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Do I Need a Visa to Enter Greenland?

Greenland Visa Requirements – Do I Need a Visa to Enter Greenland?

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Planning a Trip to Greenland?

If you’re planning a trip to Greenland, you’ll need to check if you need a visa to enter the county. While Greenland is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, it has its own unique visa requirements that differ from those of Denmark and other Schengen countries. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the history of Greenland, its path to independence, and the specific Greenland visa and travel requirements you need to know before embarking on your adventure to Greenland. 

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Brief History of Greenland

Greenland has a rich and fascinating history. The Inuit people, who are believed to have migrated from North America around 2500 BC, have inhabited the island for thousands of years, forging a deep connection to the land that continues to define Greenland’s identity to this day. 

Fast forward to the 10th century, we see Norse settlers led by Erik the Red establish colonies in Greenland, but as quickly as these settlements arose, they quickly faded into obscurity by the 15th century despite their brave and pioneering efforts. 

In 1721, Norway-Denmark began to colonize Greenland, and the island remained under Danish rule until 1979, when it was granted home rule. Today, Greenland is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, with its own government and parliament.

Greenland’s history and vibrant culture is one of the many reasons why so many people are drawn to its secluded shores today. 

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Nationalday Ilulisat Zion Church - Photo By Chris Tonnesen - Visit Greenland

Nationalday Ilulisat Zion Church – Photo By Chris Tonnesen – Visit Greenland

Greenland’s Path to Independence

Greenland’s journey towards independence has been a gradual process, marked by several key milestones over the past century. In 1953, Greenland’s colonial status was abolished, and it became an integral part of the Kingdom of Denmark. However, many Greenlanders still sought greater autonomy and control over their own affairs.

In 1979, a significant step towards independence was taken when Greenland was granted home rule. This meant that Greenland could now have its own parliament, called Inatsisartut, and government, known as Naalakkersuisut. 

The home rule agreement gave Greenland autonomy in areas such as education, health care, fisheries, and social services. However, Denmark still retained control over foreign policy, defense, and the legal system.

In 2008, a referendum was held in Greenland, with a majority of Greenlanders voting in favor of further self-governance. As a result, the Self-Government Act was passed in 2009, granting Greenland even greater autonomy. Under this Act, Greenland gained control over its natural resources, including oil and minerals, as well as the right to self-determination. The Danish government now provides an annual block grant to Greenland, but this grant is gradually being phased out as Greenland becomes more economically self-sufficient.

Today, Greenland is in charge of most of its domestic affairs, while Denmark still handles foreign policy and defense on behalf of Greenland. The Greenlandic language, Kalaallisut, is now the official language, and Greenlanders are recognized as a distinct people under international law.

Concerns Over Independence

Despite these significant steps towards independence, there are still some challenges that Greenland faces on its path to becoming a fully sovereign nation. One of the main issues is economic self-sufficiency. 

While Greenland has vast natural resources, including minerals, oil, and gas, developing these resources in a sustainable way that benefits the Greenlandic people is a complex process. Additionally, Greenland’s small population of around 56,000 people and its remote location also pose challenges for economic development.

Another factor in Greenland’s path to independence is its relationship with Denmark. While Denmark has been supportive of Greenland’s increasing autonomy, there are still some areas where the two countries’ interests may diverge. For example, there have been disagreements over the management of Greenland’s natural resources and the role of Danish companies in their exploitation.

Despite these challenges, many Greenlanders remain committed to the goal of full independence. In recent years, there has been growing political support for independence, with some politicians and activists calling for a referendum on the issue in the near future. As Greenland continues to develop its economy and strengthen its institutions, it is likely that the movement towards independence will continue to gain momentum.

Do I Need a Visa for Greenland?

Now, let’s get to the question at hand: do you need a visa to enter Greenland? The answer depends on your nationality and the purpose of your visit. 

    • If you are a citizen of a Nordic country (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, or Sweden), you do not need a visa to enter Greenland. 
    • If you are a citizen of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you also do not need a visa for stays up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
    • Outside of that, the only other countries that do not need a visa to enter Greenland are the United States, Canada, and Australia. 

If you are a citizen of a non-EU/EEA country (and not one mentioned above) you may need a visa to enter Greenland. The type of visa you need depends on the purpose of your visit. If you are traveling to Greenland for tourism or business purposes, you will need a short-stay visa (also known as a Schengen visa). If you are traveling to Greenland for work or study purposes, you may need a different type of visa.

Here is a list of countries that DO NOT require a visa to enter Greenland. 

Do I need a Passport to Enter Greenland?

Regardless of whether you need a visa, all travelers to Greenland must have a valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your intended stay in Greenland. If you are a citizen of an EU/EEA country, you can use your national ID card instead of a passport.

Breaking Down Greenland’s Travel Requirements

To summarize, here are the key travel requirements for entering Greenland:

    • Nordic citizens: No visa required
    • EU/EEA/Swiss citizens: No visa required for stays up to 90 days within a 180-day period
    • Non-EU/EEA citizens: Visa required (short-stay Schengen visa for tourism/business, other visas for work/study)
    • All travelers: Valid passport (or national ID card for EU/EEA citizens) required

It’s important to note that even if you don’t need a visa to enter Greenland, you may still need to meet certain entry requirements, such as providing proof of sufficient funds and a return ticket. Be sure to check with the Danish Embassy or Consulate in your home country for specific requirements.

Where to Apply for a Greenland (Danish) Visa

If you do need a visa to enter Greenland, you will need to apply through a Danish diplomatic mission (embassy or consulate) in your home country. This is because Greenland’s visa policy is aligned with Denmark’s, and Denmark handles visa processing for Greenland.

To apply for a Greenland visa, you will need to submit the following documents:

    • A completed and signed visa application form
    • A valid passport or travel document
    • Two recent passport-size photos
    • Proof of travel insurance
    • Proof of sufficient funds
    • A round-trip airline ticket or proof of other means of transport
    • Proof of accommodation in Greenland
    • A letter of invitation (if applicable)
    • Other documents depending on the purpose of your visit

You can receive help applying for a Greenland visa here

Processing times for Greenland visas can vary, so be sure to apply well in advance of your planned travel date. It’s also a good idea to check with the Danish diplomatic mission for the most up-to-date information on visa requirements and processing times.

While Greenland’s visa requirements are complex, it’s important to understand the different categories of travelers and specific documents required so you’re prepared. 

Whether you’re a Nordic citizen who can enter Greenland visa-free or a non-EU/EEA citizen who needs to apply for a short-stay visa, the key is to plan ahead and gather all the necessary documents before your trip. With a bit of preparation and an adventurous spirit, you’ll be ready to explore the stunning landscapes and rich culture of Greenland.

If you’re applying for a visa from the United States, there is additional information here

Greenland Travel Guides