”No deal Brexit” and British citizens in Denmark

All Brexit scenarios are possible right now. The Danish Government has therefore announced its proposal for measures concerning British citizens residing in Denmark in case of a ”no deal Brexit”.


The UK is leaving the EU. However, the details of Brexit have not been clarified yet. On 15 January 2019, the British Parliament voted against the Withdrawal Agreement, which had originally been negotiated, and is now exploring alternative routes. This means that the basis of the UK’s exit from the EU is currently undecided.

Over the years, a large number of British citizens have chosen to settle in other EU countries, including Denmark. They have been able to do that because of the EU rules on free movement, which give EU citizens a right to live and work in other EU countries without a work and residence permit. After Brexit, British citizens will no longer be able to stay in the EU pursuant to the rules on free movement and will – unless other rules are put in place – be subject to national legal requirements regarding work and residence permits. This is an untenable situation for British citizens who already live in other EU countries, so it is necessary to decide what rules will apply.

Had the Withdrawal Agreement been adopted, or if the Agreement is amended and then adopted, it seems that British citizens living Denmark will still be entitled to reside and work in Denmark on basically the same conditions as today.

The proposal that the Danish Government intends to put forward to the Danish Parliament, which will become relevant in case of a no deal scenario, involves establishing a temporary scheme that also gives British citizens residing in Denmark a right to stay on conditions that largely correspond to the current rules laid down in the “EU-Residence Order”.

This means that British citizens will be able to continue to reside and work in Denmark as hitherto, obtain the right of permanent residence and be granted family reunification provided that family life existed before Brexit. However, with regard to a family reunification situation where family relations are not established until after Brexit, and with regard to deportation, the rules of the Danish Aliens Act will continue to apply.

The temporary transitional scheme will extend the validity of residence documents issued according to EU law, and the Danish Government therefore encourages British citizens to make sure that they have residence cards or have applied for residence cards prior to Brexit in order to be able to prove that they are residing legally in Denmark.

Norrbom Vinding notes

  • that by the proposal – if put forward to the Danish Parliament and passed – British citizens residing in Denmark pursuant to EU law before Brexit will be able to stay in Denmark on conditions largely corresponding to the rules in the ”EU-Residence Order”;
  • that the scheme is temporary and will apply until a permanent solution is put in place;
  • that British citizens currently residing in Denmark will thus be able to continue to legally reside and work in Denmark without a work and residence permit; and
  • that it is currently recommendable for employers to identify the employees affected and stay updated on the situation for the purpose of clarifying any uncertainties – hopefully – as quickly as possible.

The content of the above is not, and should not be a substitute for legal advice.

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