Why Brits in Norway may need to get their post-Brexit residence cards changed

A sample version of the post-Brexit residence permit issued to UK nationals in Norway. Some Brits in Norway will need to get their post-Brexit residence cards updated.
Some Brits in Norway will need to get their post-Brexit residence cards updated. Image: UDI
British nationals living in Norway may need to get their post-Brexit residence cards updated after some were issued permits with a key detail missing. The error could affect their rights.

Some post-Brexit residence cards have been printed and issued to UK nationals in Norway without one piece of vital information, potentially affecting rights which are protected under the Separation Agreement.

This means that those with the affected cards will need to have them updated, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) has confirmed to The Local.

Those who have been issued cards that do not have “Separasjonsavtalen EØS/EFTA-UK” printed on the reverse of the permit will need to get them changed.

Below you can see what cards issued under the Separation Agreement are supposed to look like.

The UDI has meanwhile sent a letter to more than 17,000 UK nationals. The letter will explain what should be displayed on the residence cards along with other relevant information.

READ MORE: Why are Norwegian immigration authorities writing to British residents?

An example residence cards being issued under the separation agreement. The example used is for someone with permanent residence. “Separasjonsavtalen EØS/EFTA-UK” is found on the reverse under “Merkander”. Photo provided by the UDI.

This important detail highlights that the cards were issued as part of the Brexit Separation Agreement, protecting the rights of those who were living in Norway prior to the UK leaving the EU.

“All UK nationals with rights according to the Separation Agreement shall have a residence card where ‘Separasjonsavtalen EØS/EFTA-UK’ is stated. If this information is missing, this could affect their residency rights. If information is missing from the card, the UK national has to contact the local police station in order to get a new card issued with the right information,” Oda Gilleberg, adviser to the press at the UDI, told The Local.

Brits will need to get their cards updated at the police station which processed their application. So, for example, if Hønefoss Police Station processed your residence application, it will be responsible for updating the card if there is a misprint. The UDI said the process of updating the cards should be straightforward as the police directorate was aware of the error.

The UDI said it was unsure exactly how many cards were issued without “Separasjonsavtalen EØS/EFTA-UK” on them. However, it believes the cause of the missing information is a new application procedure brought in at the beginning of this year.

The immigration directorate added that it didn’t think many cards were printed with the information missing. Also, not all cards issued to British residents will need to be updated, only those issued under the Separation Agreement.

All UK citizens who were legal residents of Norway before 31st December 2020 will need to apply for residence under the Separation Agreement before the end of this year.  

“There will, however, be UK nationals in Norway that have another type of residence permit other than according to the Separation Agreement. Therefore, on their residence card, there will be no reference to the Separation Agreement,” Gilleberg said.

One of the main rights which could be affected by those with cards missing the correct information, according to the UDI, is how long those granted permanent residence can spend outside of the country without losing their rights.

“According to the Separation Agreement (SA), the right of permanent residence shall only be lost through absence from the host State for a period exceeding five consecutive years. This is one of the main rights under the SA that could be affected if a UK national does not have a residence card stating their rights according to the SA,”

This means that residence rights will be lost after spending two consecutive years out of the country rather than five.

This isn’t the only right affected, though. The Separation Agreement also extends to children born, or legally adopted after the transition period ends. This means the rights of children born and adopted after Brexit could be affected. 

The UDI added that there could be other rights that could be affected that it wasn’t yet aware of.

“There could be other rights in other fields of law that will be affected since the SA also covers other areas of law that we do not have an overview over,” Gilleberg explained.


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