“Cold shoulder” for Brazilian-Danish couple

The Larsens have faced bigger problems than expected since being evacuated from the Central African Republic

Since January 3, Henrique Guerra Larsen has been waiting in despair for the immigration authorities, Udlændingestyrelsen, to rule on an extension of his permanent residency. The waiting has now come to an end for the Brazilian national. Earlier this month, he received a rejection letter from Udlændingestyrelsen. 

“They told me that I am allowed to stay in Denmark until July 25 in order to reapply for family reunification. But I don’t want to start all over applying through the new rules. They are tougher and since I have already applied once when I first moved here, I don’t see why I have to do it again so I am going to appeal against the case,” Larsen said. He is allowed to remain in Denmark while his appeal is processed. 

On 13 December 2002, Henrique Larsen was granted family reunification when he and his Danish spouse, Dennis Larsen, moved from London to Denmark. Henrique Larsen got a job in Denmark and worked in the country until 2007, when they moved to Mozambique. Before moving, Henrique Larsen was granted an extension on his visa through November 2009. In Mozambique, he worked for the Danish Embassy while Dennis Larsen worked for UNICEF. In 2008, the couple adopted the then four-year-old Aldino.

Due to Dennis Larsen’s position with UNICEF, the couple lived abroad for long periods of time and Henrique Larsen had to apply for the extension of his resident permit a total of four times. On 30 August 2011, Henrique Larsen’s visa expired while living in Switzerland and according to him, Udlændingestyrelsen told him that he could not keep extending the visa from outside of Denmark, but should instead wait until he was actually in the country to get his paperwork in order.

But when the couple was evacuated from the Central African Republic in December 2012, they discovered that they had been misguided. And finally in July, after waiting seven months for an answer, they got one in the form of the rejection letter.

“Dennis works for the UN and has a contract with them, but Denmark is his home base,” Henrique Larsen said. “Because I am married to him it is my home base too. So when we were evacuated we were immediately sent to Denmark, but now I have to apply for a visa all over again. They argue that I was out of the country for too long, but I am not sure that I would even be allowed to stay in Denmark without Dennis living here.”

Furthermore, the Danish authorities have problems recognising their relationship to Aldino because his adoption, though officially carried out in accordance with Mozambican law, was private. The processing time for Aldino’s residency is up to two years.

“If Henrique does not get residency, Aldino most likely won’t either and if that happens, we will have to go somewhere else and try to get residency there,” Dennis Larsen said. “My colleagues from other countries don’t seem to have a problem getting visas for their foreign spouses. It appears that it is only Denmark that won’t help UN employees. I didn’t know that, so when we were evacuated I was expecting to be met with open arms. But instead we got the cold shoulder.”