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LIVING IN DENMARK

KEY POINTS: What changes about life in Denmark in November 2021

Here's what changes in Denmark in November and how it could affect you.

A truck with Tuborg Julebryg and people wearing blue elf costumes in Copenhagen's Carlsberg district in 2014. The Christmas beer is traditionally launched on the first Friday in November.
A truck with Tuborg Julebryg and people wearing blue elf costumes in Copenhagen's Carlsberg district in 2014. The Christmas beer is traditionally launched on the first Friday in November. Photo: Linda Kastrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Municipal and regional elections

November 16th sees elections to municipal and regional governing bodies across the country. Many foreign residents are eligible to vote in the elections, for which postal voting has already begun.

We’ll be covering the elections over the next two weeks — look out for guides on how to vote and information on the parties and how their policies affect foreign residents in Denmark.

READ ALSO: How to vote by post as a foreign resident in Denmark’s local elections

Rapid Covid-19 testing returns 

Antigen testing for Covid-19, commonly referred to in Denmark as lyntest or rapid testing, returns from Saturday October 30th in high-incidence municipalities Glostrup, Albertslund, Brøndby and Ishøj and will be rolled out to the rest of the country in the following week.

The government made the decision to bring back rapid testing with a capacity of up to 100,000 tests per day in response to escalating coronavirus infection numbers in late October.

Rapid test centres were closed on October 9th, but a stand-by agreement was left in place with private contractors enabling the service to be reinstated at short notice.

The capacity for PCR testing will also be higher in November at 150,000 daily. In October it was 100,000 per day.

READ ALSO: How likely is the return of Covid-19 restrictions in Denmark?

Higher Covid-19 case numbers expected

It’s not a change anyone would hope for, but an increase in the incidence of Covid-19 cases in November need not come as a surprise, nor, indeed a cause for panic.

An expert group working under national infectious disease agency State Serum Institute estimates more cases of the virus as colder weather tightens its grip.

According to the expert group’s estimate, released on October 22nd, the daily infection number will be between 600 and 3,200 by the middle of November, with 25-110 new hospital admissions daily.

This does not mean the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 will increase by this amount daily, because the figure does not take into account discharges from hospital.

READ ALSO: Covid-19: How many infections are expected in Denmark in late autumn?

Fully vaccinated can travel to United States

Fully vaccinated travellers from Europe will be able to travel to the United States from November 8th if they undergo Covid-19 testing and contact tracing. 

US nationals living in Europe and their close family members were able to travel home across the Atlantic despite the outgoing ban, but the strict rules caused difficulty for many.

Brits in Denmark born after 1989 should apply for permanent residency 

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration has advised Brits living in Denmark who were born from 1990 onwards to send in their applications for post-Brexit permanent residency status during October.

The agency said in an open letter published in December that it wanted to stagger the applications to avoid a surge which would overwhelm its staff. However, the dates given were only a request and British residents who have applied ahead of the recommended time have had their applications handled as normal

You apply for residency at the New in Denmark page. 

Lower speed limits could take effect in some areas

If you have memorised local speed limits in your part of Denmark, it’s worth double checking they are still what you think they are.

The ministry of transport in September offered 15 municipalities the option of reducing some local speed limits to 40 kilometres per hour, rather than the regular 50 kilometres per hour.

Municipalities were asked to apply in September to the Danish Road Directorate for participation in the trial, with any approved changes coming into effect in November.

J-day: the unofficial start to the festive season

The first Friday of November is customarily a busy one for bars as Christmas beers or juleøl are launched, not least by brewing giant Tuborg, which releases its iconic julebryg (Christmas brew): hence the term J-dag, J-day.

The event normally results in packed bars with large numbers of patrons ordering the sweet tasting Christmas beer with its characteristic dark-blue-and-snowflake label, even though many Danes are likely to tell you they don’t actually like the taste.

Here’s our explainer of the popular annual tradition, from the archives in 2015.

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For members

HEALTH

What are the rules on accessing the UK health service if you live in Denmark?

If you're British and live in Denmark you will previously have been registered with the National Health Service, but once you move abroad things change - here's what this means for accessing UK healthcare both on a regular basis and if you have an accident or fall sick while on a visit back to the UK.

What are the rules on accessing the UK health service if you live in Denmark?

The NHS is described by the British government as a “residence-based health service” which means that if you don’t live in the UK you’re not automatically entitled to NHS care, even if you are a British citizen and even if you still pay tax in the UK.

However funding, access and care rules can vary depending on your circumstances.

Moving to Denmark

All persons who are registered as resident in Denmark and have been issued with a personal registration number are entitled to all public health services.

In some cases, you can also use Denmark’s public health system if you are not a permanent or temporary resident of the country.

Here’s how to go about accessing Denmark’s health system after arriving in the country.

Denmark’s health services included under the public health system provide you with a family doctor or GP as well as free specialist consultations and treatments under the national health system, should you be referred for these.

It should be noted that, as previously reported by The Local, foreign nationals can experience extended waiting times on residence applications in Denmark. Since they may not have automatic access to the public health system during this time, some decide to take out private health insurance to cover the waiting period.

READ ALSO: Applying for residency in Denmark: Why you might need health insurance during processing period

Can I stay registered with my UK GP?

No, you need to have a local address to be registered with an NHS GP. In practice, many people don’t get around to telling their GP that they have moved and so stay registered for months or even years, but technically you should notify your GP so that you can be removed from the NHS register. 

Even if you do remain registered with a UK GP, they won’t be able to issue prescriptions for you in Denmark as most UK GPs are not licensed to practice outside the UK – therefore are not covered by insurance.

If you are on regular medication it may be possible for your GP to issue you with an advance stock of medication to cover you while you get settled in Denmark, but many prescriptions are limited to a maximum of three months.

What about travelling outside Denmark?

Once you’re registered in the Danish system you will be able to get a European health insurance card, the blå EU-sygesikringskort (blue EU health insurance card).

This covers medical care while on trips in Europe and basically the same as the EHIC you might have had while you were registered in the UK but it’s not issued automatically, you have to request it.

You must have legal residence in Denmark and be a resident of an EU country or the UK, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein to be eligible for the card in Denmark. The UK is included here under an agreement with the EU following Brexit. The card can be applied for here.

If travelling outside of Europe – for example, a holiday in the US – you need to ensure that you have travel insurance with full medical cover in case of any mishaps while abroad. 

What about trips back to the UK?

Although your day-to-day healthcare may be covered by the Danish system, there’s still the possibility or falling sick or having an accident while on a trip back to the UK. 

The Danish blue EU health insurance card covers all trips in the EU and European Economic Area, as well as Switzerland and the UK.

The card covers essential treatments that you receive while in the UK but not those which medical personnel deem can wait until you return home.

If you are charged for medical care while in the UK because you do not have a UK address, and think you should have been covered by the blue health card, you can apply for the costs to be refunded after you return to Denmark.

In practice, most UK nationals who need to use the NHS while on trips back to the UK report that no-one ever thinks to ask whether they are UK residents.

Some Brits living in Denmark may keep their registration with a UK GP and make regular trips back to get prescriptions, but while this can happen in practice it does involve lying or at least being economical with the truth about where you live.

Emergency care

There are certain types of NHS care that are not charged for, such as A&E treatment or treatment from paramedics, but if you need to be admitted to hospital you may have to pay.

NHS hospitals won’t turn you away if you cannot prove residency, but they may present you with a bill when you leave if you cannot prove either residency or health cover in a European country.

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