Britons in Europe face Brexit deadlines with many yet to apply for residency

Britons living in countries across Europe are running out of time to either register or apply for residency as a new report reveals thousands are yet to secure their post-Brexit status in the EU.

Britons in Europe face Brexit deadlines with many yet to apply for residency
Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP

Tens of thousands of Britons living in countries across the EU have not registered as residents or obtained the necessary residency permits to secure their post-Brexit status.

A recent EU report highlights the fact that Britons living in the 27 member states are still waiting to obtain the necessary permits and with only weeks before the deadlines in certain countries many are likely yet to have even applied.

Overall some 190,000 Britons out of an estimated 300,000 Britons living in those EU countries which have made applying for post-Brexit residency permits compulsory – known as a constitutive system – had applied for the cards by the end of April.

In France for example, where the deadline to apply for a compulsory residency permit is June 30th, some 73,700 have received their necessary carte de séjour residency permits but around 26,000 were yet to have even applied by mid-April.

In Denmark, by the end of March, only 3,400 out of 19,000 resident Britons have applied for a residency permit but they have until the end of the year to do so.

In Austria only 3,100 out of 11,500 Brits had applied by the end of February, but they too have until December 31st to do so.

In Sweden, some 7,200 Britons out of an estimated 17,000 Britons living in the country had applied for residency. The deadline for applications in Sweden is September 30th.

There are concerns for Britons living in smaller countries like Malta and Luxembourg, where deadlines are approaching and thousands are yet to receive the necessary post-Brexit permits.

Citizens’ rights group British in Europe is calling for deadlines to be extended across all member states until December 31st.

In a statement on its website British in Europe said: “The report makes for depressing reading.

“By mid-April, less than half of the estimated 148,000 UK citizens living in France had applied for and received a decision on their application.

“In Luxembourg, the figure stood at just over 50 percent and in Malta, a paltry 37 percent of UK citizens had applied and received a decision. Overall, nearly one in five UK citizens in the countries with a June 30th deadline (France, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta and the Netherlands) had not even applied.

“These figures are shocking and should be a wake-up call to the Member States in question, as well as the European Commission and the UK.

“It is clear that thousands of UK citizens who are currently legally resident in their host states face waking up on July 1st as undocumented migrants. They could be fired from their jobs, made homeless, and lose access to social security, student grants and loans, and non-emergency healthcare yet no-one has spelled out the consequences of missing the deadline.”

The Netherlands has since extended its deadline to October 1st. Other countries could follow its example.

British in Europe says both EU governments and the UK must do more to ensure all Britons covered by the Withdrawal Agreement are given legal residency.

“The communication plans and activities outlined in this report bear little or no relation to the reality we are seeing in host countries,” the group says.

“Although Member States have published website pages containing information about how to apply for a permit or request a card, only a handful have carried out any active outreach or awareness-raising campaigns via local, national or social media. The UK government too has an obligation here towards us which it is also not meeting.”

Netherlands has since extended its deadline to October 1st.

Other member states in the EU chose a declaratory system which meant the residency status of Britons living in the country before December 31st last year was guaranteed under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

Residents in these countries have mainly had to register their presence as a British resident before a certain date and in some cases have had the choice whether to apply for a new post-Brexit permit.

As the table below shows relatively few British residents compared to the overall total have applied for new residency permits.

For example in Italy only 5,300 out of an estimated 38,500 British residents had applied whilst in Spain some 115,600 out of an estimated 380,000 have requested the new document.

READ ALSO: Why UK and Spain now strongly recommend exchanging old residency document for new TIE

There was no available data for Britons in Germany.

It is likely the estimated number of Britons living in the EU is lower than the real figure. 

Member comments

  1. I completely support an extension for anyone who has applied for permanent residency but not received a decision yet. But for those who have not even applied? There is no way anyone living here could NOT know they have to do this to remain.
    Reminds me of a conversation overheard between two fellow Brits while waiting for the B1 test. They were talking about a friend of theirs who was not bothering to do anything to attain either permanent residency or Dual Citizenship. The attitude was “What are they going to do, throw him out?” with a disbelieving laugh from both!

    1. As a pensioner who owns his own home, and has been employed, paid taxes, has a Swedish pension, and lived here “illegally” for 20 pus years, I wonder if they would turn up , and drag me in chains to put me on a plane back to the UK. I guess not but you can never be certain.

      1. If you have paid taxes, have a Swedish pension, then you are not considered as being there ‘illegally’ anyway…

  2. Completely agree with Richard’s comments that an extension should be granted for anyone who has applied for residency within the correct timeframe – but not received a decision yet.
    Also absolutely agree that those who haven’t applied yet shouldn’t get such an extension … because how could they NOT know?
    F’sure it was a hassle applying for it here in Italy, but we knew we had to … so just got on with it…

  3. My wife and I been here in Italy for 40 years working for an Italian Company. Paid all taxes, so have full Italian pension and health care. Have had the green residency card as “tempo indeterminato” or permanant resident for many years, (over 25years) but now find ourselves having to apply for the bio metric new residency card at the Questura which we will only give us 5 to 10 years before renewal again. However we understand that Italian citizens in UK signed up for the pre-settled status will have this for life, even if they return to their home country to live there up to 5 years, and then return to UK.

    Doesn’t seem fair to us. Can someone explain why the Italian Authorities have gone this route for us

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Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

A week after chaotic scenes and 6-hour queues at the port of Dover, the British motoring organisation the AA has issued an amber traffic warning, and says it expects cross-Channel ports to be very busy once again this weekend as holidaymakers head to France.

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

The AA issued the amber warning on Thursday for the whole of the UK, the first time that it has issued this type of warning in advance.

Roads across the UK are predicted to be extremely busy due to a combination of holiday getaways, several large sporting events and a rail strike – but the organisation said that it expected traffic to once again be very heavy around the port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone.

Last weekend there was gridlock in southern England and passengers heading to France enduring waits of more than six hours at Dover, and four hours at Folkestone.

The AA said that while it doesn’t expect quite this level of chaos to be repeated, congestion was still expected around Dover and Folkestone.

On Thursday ferry operator DFDS was advising passengers to allow two hours to get through check-in and border controls, while at Folkestone, the Channel Tunnel operators only said there was a “slightly longer than usual” wait for border controls.

In both cases, passengers who miss their booked train or ferry while in the queue will be accommodated on the next available crossing with no extra charge.

Last weekend was the big holiday ‘getaway’ weekend as schools broke up, and a technical fault meant that some of the French border control team were an hour late to work, adding to the chaos. 

But the underlying problems remain – including extra checks needed in the aftermath of Brexit, limited space for French passport control officers at Dover and long lorry queues on the motorway heading to Folkestone.

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The port of Dover expects 140,000 passengers, 45,000 cars and 18,000 freight vehicles between Thursday and Sunday, and queues were already starting to build on Thursday morning.