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BREXIT

Sweden extends application deadline for post-Brexit residence status

Sweden has extended the deadline for British citizens to apply for their post-Brexit residence status.

Sweden extends application deadline for post-Brexit residence status
The application window was originally set to close by the end of the month. Photo: Adam Wrafter/SvD/TT

British nationals and their family members who lived in Sweden under EU rules before the end of the transition period on December 31st, 2020, may continue to live in Sweden as before – as long as they apply for a new “residence status” (uppehållsstatus).

The Swedish government on Thursday extended the application period from September 30th until December 31st, giving Brits who haven’t yet applied another chance to do so.

The decision comes out of concern that some Brits may risk losing their right to stay in Sweden because they haven’t yet applied. Around 11,000 people have so far applied for the new residence status, out of a pool of an estimated 17,000 living in Sweden at the end of 2020.

There has also been a surge in the number of Brits applying for Swedish citizenship.

“Many British citizens have obtained Swedish citizenship in recent years and secured the right to stay permanently in Sweden through that. According to the Swedish Migration Agency’s calculations, at the beginning of September there were about 1,000 Britons and their family members who have not yet legalised their future stay in Sweden in any way,” said Ylwa Kallenbäck, a project manager at the Migration Agency, in a statement.

British citizens now have another three months during which they have the right to continue living, working and studying in Sweden, even without citizenship or residence status. But after December 31st, they will lose that right unless they apply before that date. Note that if you have applied for citizenship but have not yet received a response by then, you additionally need to apply for the post-Brexit residence status.

“Individuals who neither apply in time nor legalise their stay in Sweden in some other way will – after 31 December 2021 – be staying in Sweden unlawfully. This may have serious consequences for those who neglect to submit their application,” warned a statement by the Justice Ministry.

The Migration Agency recommended Brits to apply well in advance. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a letter of confirmation, and can use this if you need to prove your right to live in Sweden – for example if returning to the country after travel overseas.

During the time that British applicants are waiting on a decision, they have the same rights as EU citizens and can continue to live and work in Sweden even after the application deadline, as long as they moved to Sweden under EU rules before December 31st, 2020.

Once an application has been approved, it is necessary to visit one of the Migration Agency’s Service Centres to have fingerprints and a photo taken before the residence card can be issued.

OPINION: ‘Sweden must step up its efforts to reach Brits as post-Brexit deadline looms’

Brits with Swedish citizenship or a permanent residence permit do not have to apply for the new residence status, but you can still do so if you wish. This will affect, for example, which family members are allowed to join you in Sweden. The Local is preparing an article which will explain this in more depth.

It is important to note that all Brits who were living in Sweden under EU rules at the end of 2020 and haven’t yet secured their right to stay in one of the above ways must do so before the deadline. This applies regardless of how long you’ve lived in Sweden, and regardless of whether or not you have a permanent residence card or certificate of permanent right of residence (which are not the same as a permanent residence permit – anyone who is unclear about their current status in Sweden is strongly advised to contact the Migration Agency).

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TRAVEL NEWS

Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

People who have more than one citizenship often hold multiple passports, so what does this mean for crossing borders? Here's what you should know.

Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

For many readers of The Local, gaining citizenship of the country where they live helps them to feel more settled – but there are also travel benefits, including avoiding the long ‘non EU’ queue when coming back into the Schengen zone.

But this week the problems associated with travelling while holding dual citizenship came to light, leaving many people wondering what they should know when they are entering different countries.

Put simply – which passport should you use? And do you have to carry both with you?

Financial Times journalist Chris Giles tweeted that the UK Border Force “detained” his dual-national daughter while she was travelling from France into the UK with her German passport – and not her British one. 

He went on to say that UK border guards released his daughter. According to Giles, the border staff said she should have had both passports with her “and asked why she was travelling on her German one”.

The rules on dual-nationality have not changed, but now that the UK is not in the EU, there are strict rules on non-Brits who enter the country (and vice-versa) which has made it trickier for travel.

For instance, UK nationals receive a stamp in their passport when entering Schengen member states because they are only allowed to stay up to 90 days within an 180 period (unless they have a visa or residency card).

READ ALSO: Brexit: EU asks border police not to stamp passports of British residents 

People coming from the EU to the UK can generally visit as a tourist for up to six months without a visa – but are not allowed to carry out any work while there.

So which passport should you show?

The first thing to be aware of is there are no specific rules on travelling with more than one passport. 

Travellers can choose to use whichever passport they prefer when going to a country. 

But one thing to note is that it’s worth using the passport that is best suited to your destination when travelling there. Each country has its own set of immigration and visa rules that you’ll need to research closely.

It could be that one passport is better suited for your trip – and you may be able to avoid visa requirements.  

READ ALSO: How powerful is the German passport?

In the case of the UK, many people are still getting to grips with the different rules that apply because it’s not in the EU anymore.

A question submitted to the Secretary of State for the Home Department in September 2021 provided some insight into this issue. 

The question from Labour’s Paul Blomfield asked what steps the UK government “is taking to enable dual UK and EU citizens to travel to the UK on an EU member state passport without having to further prove their UK citizenship?”

The Conservatives Kevin Foster said: “Border Force Officers examine all arriving passengers to establish whether they are British citizens, whether they require leave to enter or if they are exempt from immigration control.

“Where the passenger claims to be British, but does not hold any evidence of British citizenship, the officer will conduct all relevant checks to satisfy themselves the passenger is British.

Border control at Hamburg airport.

Border control at Hamburg airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

“When dual nationals who are eligible to use e-gates travel to the UK, they will enter via the e-gates without being examined by an immigration officer.

“We recommend all dual nationals, including EU citizens, travel on their British passport or with evidence or their British citizenship to minimise any potential delay at the border or when commencing their journey.”

The Local contacted the UK Home Office to ask if there was any official advice. 

A spokesman said: “An individual can present whichever passport they desire to enter the UK, however they will be subject to the entry requirements associated with the nationality of the passport they present.”

They said anyone who is looking for more information should check out guidance on entering the UK and on dual nationality.

In short, if you present a German passport on entry to the UK you will be treated the same as any other German citizen – which can include being quizzed about your reasons for visiting the UK – as border guards have no way of knowing that you are a dual-national. 

Do I have to carry both passports?

There’s no rule requiring you to have both passports, but you won’t get the benefits of a British passport (entry into the UK without questions) if you don’t show it.

Likewise if you are a French-British dual national and you enter France on your UK passport, you will need to use the non-EU queue and may have your passport stamped.

Should I think about anything else?

An important thing to remember is that if you apply for a visa and register your passport details, the same passport has to be used to enter the country. 

It could also make sense to travel with both passports, just in case. 

However, note that some countries – like the US – require that US nationals use a US passport to enter and leave the States even if they are dual nationals. 

In general, it’s best to use the same passport you entered a country with to depart.

The rules and systems are different depending on the country. But many countries require people to show their passport when leaving – and they will either stamp or scan the passport – this is how authorities know that a foreign visitor hasn’t overstayed their time in the country. 

So if your passport is checked as you leave the UK, you should show the one you arrived with, just to ensure there is a record of you arriving and leaving.

However as you enter France/Germany/other EU destination, you can show your EU passport in order to maximise the travel benefits of freedom of movement.

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