rules of the Danish Aliens Act.

Read more about the rules on family reunification for third country nationals under the Danish Aliens Act

EU rules on enhanced protection against removal shall not apply to British citizens and their family members who e.g. commit crime after the withdrawal date. The Danish Aliens Act will apply.

See the most frequently asked questions and answers on citizens’ rights in the no deal-scenario

See the EU Commission’s fact sheet with questions and answers in the no deal-scenario (PDF)

What can you do now

Regardless of whether the Withdrawal Agreement enters into force, residence documents that have already been issued in accordance with the EU rules on Free Movement will continue to be valid in a transitional period. This also applies if you have been issued with older residence documents, e.g. if the document is issued to a citizen of an EC Member State.  

You do not need to do anything now, if you have already once been issued with a document or card, which confirms your right of residence in Denmark under the EU rules on free movement.

If you are a British citizen or a family member of a British citizen residing in Denmark under the EU rules on Free Movement without being in possession of an EU registration certificate (certificate in the format of a letter issued to EU citizens) or an EU residence card (residence card issued to third country nationals in the format of a credit card) respectively, or without having applied yet, you are encouraged to submit an application for such documentation before the withdrawal date. This will make it easier for you to prove that you have a right of residence, and, conversely, make it easier for the Danish authorities to determine that you are residing legally in Denmark on the withdrawal date.

If you are British citizen or a family member of a British citizen with a right of permanent residence in Denmark under the EU rules on free movement, without proof of such right (a letter or a card issued by the authorities), you are encouraged to submit an application before the withdrawal date, if you haven’t already done so.

Applications for registration certificates and residence cards must be submitted to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration.

You may apply for EU registration certificates and EU residence cards after the withdrawal date. You must, however, be able to prove that you had a right of residence in accordance with the EU Residence Order on the withdrawal date.

It should be stressed that your right of residence is not lost, if you haven’t been issued with one of the documents mentioned above. Your right of residence is not dependent on the document.

This information will be updated regularly.

If you have lost your EU residence document, please contact the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration.

Read more about the right of residence under the EU rules on free movement (new window)

British citizens coming to Denmark after the withdrawal date

British citizens and their family members arriving in Denmark after the withdrawal date, or who are not residing legally in Denmark under the EU rules on Free Movement on that date, are not covered by the temporary transitional scheme set out in the Danish Brexit Act.

British citizens and their family members, who intend to move to Denmark after the withdrawal date to work or study etc., will have to apply for residence and work permits in accordance with national rules like other third country nationals.

Read more about the rules regarding the right of residence of third country nationals (new window)

Sidst opdateret 24.07.2019