Brexit: Britons in Norway can now apply for new residency permit

From January 2021 Britons who have already moved to Norway can apply for new residency permits.

Brexit: Britons in Norway can now apply for new residency permit
Photo: AFP

Following the end of the transition period on December 31st 2020 Norway will be issuing a new type of residence permit for British citizens who have lived in Norway long term as well as those who moved to Norway before December 31st 2020.

So if you had a permanent right of residence in Norway on December 31st 2020, you also have the right of residence in Norway after January 1st 2021.

However, you must apply for a new permanent residency permit to formalise this right, according to updated UDI information.

Applications for residence according to the Brexit regulations opened on January 4th, 2021 at 12pm. British residents have until December 31st 2021 to apply.

Britons have the right to remain in Norway until you have received the new residence permit, UDI states.

How to apply

The online application platform opened on January 4th, 2021 and can be found here.

Most applicants will have to attend an appointment with the police to confirm their identity, while others will have to submit documents, which may include national ID or a passport and documentation of residence in Norway up to December 31st last year.

You will receive a personalised checklist of any documents you have to submit along with further instructions after you have filled out the application.

If you only have to present yourself to the police, rather than send documentation, you will receive a separate email from the police regarding this, according to UDI. Waiting times for this can vary according to local capacities.

Detailed information on the application process, including for family members of UK citizens, can be found here.

According to the UDI, “British citizens and their family members who have a right of residence before the transition period expires will still have the right to reside and work in Norway.”

“Britons and their family members they will also have the right to family immigration if the family relationship was established before the end of the transition period. This also applies to children born or adopted after the end of the transition period,” the authority states.

Otherwise for those Britons who arrived in Norway after January 1st 2021 and wish to settle ordinary immigration regulations for countries outside the EU and EEA will apply.

Further detailed information on who is required to apply for the new residence card, including for people who work in Norway, citizenship applicants and people who have lived in the country for a long time and have older forms of residence permit, can be found on the UDI’s website.

What documentation do I need while my application is being processed?

In comments prior to the end of 2020, UK's ambassador to Norway Richard Wood said: “From next year [2021, ed.], UDI will issue a new residency card for UK nationals living in Norway but until then, it's important to always carry an official document which proves their residency if they travel abroad.”

That can take the form of the registration certificate issued by the Norwegian police on registration as a resident in Norway, according to UDI’s information page.

If you do not have a registration certificate or came to Norway before the registration scheme came into place, you can use a residence certificate from the tax authorities to show that you are resident in Norway. This can be ordered from the tax authorities via the Altinn website. Note that this may take a few days to receive, so should be done in advance if you plan to travel.

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How roaming charges will hit travellers between the UK and EU in 2022

Trips between Europe and the UK and vice versa may well become more expensive for many travellers in 2022 as UK mobile operators bring back roaming charges. However there is some good news for all EU residents.

People look at their mobile phones.
How travellers between the EU and UK could be hit by roaming charges in 2022 (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP)

EU ‘roams like at home’ at least until 2032

First the good news. The European Union is set to decide to extend free roaming until 2032, so if you have your phone contract registered in an EU country you don’t have to worry about extra charges.

In addition to waiving the charges, the new regulation aims to ensure that travellers benefit of the same quality of service they have at home when travelling within the EU. If they have a 5G contract, for instance, they should also get 5G through the EU if possible. 

Under new rules, travellers should be given information about access to emergency services, including for people with disabilities.

Consumers should also be protected from prohibitive bills caused by inadvertent roaming on satellite networks when travelling on ferries or aeroplanes.

The final text of the new regulation was provisionally agreed in December. The European Parliament and Council will formally endorse it in the coming weeks.

UK companies reintroducing roaming charges this year

And now the bad news for travellers to the EU from the UK

Customers of UK mobile phone operators face higher fees when travelling in Europe this year, as some companies are bringing back roaming charges for calls, text messages and data downloaded during temporary stays in the EU.

This is one of the many consequences of the UK withdrawal from the European Union. Because of Brexit, the UK is no longer part of the EU’s “roam like at home” initiative which was designed to avoid shocking bills after holidays or business trips abroad.

The EU’s roaming regulation allows people travelling in the European Economic Area (EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) to make calls, send texts and browse the web using their regular plans at no extra cost. Switzerland is not part of the scheme, although some mobile phone providers offer roaming deals or special prices to cover travel in Switzerland.

Under EU rules, if the plan’s allowance is exceeded, the roaming fee is also capped at €0.032 per minute of voice call, €0.01 per SMS and €2.5 + VAT per gigabyte downloaded in 2022 (it was €3 + VAT in 2021). The wholesale price networks can charge each other is capped too.

The regulation was adopted for an initial period of five years and is due to expire on June 30th 2022. But the EU is preparing to extend it for another ten years. This time, however, the UK will not be covered. 

Which UK companies are reintroducing charges?

Three major UK network operators this year will reintroduce roaming charges for travels in the EU.

As of January 6th 2022, Vodafone UK will charge customers with monthly plans started after August 11th 2021 £2 per day to roam in the EU. The amount can be reduced to £1 per day by purchasing a pass for 8 or 15 days. Free roaming continues for earlier contracts, Data Xtra plans and for travels to Ireland.  

From March 3rd 2022, EE will also charge £2 per day to roam in 47 European locations, Ireland excluded. The new policy will apply to plans started from July 7th 2021. Alternatively, EE offers the Roam Abroad Pass, which allows roaming abroad for a month for £10. 

Another operator that announced a £2 daily fee to roam in the EEA, except for Ireland, is Three UK. The charge will apply from May 23rd 2022 for plans started or upgraded since October 1st 2021. The data allowance in monthly plans that can be used abroad is also capped at 12 gigabytes. 

O2 already introduced in August last year a 25-gigabyte cap (or less if the plan’s allowance is lower) to data that can be downloaded for free while travelling in Europe. Above that, customers are charged £3.50 per gigabyte. 

Other mobile operators said they have no intention to bring back roaming charges in the short term, but if won’t be surprising if they do so in the future. 

Sue Davies, Head of Consumer Protection Policy at UK consumer organisation Which? was disappointed at the changes and urged the UK and EU to “strike a deal on roaming charges” to stop companies “chipping away at the roaming benefits customers have become used to” and “prevent the return of the excessive charges people used to encounter.” 

By law, charges for mobile data used abroad remain capped at £45 per month and consumers can only continue data roaming only if they actively chose to keep spending. 

What about EU residents travelling to the UK?

In the EU, most mobile phone operators seem keen to continue free roaming for travels to the UK, but some have announced changes too.

In Sweden, Telenor aligned UK’s prices to those of non-EEA countries on May 1st 2021 while still allowing free roaming for some plans. 

Another Swedish operator, Telia, ended free roaming with the UK and Gibraltar on September 13th 2021 giving customers the option to access 200 megabytes of data for SEK 99 per day. People travelling to the UK can also buy a weekly pass allowing to make calls, send texts and download 1 GB of data. 

In Germany Telefónica Deutschland and 1 & 1 have extended current conditions for the UK until at least the end of 2022. However companies may keep other options open depending on negotiations with roaming partners. 

A1 Telekom Austria brought roaming charges back for the UK last June. Customers now have to pay €2.49 per minute for outgoing calls and €1.49 per minute for incoming calls if they are in the UK or Gibraltar. An SMS costs 99 cents and each 100 KB of data €1.49. 

This article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK.