I have a British passport, I am a citizen, lived there all my life.

Do I need a visa to stay in Denmark? If not, how long would I be allowed stay there (while not working or studying, just on holiday)? Could I stay there longer than 90 days if I am not working or studying, just travelling? And if so, for how long can I stay and would I need any kind of visa for this?

This is for someone not claiming any money or benefits, only for staying with a Danish family and travelling around for a period of time.

Very confused about what is needed/not needed as a British person. I used to think a UK person can just stay there for any period of time as long as they're not working or studying, but so many sites seem to say different things about all the laws, I am getting very confused.

Thanks for any information.

Edit: Thanks for the answers so far. Another question: What happens if you have stayed longer than 3 months but are, as said, NOT working/studying/claiming any benefits and intend to go back to home country at a certain point... But have not registered with any authorities in this time? Is there punishments for this and what to do about it if in that situation?

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    Europa.EU is the normal "human facing" side of EU rights and rules, that should be your first point of call for "official but readable" EU travel stuff (amongst other EU topics) – Gagravarr Nov 16 '15 at 21:04
  • Your edit second question should probably actually be a separate question over our Expatriates site – Gagravarr Nov 16 '15 at 21:05
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    For future reference, your own government tells you about the requirements for you to travel anywhere here: gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice – CMaster Nov 16 '15 at 22:34
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    Schengen visa rules are not relevant for this question in any case; EU citizens are visa-free in all Schengen countries and have more extensive rights than even visa-free non-EU/EEA nationals. – Henning Makholm Nov 16 '15 at 23:11
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    Yes, the question extension means that it is no longer a duplicate of the Sweden question - but that really is a different question entirely (what do I need to do X vs what are the consequences if I already have breached some rules). It would be good if you could seperate them out. – CMaster Nov 17 '15 at 8:43

According to the text of the EU freedom of movement and residence law summary:

European Union citizens have the right to move freely and live in another EU country, subject to any conditions set out in the EU’s treaties. This free movement of people is one of the EU’s fundamental principles.

EU citizens with a valid identity card or passport may:

  • Enter another EU country, as may their family members - whether EU citizens or not - without requiring an exit or entry visa.
  • Live in another EU country for up to 3 months without any conditions or formalities.
  • Live in another EU country for longer than 3 months subject to certain conditions, depending on their status in the host country. Those who are employed or self-employed do not need to meet any other conditions. Students and other people not working for payment, such as those in retirement, must have sufficient resources for themselves and their family, so as not to be a burden on the host country’s social assistance system, and comprehensive sickness insurance cover.
  • Have to register with the relevant authorities if living in the country longer than 3 months. Their family members, if not EU nationals, require a residence card valid for 5 years.
  • Be entitled to permanent residence if they have lived legally in another EU country for a continuous period of 5 years. This also applies to family members.
  • Have the right to be treated on an equal footing with nationals of the host country. However, host authorities are not obliged to grant benefits to EU citizens not working for payment during the first 3 months of their stay.

So there are some conditions, such as registering with authorities if required (which is required for Denmark), but generally you have the right to live in Denmark as long as you can afford it.

  • Hi, for how long do you have the right to live in Denmark though? Thanks so much for your answer – Snitzel Nov 16 '15 at 21:21
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    @Snitzel Three months with no conditions (point two). After three months there are certain additional conditions, mainly connected with being able to support yourself (point three). After that there's no upper limit per se. – Andrew Nov 16 '15 at 22:30
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    Although if the UK was to leave the EU, you would then lose your right to live there. – CMaster Nov 16 '15 at 22:35
  • @Andrew, thanks for reply - I have stayed more than 3 months and am supported, have not been a burden on the country, & not working. Though my stay was just a bit of a travel around – Snitzel Nov 16 '15 at 23:04
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    @Snitzel a history of being in the country for more that three months without being a burden on the state does not qualify you for a residence permit. You need to show that you're able to continue to be in the country without recourse to public assistance. In other words, you need to show that you either have enough money or enough income (including gifts, I suppose). – phoog Nov 17 '15 at 17:11

Specifically for Denmark, see http://www.nyidanmark.dk/en-us/coming_to_dk/eu_and_nordic_citizens/eu-eea_citizens/residence_in_denmark_for_union_citizens_and_eea_nationals.htm. This is the official government-run immigration website, and its information is trustworthy.

You're supposed to apply for a registration certificate if you stay in Denmark for more than 3 months, and to register yourself with the civil register (folkeregister) before 6 months of stay.

The Aliens Act (Udlændingeloven) contains a general punishment provision for aliens who reside in Denmark unlawfully: a fine or imprisonment up to 6 months. This range is supposed to cover all cases of illegal immigration from any country; it would be extremely theoretical that a jail sentence could be imposed on an EU citizen who would have an automatic right to a registration certificate but merely neglected to apply for one due to laziness or unawareness of the rules. I have no idea how likely a fine is and how large it might be.


As a British citizen, you shouldn't worry much. Keep in mind that it would be perfectly legal for you to fly to Spain, take a train to France, bicycle to Germany, and take a car to Denmark. After the airport in Spain, there would be no record of your border crossings unless you happened to get into a random spot check.

That being said, Henning pointed out that some EU countries try to keep track of all residents. Registering some time soon is a good idea. Also, that might help your position if the UK decides to leave the EU.

  • Thanks for your answer, everyone has been really helpful. I am mainly worrying as I have overstayed by a long period (don't want to get banned) and now I have gone from thinking I could just go home to see my family, to feeling like I'm illegal and need to contact someone before I am contacted first. I could travel to another country but isn't this overstay rule applying for all the Schengen countries (which are all the ones around Denmark, including France, Germany, Norway etc.)? Is the UK planning to leave the EU, I thought the referendum was in 2017? – Snitzel Nov 17 '15 at 13:30
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    @Snitzel as an EU national you cannot be banned unless you are a threat to public safety, public health, or public policy. They can fine you, but the fine has to be essentially the same as that a Danish citizen would face for failing to register. Also the "all the Schengen countries" bit applies only to non-EU citizens. The EU freedom of movement rules are country by country only. You could legally spend 90 days in each of the Schengen countries with no trouble. – phoog Nov 17 '15 at 17:13
  • @Snitzel, you might have noticed that you have really strong movement rights as an EU citizen. We can't know what happens if a "Brexit" should come, it might become helpful for you if you already had 5+ years of registered residence in Denmark by then. 2017 plus some time for the negotiations means to start now. – o.m. Nov 17 '15 at 17:29
  • @Snitzel as an EU citizen, the Schengen immigration rules aren't really relevant to you. Your right to visit (and reside) in each country is dependent on EU law and the underlying EU treaties, not related to Schengen agreement and it's visa/*permission* to visit system at all. The main impact of Schengen on you is not having to wait at a border queue when say, crossing from Denmark to Germany. And yes, a ban is very unlikley given this. I have read stories of some EU nationals being removed from the UK due to breaking some rules, but even they were not banned, – CMaster Nov 18 '15 at 9:10

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