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IN DETAIL: What are the rules on travel into Denmark from within the EU?

While there are still restrictions on travel into Denmark from many non-EU countries, including the UK, travel from within the European Bloc is more relaxed. But there are still rules in place.

IN DETAIL: What are the rules on travel into Denmark from within the EU?
Package tourists leaving Copenhagen on their way to Mallorca. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

What’s the most recent change in the regulatory framework? 

Denmark on May 14th relaxed the rules for travel from all EU countries so that travellers from these countries no longer need “a worthy purpose” to travel to Denmark unless their country has a high-enough infection rate to be classed as “red” in Denmark’s traffic light system.

This has opened the way for tourism from the EU, and also from the entire Schengen zone, which also includes Switzerland, Andorra, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Vatican City.

Under the May 14th update, travellers coming from European Union or Schengen countries or regions classed as “yellow” no longer have to show a negative coronavirus test before boarding the plane, and no longer need to go into self-isolation on arrival in Denmark. 

Those who aren’t Danish citizens or residents, however are required to show a recent negative test, taken no more than 48 hours before boarding their plane, before entering Denmark. 

At Copenhagen Airport, there’s a centre before passport control where you can get a rapid test, so if you are willing to risk a return flight, you can wait until arrival before getting tested. In practice, it is probably safer to get a test before you go. 

Travellers coming from European Union or Schengen countries or regions classed as “orange” do, however, need to get a test before boarding the aircraft, and also need to go into self-isolation for at least four days, until they test negative for coronavirus, or for ten days without a test.

Here is the latest table from the Danish authority’s Coronasmitte website on the travel guidelines for EU and Schengen countries. 

Which EU or Schengen countries or regions are classed as “yellow” by Denmark? 

Denmark on Saturday June 5th moved Italy, Germany, Austria and Slovakia from the “orange” classification to “yellow”, meaning Danish citizens are no longer advised against leisure travel to these countries, and also that tourists from these countries no longer need to get tested before boarding their flight, or go into isolation on arrival in Denmark. 

These countries are currently classed as “yellow” in Denmark. 

Austria Czech Republic Slovakia Finland
Bulgaria  Germany  Hungary  Iceland 
Italy  Malta  Poland  Portugal 
Romania       

Denmark also on June 5th added six new European regions to its list of countries classified as “yellow”, the Peloponnese in Greece, Jadranska Hrvatska in Croatia, Zug and Ticino in Switzerland, and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta.

Here are the European regions currently classified as “yellow”: 

Croatia:  Jadranska Hrvatska
France: Corse, Martinique, Mayotte

Greece: Peloponnisos

Norway: Rogaland, Møre og Romsdal, Norland, Viken, Vestland

Spain: Galicia, Principado de Asturias, Cantabria, Extremadura, Comunitat Valenciana, Illes Balears, Región de Murcia, Canarias

Switzerland: Zug,Ticino

Which regions in the EU or Schengen are currently classified as “red”? 

None. 

How are the rules different for travellers from the EU/Schengen who are fully vaccinated or immune? 

Travellers from the EU and Schengen regions who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency, or who can document that they have been infected with Covid-19 and recovered in the last 14 to 180 days can forgo most of the restrictions that remain (unless their country is rated “red”). 

Even if their country is rated as “orange”, they still do not need to show a recent negative coronavirus test before boarding their aircraft, get tested on arrival, isolate on arrival, or take a test prior to entering Denmark. 

Here is the latest table from the Danish authority’s Coronasmitte website giving the travel guidelines for vaccinated or immune travellers from EU and Schengen countries. 

What are the requirements if you are travelling by land or sea? 

Travellers coming to Denmark by road, train or ferry need to be able to show a negative test result not more than 48 hours old before entering the country. Unlike with flights, however, even if the country of departure is ranked “orange” (as Norway or Sweden are) they do not need to show a negative test before boarding the ship, train or bus. 

What are the rules on travel for residents of border regions? 

Foreigners with permanent residence in regions bordering Denmark, such Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, and Blekinge, Skåne, Halland and Västra Götaland in Sweden do not need a “worthy purpose” to travel into Denmark, even if their country is classified as “red”. They can only show a negative test that is up to 72 hours old, rather than 48 hours for other travellers. 

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IMMIGRATION

Denmark to cut wait for family reunion after losing European court case

Denmark is to reduce the amount of time refugees need to wait before apply for family reunification after The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the current "three-year rule" was excessive.

Syrian refugees protest outside Denmark's parliament against Denmark's decision that the area around Damascus is now 'safe'.
Syrian refugees protest outside Denmark's parliament against Denmark's decision that the area around Damascus is now 'safe'. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

In a press release issued on Friday, the country’s immigration ministry said that it would next year submit a bill amending the country’s immigration law, or udlændingeloven to reduce the length of time refugees need to wait before applying for family reunion from three years to two.

But the new law will also contain a clause allowing Denmark to bring back the “three-year rule” at short notice if there is a refugee crisis.

“I of course regret that the verdict went against Denmark,” Mattias Tesfaye, Denmark’s immigration minister, said in statement, adding that he was nonetheless “relieved” that the court had deemed a two-year wait acceptable, and had also left open the possibility of longer waits during periods of extremely high refugee numbers.

“We are working hard to keep our refugee numbers at a record low, but if we today have a situation similar to 2015, we want to be able to lift the limit from two to three years. That is a good tool to have in our toolbox.”

The so-called MA case was brought by the Syrian doctor Mosalam Albaroudi, who arrived in Denmark in 2015 and then five months later applied for family reunification with his wife and was rejected.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled on July 9th that the reason for the rejection of his reunification visa was a violation of human rights.

The case concerns a controversial change to Denmark’s laws in 2016, when Denmark’s Parliament (Folketing) passed the so-called “three-year rule” that required refugees to wait three years before applying for family reunification.

That’s why Albaroudi’s application was denied a residence permit for his wife. The decision was upheld by Denmark’s Supreme Court in 2017.

Albaroudi and his lawyer, Christian Dahlager, believed the decision violated the European Convention on Human Rights, and so they continued their efforts to overturn the ruling.

The Convention states that everyone has the right to privacy and family life, and that an authority can restrict this right only if it is necessary in a democratic society to protect a number of essential interests of society. It applies to members of the Council of Europe, to which Denmark belongs.

In its decision, the European Court of Human Rights stated that Denmark’s three-year waiting period has not “struck a reasonable balance between, on the one hand, the applicant’s interest in being reunited with his wife in Denmark and, on the other hand, society’s interest as a whole in being able to control immigration in order to protect the country’s economic well being, to ensure effective integration and to maintain the cohesion of society.”

Sixteen judges voted in favor of Albaroudi, and one judge abstained. The court also awarded Albaroudi compensation of 75,000 kroner.

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