Brexit: How Brits can properly plan their 90 out of 180 days in Denmark and Schengen Area

Brexit: How Brits can properly plan their 90 out of 180 days in Denmark and Schengen Area
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
UK nationals in Denmark who aren’t residents in the country now have to plan their time carefully to not fall foul of the law whilst making the most of their new non-EU rights. Here are some ways to do it successfully.

Know the rules 

As you probably know, since the start of 2021 non-resident Brits can stay 90 days in any 180-day period within the Schengen Area, including Denmark.

The date of entry is considered as the first day of stay in the Schengen territory and the date of exit is considered as the last day of stay in the Schengen territory.

However, it is possible to leave and re-enter the Schengen Area over that six-month period.

“The 180-day reference period is not fixed,” as the EU explains, “it is a moving window, based on the approach of looking backwards”.

That means taking a calendar and highlighting all the time spent in Denmark and other Schengen countries already over the past 180 days.

There are also Schengen calculators that do the job for you. 

If police or border officials ever question how long you’ve been in the EU, this will be how they calculate if you’ve overstayed or not. 

It’s worth stressing as well that the Schengen rule doesn’t work with the calendar year, it’s always a case of counting back 180 days.

Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Time spent in Denmark or the Schengen Area authorised under a residence permit or a long-stay visa are not taken into account in the calculation of the duration of the 90-day visa-free stay. 

Accept that you’ll probably have to spend three months away from Denmark

Whatever your preferences or calculations for your time spent in Denmark and other Schengen countries, once the 90 in 180 day-period is over, you will have to spend 90 days outside of the Schengen Area. 

As the website puts it, “an absence for an uninterrupted period of 90 days allows for a new stay for up to 90 days”.  

Plan ahead to make sure this absence from the Schengen Area doesn’t fall at a time when you want to be in Denmark. 

However, remember that you are always counting back the last 180 days, so if you have not exhausted the 90-day limit over the past six months, you will not have to leave the Schengen Area until that’s the case. 

When that happens, know that 90 full days outside of the Schengen Area and Denmark will give you a new period of 90 days.

Split your time in Denmark into several trips

Over a period of 180 days, you can, theoretically, spend four three-week holidays (22.5 days each) in Denmark and alternate it with three-week periods in the UK or outside the Schengen Area.

You can also break the three months you have available into six-week periods. For example, if you arrive at the beginning of November in Denmark, spend six weeks there till the middle of December, then return to the UK to spend Christmas and New Year in the UK, then go back to Denmark in the middle of January until the end of February.

The UK’s Covid-19 travel restrictions and testing requirements mean this isn’t as affordable or practical at the moment, but in normal times low-cost airlines operate between both countries to make it a feasible option. 

This way you’ll be able to spread out your time in Denmark over a six-month period. 

READ ALSO: Updated: How are post-Brexit residency applications going in Denmark?

Play by the rules 

According to the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI), if you are a citizen of a country with no visa requirement to enter Denmark — this includes the UK — you can stay in the Schengen region (or just Denmark) for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period, as we have detailed above.

However, nationals of certain countries are entitled to stay in Denmark for 90 days or 3 months, regardless of stays in other Schengen countries. These countries include Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. More detailed information can be found here.

British nationals are now being given passport stamps on arrival at Danish airports.

Needless to say, overstaying the 90 days is not a good idea. There is no clear mention in government sources regarding fines, deportations or travel bans from the Schengen Area for overstayers from countries with no visa requirements, like the UK. That is in contrast to the clear sanctions laid out for people who overstay their Schengen visas in Denmark.

Overall, though, the risk isn’t worth it if you intend to keep travelling back and forth between Denmark and the UK for the foreseeable future.

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  1. Why is UK not treated the same as America, Canada, Australia etc. re the additional 90 days. Seems illogical ? I have written to the Danish embassy to ask why !

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