COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: The Kingdom of Denmark is a highly developed, stable democracy with a modern economy. Greenland is a self-governing part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and the Faroe Islands have home rule within the Kingdom of Denmark. Read the Department of State Fact Sheet on Denmark for additional information on U.S.-Denmark relations.
SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) / EMBASSY LOCATION: The Department of State encourages all U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad to enroll in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without internet access can enroll directly at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. By enrolling, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. Enrolling will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.
The Department's Smart Traveler app, available through iTunes and the Android market, provides easy access to updated official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps, and U.S. embassy locations. Travelers can also set up e-tineraries to keep track of arrival and departure dates and make notes about upcoming trips.
Local embassy information is available below and at the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.
United States Embassy in Denmark
Dag Hammarskjölds Allé 24
Telephone: 45 3341 7100
Emergency after-hours telephone: 45 3341 7400
Fax: 45 3538 9616
ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: Denmark is a party to the Schengen Agreement. You may enter the country for up to 90 days on your U.S. passport for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond your period of stay. More information about travel into and within Schengen countries can be found on our Schengen Fact Sheet. Visit the Danish Embassy in Washington’s website for the most current visa information. Another source of useful information, available in both English and Danish, is the Danish Immigration Service website.
If you are coming to Denmark to study, your student visa will allow you to enter Denmark 30 days prior to the start of your study program and remain for 14 days after the end of your program. These days are non-transferrable, meaning if you enter the Schengen zone only ten days before the start of your student visa’s validity, you may not add 20 extra days to the 14 days that you may stay after your program ends. Your Danish visa is a Schengen visa which will allow you to travel in the Schengen zone for the period of validity. Some Schengen countries will allow you to visit after the expiration of your student visa. Please check with the individual immigration services of the countries you plan to visit. Generally you cannot benefit from the 90-day visa-free tourist travel at the end of your study period. Please note that Danish immigration distinguishes from the categories ‘Basic and Youth Study Programs’ and ‘Higher Educational Programs.’ If you have been granted a residence permit in order to complete a higher educational program in Denmark, your residence permit will be valid for an additional six months after you complete the program. More detailed information is available via the Danish Immigration Service website.
Greenland and the Faroe Islands are not party to the Schengen Agreement; however, you may travel to those places for 90 days for business or tourism without a visa. Residence and work permits issued exclusively for Greenland or the Faroe Islands are not valid for travel to Schengen countries.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Denmark.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: Denmark remains largely free of terrorist incidents; however, like other Western European nations, Denmark faces an increased threat of terrorism. In 2011 and 2012, police arrested individuals accused of planning terrorist attacks in Denmark. In particular, the 2005 and 2010 publication in Denmark of cartoons depicting the Islamic Prophet Muhammad continues to impact Danish relations with the Muslim world and draw the attention of extremists. The Department of State recently re-issued the Worldwide Caution, which includes information about the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe.
As with other countries in the Schengen area, Denmark’s open borders allow for the possibility of terrorist groups entering and exiting the country with anonymity. You are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to your personal security and to exercise caution. In general, Copenhagen is a safe city. However, certain areas pose more of a threat than others; for instance, you should avoid downtown Vesterbro and Nørrebro late at night.
Public demonstrations occasionally occur in Copenhagen and other cities, and are generally peaceful events. Prior police approval is required for public demonstrations, and police oversight is routinely provided to ensure adequate security for participants and passers-by. Nonetheless, as with any large crowd composed of diverse groups, situations may develop which could pose a threat to public safety. You should avoid areas where public demonstrations are taking place. Be aware that participation in illegal demonstrations or street riots may result in immediate imprisonment and long-term bans on re-entering Denmark.
Stay up to date by:
CRIME: Denmark, Greenland, and the Faroes all have relatively low violent-crime rates. Muggings, sexual assault, and racially motivated violence are rare. Violent confrontations occasionally take place between various immigrant gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs operating in Denmark, but do not typically affect tourists and law-abiding Danish citizens. However, there is always a possibility that travelers could be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Travelers should be aware of their surroundings and immediately leave the area if they feel threatened. Be particularly vigilant in the Nørrebro and Vesterbro areas of Copenhagen.
Freetown Christiania, located in the Christianshavn area of Copenhagen, has been known to be a hostile environment for tourists. Historically, Christiania has been the site of illicit drug activity and recent drug enforcement efforts have resulted in violent clashes between the police and Christiania residents. Because of the illicit activity, Christiania residents have imposed a strict no-photography policy. Tourists have been assaulted and robbed for taking pictures in Christiania. Police and emergency services are limited in Christiania.
Pickpockets and purse-snatchers operate mainly at train stations -- the Copenhagen Central Station in particular -- and on crowded trains or buses. Sophisticated thieves target the Copenhagen Airport and cruise ship quays. The best precaution is to keep an eye on your belongings at all times. Do not put any bags containing valuables, such as your passport, credit cards, and airline tickets, down on the ground or on the back of a chair. Watch your computer bag, which is particularly desirable. Popular tourist attractions, like shopping streets and restaurants, also attract pickpockets and thieves. Hotel lobbies and breakfast rooms attract professional, well-dressed criminals who blend in with guests and target purses and briefcases left unguarded by unsuspecting tourists and business travelers. Pickpockets and purse-snatchers often work in pairs or groups with one person distracting the victim while another grabs the valuables. Since car and home break-ins have become more prevalent in recent years, we strongly recommend that you not leave any valuables in parked vehicles.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, if you purchase them, you may also be breaking local law.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the U.S. Embassy. We can:
Denmark has a program to provide financial compensation to victims who suffer serious injuries due to crime. The victim must report the incident to the police within 24 hours. Danish police routinely inform victims of serious crime of their right to seek compensation. The relevant forms are available from the police or from the Danish Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, Adelgade 13, 1304 Copenhagen K. TEL: 45-3392 3334; FAX: 45-3920 4505, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Claim processing time is a minimum of three months. While there is no maximum award limit, victim compensation payments are generally far lower than equivalent payments in the United States, given Denmark’s social welfare coverage. More information about compensation payments to victims of serious crime is available at the Compensation Board’s website.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Denmark is 112.
Please see our information on victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Denmark, you are subject to Danish laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. In Denmark, the police may take you in for questioning if you violate the law and don’t have proper identification with you. However, most forms of identification, such as student ID or a driver’s license, are acceptable, and there is no legal requirement for foreigners to carry their passports. Under Danish law, the police are permitted to detain someone for up to eight hours without charge. In addition, possessing knives with a locking blade longer than seven centimeters in a public place carries an immediate jail sentence. Some activities may be legal in Denmark, but are illegal in the United States. For instance, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with minors and using or disseminating child pornography are crimes prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Denmark, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what activities are legally permissible at your travel destination.
Greenland has very strict laws on the removal of natural resources, including precious and semi-precious metals, stones, and gemstones found there. Before attempting to extract or export any of these materials, make certain that doing so is not against the law.
Persons violating Denmark’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Denmark are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines, depending on the drug type. The possession of heroin, speed, ecstasy, cocaine, etc. will, in most cases, result in a jail sentence. A tourist’s possession of smaller amounts of marijuana or hashish for personal use will in most cases result in a warning or deportation. For larger quantities and trafficking, jail sentences are likely.
Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Denmark, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the U.S. Embassy of your arrest. You also have the right to have your communications forwarded to the Embassy.
Greenland: If you are contemplating travel on cruise ships near Greenland, you should be aware that search and rescue capabilities are limited due to long distances between populated areas. Currently, the combined search and rescue ship capacity is less than would be needed to cope with incidents involving even one of the large cruise ships that frequent the area. Search-and-rescue ships offer basic transport and basic medical care, but are not capable of advanced life-support. There are uncharted waters in some fjords, and water temperatures can be frigid even during summer months. Emergency medical facilities outside of Nuuk are limited in number and types of services offered. Eastern Greenland is even more remote, and services are even more limited. If you are thinking of such a trip, please carefully consider these factors and check the operational records and the experience of captains and crews operating vessels in Arctic waters when selecting cruises off the shores of Greenland.
If you wish to explore Greenland by land, we strongly encourage you to hire experienced guides. Trekking in the coastal areas generally requires no official permission, but any travel into the huge National Park in northeastern Greenland and any treks across the central ice fields do require official permission. Please check with your tour operator to make sure that the company has received the necessary permission for such trips. Given the similarity of landscape, long periods of darkness, and the potential for fast-changing weather, persons unfamiliar with the area can become disoriented easily and risk long-term exposure to the elements. While the mountains in Greenland are of moderate altitude, they are technically difficult; familiarity with ascent and descent routes is a must. While the authorities will rescue individuals in difficulty, land search and rescue capabilities are limited and subject to weather restrictions. In some circumstances, you may be billed for the cost of rescue services.
Given the remoteness of Greenland, you should strongly consider obtaining travel insurance that could pay any expenses relating to illness, injury, or death. Although emergency medical assistance is mainly free of charge, even to tourists, all additional services will have an extremely high cost. Queen Ingrid’s Hospital, the main hospital in Nuuk, offers a full range of medical services, but medical facilities in outlying towns and settlements are very basic. In most cases, evacuation to Nuuk would be required. Most medicines are available in Greenland, and medical staff will suggest appropriate alternatives if necessary. Expect emergency medical evacuations from Nuuk to Denmark or Iceland to be very costly. Evacuations from remote interior regions will cost significantly more. The cost of funeral services in Greenland is significantly higher than in Denmark.
Other Topics: If you wish to bring your pet to Denmark, please visit the website of the Danish Veterinary & Food Administration.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Denmark, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what they find in the United States; however, the law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities in employment, education, access to health care or other state services, and other areas. In addition, the law mandates access to buildings, education, information, and communications for persons with disabilities. The Danish government generally enforces these provisions. All forms of public transportation have accommodations for persons with disabilities, though many buildings are not easily accessible for the disabled. Accessibility information is available on the Danish tourist organization’s website, VisitDenmark. A parliamentary ombudsman monitors the equal treatment of disabled persons and receives a significant number of complaints related to discrimination against disabled persons each year.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Excellent medical facilities are widely available in Denmark. In Greenland and the Faroe Islands, medical facilities are limited, and evacuation is required for serious illness or injury. Although emergency medical treatment is free of charge, the patient is charged for follow-up care. There are modern, fully equipped hospitals throughout Denmark; the largest – also called University Hospitals – are located in Copenhagen, Odense, and Aarhus.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions can be found via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave. You need to ask your insurance company two questions:
In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctor and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it is advisable to take out another one for your trip. For more information, please see our medical insurance overseas page.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Denmark, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. You must be 18 years of age to drive a car in Denmark. U.S. tourists may use their state driver’s license in Denmark for up to 90 days. Long-term residents must obtain a valid Danish driver’s license. Driving in Denmark is on the right side of the road. Road signs use standard international symbols. Many urban streets have traffic lanes reserved for public transport only, and bicycle lanes are common. Unless otherwise noted on traffic signs, the speed limit is 50km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on open roads, and 130km/h on expressways.
Use of seat belts is mandatory for drivers and all passengers. Children under three years of age or under 135 cm in height must be secured with approved safety equipment appropriate to the child’s age, size, and weight.
Driving any vehicle, including bicycles, under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered a very serious offense. The rules are stringently enforced and violations can result in stiff fines and jail sentences. It is against to law to drive while using a hand-held cell phone.
Denmark has an extensive and efficient public transportation system. Trains, buses, and ferries connect Copenhagen with other major cities in Denmark and with Norway, Sweden, Poland, and Germany. Bicycles are also widely used in Denmark. Passengers exiting public or tourist buses, as well as tourists driving rental cars, should watch for bicycles in designated lanes and paths, which are usually located between the pedestrian sidewalk and the motor-vehicle lane.
Danish expressways, highways, and secondary roads are of high quality and connect all areas of the country. It is possible to drive from the northern tip of Denmark to the German border in the south in just four hours. Greenland has no established road system, and domestic travel is by foot, boat, or air. The majority of the Faroe Islands are interconnected by roads and tunnels as well as by boat, and on the large islands, even small hamlets are accessible by road. On the smaller islands, travel is mostly done on foot. There is excellent mobile telephone coverage throughout the islands.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Denmark’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Denmark’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
* * *
This replaces the Country Specific Information for Denmark dated April 16, 2012 to update sections on entry/exit requirements for U.S. citizens and crime.