Visas for Denmark

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Visas for Denmark

Denmark is not only a gateway to Scandinavia in cultural terms, but also geographically. As such, the country is well connected with the rest of the European continent and Scandinavia. A plethora of ferries connect Denmark with Europe and Scandinavia. The Copenhagen Airport serves as a main Scandinavian hub because its southern latitude makes it a natural stopping point for flights between Scandinavia and the rest of Europe.

Visas

Denmark is a member of the Schengen Agreement.

There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented the treaty - the European Union (except Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union. This means that there may be spot customs check but no immigration checks (travelling within Schengen but to/from a non-EU country) or you may have to clear immigration but not customs (travelling within the EU but to/from a non-Schengen country).

Airports in Europe are thus divided into "Schengen" and "non-Schengen" sections, which effectively act like "domestic" and "international" sections elsewhere. If you are flying from outside Europe into one Schengen country and continuing to another, you will clear Immigration, but not Customs, at the first country and then continue to your destination where your baggage will have customs checks but there will be no further immigration controls. Travel between a Schengen member and a non-Schengen country will result in the normal border checks. Note that regardless of whether you are travelling within the Schengen area or not, many airlines will still insist on seeing your ID card or passport.

Nationals of EEA countries (EU and (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) only need a valid national identity card or passport for entry - in no case will they need a visa for a stay of any length.

Nationals of non-EEA countries will generally need a passport for entry to a Schengen country and most will need a visa.

Only the nationals of the following non-EEA countries do not need a visa for entry into the Schengen Area: Albania*, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Macedonia*, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro*, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia*/**, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan*** (Republic of China), United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela, additionally persons holding British National (Overseas), Hong Kong SAR or Macau SAR passports.

These non-EU/EFTA visa-free visitors may not stay more than 90 days in a 180 day period in the Schengen Area as a whole and, in general, may not work during their stay (although some Schengen countries do allow certain nationalities to work - see below). The counter begins once you enter any country in the Schengen Area and is not reset by leaving a specific Schengen country for another Schengen country, or vice-versa. However, New Zealand citizens may be able to stay for more than 90 days if they only visit particular Schengen countries.

If you are a non-EU/EFTA national (even if you are visa-exempt, unless you are Andorran, Monégasque or San Marinese), make sure that your passport is stamped both when you enter and leave the Schengen Area. Without an entry stamp, you may be treated as an overstayer when you try to leave the Schengen Area; without an exit stamp, you may be denied entry the next time you seek to enter the Schengen Area as you may be deemed to have overstayed on your previous visit. If you cannot obtain a passport stamp, make sure that you retain documents such as boarding passes, transport tickets and ATM slips which may help to convince border inspection staff that you have stayed in the Schengen Area legally.

Note that:

  • while British subjects with the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British Overseas Territories citizens connected to Gibraltar are considered "United Kingdom nationals for European Union purposes" and therefore eligible for unlimited access to the Schengen Area,
  • British Overseas Territories citizens without the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British subjects without the right of abode in the United Kingdom as well as British Overseas citizens and British protected persons in general do require visas.

However, all British Overseas Territories citizens except those solely connected to the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas are eligible for British citizenship and thereafter unlimited access to the Schengen Area.

Further note that:

(*) nationals of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia need a biometric passport to enjoy visa-free travel,

(**) Serbian nationals with passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate (residents of Kosovo with Serbian passports) do need a visa and

(***) Taiwan nationals need their ID number to be stipulated in their passport to enjoy visa-free travel.

In July 2011, however, customs controls were increased along all Danish borders. While not all travelers are stopped, they should be prepared to show identification.

Citizens of the above countries are permitted to work in Denmark without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorisation for the period of their 90 day visa-free stay. However, this ability to work visa-free does not necessarily extend to other Schengen countries.

You can apply for a visa at your local Danish embassy (list), but in many countries where Denmark has no consular representation, other Nordic (Scandinavian) embassies (Sweeden, Norway or Finland) are usually authorized to handle visa applications.

The other nations of the Danish commonwealth, Greenland and the Faeroe Islands, are not Schengen or EU members. If you can visit the Schengen area without a visa, you can visit Greenland and the Faeroe Islands under the same rules (90 days in a half year), citizens of the EU/EEA have unlimited access. If you need a visa for the Schengen Zone, you'll need a separate visa for Greenland or the Faeroe Islands - be sure to inform the Danish Embassy when you apply for your Schengen visa that you're also visiting these areas.

Getting to Denmark

By Plane

Scandinavian Airlines crisis
As of November 2012, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) are in an economic crisis, near bankruptcy. There is no guarantee that the company will remain in its current form. Be wary of this before booking SAS flights. The crisis does not affect other airlines serving Scandinavia.

Denmark is served by two major and several minor airports who nearly all offer international connections. Most European airlines offers routes to Copenhagen, and many also to Billund, but SAS Scandinavian Airlines remains the dominant carrier. Key players in the low-cost market include the national Cimber-Sterling or Norwegian, Easyjet, Transavia and finaly Ryanair which has services only to provincial airports.

  • Copenhagen Airport (IATA: CPH, ICAO: EKCH)is the largest airport in Scandinavia. The airport is located at the town Kastrup on the island Amager, 8 km from central Copenhagen. The airport is connected by train to Copenhagen Central Station and beyond as well as Malmo and other towns in Sweden. One way fare to Copenhagen Central station is DKK 34. and the train leaves every 10 minutes. Buses and taxis are also available.
  • Billund Airport  (IATA: BLL, ICAO: EKBI)in South-Central Jutland is Denmark's 2nd largest airport, and the main airport for the entire peninsula. It fields flights to major European hubs; Frankfurt, London and Amsterdam, as well as most western European capitals. Located in the town Billund, 29 km from Vejle, 65 km from Esbjerg, 104 km from Odense, 100 km from Aarhus, 210 km from Aalborg, and 262 km from Copenhagen. The airport is connected by buses to major cities and towns in the region. Taxis are also available.
  • Aalborg Airport (IATA: AAL, ICAO: EKYT about 7 km east of the city centre, is Denmark's 3rd largest airport with flights to around 20 European destinations, including Oslo, Reykjavik and the Faroe Islands as well as major hubs like London, Paris, Amsterdam and Istanbul. There is also a semi direct connection from New York with Iceland Express every Wednesday. Major carriers includes Norwegian, SAS, Cimber Sterling and Atlantic Airways.
  • Aarhus Airport (IATA: AAR, ICAO: EKAH)is on the Djursland peninsula 44 km north east of Aarhus, 50 km from Randers, 90 km from Silkeborg, 99 km fra Horsens, 98 km from Viborg and 138 km from Aalborg. An airport shuttlebus connects the airport to Aarhus Central Station from where you can reach the rest of Jutland by Train. Non national carriers serving Aarhus airport are Ryanair, British Airways and Finnair.
  • Malmö-Sturup Airport (IATA: MMX, ICAO: ESMS)is located 61 km from Copenhagen and offers low-fares flights with Wizzair to Eastern Europe. An Airport shuttlebus connects the airport with Copenhagen central station. FlyBus charges 10 pounds / 100DK for the ride.

By Train

There are five direct trains per day (six from June 16th) from Hamburg to Copenhagen, approximately every two hours, one of these trains extends to Berlin. These trains are loaded onto a ferry for the sea passage from Puttgarten to Rødby, and the total journey time is around 4.5 hours (6.5 hours to Berlin). There are also two trains daily to Aarhus from Hamburg via Padborg. Other trains from Germany include trains from Flensburg to Copenhagen and trains from Niebüll to Esbjerg. If you are coming from farther away in Europe, there is a night train from Amsterdam, Basel, Berlin, and Prague, stopping in Denmark in Padborg, Kolding, Odense, Roskilde, and Copenhagen. From Sweden there are hourly direct trains from Gothenburg and up to five direct trains from Stockholm to Copenhagen. In addition to the direct trains the Øresund trains connect Copenhagen with trains terminating in Malmö every 20 minutes, taking 35 minutes to cover the distance.

By Car

Denmark is directly connected to the German Autobahn on route E45 (German route 7), which passes close to Hamburg and runs along the east coast of the Jutland peninsular, all the way to Frederikshavn in the North, passing through Denmark's second city Aarhus along the way. Many drivers going from Germany to the Danish capital opt for one of the regular car ferries, which shortens the trip by 137km from Hamburg and 309km from Berlin respectively, and avoids the 215 DKK bridge toll, so the price of the ferry crossing is nearly offset by extra gas needed to take the long way around.

Visitors without their own wheels coming in from Germany can try their luck with the German Mitfahrgelegenheit a ride-sharing website run in conjugation with the German Automotive organisation, which fairly frequently have rides to Denmark available. It is in German only but pretty self explanatory, if you know Denmark is called Dänemark and International is Ausland in German.

From Sweden catch route E20 from Gothenburg (312km) or E4 from Stockholm (655km) to Malmö and connect with the Øresund bridge (150 DKK). Many Norwegians also opt for this route when going to Copenhagen, but there are several car ferries crossing the strait between the two countries, especially to Hirtshals on the north tip of Jutland, which is connected to the Danish highway network.

By Bus

If you are in one of the neighbouring countries, long distance buses offer a good economical alternative to trains. From Germany serveral bus companies operate routes from Hamburg and Berlin to Copenhagen and Aarhus. A trip from Berlin to Copenhagen can cost as little as 200 DKK, but normally will set you back around 300 DKK (40€) and take around 8 hours, another popular route Hamburg to Aarhus takes around 5½ hours. Try to check out the following companies; Berolina, Eurolines, and Abildskou.

For Scandinavia there are three daily connections and a night-bus from Gothenburg (4½ hours) and Oslo (8 hours), and two daily buses from Stockholm (9 hours) divided into a day and a night bus, check out GoByBus and Swebus for prices and schedules - when searching it might be useful to know Copenhagen is Köpenhamn in Swedish.

Due to the Bosnian war in the 1990s there are several bus companies serving the Bosnian diaspora, which provide a cheap and clean way of getting to the other side of the European continent. Toptourist and Autoprevoz runs from various destinations in Bosnia and Hercegovina and Serbia to Denmark, Off-season approx 1000 DKK (140€) for a return ticket.

By Boat

The fastest way between Norway and the continent are through the Danish highways, this has ensured frequent ferry connections to Norway, with the busiest port being Hirtshals, from where a trip to Norway takes as little as 3½ hours. Other busy routes are the Rødby-Puttgarden ferry - the fastest route between Sweden and Copenhagen to continental Europe - which remains one of the busiest ferry crossings in the world (though a bridge is on the drawing board). And though it has been waning for years, with the ever increasing competition of low cost carriers, Denmark also have the only remaining ferries routed between the UK and Scandinavia (Harwich-Esbjerg, 19 hours being the freight/car and passenger ferry and Immingham - Esbjerg, about 20 hours, which like the Harwich service carries freight but with no passenger services). Ferries are generally of a very high standard and safety regulations are strictly adhered to.

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