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BREXIT

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

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.

Brexit: How Brits can properly plan their 90 out of 180 days in Denmark and Schengen Area
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

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 europa.eu 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.

Member comments

  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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For members

BREXIT

Is new court ruling the end for Britons fighting to remain EU citizens?

The Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed on Thursday that Brexit really does mean that Britons are no longer EU citizens. Claudia Delpero looks at whether there's any other way they can keep their rights.

Is new court ruling the end for Britons fighting to remain EU citizens?

The Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed on Thursday that Britons lost EU citizenship when the UK left the EU, on 1st February 2020. 

It is the first time the EU’s top court has rules on the matter, after a number of legal cases challenged this specific Brexit outcome. The decision also sets a precedent should other countries decide to leave the bloc in the future. 

What has the EU Court decided?

The Court of Justice decided on a case brought by a British woman living in France.

Before Brexit, she could vote and stand as a candidate in her town of residence, Thoux. But after the UK withdrawal from the EU, she was removed from the electoral roll and excluded from the municipal elections that took place in March 2020, during the transition period.  

As the mayor refused her appeal to restore the registration, she took the case to the regional court in Auch, which agreed to request an interpretation of the rules to the EU top court. 

Julien Fouchet, the barrister supporting her and several other cases on the EU citizenship of British nationals, argued that the loss of EU citizenship and voting rights was disproportionate. It would also be contrary to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, given that the woman also lost her voting rights in the UK, having lived abroad for more than 15 years.

Alice Bouillez, who has lived in France since 1984 and is married to a French national, could have applied for French citizenship, but did not do so because she said “this was not necessary” before Brexit and, as a former UK official, she had taken an oath of allegiance to the Queen.

On Thursday the Court of Justice announced the decision about her case. The court ruled that the “possession of the nationality of a member state is an essential condition for a person to be able to acquire and retain the status of citizen of the Union and to benefit fully from the rights attaching to that status.”

The court therefore confirmed that British nationals automatically lost their EU citizenship as a result of Brexit and, as a consequence, Britons also lost their voting and electoral rights in municipal elections in the EU (unless the country where they live set different rules). 

What is EU citizenship?

EU citizenship was introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht of 1992, when borders were opening and the bloc was integrating economically after the end of the Cold War. 

Under the treaty, every person holding the nationality of an EU member state is a citizen of the Union. EU citizenship is additional and does not replace nationality, the treaty specifies. But this creates the first form of a transnational citizenship that grants rights across borders.

EU citizens have the right to access each other’s territory, job market and services under the principle of non-discrimination. If they are economically active, they have the right to reside in other EU states and be joined by family members, access healthcare at the same conditions of nationals (for emergency treatment also when travelling temporarily), obtain social security benefits and see their professional qualifications recognised.

Beyond free movement, at the core of EU citizenship there are also political rights, such as participating in the European Parliament election, voting and standing as candidates in municipal elections when living in other EU countries, receiving consular protection from other EU states outside the EU, and taking part in European Citizens’ Initiatives asking to the EU to legislate on certain matters. 

Which EU citizenship rights have Britons lost with Brexit? 

For British citizens who were living in the EU before Brexit, the Withdrawal Agreement protects some of these rights. Britons covered by deal have their residence, access to work and education, healthcare, social security and qualifications secured, but only in the country where they were living before Brexit.

But the right to free movement in other EU states, consular protection in third countries, and the political rights attached to EU citizenship were lost, the Court confirmed. 

For British citizens in the UK, the trade and cooperation agreement has preserved some social security rights and, in theory, the possibility to have professional qualifications recognized when moving to an EU country. These provisions however lack details and may take a long time before they work in practice. 

As the “European Union” no longer features on British passports, the possibility to access EU lanes at airports to skip passport control queues has also vanished. 

“The loss of those treasured rights has been clear to those of us living in the EU from the early days of Brexit. But for Brits in the UK, the realities of life outside the EU, and the consequences of Brexit, are only just dawning. Long queues at the borders, roaming charges, obstacles to working abroad, etc. are the new reality,” said Sue Wilson, Chair of the group Remain in Spain. 

While she said the court’s decision was “no real surprise,” she argued that “this is not the Brexit the public were promised, or that the majority voted for.”

Can British citizens get some of these rights back?

Julien Fouchet was disappointed at the Court decision and promised to continue the legal fight, bringing the case at the European Court of Human Rights (which is not an EU institution). 

Other two cases on the matter of EU citizenship for British nationals are still pending at the Court of Justice of the EU. One of them aims to determine whether EU citizenship is a “fundamental status” that cannot be removed but Thursday’s decision could have already provided the answer.

Another option to reconsider some of the rights is the renegotiation of EU-UK trade agreement, when it will be reviewed in 2025. 

Meanwhile, the EU is revising the rules for non-EU citizens living in EU countries on a long-term basis, making it easier to move across borders. 

Applying for citizenship is so far the only option to regain voting rights, although not all EU countries allow dual nationality. 

Sue Wilson, who has long campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU, said: “There is only one way to restore the loss of our rights, and that’s to rejoin the single market, rejoin the customs union, and eventually, rejoin the European Union… Until that day, we will continue to be second class citizens whose rights have been diminished for the sake of an ideology.”

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