Denmark eases travel restrictions: EU tourists can now come to Denmark

Denmark eases travel restrictions: EU tourists can now come to Denmark
Passport control at Copenhagen Airport before the pandemic. Photo: Ernst Tobisch/Copenhagen Airport
Denmark moved into the third phase of lifting travel restrictions on Friday, meaning tourists from the EU and Schengen countries can now enter the country.

The new rules, which came into force at midnight on Thursday, mean that foreigners resident in EU and Schengen countries rated ‘orange’, will no longer need a “worthy purpose” to enter Denmark, opening the way for tourists to come to Denmark from across the region.

Travellers from “yellow” countries outside the European Union, including the UK, will also no longer need a “worthy purpose”, opening the way for tourism from these countries. 

Denmark has also raised the threshold for qualifying as a “yellow” country to 50 to 60 cases per 100,000 people over the past week.  

Several regions in Spain are now yellow, under the updated country guides list issued on Friday afternoon, including Asturias, Balearic Islands, Ceuta, Extremadura, Galicia, Canary Islands, Murcia and Valencia, as are the Azores and Madei in Portugal.

Unfortunately, the lower threshold only applies to EU and Schengen countries, which means that even though the UK only has around 30 cases per 100,000 people, it did not qualify when the foreign ministry updated their list.

In the document, the ministry notes that common travel rules now being negotiated among EU members should within the next few weeks make it possible for the UK to qualify as “yellow”, and would also make it possible for those in the US who have been vaccinated to come to Europe without a “worthy purpose”. 

The new rules will also mean that travellers coming from “yellow” European Union or Schengen countries no longer have to show a negative coronavirus test before boarding the plane. 

You can see a summary of the updated requirements for EU and Schengen countries here, and for countries outside of the EU and Schengen countries, including the UK, here

What requirements are still in place for travellers from EU and Schengen countries rated ‘orange’? 

Those coming will still need to show a negative test before boarding the plane, get tested on arrival in Denmark, and to go into self-isolation for at least four days until they test negative for coronavirus, or ten days without a test.

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Who is excused from the self-isolation requirements? 

Those from “orange” EU countries who are fully vaccinated and can demonstrate this, or who can show a positive coronavirus test between 14 days and 180 days old do not need to take a coronavirus test or go into isolation.

Tourists coming from the border regions like Schleswig-Holstein and Skåne no longer need to go into self-isolation, which will help northern Germans who rent holiday homes in Denmark. 

Iceland and three regions in Norway,  Norland, Trøndelag, and Troms og Finnmark, are rated “yellow”, which means that they do not have to go into self-isolation on arrival in Denmark (although they still need to have a test on arrival)

For Danish speakers, this table from the Justice Ministry is a handy summary of the new arrangements for EU and Schengen countries. 

Gul means “yellow”, orange “orange” and rød “red”, ja means “yes” and nej means “no”. The first table is for those travelling with a negative coronavirus test, the second for those who can document a previous coronavirus infection less than 180 days old, and the third table is for those who have been vaccinated with a vaccine accepted by the European Medicines Agency. 

The first column is whether there is a test requirement before boarding a flight, the second whether there is a test requirement on arrival, the third whether there is a requirement to self-isolate, the fourth whether you need a “worthy reason”, the fifth (I think) is whether the requirements to be tested also apply to Danish citizens living in or travelling from the country. 

How is the definition of a “yellow” and “orange” country changing? 

The trigger for a country moving from “orange” to “yellow” has been raised from 20/30 cases over the preceding seven days to 50/60 cases, meaning more countries and regions of Denmark, Germany, Iceland and Finland will qualify as “yellow”. Denmark’s foreign ministry will publish the updated list on Friday afternoon. 

What other changes are there for those living in border areas of Denmark’s neighbouring countries?

People travelling to Denmark who have a permanent residence in Skåne or Schelswing-Holstein now only have to present a negative coronavirus test taken no more than 72 hours before the time of entry (previously it was 48 hours old in some cases). 

What changes are there for those coming from countries outside the EU and Schengen? 

Danes living abroad outside the EU who are fully vaccinated will be exempted from testing and self-isolation requirements. 

What else changes? 

Denmark’s government will shortly announce a plan to boost test capacity at airports so that the expected rise in passenger numbers does not cause crowding and queues.

What’s the situation for people living in “red” countries? 

Those travelling from “red” countries within the European Union and Schengen countries (although currently there are none) will still only be able to enter Denmark if they have one of a very short list of “worthy purposes”, which does not include business, or normal family visits. 

If they do fulfil one of those purposes, they still need to be tested before and after arrival and to self-isolate on arrival.  

What’s the situation for people living in third countries outside the European Union or Schengen region? 

Travellers from countries classed as “yellow” no longer need a “worthy purpose” to come to Denmark, to show a negative test before boarding the plane, or to self-isolate, although they still need to take a test on arrival in Denmark. 

Travellers from countries classed as “orange” do need a “worthy purpose”, meaning travel for tourism or to visit friends is not possible, and this applies even for those who are fully vaccinated or who can document a previous coronavirus infection. 

What are the “worthy purposes” which allow travel from an “orange” country outside the European Union? 

They include:

  • Work, business, studies etc.
  • A job in Denmark
  • Attending a business meeting
  • Carrying out services or transport goods in or out of Denmark
  • Being a seaman, aircraft crew member, or a diplomat
  • Having a job interview in Denmark
  • Being a pupil or student in Denmark (but only if physical presence is required)
  • Having a traineeship in Denmark
  • Attending a folk high school programme
  • Having an au pair placement

There are also “private matters” which constitute a worthy purpose to enter Denmark. These include:  

  • Being a spouse, live-in partner, parent, grandparent, brother or sister, stepbrother or stepsister, child or grandchild of a person resident in Denmark
  • Being spouse, live-in partner, parent of a Danish national resident abroad when you are travelling to Denmark together
  • Being the spouse, live-in partner, child, or stepchild of a person sent by another state who holds a diplomatic passport or a similar document
  • Being the parent of a minor living in Denmark
  • Being the primary caregiver of a minor living in Denmark
  • Being related to or in a relationship with a seriously ill or dying person in Denmark
  • To participate in the birth of a child
  • To continue treatment at a healthcare institution
  • To attend a funeral or burial of immediate family members
  • Owning property, a boat or a permanent place at a campsite in Denmark


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